OVERVIEW OF THE COLLECTION OF THE ARCHIVES OF THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF HARFORD COUNTY
Written by Marlene Magness
March 29, 2001
The Archives of the Society are housed in a separate area within the Society and manned by an entirely volunteer staff, some of whom have worked with this collection since 1976 when the material was returned from storage in the Maryland Historical Society. The foundation of the collection was established beginning in 1885 with Dr. G. W. Archer, society historian, collecting most of the material. There were few photographs in that collection, but at present, there are better than 7000 photographs, tintypes, lantern slides, daguerreotypes, albums, glass negatives and post cards. These are all indexed and cross filed according to subjects. The subjects include buildings, towns, bridges, railroads, politicians, people, churches, events, African Americans and Harford County unique subjects (Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal, fishing and ducking, APG, mills, Susquehanna River locations etc.) Also included are the photographic collections of Mason, Wollon (Hughes and Shriver), Hooker, Holden, Robbins and Hodge.
Other items in the Archival collection are:1. Pamphlets
409 pamphlets dealing with various subjects, among them Almanacs from 1836; speeches by John C. Calhoun 1841, Daniel Webster 1847, Stevenson Archer 1874, Thomas Jefferson 1906, Zachary Taylor 1848, Augustus Bradford 1864; Political Register 1834, Harper’s Monthly 1857; Vindication of Count Pulaski; Alexander Hamilton 1800; Slavery in New Jersey 1890; Colonization - John Latrobe 1851; B & O Railroad 1859; Geological Survey Pa. 1839; Soil Survey Harford County 1927; John Adams; 1896 Anatomy JHU; Maryland Temperance 1839.
2. Special Collections
So much of our material is “special” this designation is difficult to define. Special Collections are housed separately and used by researchers with extra special precautions required. Whenever possible copies are used.
Included in this collection, which at present represents 155 items are: Oath of Allegiance 1778; indentures - mostly parchment; Banneker’s Almanac 1795; Revolutionary War Pension Claims and Appointments; day book Columbia Mills 1820-22; Observations on Certain Documents by Alexander Hamilton; Field and Survey books - Thomas White, James Steele, Daniel Scott; Archer genealogical charts; Associators and Non-associators 1776; 1814 U.S. Direct Tax Assessments Harford County; Rumsey Papers; W.S. Forwood Scrapbook; taxables free males 1778; Hays Papers of 40th Regiment; Booth family material; John Allen graduation certificate 1790; certificate of ownership for Ark used on the Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal - Stephen Boyd; Thomas Hays plat of Bel Air circa early 1800’s.
A collection of old newspapers including the Susquehanna Advocate 1839; Delaware Gazette 1796; Public Ledger 1836; National American 1857, The Hive 1903; Havre de Grace Republican and Bel Air Times 1800’s; Federal Gazette and Baltimore Advertiser 1800’s and many others. They are not available to researchers at this time due to the deteriorating condition of the papers. They are in the encapsulation cycle. For a list of newspapers see: Newspapers in the Archives, A to B or Newspapers in the Archives, C to Z.
4. Vertical Storage
The largest amount of material in the Archives is stored in file folders appropriately titled. and cross filed. Included are: Indentures from the early 1700’s; family name files; The George W. Archer Collection; The Hays Papers; The Chew Papers; store account books; deeds -Abingdon, Havre de Grace and Bel Air lots 1700’s - 1800’s; tract name files; churches; schools - public and private; Baltimore County land tracts; P.W. & B, Port Deposit, Baltimore and Delta, Ma & Pa, B & O Railroads; turnpikes - Baltimore and Havre de Grace, Baltimore and Bel Air, Baltimore and Reisterstown; slave records - manumissions and sales; Civil War; Deer Creek Farmer’s Club; election returns and laws; fisheries (14); Gunpowder Neck Field Book 1785; inquisitions - unknown; Lumber Inspectors; Aberdeen Proving Ground; Baltimore and Harford Electric Co.; Bel Air Academy; Bel Air and Havre de Grace Race Track; Bush Mill; Cardiff Green Marble Co.; Computers - Eniac; Conowingo Dam; Enterprise Carriage Co.; Hair Factory; Susquehanna Flint Co.; Jail Accounts 1910-1937; Peach Bottom Slate Co.; Ring Factory; Mason Dioxin; Negro passbook; Paca’s Park #1 and #2; Postal History of Mills and Iron Furnaces; Revolutionary War; Sokol - Czechoslovakian Athletics (Bata); Temperance Society Harford County; War of 1812 - capture of Havre de Grace.
5. Collections in vertical storage
Nancy Webster Barnes; Mary Bristow; J. Edmund Bull - Revolutionary War notes; George G. Curtiss - school; Louisa Finney France - deeds, surveys, Finney family; Katharine Harlan (Churchville area, Dr. David Harlan), Elizabeth Hicks; Jean C Hughes - Bush bicentennial; WW2; Joseph Hughes - sketches; Myrtle Johnson - DAR, genealogy; David Lee - Jerusalem Mill; John Magness - Whitaker’s Mill; James Moores - legal papers Bel Air Paper Mill; Pamela Nichol - clippings, letters; Ralph G. Norman; Edna and Susan Osborn - Aberdeen area; Alice Parker - Griffith letters, Civil War diaries; Jeanette Parker - genealogy Stephenson, Rock Run area; Charles H. Reed - Susquehanna Power and Paper, Pa. and Dublin; Mary Wright Barnes; J. Alexis Shriver - papers, electric, telephone, Susquehanna and Tidewater; Albert P. Silver and Col. Benjamin Silver - genealogy Stephen Boyd and fisheries; Frank Stewart - postal covers; George Van Bibber - writings and sketches; James T. Wollon - Mahoney, Susquehanna and Tidewater, Booth; Eloise H .Wilson - school materials, genealogy, Wilson family; C. Milton Wright; Dorothy Young - fashions, patterns, Lee family.
6. Boxed Collections
Ralph Norman - Millwrights, flour sacks, new calculator 1908, store ledgers 1898 to 1904; C. Milton Wright - moon landing, WW 2: Katharine Harlan - newspapers1837- to 1893, scrapbook, letter book, music book Margaret Herbert, Dr. David Harlan journals at sea. naval papers and letters: Susan Osborn - newspapers - Harper’s Weekly 1863, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated 1862 to 1863 and other papers, DAR; needlework, home magazines 1889, literary pamphlets; work books - Stump family 1700’s; J. Alexis Shriver - George Washington’s trips, telephones, electric, Bel Air Country Club; Deer Creek Farmers; George W, Archer genealogical notes #1, #2; Col Benjamin Silver - survey books.
A collection of 104 maps, mostly old or copies including: Philadelphia and Baltimore Central Railroad 1856; Rochambeau’s map; Susquehanna River and Havre de Grace lots; Maryland and Delaware 1799; Maryland 1935; Washington 1884; Virginia and Maryland 1767; Susquehanna Railroad; Greyhound Bus routes 1930; German war map WW2; Washington to Richmond 1864; Mulberry Point.
266 oversized plats, mostly of land tracts in Harford County cross filed by tract and owner name including Swansbury Mill; Maiden’s Bower; Lands of George Mc Causland; Clagetts Forest; Royal Exchange; Christoper’s Camp; Peach Bottom and Delta Railroad; Royal Exchange; Havre de Grace canal basin; Bush Mill; Bel Air Sanitary Survey 1920; Lapidum; Jerusalem; Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad. Plats smaller than 8 1/2” by 14” are stored with the vertical material and cross filed.
9. Oversize Regular
1052 items that are larger than the 8 1/2 x 14 file storage and which, for the most part, have been encapsulated. Included in this category are fragile newspaper articles; indentures for 1700 and 1800 properties; land disputes 1799’s; sale of slaves; resurvey for schoolhouse lot 1792; roll of substitutes for drafted men 1864; Association of Freemen 1775,76; Fee list Harford County; Thomas Hall daybook; oversize Havre de Grace lots 1700-1800; Pensions certificate; Havre de Grace Ferry Company; special articles; Election ballot and election returns 1812; copy books William Stump Forwood; William Day marriage certificate; roads - survey; William Nelson genealogy; Jurors, non-jurors 1780; Charcoal drawings - Jeanette Parker; music - Harford County writers; diplomas; Revolutionary War Company; Taxables 1775 - 1778; Stump and Jackson - sale notice; calendars; Godey’s Lady Book; medical phrenological chart; 1779 Spesutie Island survey; blue prints - Harford National Bank, Masonic Lodge building, Hollingsworth Wheel Co.; Bel Air Electric Co.; Gunpowder River, Fork, land patents - Wm. Marye; will - Aquilla Paca 5/8/1720.
10. Covered Bridges
Collection of photographs and articles dealing with covered bridges in the United States and abroad. This collection was assembled by Mr. and Mrs. Poteet, who belonged to the Covered Bridge Society and collected information in their travels and from the travels of their friends. Elizabeth Hicks is continuing their collection and organizing it into acid free notebooks.