Guide to the John M. Tate, Jr. Collection of Notes, Pictures and Documents relating to the Harmony Society, 1806-1930 DAR.1946.02

ULS Archives & Special Collections

Summary Information

Repository
ULS Archives & Special Collections
Title
John M. Tate, Jr. Collection of Notes, Pictures and Documents relating to the Harmony Society
Creator
Tate, John M., 1870-1954
Collection Number
DAR.1946.02
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1820-1885
Date [inclusive]
1806-1930
Extent
1.0 volume
Extent
A label near the back of the volume indicates that book was created by "Thos. Patterson, Bookbinding, Crafton, Penna." The volume is bound with dark blue levant morocco leather with gold tooled designs, featuring the outline of the church cupola of the Harmony Society and the figure of grapes, symbolizing the wine making business of the Harmonists. The volume is gilt-edged. The covers are lined with a blue silk fabric that was cultivated, spun and woven by the Harmony Society. The text found in the volume was printed with type from the Harmony Society's own printing press. The volume is enclosed in a custom box with gold lettering on the spine.
Language
The material in this collection is in English and German.
Abstract
John M. Tate, Jr. was interested in documenting the Harmony Society, a communial Christian pietist group that founded the towns of Harmony (Butler County, Pa.) and later Economy (Beaver County, Pa.). As a youth growing up in nearby Sewickley, Pa., in the late nineteenth century, Tate befriended many of the Harmonists and was allowed to photograph several of their members, homes, various community buildings, and nearby scenes. Later, he would also collect documents related to the Society and write about their history and way of life. In 1925, Tate created this bound volume as a presentation album so he could share his work and collection on the Harmonists with others. Digital reproductions of this collection are available online.

Preferred Citation

John M. Tate, Jr. Collection of Notes, Pictures and Documents relating to the Harmony Society, 1806-1930, DAR.1946.02, Darlington Library, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

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Biography

John M. Tate, Jr., was a mechanical engineer by profession who, as a school boy, became interested in documenting the Harmony Society of Economy (Beaver County, Pa.). Tate was born in May of 1870 in Allegheny City, Pa., and received a private education at the Sewickley Academy in Sewickley, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. While attending the academy he traveled along the Ohio River between the villages of Sewickley and Economy in his leisure time. During his travels he became acquainted with the members of the Harmony Society and photographed its buildings and some of its members. Later in life, Tate became a member of the Harmony Society Historical Association and created lectures and programs on the history of the Harmonists.

Professionally, Tate was employed by the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company before organizing his own engineering firm, Tate, Jones and Company, in Pittsburgh. The company designed and erected cooling stations for locomotives and was known for their work with industrial furnaces. Socially, Tate held membership in the Duquesne and Edgeworth Clubs. He and his spouse, Ernestine Payne Tate, resided in Sewickley and were members of the Sewickley Presbyterian Church.

The Harmony Society was a communal religious community that traced its beginnings to Iptingen in the Duchy of Württemberg, near present day Stuttgard, Germany in 1785. Following persecution by the Lutheran Church, several hundred members immigrated to Butler County, Pa., in 1804 and formed the community of Harmony under the leadership of Johann George Rapp (1757-1847). The community resided at the Butler County location until 1814, when they relocated and created the town of New Harmony, situated along the Wabash River in Posey County, in the southwest corner of Indiana. They remained at the Indiana location until 1824. In 1825, the Indiana property was sold to Robert Owen, a Welsh social reformer who made an attempt to form a utopian community at the site, which ultimately failed.

The Harmonists returned to Pennsylvania, settled along the Ohio River and formed the community of Economy, which is today incorporated into the Borough of Ambridge. Here the society erected a variety of buildings associated with community and economic life including homes, a feast hall, a church, cotton mill, woolen mill, a wine press, a hotel, post office, saw mills, stores, orchards, and vegetable and flower gardens. The Society began silk production and weaving as early as 1828. Eventually the business holdings of the society would grow to include investments in land and in the railroad systems that boomed following the American Civil War.

As George Rapp aged and ultimately died in 1847, the business of the society was managed by a series of trustees that include Romulius Baker, Jacob Henrici, Jonathan Lenz, and John S. Duss. By 1905 the membership of the Harmony Society included only three members and the society was dissolved.

It was during the later years of the nineteenth century that John M. Tate, Jr. began documenting the Harmonist Society, thus he witnessed the decline of the communal organization and created and preserved photographs and documents which serve as historical evidence. By 1916, efforts to preserve the buildings of the Harmonists were begun when the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania purchased many of the structures to create “Old Economy Village,” a museum that is operated by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Shortly after the site was acquired by the state, Pittsburgh architect Charles Morse Stotz, a pioneer in historic preservation, documented the site by creating measured drawings of floor plans and exterior elevations for many of the structures. These drawings were contributed as documentation to the Historic American Buildings Survey which also led to the structures being listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Scope and Content Notes

The bound manuscript volume is divided into three sections, each reflected as a series in this guide. The first series includes the text of narratives written by Tate and transcriptions of early documents related to the Harmonists. The second includes photographs taken by Tate in the waning years of the Harmonist Society. The third section includes original documents collected by Tate. With these various sources together, the volume provides a rare snapshot of the leaders, the members, and the organization of the Harmony Society.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ULS Archives & Special Collections, July 2013

University of Pittsburgh Library System
Archives & Special Collections
Website: library.pitt.edu/archives-special-collections
412-648-3232 (ASC) | 412-648-8190 (Hillman)
Contact Us: www.library.pitt.edu/ask-archivist

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Copyright

No copyright restrictions.

Acquisition Information

Gift of John M. Tate, Jr. on November 14, 1946 to the Darlington Library. A note on the outside cover reads, "It is my desire that this book be given to the Darlington Library of the University of Pittsburgh" and is signed John M. Tate, Jr.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by David R. Grinnell in June 2013.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital reproductions of this collection are available online.

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Related Materials

Related Material

Harmony Society Papers, 1742-1951, Manuscript Group #185, Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Old Economy Village Collection, ca. 1813-1953, Manuscript Group #354, Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

John Duss Papers, 1882-1951, Manuscript Group #310, Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Harmony Society.

Genre(s)

  • Photographs

Geographic Name(s)

  • Economy (Pa. : Commune)
  • Germany -- Emigration and immigration
  • Harmony (Butler County, Pa.)
  • New Harmony (Ind.)

Subject(s)

  • Collective settlements -- Indiana -- New Harmony
  • Collective settlements -- Pennsylvana -- Economy (Commune)
  • Collective settlements -- Pennsylvania -- Harmony (Butler County)
  • Germans -- Pennsylvania -- Butler County
  • Harmonists
  • Religious communities -- Indiana -- New Harmony
  • Religious communities -- Pennsylvania -- Butler County
  • Religious communities -- Pennsylvania -- Economy (Commune)
  • Religious communities -- Pennsylvania -- Harmony (Butler County)
  • Silk manufacturers -- Pennsylvania -- Butler County
  • Societies
  • Wine and wine making -- Pennsylvania -- Butler County
  • Woolen and worsted manufacture -- Pennsylvania -- Butler County

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Previous Citation

John M. Tate, Jr. Collection of Notes, Pictures and Documents relating to the Harmony Society, 1806-1930, DAR.1946.02, Darlington Library, Special Collections Department, University of Pittsburgh

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Collection Inventory

Series  I. "Notes," text by Tate, 1923-1930 

Scope and Content Notes

The first series in this bound manuscript volume consists of narratives written by Tate concerning the history and description of the Harmony Society and transcriptions of early documents related to the Harmonists. Tate was known to have given community presentations on the subject of the Harmonists and it is likely that the basis of his texts may have been derived from his previous presentations. The transcribed documents printed in the volume include a circular concerning a tariff bill in 1832, a letter from Pittsburgh Mayor John M. Snowden in 1826, a letter from Congressmen Henry Clay of Lexington, Kentucky, in 1829, and a letter from William Croghan offering to sell eight paintings to the Harmonists in 1831.

  BoxVolumeItem
Title Page, 1925 111
Online
  Item
"Forward", 1923 2
  Item
Untitled Narrative, undated 3
  Item
"Decline and Dissolution of the Harmony Society" 4
  Item
"Old Economy Letters" 1930 5

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Series  II. Photographs c1885-1890 

Scope and Content Notes

Included in this series are 49 photographic images, predominately taken by Tate in and around Economy, Beaver County, Pa. Twenty-five of the images were sent to Japan for hand coloring, according to the text by Tate. These images depict scenery in and around Economy, private homes of the Harmonists, their commercial buildings, and some individuals (particularly the leadership of the community). With the exception of some of the portrait images, these images were most likely taken by Tate between 1885-1890.

  Item
"Economy from across the Ohio" 6
  Item
“Bridge over the Big Sewickley Creek” 7
  Item
“Big Sewickley Creek” 8
  Item
“The Great House and Town Hall” [aka Feast Hall] 9
  Item
“Great House” 10
  Item
“Great House and Garden” 11
  Item
“Great House from Churchyard” 12
  Item
“Garden” 13
  Item
“Great House Parlor” 14
  Item
“Great House Parlor” 15
  Item
“Great House Parlor” 16
  Item
“The Town Hall” [Feast House] 17
  Item
“The Town Hall [Feast House] and Great House” 18
  Item
“The Church” 19
  Item
“Church and Great House” 20
  Item
“Interior of Church” 21
  Item
“Hotel” 22
  Item
“Hotel” 23
  Item
“Overlooking the Ohio River” 24
  Item
“Store and Post Office” 25
  Item
“Store and Post Office” 26
  Item
“A House and Garden” 27
  Item
“The Ephraim Blaine House“ 28
  Item
“The Cotton Mill“ 29
  Item
“The Woolen Mill“ 30
  Item
“The Flour Mill and Cotton Mill“ 31
  Item
“The Flour Mill“ [with Men at the Door] 32
  Item
“The Miller" 33
  Item
“The Wine Press” 34
  Item
“The Wine Cellar“ 35
  Item
“Town Pump“ 36
  Item
“Wine Vat used as Cistern“ 37
  Item
“Grotto in Garden“ 38
  Item
“Coach“ 39
  Item
“Coach“ 40
  Item
“Printing Press “ 41
  Item
“The Fire Engine“ 42
  Item
“Doorway, Old Hall, New Harmony, Ind. “ 43
  Item
“Cemetery Gate, Harmony, Pa“ 44
  Item
“George Rapp “ 45
  Item
“George Rapp from a painting” 46
  Item
“Jonathan Lenz “ 47
  Item
“Father Henrici “ 48
  Item
[unidentified female] 49
  Item
“A door yard “ [Women on the Step] 50
  Item
“Father Henrici” [Walking on the street] 51
  Item
“Father Henrici and John Duss” [Walking on the street] 52
  Item
“A Member in her garden” 53
  Item
“A Member in her garden” 54

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Series  III. Documents 1806-1906 

Scope and Content Notes

Included in the third series are 12 pages of documents and one unbound piece of correspondence. The documents include correspondence, citizenship certificates, an advertisement for the sale of property in Indiana, indenture agreements, rent receipts, and a sales agreement. When compared with the text found in the first section of this volume, one recognizes that many of these documents were perhaps the source of information for his narrative. The unbound correspondence (Folder 1) from 1906 is between David Shields and John M. Tate, Jr. following an inquiry for documents related to the Harmonists from one of their early neighbors, the Shields-Leet family. The letter also credits Mrs. Eliza L. Shields with naming the Harmonist community "Economy."

  Item
Correspondence from George Rapp (Baltimore, [Maryland]) to his son Frederic Rapp (Pittsburg, Harmony, [Pennsylvania], January 2, 1806 55
  Item
Citizenship certificate for George Rapp, October 4, 1813 56
  Item
Citizenship certificate for Frederick Rapp, October 4, 1813  57
  Item
Indenture between Nicholas Clapper of Maryland and James Blair of Beaver County, Pennsylvania for the sale of lots in Leets District, New Sewickley Township, Beaver County, Pennsylvania, June 30, 1821 58
  Item
Circular advertising the sale of the Town of Harmony in Posey County, Indiana with inscribed note to George Rapp from Richard Flower, July 9, 1824 59
  Item
Correspondence between Robert Owen and Frederick Rapp concerning the sale of New Harmony, Indiana, April 23, 1827 60
  Item
Citizenship certificate of Jacob Henrici, August 23, 1830 61
  Item
George Rapp releases any future claims against R. L. Baker, September 19,1842 62
  Item
Indenture, Allina Walts, aged 12, to Romulius L. Baker as an apprentice Housekeeper, July 17, 1863 63
  Item
Indenture, Elias F. Weiss, aged 9 to Jacob Henrici as an apprentice of a suitable trade, March 21, 1864 64
  Item
Receipt, payment for rent of pasture by Mrs. General Alexander Hays from Henrici & Lenz, January 4, 1869 65
  Item
Agreement, sale of land in Leet Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania to Rebecca B. Shields and Hannah Shields by the Harmony Society, January 15, 1889 66
  Folder
Correspondence from David Shield’s to John M. Tate, Jr., February 7, 1906 1
Online

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