Published Articles View Archived Published Articles

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CCHS staff are dedicated to continually advance an understanding of the history of Chester County through articles published in a variety of sources. Follow the link to active and archived articles on Chester County history and CCHS activities:

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  • October 23, 2014

    In conducting a series of focus groups with mothers of young children and history buffs recently, the Ohio Historical Society received high marks for its programs and services. But the organization also learned another important piece of feedback: Its name was off-putting. 

    “They said, ‘We really don’t feel ourselves reflected in the Ohio Historical Society,...

  • May 20, 2014

    Chester County Historical Society holds History on Tap

    How much do you know about the history of Chester County. You now have the chance to find out while enjoying a beer and a burger -- or a soda and a sandwich.

    Chester County Historical Society will be holding its...

  • May 2, 2014

    1816: The Year Without a Summer

     True – the winter of 2013-2014 was absolutely miserable.  But imagine if, here in the month of April, snows still fell and frosts persisted through the summer.

    Such was life for everyone in Chester County and beyond in 1816, also known as the “Year Without a Summer.” From May through August, sporadic cold spells...

  • March 28, 2014

    On Saturday, March 8, 2014, the Chester County Historical Society (CCHS) hosted hundreds of students from Chester and Delaware Counties during its annual Regional National History Day (NHD) competition. Coincidentally, the event fell on International Women's Day and occurred in Women's History Month, spotlighting the dozens of students who presented projects on women's...

  • February 27, 2014

    In September 1925, an unassuming young seventeen-year-old packed his bags for college, hopped in his parents’ car, and took a ride from his native Maryland to Lincoln University in southern Chester County.  Twenty-nine years later, this man helped topple the "separate but equal" legal foundation of racial...

  • January 30, 2014

    If you walk into CCHS’s current feature exhibition, Profiles: Chester County Clothing of the 1800s, you will immediately be struck by an explosion of colors, shapes and sizes. Hidden among the fancy dresses and coats is an unassuming dress that one might miss at first glance. Its demure appearance belies its story, the story of...

  • December 1, 2013

    Please read the full article here.

    THEY CARE FOR THE WORLD’S greatest selection of eighteenth-century spice boxes. They preserve and provide access to a vast collection of records, including letters from George Washington, the very first...

  • October 24, 2013

    We have just marked the 40th anniversary of the passing of a legend - singer-songwriter Jim Croce. As a Delco native, I grew up knowing of Jim’s connections to the area. But I didn’t realize until recently that his most formative years were spent right here in Chester County - Lyndell to be exact, in East Brandywine.
     
    These discoveries came to...
  • September 26, 2013

    Passmore Williamson was born Feb. 23, 1822, into a Chester County Quaker family, the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Pyle Williamson. On July 27, 1855, Williamson was committed to Moyamensing Prison, where he would spend the next 100 days. What took Passmore Williamson from Chester County to a Philadelphia jail, imprisoned on the order of a federal judge?

    By the 1840s,...

  • September 1, 2013

    Please view the full article here.

    FALL IS A BUSY TIME in Chester County. School begins, summer vacations end and the fall fundraising season starts in full force in September. This fall, one event promises to stand out from the crowd....

  • July 1, 2013

    Please view the full article here.

    IN BETWEEN YOUR TRIPS to the shore, the Poconos, and the pool, take a trip through history this summer at the Chester County Historical Society (CCHS). For people of every interest and age, CCHS provides the perfect escape during long,...

  • June 20, 2013

    When Margaret and Thomas C. Willcox purchased their Birchrunville, West Vincent, home about 20 years ago, they were drawn by the quaint setting and historic character. Thomas, a builder, and Margaret, now a real estate agent, had no idea that their house was once home to a man who changed the medical trajectory of the world.

    Then one day, Margaret looked out her...

  • May 23, 2013

    In the 1820s, a chemist by the name of Isaac Tyson Jr. made a serendipitous discovery that would change the course of industrial history. At a busy market in Baltimore, Tyson watched a man drive a cart holding a barrel that was propped on some peculiar rocks. Tyson, who already operated a modest chromite mine near Baltimore, recognized the material as chromite. Tyson...

  • May 1, 2013

    Please view the full article here.

    FOR NEARLY 25 YEARS, the Chester County Historical Society (CCHS) has hosted an innovative program that has positively changed thousands of young lives—National History Day. 

    National History Day is...

  • April 24, 2013

    If you needed underwear in 1957, you may have hopped on a trolley, train, or jumped in your car to go to J.C. Penney, Montgomery Ward, or Sears Roebuck. Chances are, if you were a man, you would have purchased underwear made right here in Chester County - Spring City to be more exact - at the Spring City Knitting Company on the banks of the Schuylkill River. The...

  • March 21, 2013

    Graceanna Lewis was born in 1821 into a remarkable Quaker family in West Vincent Township. Her father was a well known abolitionist. Her mother was a talented teacher. And her uncle Bartholomew Fussell, also an abolitionist, had a school in York, Pennsylvania and helped found the Women's Medical College of Philadelphia.  One might say that this future abolitionist and...

  • March 1, 2013

    Please view the full article here.

    AMIDST THE BUZZ of spring events, festivals and fundraisers, one event stands out as unique in Chester County. The 31st annual Chester County Antiques Show, presented by PECO for the seventh consecutive year, delights more than 2,000...

  • February 21, 2013

    The year was 1820 and the nation was grappling with the issue of slavery like never before.  The admittance of new states forced the issue before Congress, which sought to balance power between free and slave states. That year, the Missouri Compromise provided a temporary solution that allowed slavery below the 36' 30" latitude line...

  • December 20, 2012

    It is the time of year where toys, books, and games have just taken center stage.  Characters like Elmo, Barbie, and the Teenage Mutant Turtles have graced our circulars, television sets, and store shelves since...well, September!  

    As we...

  • November 29, 2012

    When it comes to the materials of our past, one Chester County publishing company has had it figured out for decades.  From furniture and textiles to toys and Christmas ornaments, for nearly forty years, Schiffer Publishing has produced thousands of books that teach us our history through objects. The business, a true family...

  • October 18, 2012

    Nearly 150 years ago, Chester Countian Uriah Hunt Painter was exactly where he wanted to be –in the middle of one of the biggest battles in American history, the Battle of Gettysburg.

    But it wasn’t easy to get there. Just days earlier, the accomplished young correspondent for the Philadelphia Inquirer was cut off from the action when Confederate General “Jeb” Stuart...

  • September 20, 2012

    If you lived in Chester County 235 years ago, you might have witnessed key moments of the American Revolution. Huge swaths of the county saw troop movements, encampments, and even battles through September 1777 and beyond. And exactly 235 years ago today, the Battle of Paoli rattled the Continental Army as one of the...

  • August 23, 2012

    Visionaries Created the Chester County Archives

    On August 27, 2012, the county and region will celebrate thirty years of the Chester County Archives. The archives, housed in the Government Services Center, is administered by the Chester County Historical Society (CCHS). The collection contains government records that document over 300 years of county history. Without...

  • July 24, 2012

    The past is full of mysteries.  There is one that's been stuck in the back of my mind for years.

    It is the story of a series of photographs. The images include the artists Arthur and Sara Carles and they were shot at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Country School in Chester...

  • June 28, 2012

    As we approach the Fourth of July, between the fireworks, barbecues, and parades, stop for a moment to remember Hazel Johnson-Brown.  On June 14th, 33 years ago on Flag Day in 1979, she became the first black woman general in the entire history of the U.S. military. Brown, who passed away in 2011, was born and raised right here in...

  • May 24, 2012

    The naming of institutions after individuals is a powerful thing. It ensures that we don't forget the great people of the past. In the case of the northern Chester County's Owen J. Roberts School District and associated schools, it worked. The former West Vincent Township resident and Supreme Court Justice's name is revered in...

  • April 26, 2012

    Washington never slept here, but his furniture maker did.       

    Most people know that George Washington's connection to Chester County is through the Revolutionary War. He led continental troops at the Battle of Brandywine, oversaw the Valley Forge...

  • March 15, 2012

    Imagine the year is 1825. You are a 31-year-old mother, pregnant with your sixth child. You've already lost two children in infancy. Your husband has struggled for a dozen years to build an iron-making business in the rolling backcountry of Chester County on the banks of  Brandywine Creek.  Suddenly he dies, leaving you alone. The ironworks employees are ready to...

  • February 23, 2012

    As we celebrate Black History Month, a number of  well-known Civil Rights figures typically come to mind - Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall, and many others.  Although they deserve their acclaim, February 2012 is the perfect time to reflect on Bayard Rustin, Chester County's own Civil Rights hero, during the centennial of his birth.

    ...

  • January 19, 2012

    When most people think of Chester County's history, they think of rolling fields, the Underground Railroad, and the American Revolution.  But Chester County is not just farms and cannonballs. Its heritage includes a vast technological revolution that influenced the modern world. At the heart of that revolution was Kennett...

  • December 15, 2011

    If you look in the history books to read about Santa Claus, you'll discover a tale that is millennia old and involved countless people in the making.  Harkening from fourth-century Turkey, a monk named St. Nicholas became legendary for his kindness. His name morphed into the Dutch “Sinter Klaas,” and eventually “Santa Claus.”  ...

  • December 11, 2011

    Wherever I've gone, architect Thomas U. Walter, the “Dean of American Architects,” was there too.

    Fresh out of college, I substitute taught at Girard College in Philadelphia, surrounded by Walter's gargantuan marble buildings. I worked at the Chester County Historical...