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Articles & Resources

The Resources found here and the list of External Links at the bottom of this page are really a work in progress to which articles, exhibit checklists, images of historical documents and photographs, and so forth will be added in an on-going effort to make information available about historic Harriton, its people, and its neighborhood. There are also opportunities to "SHOP" a few items related to this historic site and to make a contribution to Harriton.  Click on any of the red links herebelow or just scroll through the page.   If you would like further information about anything you see here - or if you do not yet see that for which you might be looking, please do contact us by e-mail at, by United States postal service, or by old fashioned telephone at 610-525-0201.   We look forward to hearing from you  

Brochure and map you can carry with you
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Chef Staib cooking in Charles Thomson
A Taste of History with Walter Staib

Do you like to eat well?  Be sure to watch PBS this spring and summer for A Taste of History with Walter Staib, former restaurateur and chef at the historic City Tavern at 2nd & Walnut Streets, Philadelphia. Several programs were filmed here on the grounds and in the 18th century kitchen at Harriton House.  Chef Staib teaches American revolutionary history through the foods eaten and enjoyed by the founders of our Nation.  DVD's of the show may be purchased from Chef Walter at

Staib's shows are indeed an accurate re-creation of the preparation of the sumptuous meals consumed in Philadelphia, Virginia, and other places in the 18th century, but the series also touches on the many activites which impacted food production and preparation.  Many segments of this popular show feature Harriton's 18th century kitchen, our root cellar, and apiary. 

Chef Staib is a teacher as well as a chef.  He has written several books on American and European cuisine, including a new children's book called  A Feast of Freedom.  

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The Curator's Report, Bulletin of the Harriton Association

The Curator's Report  is an occasional publication of the Harriton Association.  The bulletin contains photographs and brief essays on subjects relating to historic Harriton, its occupants, objects in our collections, and the neighborhood.  You may click on the red link below to find examples of past issues in PDF format.  Please feel free to print copies for your personal use - but we do ask that you credit the bulletin and the Harriton Association when using material contained therein.  If you wish higher quality printed copies, please contact us by e-mail or by old fashioned telephone or postal service.

 Enjoy, but please be patient as this is a large file.

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Honeybees and Beekeeping

Honeybees have had a place on the landscape at Harriton since the 18th century, and we maintain hives of bees in the park today.  

Honeybees are not domesticated in the strictest sense of the word.  No one really "raises" or "keeps" bees in the same way that we "raise cattle" or "keep a few chickens".  The honeybee will go about its flights pollinating flowers and collecting nectar despite our   interference called "beekeeping".  All we really do is provide a home for a colony of winged insects in an arrangement of wooden ware called a hive. The hive is designed on the natural social structure of the bee family but is constructed for our convenience to steal some of the honey and wax produced by the bees.  If the bees decide to go elsewhere - or abscond - they will go, and we cannot keep, chain, or cage them for our purposes. 

Our relationship with the honeybee is an important one.  The honeybee will pollinate flowers, trees, fruits, berry bushes, and vegetables.  The honeybee is an indicator of landscape health.  Do you like almonds?  Do you relish a fresh apple, or an orange, or a strawberry?  Thank the little honeybee.  Much of the food you eat is pollinated by  bees, and they make possible the quantity and quality of  American agriculture produce.

The story of the honeybee on the American landscape is part of the story of growth of American agriculture.  Charles Thomson retired from Congress to his farm called Harriton, in 1789, to be a progressive or "scientific" farmer.  Agriculture was America's principal industry after the American Revolution, and Thomson, promoted new agricultural techniques. He may not have actually understood as much biology as a 21st-century college freshman, but he did experience the reality of his improved orchards and fields when they were populated by  honeybees.    Thomson was a founder of the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture, which operates today as the oldest continuing agricultural organization in the country, and he wrote and published Notes on Farming in which he refers to his "useful little animals."



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 The Harriton Associaton is always interested in meeting descendants of owners and occupants of historic Harriton House.  We are  continuing to build a genealogy database of the Ellis, Harrison, and Thomson families.  If you would like to share information, please contact us at

 In a related project we are creating growing an "every name index" in an Excel format of names associated with Harriton over the past 300 years.  In addition to the principal 18th and 19th-century names which appear on the ownership title papers to the property, the Harriton Association is fortunate to have tenant leases, rental contracts, correspondence, and other documents which describe the relationships of people within the surrounding community to this specific historic site.  The list includes those who worked here, who are buried here in the Harriton Burial Ground, or who spent significant time here for some special reason.    

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Rural History Confederation

Harriton House is a member of the Rural History Confederation (RHC), which is an association of twenty historic sites and museums.  RHC sites are dedicated to preserving the past and to promoting an historical awareness of the region of southeastern Pennsyslvania.  A visit to one or all of these unique historic places will give you a comprehensive view of how southeastern Pennsylvania blossomed before, during, and after the American Revolution.  The Schuylkill River Valley region, extending west and northwest from Philadelphia, has developed steadily since the late seventeenth century.  This development fueled the industrial and social progress of the area and, in turn, also contributed to the development of Philadelphia.  The region, comprised of Montgomery, Berks, Bucks, and Chester Counties, is both rich and diverse in local history.  Twenty historic sites and museums are waiting to be discovered by you.  Click on the external RHC link below!


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External Links (click on any one to take a trip into the past)

Links (Click to visit sites)

» The Rural History Confederation
» The Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture
» The Great Seal of the United States
» The Library of Congress
» The National Archives of the United States of America
» Lower Merion Baptist Church
» Lower Merion Historical Society 
» A Taste of History

» Main Line Scool Night
» Chester County School Night


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