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Category: Folklore

  • American Folklore and Cultural Knowledge: ‘The Building May Perish, but the Thought, the Legend, Lives On’

    American Folklore and Cultural Knowledge: ‘The Building May Perish, but the Thought, the Legend, Lives On’

    The Legends of the Nittany Valley feature only a small sampling of the total number of indigenous American Indian and Anglo-European settler legends collected or written by Henry W. Shoemaker, the first official Pennsylvania state folklorist. While folklore itself has been a part of the human experience from our earliest days, the formal study of […]

  • The Legend of Penn’s Cave

    This is the very first Pennsylvania legend published by folklorist Henry W. Shoemaker in 1902. It is the official legend featured at Penn’s Cave, where it is painted on a large sign at the entrance. This legend tells not of the Princess Nittany over whose burial mound (or over whose lover’s burial mound) Nittany Mountain…

  • Happy Valley’s Magical Magnetism

    You can already sense it here in the Valley. Before you know it, tens of thousands of students will make their way back to Penn State for another academic year. Soon after, tens of thousands more fans, alumni, and friends will follow them for seven Autumn weekends, many who are drawn back to a place they…

  • The Origin of the Pennsylvania Groundhog

    The Origin of the Pennsylvania Groundhog

    “The Legends of the Nittany Valley,” published by Nittany Valley Press, presents a selection of folk stories first published by Henry Shoemaker in the Altoona Tribune more than a century ago. Candlemas, an American Indian legend first published by Henry Shoemaker in Juniata Memories: Legends Collected in Central Pennsylvania, appeared in print in 1916 and is the origin story for…