HARRISBURG, Pa., April 18, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennypacker Fellowship Scholars-in-Residence Program will announce this year's grant recipients at noon on Friday, April 20 in Hearing Room 5, of the Commonwealth Keystone Building, 400 North St., Harrisburg.
The program, sponsored by the Office of Commonwealth Libraries within the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, provides support for up to eight weeks of full-time research and study on Pennsylvania history.
Recipients will have access to libraries, manuscript and artifact collections maintained by the State Library, as well as any Historical and Museum Commission facility, including the state archives and museum, as well as 25 historic sites and museums throughout the state.
The fellowship program is named for Pennsylvania Governor Samuel W. Pennypacker, who served from 1903 to 1907.
During the meeting, Friederike Baer, a Pennypacker Fellow and assistant professor of history at Penn State University-Abington, will speak about the 1869 murder case of Dr. Paul Schoeppe, a Cumberland County physician. Schoeppe, an immigrant from Prussia, was sentenced to hang for killing a patient.
His conviction triggered massive protests across the nation, in part because he found allies in two powerful communities: the medical community and German Americans. The first challenged the reliability of the forensic evidence used in the case; the other saw the doctor as an innocent victim of anti-foreigner hysteria.
Supporters unsuccessfully appealed to Governor John White Geary for clemency. Later, they pressured the Pennsylvania legislature to pass a law that granted Schoeppe a new trial, and he was eventually acquitted.
Ultimately, Schoeppe's case triggered more than three years of heated debates about the role of medical experts in criminal cases and the place of foreigners in the United States. It also resulted in permanent changes in the way that homicide cases were reviewed in Pennsylvania.
Tim Eller, Department of Education, 717-783-9802
Howard Pollman, PA Historical and Museum Commission, 717-705-8639
SOURCE Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission