The Planting of Civilization in Western Pennsylvania

By Solon J. Buck; Elizabeth Hawthorn Buck et al. | Go to book overview

Foreword

IN this book an attempt is made to survey the history of western Pennsylvania in all its aspects down to the War of 1812. Since the outstanding achievement of humanity in relation to the region during that period appears to have been the planting therein of civilization, that process is the dominant theme of the book, but all significant phases of human activity in the region bear some relation to that process and none of them has been consciously neglected. Despite its geographical and chronological limitations, the subject is so extensive, so little reliable research has been done on it, and the materials for such research are so widely scattered that it has been impossible in the time and with the resources available to achieve more than a reconnaissance. Such reliable monographs as exist have been used freely and the original materials have been dipped into in so far as they have been available, but an examination of all the evidence--the ideal of the research historian--has been out of the question. If the book supplies the general reader--for whom it is intended --with a reasonably accurate conception of what is now known or readily knowable about the early history of the region, it will have served its purpose. If, in addition, it helps to clear the path or point the way to further research that will result in more extensive and more accurate knowledge and ultimately in better syntheses and interpretations, that will be clear gain.

Although the undersigned assume full responsibility for the results, the work is in effect a product of the Western Pennsylvania Historical Survey, of which the senior author was the director from 1931 to 1935; and so many associates on that survey have contributed to it that it has the character of a coöperative enterprise. Leland D. Baldwin, Randolph C. Downes, Russell J. Ferguson, Alston G. Field, and Marian Silveus, all assembled data and drafted chapters or sections for the work; and not only facts and interpretations but also, in some

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