Digital Projects

Pennsylvania Folk Belief Collection Database

This site contains material collected by folklorist Mac E. Barrick (1933-1991) during the 1960s to the 1980s in central Pennsylvania. A native of Newville, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, Barrick taught not far from his childhood home at Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. Familiar with the people of central Pennsylvania, he documented various forms of folklife such as architecture, crafts, and music. As a result of the location for his fieldwork, much of the material is from tradition-bearers of German and Scots-Irish background.

The folk belief material, originally documented on over 100,000 index cards, was intended for a national project organized by the late Wayland Hand (1907-1986) of UCLA to record folk beliefs according to a classification system that was useful for researchers. Dr. Hand did not live to see the ambitious project realized but Dr. Barrick kept collecting to use the material in his own research. It grew to become one of the largest individually compiled private collections of field material in North America. Dr. Barrick expanded the project with additions of  folk speech, games, narratives, and folk medicine to his archives.  After his death in 1991, the family donated his collection to the Pennsylvania Center for Folklore.   With support from the McCormick Foundation, the Center stabilized and catalogued his archives and subsequently converted the information on the cards to electronic databases to promote folkloristic research and make the material publicly accessible.

The McCormick Family Papers: A Social History and Cultural Studies Project of the Center for Pennsylvania Culture Studies

The McCormicks were a prominent family in South Central Pennsylvania who greatly influenced history and commerce in that area of the country. This site is dedicated to making personal papers, pictures and other documents of that family available to historians, students and the general public for the first time. The purpose of this site is to facilitate research and an appreciation for the impact of a prominent family in a region’s culture and history. In addition to family information, therefore, the site contains texts and images that can be useful in American studies, social history and culture studies in exploring themes such as gender, class, local history, youth culture, philanthropy, politics and visual culture. To make this kind of research possible, you can enter key words in the search engine, which will direct you to texts, images and essays relating to the key word. (Common key words include: politics, prominent family members [such as Vance McCormick, Colonel Henry McCormick], essays on gender, the Versailles Treaty.)

Harrisburg’s Old 8th Ward: An Urban Social History Program of Penn State’s American Studies Program

Harrisburg’s Old 8th Ward is a scholarly website designed to showcase an ongoing research project on the development and destruction of a Pennsylvania urban neighborhood that saw its heydey during the second half of the 1800s. The Old 8th Ward is an excellent neighborhood in which to study the major developments of the nineteenth century, such as immigration, industrialization, modernization, and urbanization. Questions pertaining to nineteenth century urban landscapes in the Northeast can be answered through studying the 8th Ward, and over time, this website hopes to bring the Old 8th Ward back to life as we re-populate her streets with our research.

The Afrolumens Project (Coming Soon)

The Afrolumens Project exists to promote the collection, study and interpretation of data relating to African American slavery and freedom in central Pennsylvania, and is dedicated to the idea that all Pennsylvania residents share a common history regardless of race, belief or gender. The focus of this website is on the historical period that begins with European colonization and African slavery in Pennsylvania, and ends with the American Civil War. In addition to being a repository and interpreter of historical data, the Afrolumens Project seeks to facilitate communication among scholars, educators and researchers by making the collection accessible on this website without cost, to everyone interested.

The John Yetter Collection: Photographs of Steelton, Pennsylvania

Approximately 250 photos ranging from portraits to candid/action shots, publicity photos and other miscellaneous visuals that capture the flavor of school team, little league/midget and professional sports from the 1900s to the late Twentieth Century.