Interested in being a Volunteer?

The Lawrence County Historical Society is eager to have volunteers for our many groups and committees.
To inquire about Volunteer Opportunities, fill out our volunteer interest form.

What We Do

Who We Are

Volunteer Bios

What We Do
The Work of our Volunteers

image of raised hands volunteering

The Lawrence County Historical Society is a tax exempt, charitable 501(c)(3) organization.

We are largely a volunteer nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and display of the heritage of all the citizens of Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. 

The services we provide are quite varied and wide-reaching.

We appreciate your support and interest.


 Here’s a sample of some of the valuable tasks our volunteers fulfill:

  • Sort, research and catalog donations
  • Help both local and out-of-town visitors research their ancestors
  • Set-up displays in the museum
  • Digitize and index the petitions of naturalization
  • Light housekeeping in the mansion
  • Conduct tours of the mansion for groups
  • Sponsor free lectures and demonstrations to the community
  • Yard work and light maintenance at the mansion
  • Write articles and books
  • Prepare the Greer Mansion for holidays, weddings or special parties
  • Maintain and upgrade computer hardware and software


  • Scan, digitize, and index our voluminous photo collection
  • Post announcements and historical information to our Facebook page
  • Write quarterly newsletters to the members
  • Distribute free ice cream and cake on Fireworks Weekend (July)
  • Design, manage and update our websites
  • Design, manage, and produce content for our social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube

Who We Are
Some of Our Current Volunteers

  • Elizabeth DiRisio (since 2010) – specialist in media restoration, Facebook administrator, amateur historian
  • Denise Guthery – antique clothing preservation and researcher
  • John Hudson – digitization specialist and photographer
  • Kathleen A. Mooney, PhD (since 2008) – web design, webmaster, blog editor
  • Ed Petrus – building and grounds committee chair
  • Kathi Didiano-Wisniewski (since 2017) – researcher, accessions, mansion tours
  • Jim Witon (since 2018)– accessions chair


  • Izzy Candelaria – researcher intern
  • Elaine Chambers – archives and legal document researcher
  • Marmee Gurgiolo – accessions
  • Claudia Manly – volunteer coordinator
  • Sara Rectenwald – assistant newsletter editor
  • Corgette Troutman – accessions

Meet Our Volunteers - Bios

Claudia Manly

Volunteer Coordinator

Claudia’s primary goal as Volunteer Coordinator is to identify and recruit young adults to become involved with the Historical Society and thereby learn and preserve the history of this area. All volunteers, young or not as young, will hopefully fill areas of need for the various committees as well as assist Board Members. She also hopes to interest the public at large to become members of the LCHS. Claudia says that “becoming part of the LCHS has not only introduced the history of Lawrence County to me but also allowed me to make new friends with like interests.”

Claudia has volunteered with the Historical Society’s Archives Group since May 2020, at which time she worked on the Declaration of Intentions transcription project. She was born and raised in New Castle, Pennsylvania, graduating from NeCaHi class of ’66. Upon graduation, Claudia attended Humboldt Institute in Minnesota, then relocated to the Los Angeles, California area where she lived and worked in the mortgage banking industry for 53 years. After retiring, she moved back to New Castle in December 2019.

In addition to volunteering, Claudia reads, attends plays and ballets, plays Mah Jongg and travels. She has traveled extensively, having visited almost all 50 states in US, Canada, most European, Eastern European, and Scandinavian countries. She has visited her favorite place in the world, Ireland, 18 times!

Kathi Didiano-Wisniewski

Researcher, accessions, mansion tours.

Kathi began volunteering at LCHS in 2017 and accepted the position of Administrator in November 2018. She resigned in October 2021 in order to travel and pursue her favorite interests. Kathi’s interests include researching her family genealogy and investigating area land titles, a skill she learned during her time in real estate law. She finds that “it’s especially thrilling to be able to trace some of our local houses and buildings back to the 1700’s when Lawrence County was still a part of the counties of Mercer and Beaver.

Kathi was born in Ellwood City and attended Lockley Elementary School, Ben Franklin Junior High School and New Castle Senior High and graduated in 1972. She enjoyed working at Shenango China from 1974 until 1979, but the lure of Florida beckoned. Kathi lived in Sarasota, FL from 1979 until 2015, at which time she retired from the real estate law field and came home to take care of her dad. With roots in Lawrence County, she has been here ever since.

Additionally, Kathi enjoys knitting, playing Mah Jongg and continuing to volunteer at LCHS.

Elizabeth (Betty) Hoover DiRisio

Specialist in media restoration
Facebook administrator

Betty began volunteering at the Lawrence County Historical Society in July 2010.

Betty was born in New Castle and attended Laurel High School. She moved to Washington DC in 1973 and attended Northern Virginia Community College and George Washington University. Living for 30 years in that area, Betty was employed primarily by the U. S. Navy and the U.S. Department of Justice.

While at Navy, she was in charge of the U.S. Naval Shipyards’ Environmental Compliance Program and also served as the Director of Navy’s Asbestos Litigation Support Office. At Justice, she continued heading up automated litigation support for Asbestos Litigation against the United States and later turned those efforts to the largest Tort Claims case ever brought in the United States, the case of U.S. v. Philip Morris et al. Part of her litigation support effort involved overseeing the selection and imaging of millions of pages of documents, photos and other media, requiring her to spend extensive periods of time at the National Archives and various National Records Centers across the country. She was instrumental in the development of the automated document retrieval system necessary to handle these massive collections.

Betty received numerous awards for her work including the Navy’s second highest Civilian Award, the Meritorious Civilian Service Medal, and the U. S. Attorney General’s Award (Ed Meese) for Excellence in Litigation Support. 

Genealogy research, history, and photography are among her many interests. She is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution descending from Henry Hover of New Jersey who was one of the first settlers of Mercer County.

Jim Witon

Chair of Accessions Committee

A native of New Castle, Jim began volunteering at the LCHS over 3 years ago and now serves as Chairman of the Accessions Committee. Donations made to the LCHS are carefully examined, researched, catalogued and safely stored by Jim and his Accession Committee team.

Jim is a Navy veteran, having served from 1964 to 1970. He trained at the Nuclear Power Prototype School in West Milton, New York in 1965. Upon completion of his training in West Milton, he spent 4 years in Vietnam. Upon his return stateside, he attended Penn State University from 1971 to 1975 and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. 

After graduation, Jim worked in the Concord, Massachusetts area for a number of years before returning to the Lawrence County area in 1993 where he worked for The Bombardier Corporation in Pittsburgh until 2003.

Jim loves sports, boating, hiking and drinking beer. He is a genealogy bug and a history buff!

Henley as Mohawk High freshman

Andrew Henley

In the NC News February 25, 2011

We were pleased that the New Castle News featured our volunteers in an article titled: Young and Old: Student volunteering at historical society.

When just a freshman at Mohawk High School, Andrew Henley had already chalked up about 700 volunteer hours with LCHS. His volunteer activities were extensive. From June 2009 through August 2013, Andrew: directed tours of the museum, assisted the public in genealogy and subject matter research, archives incoming artifacts, designed displays, enhanced internal “Virtual Museum” website, handled sales and performed physical labor as needed. He also served on the Archival Committee and acted as technical adviser to the Administrator and staff, provided assistance to Board members in the production of monthly programs and special events and was the Assistant Editor of LCHS Quarterly Newsletter.

Andrew’s family has been in the Lawrence County area since they moved from Virginia in 1800 and settled on the property he lives on today. In June 2009, he began volunteering at the Lawrence County Historical Society. In 2020, Andrew became a member of our board having graduated from university with a BA degree as well as a Masters.

Click HERE to read the original February 25, 2011 article in the New Castle News

In Memorium

Maryann Galiano

Board member, volunteer, head archivist, display coordinator

photo of maryann galiano

On October 24, 2020 at 2:00 pm (eastern time), we dedicated a room on the second floor of the Joseph A. Clavelli Cultural Heritage Center in memory of our former board member and long-time volunteer, Maryann Galiano. The room which contains an extensive display of our Shenango China is now known as the Maryann Galiano Room. Among her many contributions, this is a room she dedicated an enormous amount of time to organizing the myriad of information found there. People in attendance were wearing masks and social distancing due to COVID-19 restrictions. Others attended via Zoom. Maryann Galiano Room Dedication – view video on our Facebook Channel Click HERE to read her Obituary in the New Castle News.

Historian, civil war expert, former history teacher

CLICK HERE to read obituary

Dwight Edward Copper

Cemetery researcher, author, historian

photo of Dwight E. Copper

CLICK HERE to read bio at Westminster College

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the death of Dwight Copper (age 59) on August 3, 2013. He gave freely of his time, being a long time volunteer at the Historical Society and at the New Castle Library. Many may not have known him personally, but may recognize his name from his numerous publications.

Dwight chronicled the graves of those buried in nearly every cemetery in the area. His books are a treasure to those researching their local genealogy. Dwight was a friend and colleague and he will be sincerely missed. In 2014, the Historical Society named Dwight’s Room in his memory and in recognition of his countless contributions.

Dwight E. Copper – Cemetery Church Publications

1994 through 2002
Harmony Baptist Church Cemetery, Rose Point Reformed Presbyterian Church Cemetery, St John’s (Burry’s) United Evangelical Protestant Church Cemetery, Zion Lutheran Church Cemeteries, Amish Cemetery, East Brook United Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Harmony Cemetery, Homewood Cemetery, Little Beaver Cemetery, Neshannock Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Newport Cemetery, North Plain Grove Cemetery, North Sewickley Cemetery, Plain Grove Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Reformed Presbyterian Cemetery, Rocky Spring Cemetery, Rose Point Reformed Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Savannah Methodist Church Cemetery, Seceder Cemetery, Shenango Presbyterian Church Cemetery, West Liberty Cemetery

Grace Bible Church Cemetery, Westfield Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Valley View Cemetery, Pleasant Valley Cemetery, Mount Jackson United Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Swedish Mission Covenant Church, SS Philip and James Cemetery

37 Cemetery Church Books by Dwight E. Copper are available from Mechling Bookbindery & Bookbinders Workshop

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