Valley libraries hosting History Harvest events | News


SUNBURY — Javon Grohol is a lover of history.

The 11-year-old fifth-grade cyber school student from Northumberland brought fossils to the Degenstein Community Library in Sunbury for the third History Harvest on Saturday. Grohol also brought coins to last week’s event at the Priestley Forsyth Community Library last weekend.

“I have an A in history class,” said Grohol. “I love history. I watch videos about it all the time.”

The History Harvest events, which coincide with the 250th anniversary of the county, city, borough’s foundings, are organized by Blough-Weis Library at Susquehanna University. In addition to Degenstein and Priestley Forsyth, another event was held at Milton Public Library on April 9.

Area residents are asked to bring their historic memorabilia and historical artifacts to be digitized and shared with the public through the online archive at The collaboration between both libraries allows the Blough-Weis Library’s successful series of History Harvests to continue after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grohol said he found the fossils at a friend’s house outside Sunbury a few years ago.

“I don’t know exactly what they are, but I know they’re fossils,” he said. “You can see the imprint in them if you look closer.”

When he visited last week’s History Harvest, Grohol brought a map of the Battle of Gettysburg, a Buffalo nickel, an 1883 Liberty V nickel and a 1939 German coin.

“If they have any other ones in the area, I’ll definitely go,” said Grohol.

The events have two goals, said Rob Sieczkiewicz, the Blough Weis Library director.

“The first is to preserve some of the stories of the community for our website,” he said. “Also, for the students to learn more about the history of towns around Selinsgrove. A lot of the students don’t have the opportunity to visit Sunbury or Milton. This gives them the chance to visit new places and interact with people and learn more about the history.”

Event participants had their items photographed and had the chance to film an interview about the stories behind their belongings. To allow all guests the opportunity to share, participants are asked to bring no more than three favorites.

Susquehanna seniors James Bair, of Lewistown, and Haley Dittbrenner, of Drexel Hill, both said they enjoyed talking to people and learning more about the items they brought in.

“I have seen and interviewed a woman who brought in an original charter for her land, her church, from 1774 (in Sunbury),” said Bair, a history major. “It wouldn’t have been signed in Philadelphia in then-Colonial Capitol of Pennsylvania, which would have still been part of Great Britain.”

Dittbrenner said she interviewed a woman with two banners from her parents’ high school from the late 1920s. Another woman brought in a different land charter from 1774, a brochure from the Shikellamy Hotel, and a math primer from the 1820s.

“It was hand-bound, the pages were hand-done,” she said. “It was really fascinating looking at it from a bookbinding perspective.”

Sieczkiewicz thanked Degenstein Director Melissa Rowse, Priestley Forsyth Director Jeffery Johnstonbaugh and Milton Director Kris LaVanish for providing the space for the events.


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