Richard L.T. Orth, a longtime native of Berks County, namely of his hometown Fleetwood and historic Kutztown where he earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees and worked for the American Folklife Institute for past 23 years. Kutztown considered by Orth and other scholars like Dr. Alfred L. Shoemaker the epicenter of our historic and colorful Pennsylvania Dutch hex signs and elaborately decorated barns, but also currently home to several hundred old order horse and buggy Mennonites who continue to flourish and expand in the fertile East Penn Valley.
Richard has had nearly 300 articles published on our rich Pennsylvania Dutch culture: it's heritage, history, folk religion, folklore, architecture, folklife, folk art, and cuisine through several magazines, journals, and is current "A Look Back in History" and "Everything Pennsylvania Dutch" columnist for both the Berks-Mont Newspapers andSouth Schuylkill News, where his weekly articles can be read online or in newspaper through theKutztown Patriot,Oley Valley Sentinel,Boyertown Times,Hamburg Item,Southwest Berks News, among others.
Orth's past book titles includeOley Valley Heritage: The Federal Years (1776-1862)&Folk Religion of the Pennsylvania Dutch: Witchcraft and Related Practices. He is currently working on a (tentative) title ofArchitecture of the Pennsylvania Dutch: True Grit German Builders of Exquisite English Design, and plans for a 2019 release through Sunbury Press. Richard L.T. Orth started with the American Folklife Institute in May 1995 with close friend and Mentor, Richard H. Shaner to revamp Shaner's popular 1970s American Folklife Society. Both consider themselves part of the Dr. Alfred Shoemaker lineage tree and 9th and 10th generation Pennsylvania Dutchmen, respectively.