publish them before their words disappeared intohistory.Penn State students read these stories in theAltoona
, where Shoemaker
rst publishedmany of them, and then read the books in which hecollected them. From him they learned the legendary origin of the Nittany Mountain, and the saga of thegreat Indian Princess who inspired it.
e studentschose her as their exemplar, and took her name astheirs. Several versions of this story, along with many others pertaining to the places and characters of thischarming regional folklore, are collected here in
e Legends of the Nittany Valley
.In the years since their initial publication, there hasbeen much debate over the authenticity of the legendsas products of a genuine oral tradition, with many historians suggesting that most if not all of themsprung from Shoemaker’s fertile imagination. Inconsidering the legends’ impact on the people of theNittany Valley, such questions, while undoubtedly relevant for scholars, are largely immaterial. WhetherShoemaker’s stories are truly relics that have survivedfrom our long forgotten past, products of his owncreative impulse, or a bit of both (which is most likely),their in
uence is indisputable. For the purposes of this publication in particular, they should be taken at face value, not as historical artifacts that reveal the precisehistory of peoples past, but as unique stories —
stories — that evoke our common cultural history andconfer greater meaning on our present.Consider the unique power of myth to instill a senseof community.George Lucas described one of his goals in making Star Wars as the creation of a new mythology for the