The Fall Brook Coal and Railway Company Project

It's still #MuseumWeek. Today (3/27) is #FamilyMW, tomorrow is #FavMW, and Sunday is #PoseMW (read more in last week's post). So far this week, @PennsburyManor, @LandisValley, @FriendsofWCP, @EphrataCloister, @BushyRun, and @PHMC have been tweeting their little hearts out (me too). Find something to tweet about this weekend on the Trails of History.

Thanks to Kurt Bell and Joshua Stahlman from the PA State Archives and to intern Carolyn Wasser for providing information and images for this post.

In 2014, the Pennsylvania State Archives requested and received a $3,845 grant from the Tom E. Dailey Foundation to fund the MG-48 Fall Brook Coal and Railway Company Records project. The project, administered in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation, began in late August and was completed last week (on March 17). The grant money supported intern Carolyn Wasser, an undergraduate history student from Kutztown University, who processed a total of 29 cartons and 489 folders of material. Carolyn completed the first four series--Col. John Magee’s Correspondence (1893-1900), the Hon. John Magee’s Correspondence (1860-1868), Fall Brook Coal Company Agents’ Correspondence (1860-1897), the Fall Brook Coal Company General Correspondence (1860-1919)--and part of the Fall Brook Coal Company Railroad Correspondence (1860-1919).

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MG-48 Records - (left) unprocessed and (right) processed (photo PA State Archives)
Carolyn created a blog to share information about the Fall Brook Collection and her work processing the records, which included letters, memoranda, and other documentation of company operations in Tioga County, PA, and southern New York State. In the first post she introduced herself to the public: "I am a History and Library Science dual major at Kutztown University as well as a Pennsylvania German and International Studies minor. I am Vice President of Kutztown History Club and the National History Day advisor for Kutztown Area School District. I enjoy local, labor, and environmental history. I enjoy hiking, running, kayaking, and eating pumpkin flavored things."

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Intern Carolyn Wasser with Fall Brook Coal and Railway Company records (photo PA State Archives)
In her blog posts, Carolyn highlighted documents that drew her interest and shared additional information and research to put them in historical context--such as an 1894 letter that touches on transportation, labor disputes, and personal milestones or a letter written just after the start of the Civil War. My favorite post is the one in which she illustrates the variety of fasteners (Pins to Paperclips) that she found among the correspondence and researched.

Although the internship has officially ended, Carolyn reports in a final blog post that she will be returning to the Archives to conduct additional research for papers that she is writing about her work. In addition to writing series descriptions for the records she processed (helping to preserve them and make them available to Archives researchers), she also added to her understanding of industrial and labor history and will be sharing that, she hopes, through conference presentations in addition to papers she writes as part of her coursework. Sounds like a valuable and worthwhile internship all the way around. Thanks to the Dailey Foundation, the Archives staff, and Carolyn Wasser for supporting and sharing this work.

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