The Lebanon County Historical Society sponsors lecture and exhibit programs on the third Sunday of every month, September through March. All programs are held in the Reese Memorial Hall at 1:30 PM, unless noted otherwise. Programs are free and open to the public. Prospective members are encouraged to attend. Light refreshments are served, and the Gift Shop will be open for your convenience.
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Upcoming Programs 2014
“A Special Providence:” The Ministry, Abolitionism, and Civil War Service of Rev. Col. James M. McCarter, presented by Rev. Joseph F. DiPaolo
Rev. James M. McCarter (1822-1900) was a Methodist minister and social activist, who was driven by a passion for liberty. In the 1850s, he became an outspoken abolitionist, and after the outbreak of the Civil War, served first as a regimental chaplain, then as the founder and commanding officer of Lebanon County’s 93rd Pennsylvania Regiment. His story is marked by drama, tragedy and sacrifice, and deserves to be more widely known. The presenter, Joseph DiPaolo, is currently working on a biography of McCarter.
Rev. Joseph F. DiPaolo was born and raised in the New York City area, and earned degrees from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia’s Palmer Theological Seminary, and Princeton Theological Seminary. He is a clergy member of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church, and since 2003 has served as senior minister at the Wayne United Methodist Church. Active in denominational and community affairs, he has served on a variety of boards and agencies, and since 2004, has served on the Board of Trustees of the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Myerstown, Pennsylvania, where he is also an adjunct professor. In addition to his ministerial work, DiPaolo is an avid historian, contributing articles on local and church history to regional and national publications, publishing several books, and serving as president of the Historical Society of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church. He is also editor of the historical journal, Annals of Eastern Pennsylvania, which commenced annual publication in the spring of 2004. He currently lives in Wayne, Pennsylvania with his wife, Susan, and their three children, Christina, Laura and Timothy.
May 4th (This program was originally scheduled for Feb. 16 and was rescheduled due to winter weather)
Emergency Men!: The 26th Pennsylvania Volunteer Militia and the Gettysburg Campaign, presented by Cooper Wingert
On June 26, 1863, men of the hastily-raised 26th Pennsylvania Volunteer Militia collided with Confederate forces near the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, four days prior to the great battle. In what has been termed the “First Battle of Gettysburg,” these largely untrained Pennsylvania militiamen struggled to hold off seasoned Confederate veterans under the command of Maj. Gen. Jubal Anderson Early. A number of men in the 26th hailed from Lebanon County, including all of Company E and even the regiment’s major, Lorenzo L. Greenawalt. Learn about the brief but nevertheless fascinating history of the 26th PVM
Cooper Wingert has authored and edited seven books on the American Civil War along with numerous articles in periodicals and journals. A resident of Enola, Pa., much of his research has dealt with Harrisburg’s involvement in the sectional conflict. His works include The Confederate Approach on Harrisburg (History Press, 2012), Emergency Men!: The 26th Pennsylvania Volunteer Militia and the Gettysburg Campaign (Schroeder Publications, 2013), and Harrisburg and the Civil War: Defending the Keystone of the Union (History Press, 2013).
“Tramp, tramp, tramp – the boys are marching…the 93rd PA in the Gettysburg Campaign.”, presented by Robert Etchberger
The talk will be about the 93rd PA during the time period of early May through mid July of 1863. This will include the 93rd’s participation in the battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg.
Robert Etchberger is a lifelong resident of Lebanon. He was a teacher for 5th and 6th grades of 33 years in the Northern Lebanon School District. Mr. Etchberger is now in his 15th year as a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg National Military Park.
Bus Trip to Gettysburg on the 21st; No Sunday program
“We Have Come To Stay”, The Color Incident of the 149th Pennsylvania at Gettysburg, presented by Richard Kohr
On July 1, 1863 the men of the 149th Pennsylvania infantry experienced their baptism of fire during the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg. By the end of the day the regiment had suffered 75% casualties. This program will emphasize the heroic role of the Regimental Color Guard, 6 men from Lebanon County on that day.
Richard Kohr was born and raised in Lebanon County. A graduate of Lebanon Valley College, he has been a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg National Military Park since 1995. Mr. Kohr has spoken at a variety of Civil War Roundtables, been a presenter at several seminars, and he is an instructor for the Gettysburg Elderhostel.
“Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864″, presented by Dennis Shirk
Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864.The 93rd Pa,’s part in the battles of 3rd Winchester,Fishers Hill and Cedar Creek.And the distruction of Jubal Early’s Army in the Valley.
Dennis Shirk is a lifelong Civil War history buff and an re-enactor with the 93rd PA since 1986. A retired auto mechanic, Dennis has been in the auto business for 45 years. As a passionate re-enactor and of Civil War history, he has participated in the making of the movie Gettysburg, and the founder of the Camp Coleman Civil War roundtable and a member of the Seven Shays Camp Sons of Union Veterans.
“The Coleman Families and the Civil War: Special Focus on the 93rd”, presented by Jim Polczynski
The talk will explore the involvement of various branches of the Coleman families during the Civil War. The main portion of the presentation will focus on the support for the Pennsylvania 93rd and the brave soldiers that participated in critical campaigns during the duration of the war.
Jim Polczynski became interested in the Coleman families in 1999 after having purchased what had been the company store in Cornwall His interest extends to all branches of the family and includes both their personal lives as well as their businesses. Jim has spent his career working with complex, logical computer systems. Among his past clients, he was fortunate to have had the opportunity to work for Bethlehem Steel, both in Bethlehem and in Sparrows Point, Maryland.
Civil War Veterans Program, presented by Brian C. Kissler
REAL PHOTO POSTCARDS: THEIR ROLE IN DELTIOLOGY, PHOTOGRAPHY & HISTORIC PRESERVATION, presented by Donald R. Brown
Real Photo postcards of Lebanon County, the Lebanon Valley and elsewhere will be displayed and shown on slides in a program to be presented by Don Brown at the Lebanon County Historical Society on Sunday, March 16th. Their role in the democratization of photography as well as their part in the Great Postcard Craze of 1905-1914 will be explored. Picture postcards had emerged as souvenirs of the World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893 and took flight in the minds of Americans as a means of correspondence during the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904 in Saint Louis to such an extent that millions & millions of postcards flooded the mails for a decade until the First World War broke out. However, most of those millions were not of the Real Photo variety; they were printed, usually by lithographic processes. The Real Photo postcard that had made its debut between 1902 and 1904 was produced in smaller quantities, but its role in promoting both photography and the world of postcards was huge. Real Photo postcards recorded grass roots activities and events of people, and of places -the built environment – thus providing documentation important for historic preservation in our time..
Donald R. Brown, a postcard collector since 1943, is a graduate of Myerstown High School, Ursinus College in Collegeville, PA and the Universities of Illinois and Wisconsin, institutions, respectively, where he earned graduate degrees in American history and library science. He spent his professional life with the Detroit Public Library, Western Michigan University and from 1970-1991, the State Library of Pennsylvania. Keenly interested in demonstrating and studying the medium of the picture postcard as a document of our American heritage, past and present, in 1993 Mr. Brown incorporated his large collection of postcards and books as the Institute of American Deltiology, a research center at 300 West Main Avenue, Myerstown, PA.
Brown is the chief author of LEBANON COUNTY: A POSTCARD HISTORY, the 1992 annual publication of the Lebanon County Historical Society and also, SAGA OF THE TULPEHOCKEN: A POSTCARD VIEW, the 2010 annual publication, DIE SHILGRUT (TURTLE), of the Tulpehocken Settlement Historical Society, Womelsdorf, PA). Don’s latest publication (2012) is MYERSTOWN AND EASTERN LEBANON COUNTY in the Arcadia Publishing firm’s “Postcard History Series” which was released last February (2013) when Lebanon County celebrated its bicentennial. Real Photo postcards produced during the years 1905-1955 showing places, events and people from five eastern Lebanon County municipalities are featured in the Arcadia book.The book is available for purchase at the Lebanon County Historical Society, and Don will be available to sign copies on March 16th following his program.
Book Signing Event. SCHAEFFERSTOWN AND HEIDELBERG TOWNSHIP, LEBANON COUNTY, with authors Diane Wenger and Jan Taylor.
Rural and charming, Schafferstown and surrounding Heidelberg Township in Lebanon County have preserved many of their earliest historic qualities. German immigrant Alexander Schaeffer laid out the village with a central square and built a water system around 1758 using underground wooden pipes to connect a spring-fed reservoir to two troughs on Market Street and the town square. It is one of the oldest public waterworks in the United States. Because the area was left isolated from rail lines, canals, and modern highways, the town did not grow appreciably in the 19th or 20th centuries. This greatly influenced the small-town look and feel that the area maintains today. Schafferstown retains many early log, stone, and even a few half-timbered houses as well as the original town layout. Today, it is the largest village in Heidelberg Township, which also includes Kleinfeltersville, Reistville, and Buffalo Springs. Authors Diane Wenger and Jan Taylor have lived in Schaefferstown since 1970 and 1986, respectively. Wenger, an associate professor of history at Wilkes University, serves on the board of directors of Historic Schaefferstown, Inc., and has written articles and a book relating to Schaefferstown. Taylor is an accomplished artist who volunteers as archivist for the Brendle Museum in Schaefferstown.
Annual Membership Appreciation Luncheon
Be our guest and join us in the Reese Memorial Auditorium for a lovely afternoon. The Society and its Board would like to extend our thanks for the continued support of our members for the past year by serving a light buffet lunch. RSVP by January 13th by phone 717-272-1473 or e-mail office@lchsociety to let us know that you are coming. Prospective members are also welcomed!
December 15th, 1:30PM
Santa’s Coming to Town! with music performed by Lee Moyer.
- Exhibition in the Front Parlor Gallery
Join us for some glad tidings and good cheer. View the Society’s annual Christmas exhibit, Santa’s Coming to Town, featuring different representations of Santa Claus through the 20th Century and enjoy refreshments in the Auditorium.
Christmas songs and carols starting at 1:30PM in the Auditorium. Presented by Mr. Lee Moyer of “Marty’s One Man Band” and sing-a-long for the entire family—karaoke to your favorite holiday song! Free Admission! Donations Welcomed!
November 17th, 2013 Tour of the Lebanon County Fire Exhibit and Fire History Presentation by Duane A. Trautman, Fire Commissioner
Join us at the Society for the long awaited, grand re-opening of the Fire History Exhibit and see Lebanon County’s oldest existing fire wagon in its newly arranged display in the basement level. Explore the local fire history with a presentation by Fire Commissioner Duane A. Trautman in the Auditorium. Mr. Trautman, who has a keen interest in local fire history, has been appointed Lebanon’s Fire Commission since 2010. He was also a graduate of Elco High School and rose to the rank of sergeant in the Marines Corps while serving eight years, including in the Gulf War.
October 20th, 2013 PA German Landscape: Churches, schools, houses and barns, presented by Patrick J. Donmoyer
This presentation will reveal the significance of the historic structures that characterize the cultural landscape shaped by the Pennsylvania Dutch. Based upon 5 years of extensive photographic field work, the historical landscape will be presented through four types of early buildings: Houses, Schoolhouses, Churches, and Barns. These structures will demonstrate the domestic, educational, spiritual, and agricultural legacy of the Pennsylvania Dutch, and their lasting impact on American culture.
Patrick Donmoyer, formerly of Lebanon, is the Site Manager at the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center at Kutztown University, a folklife research center and museum on the Kutztown Campus. Patrick is the author of two books on Pennsylvania Dutch culture, the most recent of which is entitled “Hex Signs: Myth and Meaning in Pennsylvania Dutch Barn Stars,” as well as “The Friend in Need: An Annotated Translation of an Early Pennsylvania Folk Healing Manual.” Patrick continues to study Pennsylvania Dutch culture through the photographic survey of historic structures, and the translation of early German language documents.
September 29th, 2013 The City of the Living and the City of the Dead: the Cemeteries of Lebanon, PA, presented by Society archivist and librarian Brian Kissler.
The program will explore the unique history of Lebanon’s cemeteries and their removal from the city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Special Friends of Old Annville Program
Sunday, April 14th at 2PM
Annville Artifacts featured at Bicentennial Visit to the Lebanon County Historical Society
Friends of Old Annville
Sunday, April 14 at 2 p.m.
924 Cumberland Street in Lebanon
Early in the nineteenth century, approximately 1,800 pianos were manufactured in Annville by John Shertzer, who also opened the first general store in town. One of the pianos, a four-and-a-half-octave spinet made by Shertzer in Annville in 1828, has been preserved by the Lebanon County Historical Society.
Such a remarkable treasure has several Friends of Old Annville wondering what else might in the Lebanon County collection. What better time to find out than the bicentennial of the county?
The Friends will venture into Lebanon to explore county holdings as part of a special program coordinated by the board of the Friends of Old Annville and curators of the Lebanon County Historical Society. The program, to feature Annville artifacts preserved by the Historical Society, will be held in the Reese Memorial Hall of Stoy Museum.
Artifacts from as early as the eighteenth century Annville include two original deeds signed by Annville founder Andrew Miller in 1763 and 1764. A colorful coverlet dated in the middle of the nineteenth century indicates that is was made by weaver Joseph Smith of “Millerstown,” an early alternate name for Annville, in 1842. Artifacts spanning the twentieth century include a loaf of bread from Fink’s Bakery, signage from Gollam’s ice cream, and a bag of flour from Annville Roller Mills.
A booklet detailing the significance of most of the items displayed will be distributed to pre-registered guests.
Participants will also have an opportunity to view a bicentennial exhibit on the main floor of Stoy Museum as well as several simulations on the second floor of the museum, including a one-room school house, a general store, a pharmacy, and a formal parlor.
“Dedicated staff and volunteers at the Lebanon County Historical Society have pulled together some very interesting Annville pieces,” said Paul Fullmer, vice president of the Friends. “We’re overjoyed to be partnering with them for this special event and look forward to an afternoon in celebration of Lebanon County’s fascinating history together.”
The event is free and open to the public, but space is limited. To register, e-mail Paul Fullmer at bpfullmer@ gmail or call 717-867-4640 by Sunday, April 7.
Sunday, March 17, 2013
“A History of Lebanon County in 50 Objects”, presented by the students of the Digital Communications dept. from Lebanon Valley College. Inspired by “A History of the World in 100 Objects” by the British Museum, LVC graduating seniors Sheila Betz, Danielle Biggs and Kevin Greene are creating a virtual exhibition of objects essential to the history of Lebanon County from the Society’s collection. To download the flyer for this event, click here.
Photo credit: Art Clagett