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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pennsylvania Prints

I went to State College (home of Penn State University) over the weekend to visit some college friends who are living there now. It was great to be able to spend time with people I don't get to see very much anymore. And weirdly enough, it was my first time visiting State College, even though it's only about a three-hour drive away.

My friend Lauren showed me around, and we explored the downtown area and checked out a few local wineries. We also went to a used bookstore downtown called Webster's, and I found this amazing Pennsylvania Prints book for 6 bucks!

I thought I'd share a few images from it:


Lithograph, from 1902
Published by T.M. Fowler & James B. Moyer


"The Pennsylvania Canal was built at a time when transportation was needed to connect communities across the eastern states. The western section of the Pennsylvania Canal, joining Johnstown and Pittsburgh, was completed in 1830. In 1832 the Juniata section was completed, and in 1834 the Allegheny Portage Railroad was put in service. The line was 300 miles long, cost $25 million to build, and was never profitable.

In 1842 Charles Dickens traveled on the Canal Packet from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh. His eyewitness account is told in his American Notes, published the following year."

Print on broadside, 1837
Printed by Young, Philadelphia


"The mountain lion of Pennsylvania, mascot of Penn State since 1908, has many names: puma, deer tiger, panther, cougar, and catamount, among others..."

Le Cougar de Pensilvanie
Engraving, circa 1787


James Buchanan is the only U.S. president that's from Pennsylvania. I know I have an ancestor or two that were named after him.

Lithograph, from 1856


Lithograph, circa 1847


This is just a snippet of some of the prints featured in the book, all from the mid 1800s to the early 1900s.

I'm glad I snatched this book up while I had the chance, not just because I've been such a sucker for local history lately, but also, because it looks like it's been out of print for awhile. It originally published in 1980, by the Penn State University Press, and the postcards, maps and photos had been used in a historical exhibition at the time. It had a little crease on the cover, so I guess that's how I was able to get the good deal. :)

In addition to Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, there were old maps and postcards of Johnstown, Williamsport, Lewisburg, Easton, among other towns throughout the state.

I think my favorite image, aside from the Pittsburgh map, of course, is the railroad advertisement, highlighting that a ride from Philly to Pittsburgh only takes 3 and a half days! Ha. The human race has come so far over the last 150 years.

The book is titled Pennsylvania Prints, from the Collection of John C. O'Connor and Ralph M. Yeager.

PS If you're local to Pittsburgh, don't forget to enter to win admission for two to the Pittsburgh Vintage Mixer! You can also read a Q&A I did with one of the event's founders, Bess Dunlevy. The giveaway ends on Friday night, and the mixer event is on Saturday, Nov. 22.


  1. I love that mountain lion picture! It's crazy to think about how many native species humans have driven out of the northeast, including mountain lions and wolves. It's so sad.


  2. These are beautiful pictures. I would totally hang that second one as a poster because I am super lame. I love local history as well. I really need to get out more in Lexington!