Natural History Trails

Charles Willson Peale’s Philadelphia Museum, although relatively short-lived, influenced the development of similar projects elsewhere. In 1827, the year Peale died, the Harmony Society at Economy in Pennsylvania opened one of the first natural history museums west of the Alleghenies. Like Peale’s museum, the Harmonist effort was largely exhausted by the middle of the 19th century, and its...
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Thomas Say: Pennsylvania Entomologist

Thomas Say was a keen observer of living things. In a scientific era that cherished primacy in classification and description, Say was renowned for his work. He named approximately 1,500 North American insects and scores of other species. This accomplishment alone could justify scientist Benjamin Silliman’s assertion that Say “has done more to make known the zoology of this country,...
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History is Alive and Well in Beaver County

On June 6, 1824, the steamboat Ploughboy with the first contingent of Harmony Society members came around the bend in the river at Legionville; the skipper gave a cannon salute. After dropping anchor, the passengers disembarked and made camp. The following day, Father Rapp, leader of the Harmonists, wrote to the remaining members at New Harmony: “I consider this place the most healthful in...
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Graphic Arts of Harmony Society

You shall not make unto yourself any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in the heavens above or the earth beneath … (Exodus 20:4). How can you have art when you cannot have “graven images?” The Harmony Society (1785-1905) believed in the literal truth of the Bible and followed all of the injunctions carefully, including the third commandment quoted above....
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