That Reminds Me of a Story

Please be sure to check the March program page if you're looking for things to do this weekend on the Trails of History.

Handknit socks by Ruth M. Davis, American Red Cross volunteer in WWII
(PA Military Museum, MM99.18.2A-E)
Last week's post in honor of Women's History Month, prompted staff at the Pennsylvania Military Museum to remind me of one of my favorite stories. I mentioned in last week's post that we are working on new exhibits at the Military Museum that will include the evolving roles of women in the military. The exhibits will also explore the home front - the wartime roles of civilians and families in Pennsylvania as well as Pennsylvania industries.

Ruth McDaniel Davis was newly married when her husband went off to fight in World War II. She went to work for the USO and volunteered for the American Red Cross. Like many women and girls on the home front, she knitted hats, gloves, and socks for soldiers (I remember my grandmother talking about knitting socks during World War I). In the 1990s, while helping Ruth pack up her house, her son found a bag with knitting instructions, needles and yarn, one completed sock, and one still on double-pointed needles (see photo above). He asked his mother why she didn't finish the second sock--she replied, "The war ended." She put the socks aside and went about the business of post-war life. The socks, yarn, needles, and instructions are now part of the Military Museum collections and are exhibited periodically.

Ruth M. Davis, circa World War II (PA Military Museum, MM99.18)

Charter Day Recap

As you probably know, every year on the second Sunday in March, sites on the Pennsylvania Trails of History mark the Commonwealth's birthday and celebrate the 1681 Charter that granted William Penn the land that became Pennsylvania. At The State Museum of Pennsylvania, the four-page original Charter goes on display for about a week and then returns to its special place in the Pennsylvania State Archives (see video of the Charter being brought out for exhibit). (The rest of the year, visitors to see a high-quality photographic reproduction of the Charter.) This year's "guest documents" were four Indian deeds by which land was given to William Penn and his heirs.

At Pennsbury Manor, 2018 marks the 300th anniversary of William Penn's death and staff will be particularly focused on Penn's legacy. For Charter Day, Pennsbury displayed a 1682 manuscript of "The Great Law," Pennsylvania's first governing document (read more in this Courier Times article.) The six-page manuscript will be on display through Tuesday, March 20, so there's time to stop by this weekend.

Two of six pages of William Penn's Great Law on exhibit at Pennsbury Manor for Charter Day 2018 (via FB)
Most sites on the Pennsylvania Trails of History were open free of charge on March 11 for Charter Day. You can find photos on Facebook of activities at Bushy Run Battlefield, Conrad Weiser Homestead, Ephrata Cloister, Hope Lodge, and Joseph Priestley House (I'll add others as I find them or visit your favorite site on Facebook to check).

Bushy Run Battlefield was open on Charter Day for the first time in a number of years thanks to dedicated volunteers and a highly organized high school intern. More than 400 people enjoyed museum and battlefield tours as well as (depending on their ages and interests) children's activities and samples from Bushy Run Winery (photo Bushy Run Battlefield)


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