PAST Journal

Volume 33, 2010

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Echoes of the Past

This marks my fifth issue as editor of Pioneer America Society Transactions. The last five years certainly have been eventful, and have brought some significant changes to PAST. In 2006, we put together a volume representing a meeting which was not held due to Hurricane Katrina. From 2006-2009, in an effort to reduce the backlog of unpublished book reviews intended for Material Culture, we moved a number of reviews to PAST. We experimented with photo essays for a few years. Perhaps most significantly, last year we successfully (though not without considerable effort, and thanks in large part to Deborah Slater’s hard work) moved PAST to an online-only format.

This year, PAST is returning to its roots, at least partially: the book reviews and photo essays are gone, leaving nothing more than four papers presented at the Pipestem, West Virginia meeting. At the same time the online format is proving invaluable in presenting these works. Between them, these four papers include 71 figures, most of them in color, and some of them featuring multiple images. In fact, we have had to find innovative new ways to present some of the photos so as not to detract from the articles they accompany — again, thanks in large part to Deb Slater.

In this issue, Jonathan Burns, George John Drobnock, and Jared Smith contribute an article about the search for Fort Shirley in Pennsylvania. Theirs is a part of a wider effort to locate the eighteenth-century fort, as suggested in a June 30, 2010 report by Emily Reddy for Pennsylvania’s WPSU Radio (which you can listen to here). Susan Martin Williams investigates how the role of the National Park Service as a federal partner is changing in response to the evolution of National Heritage Areas, and comes up with some insights that professionals are sure to find interesting and important. In “Sheet Music as an Indicator of Material Culture,” Ralph Hartsock takes us to nineteenth-century Missouri through the sheet music left by the Burrough family, while Marshall McLennan takes us on a well-illustrated tour through the evolution and diffusion of southwestern baroque parapet. I hope you enjoy reading the articles as much as I have.

I want to thank everyone involved in making this issue a reality, particularly Marshall McLennan, who worked so diligently to rework his illustrations and obtain permission for their use; George John Drobnock for pointing me to web sites relating to the Fort Shirley project (hence the link above); and the other authors, all of whom are great people with whom to work. Thank you also to Cara Holtry, Librarian at the Cumberland County Historical Society; Emily Reddy, WPSU Radio in State College, Pennsylvania; and of course, Deb Slater for her layout expertise, comments, great ideas, and willingness to experiment with PAST’s layout and format.

Scott C. Roper, Editor

P.S. I hope to see you all in Vermont for this year’s annual meeting!


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