Rare look at governors’ signatures to open at Allison-Antrim Museum

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot
The oldest document in the collection dates to 1715 and contains the signature of James Logan, who was also the secretary to the Penn family. The document is a land warrant for the sale of two plots of land in Philadelphia’s historic area, which were sold to one individual. Today, these two plots of land are where the National Constitution Center is located. Allison-Antrim Museum will open the Brumbaugh Collection of Pennsylvania Governors’ Signatures Sunday, Jan. 9 from 1 – 4 p.m.

Allison-Antrim Museum, 365 S. Ridge Ave., Greencastle, will open a new exhibit ofrom 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 9.  The Brumbaugh Collection of Pennsylvania Governors’ Signatures will be displayed in the south bay of the upper level of the barn. The complete collection of all 50 signatures, on primary documents, is only shown to the public once every four years, upon the occasion of electing Pennsylvania’s governor. The exhibit will close Thursday, Jan. 27.

The total collection is a sizeable assemblage of about 80 different documents of Pennsylvania governors’ signatures. The core group of 41 signatures in the collection was given to AAMI when the museum opened in August 1998 by Dr. Thomas Brumbaugh, a native of Greencastle who now lives in Tennessee.  It is a collection that he started in his youth and to which he continues to add “missing” signatures.  AAMI believes this rare, educational, and historic collection is the largest collection of Pennsylvania governors’ signatures outside the number of signatures in possession of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. To officials’ knowledge, no other small, local museum or historical organization has such a collection or has focused on this topic.

From the Colonial era to the present, there have been 111 terms of office and 101 men who have served as governor of Pennsylvania. The figure of 101 does not include the only woman, Hannah Penn, wife of William, who assumed the duties of proprietor of the colony while William endured a lengthy illness before his death.  Eight men served two different terms and one man served three different terms of office.   

The exhibit, itself, will be comprised of at least one primary document with the signature of each of the 49 men from the collection.  Of local interest, are the signatures of William Findlay and Joseph Heister from Mercersburg.  The signature of one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas McKean, is also part of the exhibit.  He was Delaware’s delegate to the 1776 Continental Congress.

The documents contain the governors’ signatures while in office as well as outside their terms of office. The collection will be complemented by copies of illustrations, portraits, or photographs of each of the 51 men.  As an accompaniment during the tour, visitors will be provided with a notebook containing historical sketches of each man’s service to Pennsylvania.

In case of inclement weather Jan. 9, cancellation will be posted on the website or by calling 717-597-9325. There is no admission charge to the museum, however donations are accepted.

For further information visit www.greencastlemuseum.org or call the museum at 717-597-9010.