York Town Square

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Honoring two of York County, Pa.’s most accomplished citizens

This drawing by York County, Pa., artist/historian Jim Rudisill, appears on the back cover of a recently published York County Heritage Trust scholarly journal. The York steeples featured, from left, St. John’s Episcopal Church, the German Reformed Church, Christ Lutheran Church and the York County Courthouse.(See photo of Rudisill below.) Also of interest: York County artist/historian Jim Rudisill: “History is really ‘His Story,’ the story of people… “ and Whose sculpted faces are those poking from the old Spring Grove school? and Northern York area strawberry part of Neapolitan county

Last week, I was honored to make introductions at two public events. First, a Salvation Army dinner honoring Voni B. Grimes. Then, an unveiling of a scholarly journal at the York County Heritage Trust that included artwork by Jim Rudisill… .

Here are my remarks introducing Jim Rudisill, adapted for the blog and my York Sunday News column (9/26/10).

In putting together this journal, the Heritage Trust’s publications committee wanted to offer a different type of content that would maybe appeal to readers who don’t necessarily yearn for stories with all those footnotes, yet has meaning and import and gravitas.
And we wanted that content to point to the rich and treasured resources of the York County Heritage Trust’s archives, as did all the articles in this journal.
So in thinking about all this, we ran across some of Jim Rudisill’s silhouettes in archive files. They were perfect, we thought, as an accessible yet thoughtful and instructive way to tell a story. And we know that Jim and the archives are synonymous, so we went with his work on the cover.
Let me give two quick stories about Jim and the archives.
I was recently privy to a discussion about Jim’s qualities as a Renaissance man. One guy said when he receives anything in writing from Jim, he puts it in the archives. The handwriting itself is a work of art, he explained, and the content always merits archiving.
As for the second story, Jim and I were one time discussing whether the rivalry between John Hartman and William C. Goodridge to build the tallest building in York in the late 1840s was true.
Of course, Jim had the answer.
Jim advised to check the James A. Kell file in the archives. Therein would be a letter Kell wrote to historian George Prowell. It related Kell family discussions that had Johnny Hartman saying he wouldn’t let Goodridge beat him by building the highest building.
How Jim remembers such things down to a specific file is remarkable.

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