Geographic Connection to Pennsylvania: Glen Iron, Union County
Snyder was a well-published historian. His work Union County Pennsylvania: A Celebration of History was posthumously re-released.
Born on February 13, 1909 in Glen Iron, Pennsylvania, Charles McCool Snyder was a historian and professor, most noted for his historical works about Pennsylvania history. Snyder received his B.A. and M.A. from Bucknell University in 1930 and 1933, respectively. He then went on to pursue a Ph.D. in politics from the University of Pennsylvania. After marrying Mary Burrowes, Snyder enlisted in the United States Navy from 1943-1945, eventually becoming lieutenant. Snyder then began teaching as a professor of history at SUNY Oswego from 1946 to 1973. Charles Snyder died on April 21, 1996 at the age of 87.
Charles M. Snyder was born Charles McCool Snyder on February 13, 1909 in Glen Iron, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Charles M. Snyder, a coal and lumber worker, and Flora (Fessenden) Snyder. In 1932, at the age of 23, Snyder married Mary Burrowes, and together they had three children: Sara Snyder Smith, Daniel M, and Elizabeth (now Mrs. Thomas Marston). In 1943 Snyder entered served in the U.S. Navy for 2 years, eventually becoming lieutenant. Snyder received his B.A. and M.A from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA in 1949. From 1946-1973, Snyder worked as an assistant professor, associate professor, and a professor of history at the State University of New York College at Oswego before retiring in 1973.
Snyder’s notoriety as a historian of Pennsylvania started in 1958, with the publication of The Jacksonian Heritage: Pennsylvania Politics, 1833-1848. The book was called “another outstanding volume…added to the growing lost of specialized chronological studies in Pennsylvania politics” by critics, as it focused upon the politics of Pennsylvania from the second term of President Andrew Jackson, through the terms of Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, Tyler, and Polk. Well received by critics, The Jacksonian Heritage gave a detailed account of Pennsylvania politics based on detailed research.
Another popular book by Snyder was Buggy Town: An Era in American Transportation. This book detailed the automotive industry and the progression of buggy production and sales in Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania. Robert E. Carlson published a book review in Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies that said, “An imaginative combination of many photographs, sketches, and the results of research into traditional historical sources interwoven with the testimony of numerous eyewitness participants make Charles M. Snyder’s Buggy Town a most interesting and useful addition to our understanding of late nineteenth century and early twentieth-century Pennsylvania history.” Snyder chronicled the buggy era that lasted from 1865 to 1915.
During his lifetime, Snyder was a member of the American Historical Association and the New York State Historical Association. He was also the president of the Oswego County Historical Society from 1953-64, as well as the president of the Union County Historical Society in 1974.
Charles McCool Snyder died on April 21, 1996, in Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania.
The Jacksonville Heritage: Pennsylvania Politics, 1833-1848. Pennsylvania Historical Commission, 1958.
Dr. Mary Walker: The Little Lady in Pants. New York: Vantage, 1962.
Oswego: From Buckskins to Bustles. New York: Kennikat, 1968.
The Lady and the President: The Letters of Dorothea Dix & Millard Fillmore. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 1975.
Buggy Town: An Era in American Transportation. Lewisburg, PA: Oral Traditions Project of the Union County Historical Society, 1984.
Mifflinburg: A Bicentennial History, 1792-1992. Lewisburg, PA: C.M. Snyder, 1992.
Historic Union County, Mifflinburg, the Late Years, 1865-1900. Mifflinburg, PA: Mifflinburg Telegraph, 1996.
Barns, William D. Rev. of The Jacksonian Heritage: Pennsylvania Politics, 1833-1848, by Charles M. Snyder. Pennsylvania History: a Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies July 1959: 279-281.
Carleson, Robert E. Rev. of Buggy Town: an Era in American Transportation, by Charles M. Snyder. Pennsylvania History: a Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies Apr. 1985: 128-129.
“Charles M. Snyder.” The Gale Literary Database: Contemporary Authors. The Gale Group. 6 Apr 2007. <>http://www.galenet.com>.
Snyder, Charles M. Union County, Pennsylvania: A Bicentennial History (revised). Lewisburg, PA: Union County Historical Society, 2000.