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The Robert Wolensky papers, 1954-2006

 Collection
Identifier: 03-41-005

Scope and Content:

The Robert Wollensky papers, 1954 - 2006, contain a variety of research materials that Dr. Wolensky compiled from 1947 through 2006 of various local and environmental politics surrounding the Hurricane Agnes flood of 1972, the corruption of Dan Flood, the construction of Montage Mountain, Environmental Crisis, Local Politics,Wilkes-Barre Labor and Disaster Issues, Project Files. This research consists of photographs, newspaper clippings, annual reports, codesheets, numerical data, oral history transcripts, dissertation, correspondence, court case documentation, interviews, and Wolensky notes.

Many of the series have been arranged further into distinct subseries. Series I is arranged into seven subseries: Subseries I: Agnes Interviews 1972 - 1983, Subseries II: Newspapers 1972 - 2003, Subseries III: Court Cases 1972 - 1973, Subseries IV: Coding 1973 -1983; Subseries V: Committee Concerns 1975; Subseries VI: Agnes Information 1970 - 1994; Subseries VII: Dissertation 1973 - 1975; Subseries VIII: Politics surrounding Agnes (dates unknown). Research materials compiled by Dr. Wolensky were for his 1993 book, Better than Ever:The Flood Recovery Task Force and the 1972 Tropical Storm Agnes Disasters. This research includes oral history interviews, newspapers, and dissertation information.

The oral history interviews are primarily focused on flood recovery for neighborhoods and businesses in Wilkes-Barre, including those involved with the Flood Recovery Task Force (FRTF) and the Flood Victims Actional Council (FVAC). The bulk of newspapers in this series pertain to the 1972 Hurricane Agnes flood and specifically focus on community recovery, local politics, and the reconstruction of destroyed buildings. The court case here is (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. National Association of Flood Insurers, General Accident Fire and Life Assurance Corporation Limited and Zurich Insurance Company, James T. Lynn, and the United States of America) against the United States Government and insurance companies and their role in the clean-up with the 1972 flood. The coding sheets are the statistical analysis of data obtained through interviews. Wolensky’s dissertation, written for Penn State University in 1975, focused on local government and disaster relief groups following the 1972 Flood Recovery Task Force in Wilkes-Barre, PA. There is also a scrapbook filled with newspaper clippings that details the aid given to Wilkes-Barre to help struggling residents after the flood.

Dates

  • 1947 - 2006

Access:

Open for research.

Biographical Sketch of Robert Wolensky:

Historian and Sociologist, Robert Wolensky has spent fifty years of his professional life researching and writing about the history of mining, mine workers, mining disasters, garment manufacturing, and other subjects in Northeastern Pennsylvania (NE PA). Born in 1948 in Kingston, Pennsylvania, Wolensky attended Villanova University where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Minored in Biology/Chemistry and graduated in 1969. He went on to receive both Masters and Ph.D. in Sociology from Pennsylvania State University in 1971 and 1975 respectively. Wolensky has held many academic positions over the years working mainly at University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point (UWSP) where he began as an Assistant Professor of Sociology in 1976. He became a Professor of Sociology in 1984, Kats Distinguished Professor in 2005, Professor Emeritus of Sociology in 2011, and Adjunct Professor of Sociology between 2011 and 2017. Wolensky was also an Adjunct Professor of Sociology & History at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre PA from 2006 to the present. He acquired many specializations including History, Sociology of Work and Labor, Environmental Sociology, Historical Sociology, and Community and Urban Studies. Wolensky has held special appointments during his career including an Academic Visitor at the London School of Economics in Fall 1987 within the Sociology Department and again in Fall 1991 within the Political Science department, at Wilkes University where he was an Adjunct Professor of Sociology in Fall 2002, and as a Fulbright Scholar in the History Department at the University of Exeter in England from 2013 to 2014. Much of Wolensky’s research and publications have been focused on the history and culture of Northeastern Pennsylvania. He has authored and co-authored books on the Tropical Agnes Flood of 1972, the Knox Mine Disaster of 1959, the Avondale Mine Disaster of 1869, anthracite, labor, organized crime, and labor history in 2013. He has written a collection of other books that focus on history and culture, the effect of natural disasters on Northeastern Pennsylvania and the politics surrounding them. Some of his books include: Better Than Ever: The Flood Recovery Task Force and the 1972 Tropical Storm Agnes Disasters in 1993, The Knox Mine Disaster: The Final Years of the Northern Anthracite and The Effort to Rebuild a Regional Economy (co-authored with Kenneth C. Wolensky & Nicole H. Wolensky) in 1999, Anthracite Labor Wars in 2013 (co-authored with William A. Hastie), and Sewn in Coal Country in 2001. Due to his research following workers and disasters, multiple newspapers have promoted his publications and he is considered to be “Northeast Pennsylvania’s premier anthracite mining historian” (Paul Golias, journalist, Citizens’ Voice, 2018) by other historians. In 2018, he received the Rodman Paul Award from the National Mining History Association for lifetime achievement in mining history. Wolensky has been involved with multiple national and international academic organizations, as well as several local history associations. The academic groups would include the American Sociological Society, the American Oral History Association, the British Oral History Society, the American Mining Association, the Labor and Working-Class History Association, the Pennsylvania Historical Society, and the Pennsylvania Labor History Society. In 2019, he received the Mother Jones Award from the Pennsylvania Labor Historical Society. The local groups would include: the Anthracite Heritage Foundation, the Anthracite Heritage Museum, the Luzerne County Historical Society, the Lackawanna Historical Society, the Plymouth Historical Society, the Nanticoke Historical Society, and the Greater Pittston Historical Society.
Wolnesky Vita, news articles (3)

Extent

13 boxes (6 letter boxes, 1 legal box, 6 oversized boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Provenance:

These materials were in Robert Wolensky’s possession until he transferred them to the Wilkes University Archives on September 10, 2021.

Acquisition:

Robert Wolensky donated approximately 5 cubic feet of materials (3 cubic ft boxes and 2 cubic ft of newspaper clippings) on September 10, 2021 to the Wilkes University Archives.

Condition Note:

All of the materials are in good condition with the exception of Series II folder 4.1 where pages are faded making it difficult for the viewer to read.

Copyright Status:

Anyone can read or obtain copies of any of the materials for research purposes.

Series Description:

The Robert Wolensky papers are arranged into six series: Series I: Agnes Flood Research, 1970 - 2003, Series II: Montage Mountain Water Crisis, 1968 - 1988 , Series III: Environmental Crisis, 1976 - 1983, Series IV: Local Politics, 1959 - 2006, Series V: Wilkes-Barre Labor and Disaster Issues, 1954 - 1971, Series VI: Wilkes University Project Files, 2002.

Series I: Agnes Flood Research, 1970 - 2003

Series I: Agnes Flood Research, 1970-2003, is arranged into seven subseries: Subseries I: Agnes Interviews 1972 - 1983, Subseries II: Newspapers 1972 - 2003, Subseries III: Court Cases 1972 - 1973, Subseries IV: Coding 1973 -1983; Subseries V: Committee Concerns 1975; Subseries VI: Agnes Information 1970 - 1994; Subseries VII: Dissertation 1973 - 1975; Subseries VIII: Politics surrounding Agnes (dates unknown). Research materials compiled by Dr. Wolensky were for his 1993 book, Better than Ever:The Flood Recovery Task Force and the 1972 Tropical Storm Agnes Disasters. This research includes oral history interviews, newspapers, and dissertation information.

The oral history interviews are primarily focused on flood recovery for businesses in Wilkes-Barre and specifically with Flood Recovery Task Force committee members. The bulk of newspapers in this series pertain to the 1972 Hurricane Agnes flood and specifically focus on community recovery, local politics, and the reconstruction of destroyed buildings. The court case here is (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. National Association of Flood Insurers, General Accident Fire and Life Assurance Corporation Limited and Zurich Insurance Company, James T. Lynn, and the United States of America) against the United States Government and insurance companies and their role in the clean up before the 1972 flood. The coding sheets are the statistical analysis of data obtained through interviews. Wolensky’s dissertation, written for Penn State University, focuses on disaster relief groups following national disasters, and provides specific research on the 1972 Flood Recovery Task Force in Wilkes-Barre, PA. There is also a scrapbook filled with newspaper clippings that details the aid given to Wilkes-Barre to help struggling residents after the flood.

Subseries I: Agnes Interviews, 1972-1983

Subseries I: Agnes Interviews, 1972-1983, is arranged chronologically by date and contains oral history interviews with task force committee members, local Wilkes-Barre citizenry, significant religious members of the community, who were affected by the 1972 Hurricane Agnes flood. People like Reverend Jule Ayres, Richard Cronin from the Chamber of Commerce, and John Barnas were interviewed in this subseries. These interviews took place from 1981-1983. Interviewees in this series: 1981 interviews 1. Mike Kotelansky (interviewed October 13, 1981) was on the FVAC and ran for the Wilkes-Barre Charter Study Commission. 1982 interviews 1. Reverend Jules Ayres (interviewed November 11, 1982) was interviewed at the First Presbyterian Church where he was the pastor. It was noted that he was very active civically and was a part of multiple committees and commissions. The reverend helped black people get jobs throughout Wilkes-Barre in the 1950s, he also chaired the Ecumenical Enterprises Inc. (EEI), which helped build Interfaith Housing United. He was noted to be one of the most influential individuals throughout the area. 2. John Barnas (interviewed December 2, 1982) who was on the board for the Citizens Choice Coalition (CCC), Chair for the Brookside League, Brookside Public Action committee (PAC) (Board member and vice chairman) and was also on the board for FVAC (on the board). 3. Daniel Blaine (September 30, 1982) from GAR High school not much is mentioned personally about Daniel Blaine.

4. Representative Kevin Blaum (November 12, 1982) in the Wilkes-Barre Council not much personal information included in the interview notes. 5. Al Boris (November 22, 1982) took Kevin Blaum’s seat on the Wilkes-Barre Council, and then moved on to be president, Boris also owned a bar on Carey Avenue. Provided information on Wilkes-Barre government. 6. Gene Grady (November 23, 1982) who worked on the Commission on Equal Opportunity; not much information is provided in the interview notes. 7. Elizabeth Brennan (October 5, 1982) a member of the 1976 Wilkes-Barre Charter Study Commission. 8. Bill Breslin (November 11, 1982) was Dan Flood’s nephew, and was president of the North End Citizens and Taxpayers Assn (NECTA) 9. Leon Case (November 27, 1982) worked in HUD (Department of Housing and Development) before the flood hit. Described himself as a liberal democrat, and after the HUD job he went to work as director of redevelopment authority for Bucks County. 10. Robert Connally (December 28, 1982) was president of Kingston’s PAC and was chair for the Committee of PACs. 11. Tom Cooney (October 25, 1982) not much information is provided on who he was or where he worked. 12. Leo Corbett (November 5, 1982) was a member of the Luzerne County Charter Study Commission, and also worked with civil defense between 1972 and 1975. 13. Richard Cronin (October 27, 1982) was executive secretary of COC (Chamber of Commerce) for 11 years. He described himself as the man behind the scenes who did a lot of work but did not get any credit for it and held a lot of resentment toward working for the commerce. 14. Attorney John DiPietro (November 11, 1982) was a Wilkes-Barre City Councilman not much other personal information is included in the interview.

15. Reverend Charles Gommer (interviewed October 22, 1982) worked at the Church of Christ Uniting and worked with his church in providing help with civic and human aid issues.

16. Edward Hanlon (November 4, 1982) a professor in King’s College History Department, the interview focused on local history and culture.

17. Al Harris (November 8, 1982) was the first president of the SWIBCO which he noted was created to work on the flood recovery in south Wilkes-Barre.

18. Helen Himlin and Betty Thomas (November 30, 1982) not much information is provided on them in the interview.

19. Jack Jones (November 14, 1982) worked as a part-time barber, part-time minister, part-time salesman, and was the first president of CCC for two years and was the first president of NE Taxpayers for two and a half years. 20. Mary Klosowski (November 23, 1982) president of Model Cities Citizens Inc. (MCCI) for 14 years. 21. Horace Kramer (November 11, 1982) no real personal information included in the interview. 22. Judy Kruell (November 17, 1982) and she initiated the Iron Triangle Committee. Noted to have very conservative republican views when it comes to the economy and politics. 23. Peter Leoffler (November 10, 1982) owned Hart Hotel before the flood hit and afterwards became an antique dealer, and was president of the Little Theater. He was noted to be very civically engaged and became a committeeman in Wilkes-Barre and a delegate to the county Democratic Committee. 24. Raymond Lowery (interviewed November 8, 1982) was the Kingston administrator from 1971 to 1981. 25. Edward Mashiniski (November 10, 1982) first president of the Miners Mills Citizens Association, from 1975 to 1982. 26. Bob McGinley (interviewed November 24, 1982) was the Director of the Department for Public Works and was formerly the Assistant City Manager under Manager Bernard Gallagher. 27. Ambrose Meltesky (October 13, 1982 and November 4, 1982) worker for Hazard Organization of Penchant Employees (HOPE) which is affiliated with American Chain and Capable Company where he worked. He was also a union organizer for the United Steel Workers for America, and was highly involved with FOSCCO, a senior citizens association in Wilkes-Barre. 28. A.J. Mussari (October 12, 1982) a professor at King’s College, he was the founder of CUFF (Citizens United for the Future of Wyoming Valley). 29. Lee Namey (November 9, 1982) was a Wilkes-Barre Councilman elected under the strong mayor charter of 1976.

31. Jim O’Karma (November 11, 1982) worked in the Wilkes-Barre Office of Community Development having started first in the Planning Department. 32. Mike Pitcavage (October 20, 1982) worked for the city in the electrical department. Was an electrical engineer and also worked as a teacher at Penn State, and got involved with the Citizens Choice Coalition in 1978, moving on to be president in 1980. 33. Councilman Robert Prawdzik (November 19, 1982) was elected to city council in 1977. His full time job was superintendent of grounds and building for the county.

34. Robert Reilly (September 30, 1982) was a part of the movement for charter reform while he was a student at King’s University. 35. Jack Sammon (October 21, 1982) a part of the citizens’ committee against Montage. 36. Gerald Schulze (October 18, 1928) an environmentalist, he was the Coordinator of SEA (Susquehanna Environmental Advocates) and participated on the committee that opposed Montage. 37. John Solovey (October 18, 1982) was chair in the Coalition of Associations for River Protection (CARP). 38. Margaret Spenser (December 28, 1982) was the former executive director of the Bureau of Aging, also executive director of the Penna. Association of Older People, and headed a statewide advocacy program, and was also director of Heritage House (formerly Home for Homeless Women). 39. Don Stalhut (December 22, 1982) a Methodist minister, he was involved with insuring economic and social justice in the post-Agnes recovery period. 40. Sue Strassman (December 3, 1982) noted to be very active in civic affairs and city commissions, and was chair of SOWB PAC. 41. Marilyn Tirpack (November 17, 1982) was chairman of the Tri-town Action Committee.

42. George Tomaseik (November 8, 1982) was involved in the post-Agnes citizens' action groups.

43. Phil Walsh (November 22, 1982) was on the city council, participated in FVAC, and was the head of the Parks and Rec Department. 44. Attorney Winkler (September 30, 1982) not much else is included in the interview. 45. Ed Zygmunt (November 6, 1982) was involved the groups that opposed Montage and started the Luzerne County Chapter of the Federation of Sportsmen which is involved in the CCC. People Interviewed in 1983 1. Richard Dungan (Interviewed November 11, 1983) was chair of the WB City Council and worked in the Citizens Recycling Committee. 2. Don Honeywell (December 6, 1983) owned Deemers Incorporated. 3. Stanley Owca (December 6, 1983) was an officer in Brookside League and was also involved in Brookside PAC as chair for 5 years. Also includes interview notes with organizations such as the Citizens Choice Coalition, SWIBCO, CARP, involved in the aftermath of Agnes from 1972 - 1983. All organizations named during the series

Wyoming Valley Citizens Organizations 1. Brookside League, Inc. 2. Citizens Choice Coalition 3. South Wilkes-Barre Citizens Organization (SWIBCO) 4. Crime Watch Program of South Wilkes-Barre

5. Parsons Manor Residents Association, Inc. 6. Downtown PAC 7. Model Cities Citizens Inc. 8. GAR Action Council 9. Iron Triangle Committee 10. MM Assn 11. Federation of Senior Citizens Clubs and Organizations (F.O.S.C.C.O.) 12. Brookside PAC

13. South Wilkes-Barre Crime Watch 14. West River Street Association 15. Susquehanna Environmental Advocates 16. CARP 17. South Wilkes-Barre Redevelopment Authority P.A.C. 18. Tri-Town Action Committee

19. NEND Crime Watch 20. Saint Nicholas Senior Citizens Association 21. POWER (Protect Our Water Environmental Resources) 22. Susquehanna River Watch Coalition 24. East End Wilkes-Barr3e Crime Watch 25. Rolling Mill Hill Watch Program

26. Parsons Taxpayer Association 27. O’Karma Terrace Neighborhood and Community Association 28. Meyers Court Crime Watch Association Flood Victims Action Council (FVAC) The interviews contain information regarding how local government and citizens were affected in the aftermath of the flood, but it also holds information regarding the local politics, specifically Rep. Dan Flood and his political corruption, and the Montage Mountain Water Crisis.

Subseries II: Newspapers, 1972 - 2003

Subseries II: Newspapers, 1972 - 2003, is arranged chronologically by date and contains newspapers and newspaper clippings detailing the aftermath of the Agnes flood, specifically the city and community efforts to rebuild the affected areas mostly from 1972; with multiple remembrance papers from 1992 - 2003. Newspaper clipping in the Subseries: 1. The Dallas Post - These newspaper clippings are focused on the Agnes flood of 1972 and the aftermath and clean up. 2. The Scranton Tribune - This newspaper shows how the flood destroyed certain Wilkes-Barre areas. 3. The Observer - This collection of newspapers deals with the destruction that the flood left behind and the visit by Bob Hope, a national personality, to help raise funds for flood survivors. 4. The Sunday Dispatch - Delves into the damages done by the flood and gives an inside look to people who were personally affected by the flood. 5. Times Leader - These newspapers explain the clean-up process after the flooding finished, and also discuss loans granted to Wilkes-Barre for clean-up and construction efforts. 6. Sunday Independent - These newspapers detail how schools wanted to open on time, clean up, and other services being offered to those who need them. 7. A Greenstreet News Co. Publication - this newspaper details the corruption that occurred after the flood and the lack of help citizens were getting from the government. 8. Country Impressions – deals with the clean-up efforts and the damages left behind Agnes, and two special edition newspapers that hold pictures of the aftermath of the flood. Also Including the original pictorial containing more than 150 photos. 9. Times Leader Special - revisited the flood and its destruction on the 20th year anniversary newspaper 10. Sunday Independent Special - A 20-year Agnes remembrance newspaper

11. The Citizens Voice - A 25-year Agnes remembrance newspaper Additionally, this subseries contains a scrapbook containing newspaper clippings focusing on federal financial aid given to those in need in Wilkes-Barre after the Agnes flood. President Nixon visited the Wilkes-Barre area and Wilkes College on September 9, 1972 to give the institution a check for $4 million dollars to aid in flood recovery. Also in attendance at his meeting was the Federal Deputy Budget Director Frank Carlucci. Many newspapers in this scrapbook focus on Frank Carlucci’s role in flood recovery.

Subseries III: Court Cases, 1972 - 1973

Subseries III: Court Cases, 1972 - 1973, is arranged chronologically by date and contains documentation of a civil action court case surrounding Agnes involving the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (plaintiffs) v. National Association of Flood Insurers, General Accident Fire and Life Assurance Corporation Limited, James T. Lynn (Secretary of Housing and Urban Development) and the United States of America (defendants) ranging from 1972 - 1973. This court case was focused on the defendants and their failure to perform statutory and contractual duties guaranteed in previous contracts or Congressional Acts to help build back after natural disasters.

Subseries IV: Coding, 1973 - 1983

Subseries IV: Coding, 1973 - 1983, is arranged chronologically by date and contains code sheets for the data surrounding Agnes. Within this subseries the statistical coding can be used to keep track of people’s answers in an interview about Agnes. The codebooks include the questions asked and where on a numerical value these answers fall so these codebooks act as a measurement tool to measure how the majority of interviewees felt about the governments’ help during the Agnes flood cleanup.

Subseries V: Committee Concerns, 1975

Subseries V: Committee Concerns, 1975, is arranged in chronological order by date and contains the agenda and correspondence between members for the Citizens Voice Coalition, which was a group that focused on solving problems that strongly affected the citizens within Luzerne County after the 1972 flooding. Some of the concerns raised by the Citizens Voice Coalition involved confronting elected representatives who were disorganized or even wanted to take advantage of the citizens after the Agnes flood.

Subseries VI: Agnes Information, 1970 - 1994

Subseries VI: Agnes Information, 1970 - 1994, is arranged in chronological order by date and contains notes collected by Robert Wolensky on Agnes, which asked people about what organizations they were a part of and their roles within these organizations, ranging from 1970 – 1994.

Subseries VII: Dissertation, 1973 - 1975

Subseries VII: Dissertation, 1973 - 1975, is arranged in chronological order by date and contains Robert Wolensky’s Ph.D. Dissertation from Penn State University on Hurricane Agnes in 1972. The subseries also contains information coming from interviews with members of organizations and collections of newspapers on the Agnes disaster and the following reconstruction of the affected communities.

Series II: Montage Mountain Water Crisis Files, 1969 - 1988

Series II: Montage Mountain Water Crisis Files, 1969 - 1988 is arranged chronologically by folder date and contains research materials compiled by Dr. Wolensky on the building of Montage Mountain Ski Resort and its overall development. This research includes news clippings, correspondence regarding an application for governmental funding for the build of Montage Mountain (this correspondence is between Congressman Frank Malinzak, the Lackawanna County Commissioners, Congressman Charles Luger, and Engineer John M. Finn), editorial replies, informational pamphlets for water protection, water supply manuals, interview notes with president and CEO of Pennsylvania Enterprises Bob Jones, Pennsylvania Gas and Water Supply (PG&Ws) pamphlets and annual reports, and a paper by Glenn Gooch that focuses on the logistics of works by the PG&WS. This paper is of significance because it will allow researchers to understand the effect PG&WS had on the construction of Montage Mountain. The major themes seen in this series are local politics, Citizens Choice Coalition and the Pennsylvania Gas & Water Company’s concerns regarding the Montage Mountain construction, and the paper written by Glenn Gooch. During the construction of the Montage Mountain a particular environmental group named Protect Our Water and Environmental Resources Inc. (POWER) took a strong stance against the building of Montage. Members stood against the Montage Mountain development particularly because of the risks associated with it such as the loss of land to developers, the increase in potential flooding due to storms, water contamination, and higher taxes for residents living in the area. All of these files are particularly helpful for someone who is looking to do research on the construction of Montage as well as the politics and costs surrounding the construction. Series II is arranged into four subseries; Subseries I: Politics 1982 - 1984, Subseries II: Citizens Choice Coalition 1969 - 1988, Subseries III: Pennsylvania Water and Gas Company 1985 - 1987, Subseries IV: Newspaper and Gooch Paper 1977 - 1989.

Subseries I: Politics, 1982 - 1984

Subseries I: Politics, 1982 - 1984, is arranged in chronological order by date and contains newspaper clippings of the construction of Montage Mountain including a halt that had been placed on the project as a whole in 1982. The newspaper clippings collected within this subseries are focused on the political aspects of building Montage Mountain, such as a court case which halted the building of Montage, and other newspaper clippings that highlight the funding issues that Montage Inc. faced during construction. There are many newspapers that discuss the negative and positive opinions of the construction of Montage.

Subseries II: Citizens Choice Coalition, 1969 - 1988

Subseries II: Citizen Choice Coalition, 1969 - 1988, is arranged in chronological order by date and contains newspapers about the Citizens Choice Coalition describing their thoughts and positions on the construction of the Montage Mountain ranging from 1969 - 1984, and then shared their thoughts on the hazard of this build from 1969 - 1988. The Citizens Choice Coalition was created in the aftermath of the Agnes disaster to take a stand against local government using the taxpayers money in ways that they deemed unnecessary and so they tried to stop said spending. These thoughts are portrayed in newspaper clippings and copies where people share their assenting and dissenting opinions on the construction of Montage.

Subseries III: Pennsylvania Water and Gas Company, 1985 - 1987

Subseries III: Pennsylvania Water and Gas Company, 1985 - 1987, is arranged in chronological order by date and contains pertinent information, which consist of annual reports and newspaper clippings, on the Pennsylvania Water and Gas Company (PW&G) and annual reports of water after the construction of Montage Mountain. Montage Inc. bought the land for Montage Mountain from the PW&G, and because of this they fell under a lot of scrutiny by those who were opposed to the construction.

Subseries IV: Newspaper and Glen Gooch Paper, 1977 - 1989

Subseries IV: Newspaper and Gooch Paper, 1977 - 1989, is arranged in chronological order by date and contains newspaper clippings that focus on the Pennsylvania Water & Gas Company allowing companies to build and potentially harm the Mountain). It also contains papers by Glenn Gooch detailing the works of the Pennsylvania Water & Gas Company. The paper written in this subseries details the history of the PW&G company and how its development tied into the development of anthracite mines, and the environmental impact this had on the Wilkes-Barre area specifically the Susquehanna River. The newspaper collection within this subseries contains information that tells how the Pennsylvania Water & Gas Company was affecting local water and not fixing said issues promptly.

Series III: Environmental Crisis, 1976 - 1983

Series III: Environmental Crisis, 1976 - 1983 is arranged chronologically by folder date and contains research materials compiled by Dr. Wolensky focused on the environmental issues concerning Wyoming Valley. This research includes newspaper articles written on environmental issues that cause residents in the community to develop health issues, such as cancer and other illnesses that often result in death. This series also includes correspondence from Christine Phillips on cancer patients whose cancer has been linked to environmental issues, and newspapers detailing the issue at hand and its importance. Christine Phillips was a council woman in Forty Fort and a housewife whose concerns focused on stopping environmental damages causing illnesses in the community. This series also contains information, which consists of newspaper clipping and informational pamphlets, regarding work that the Susquehanna Environmental Association (SEA) has done to help the environment. The Coalition Association for River Protection (CARPs) plan to continue their plan to dredge the river to help protect against flooding is also featured in this series. This material contains a newspaper clipping stating how CARP plans on continuing with their plan of dredging the river. Series III is arranged into two subseries; Subseries I: Christine Phillips 1980 - 1983, Subseries II: Environment Concerns 1947 - 1983.

Subseries I: Christine Phillips, 1980 - 1983

Subseries I: Christine Phillips, 1980 - 1983, is arranged in chronological order by date and contains correspondence written to and from Christine Phillips, Councilwoman of the Forty-Fort Borough council (elected in 1979). She conducted research on the connection of environmental chemicals and the rise in cancer cases. The collection goes on to show councilwoman Phillips work to limit these environmental chemicals from being released to help lower the public's risk of cancer case risings. Christine Phillips was a councilwoman in Forty Fort Pennsylvania who worked on fixing environmental issues plaguing her borough (1980 - 1983). The councilwoman's biggest concerns were cancer from environmental failings and the pumping of raw sewage into the Susquehanna River. In this subseries you will see news clippings and a number of correspondences between the councilwoman, and the Department of Environmental Resources; with these you will also find a data print out containing mortality rates data from the year 1980.

Subseries II: Environment Concerns, 1976 - 1983

Subseries II: Environment Concerns, 1976 - 1983, is arranged in chronological order by date and contains folders on the Susquehanna Environmental Advocates (SEA) and their work to help raise awareness to potential environmental crises. The Susquehanna Environmental Advocates (SEA) was an organization created 1978 as a grassroots environmental action group. This was a group that strived for environmental protection and quality - and they believed that all people should work toward a better environment. Since their creation they have worked mostly in opposition to the creation of nuclear power in Susquehanna, and instead focused on trying to get solar power and energy conservation. There is a collection of SEA newspapers within this subseries that raise awareness to the potential disastrous outcome from the production of nuclear missiles by the world's governments, and it contain information about the benefits that could come from the increase in people’s use of solar powered objects. There is also a newspaper clipping pertaining to the Coalition Association for River Protection (CARP) and their plan to dredge the Susquehanna River to prevent future floods from occurring.

Series IV: Local Politics, 1959 - 2006

Series IV: Local Politics, 1959 - 2006 is arranged chronologically by folder date and contains research materials compiled by Dr. Wolensky. This research includes newspaper articles and a law review article about the consideration to consolidate the Wilkes-Barre city and Kingston township governments. There is a lot of political information that pertains to the election of Judge Max Rosenn in 1970, the corruption of politician Dan Flood, and the political work done by both the federal and Wilkes-Barre government. The type of research material that was used for this collection is newspaper article prints, and a University of Pennsylvania Law Review. Series IV is arranged into four subseries; Subseries I: Max Rosenn 1959 - 2006, Subseries II: Consolidation 1959, Subseries III: Federal Government in Wilkes-Barre/Local Government 1972 -1983, Subseries IV: Dan Flood Political Corruption 1978 - 1994.

Subseries I: Max Rosenn, 1959 - 2006

Subseries I: Max Rosenn, 1959 - 2006, is arranged in chronological order by date and contains newspapers and a law review (2006) that focuses on work done by Judge Max Rosenn in Wilkes-Barre. Max Rosenn was born February 4, 1910 and died February 7, 2006. He was a United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Max Rosenn was a beloved figure in the Wilkes-Barre area as he was deemed to be a compassionate jurist towards the working men in Wilkes-Barre. Judge Rosenn had done many impressive things in his ninety-six year of life, which included starting a law firm, serving as a United States Circuit Judge, a member of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Cabinet as Secretary of Public Welfare, and signing the first contract with the American Government to bring Medicare and Medicaid to Pennsylvania. Reading this information gathered on Max Rosenn and his work throughout the years allows you to see who he was as a person and how his work made him a beloved judge to Pennsylvania residents.

Subseries II: Consolidation, 1959

Subseries II: Consolidation, 1959, is arranged in chronological order by date and contains newspaper clippings regarding public reactions to consolidation of Wilkes-Barre and Kingston in 1959. Consolidation was a very controversial issue as it would have consolidated Kingston and Wilkes-Barre into a singular government. This proposal for consolidation would have redrawn the school districts within Wilkes-Barre and Kingston, which would have resulted in job loss for people like teachers as mentioned within the newspaper collection. A referendum on consolidation ended up not passing due to a lack of in favor votes.

Subseries III: Federal Government in Wilkes-Barre/Local Government, 1972 - 1983

Subseries III: Federal Government in Wilkes-Barre/Local Government, 1972 - 1983, is arranged in chronological order by date and contains newspaper articles regarding Dan Flood’s political image in Wilkes-Barre after he was charged with corruption in 1978. The newspaper clippings detail how Dan Flood accepted bribes from a multitude of people for the award of federal aid and was then indicted by the courts in 1978. This subseries also contains letters sent by Former Wilkes President Francis J. Michelini to American politician Frank Carlucci and office of Emergency Preparedness workers Peter Franklin, and Burton Lane regarding the visit of Richard Nixon to Wilkes College. These letters describe the aid given by former President Nixon after the Agnes flood and discuss an amendment to the Disaster Relief Act that ultimately aided private higher education institutions for potential disasters in the future. There are also folders containing Wilkes-Barre emergency plans for the government and police.

Subseries IV: Dan Flood Political Corruption 1978 - 1994

Subseries IV: Dan Flood Political Corruption, 1978 - 1994, is arranged in chronological order by date and contains newspaper articles focused on Dan Floods corruption from 1978-1980 when it became known that he accepted bribes during his time serving in the United States House of Representatives. Former Congressman Daniel Flood was indicted with 10 counts of conspiracy and taking bribes to influence the granting of federal aid. Flood was accused of taking a total of $81,500 worth of bribes and demanding another $100,000 from a variety of different persons. After this indictment Dan Flood pleaded guilty to a single count of bribery and served one year on probation in 1980, and then he resigned from his position in the United States house of representatives. This subseries also gives information on how the community of Wilkes-Barre viewed Dan Floods action in his time in the House.

Series V: Wilkes-Barre Labor and Disaster Issues, 1954 - 1971

Series V: Wilkes-Barre Labor and Disaster Issues, 1954 - 1971 is arranged chronologically by folder date and contains a booklet of photographs showing the story of Pennsylvania's Anthracite. These photos deal with the inside of mines, different breakers (Moffat Breaker in Scranton, Glen Alden Break in Scranton), old mining towns around Hazleton, older vehicles (wood burning train, and a bus), and a final photo of men who worked in a Breaker. We also get a look at photographs of the Avondale Mine Disaster, a mine that went up in flames in Plymouth, Pennsylvania in 1869. The fire caused the death of 110 workers and was the coal region's deadliest disaster. Following all of this we see a CD with the collection of photos public monuments commemorating those involved in the area’s labor wars. The labor wars occurred in Northeastern Pennsylvania through the first third of the twentieth century, as anthracite miners formed unions to fight back against their bosses for working in extreme conditions with low levels of safety, and poor pay. Series V is arranged into three subseries; Subseries I: Pennsylvania Anthracite 1954, Subseries III: Avondale Disaster 1971, Subseries III: Labor Wars Date Unknown.

Subseries I: Pennsylvania Anthracite, 1954

Subseries I: Pennsylvania Anthracite, 1954 is arranged in chronological order by date and contains a booklet that shows photographs from the Anthracite time period in Pennsylvania. These photos display the interior mines and tools used, photographs of different breakers (Moffat Breaker in Scranton, Glen Alden Break in Scranton), old mining towns in Hazleton, older vehicles (wood burning train, and a bus), and a final photo of men who worked in a Breaker.

Subseries II: Avondale Disaster, 1971

Subseries II: Pennsylvania Disaster, 1971 is arranged in chronological order by date and contains a newspaper by the Wyoming Valley Observer explaining what happened in the Avondale Coal mine, and who all were affected. The Avondale mine disaster was a massive fire that erupted in a mine at the Avondale Colliery which was in Plymouth Township, Pennsylvania in 1869, which caused the death of 110 workers and is deemed to be the coal region’s most deadly disaster.

Subseries III: Labor Wars, Date Unknown

Subseries III: Labor Wars, Date Unknown is arranged in chronological order by date and contains a CD that holds photographs of Pennsylvania of men who were involved in the Labor Wars. The labor wars occurred in Northeastern Pennsylvania during the first third of the twentieth century, as anthracite miners formed unions to fight against their bosses for working in extreme conditions with low levels of safety, and poor pay. The aftermath of the labor wars for Northeastern Pennsylvania was accompanied by a decline of demand for anthracite, even as there was a growth in the number of unionized mineworkers.

Series VI: Wilkes University Project Files, 2002

Series VI: Wilkes University Project files, 2002, is a singular file that contains information from Dr. Wolensky. This file contains a grant proposal on creating an archive of Wolensky’s research at Wilkes-University that was intended to be both a preservation project, a community outreach, and an educational endeavor. This proposal was not accepted by Wilkes University, and the oral history portion of it (named the Northeastern Pennsylvania Oral and Life History Collection) is now housed at the Eberly Family Special Collections Archives in the Paterno Library at Penn State University in University Park.

Processed By:

Sarah Phillips, Archives intern, in Spring 2022, edited and supervised by Suzanna Calev, Archivist, in Spring 2022.
Language of description
English
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Wilkes University Archives Repository

Contact:
84 W South St.
Wilkes-Barre PA 18701 US
570-408-2000
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