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SCI Muncy Historical Records Head to State Archives

Tags: Muncy
February 28, 2019 12:00 AM
By: Tyler Stump

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MUN - 2019 Feb - Historical Records.JPGStaff at SCI Muncy recently sent an exciting collection of historic records to the State Archives in Harrisburg. Dozens of photographs, scrapbooks, admission books, and other records dating back to the 1910s will now be stored in the archives' state-of-the-art facility and preserved for future generations. All the records can be seen at the State Archives building in Harrisburg.

In 1913, the state legislature passed an act establishing the "Industrial Home for Women at Muncy." The first woman was admitted in 1920 and Muncy's population grew steadily in the following years. Many new buildings were built in the 1930s, several are still standing today. Originally, the institution was built to house first-time female offenders between the ages of 16 and 30, but the maximum age limit was removed when Muncy was transferred from the Department of Welfare to the Department of Justice (now Corrections) in 1953.

By 1955, eleven cottages were built on Muncy's grounds. According to one publication found in the State Archives, "the cottages are homelike in atmosphere with pianos, radios, and record players in the living rooms where each evening, except Sunday, the girls may congregate, play the piano, listen to the radio, sing, play cards, crochet, embroider, and on Saturday nights dance until 8:00 o'clock…the beautiful campus and well-kept, mountain stone buildings compare most favorably with those of the best of our modern American colleges. It is hard to believe that such beauty and freedom could ever be associated with a penal institution." Another record in the archives states that "each girl is encouraged to use nail polish, rouge, and lipstick, and to arrange her hair attractively. Every individual girl is issued three print dresses which she wears to religious services and movies, as well as at all other appropriate times."

MUN - 2019 Feb - Historical Records3.JPGInmates were kept busy working on Muncy's 828-acre farm, cannery, and power sewing shop throughout the year. They were paid two cents an hour for their work. In the 1950s, Muncy also offered vocational and business classes in the winter months to help women find employment after they were paroled. When an inmate was paroled, she was given $10, a suitcase with several outfits, a "very stylish hair-do," and a ride to the train or bus station.

The State Archives in Harrisburg collects and preserves historical records and photographs from correctional facilities to preserve them for future generations of Pennsylvanians. If you have any historical records like ledgers, newsletters, photos, or scrapbooks that tell the history of the Department of Corrections, contact your agency Record Coordinator, Launa Kowalcyk (717) 728-4058 or Archivist Tyler Stump (717) 783-9874.

The Pennsylvania State Archives is home to more than 250 million pages of historical records dating from the 1600s to the present day. To learn more please visit the archives website:

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