Held at: Charlestown Historical Society [Contact Us]PO Box 344, Devault, PA, 19432
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Charlestown Historical Society. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Harman D. Rees was (1873-1964) was a farmer and active public servant in Charlestown Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania. He wrote a detailed history of the township, Historical Sketches of Charlestown Township, completed around 1943. His manuscript was published by the Charlestown Township Historical Society in 2011.
"Harman D. Rees (1873-1964) was born on March 27, 1873 in Mont Clare, PA, across the Schuylkill River from Phoenixville. Harman's father [Jonathan Rees] was in the coal and lumber business. Shortly after Harman's birth the family moved to Phoenixville. When 15 years of age his father hired him to Mr. John Conway who had a greenhouse and florist business in Phoenixville. Mr. Conway sold the business because of poor health in the fall of 1889." (DeWilde)
"In 1890 the Rees family moved to a farm in Charlestown Township where Harman remained for 18 years as a farm hand. In the spring of 1908 Mr. Rees married Mary Jacobs, and purchased the farm, which was the family homestead. Here he farmed for 19 years. In 1927 he sold the farm and moved to a home nearby. Mr. Rees served on the school board for the township for 28 years, a period during which several one-room schools in the township were consolidated. Mr. Rees also served for many years on the township's board of supervisors and as road master, his total service in township administrative positions totaling 52 years." (DeWilde)
Rees was a member of the Presbyterian Church in Phoenixville and later the Charlestown Methodist Church. For over half a century he held membership in the Mt. Pickering Lodge Free & Accepted Masons. He held leadership positions in the Chester Valley Grange for decades and spearheaded the construction of a Grange hall. He also belonged to the Chester County Historical Society, served on the board of the Phoenixville Community Chest, and acted as president of the Chester County Game Association. ("Biography")
Quoted text from: DeWilde, Barbara E. Preface to Historical Sketches of Charlestown Township by Harman D. Rees, ix. Malvern, Pa.: Charlestown Historical Society, 2011.
"Biography of Harman D. Rees at the Time of His Retirement from Township Office," 1956. Published in Historical Sketches of Charlestown Township by Harman D. Rees, xv. Malvern, Pa.: Charlestown Historical Society, 2011.
This collection includes scrapbooks, newspaper issues and clippings, research notes, correspondence, family papers, hand drawn maps and blueprints, photographs, and other documents relating to Rees's research interests--Charlestown Township history, birds, plants, and Rees family genealogy--as well as farming practices, family life, municipal affairs, and additional topics. Most of the materials were created or collected by Harman D. Rees, although there are some papers from his family members, as well as some intermixed papers from Frank Young, donor of the collection and former president of the Charlestown Historical Society (1973-1975 and 1979-1981). A highlight of the collection is Rees's original manuscript for Historical Sketches of Charlestown Township, completed around 1943.
The collection includes a large number of scrapbooks with three types of content: farm advice newspaper clippings (late 19th century), Victorian die-cuts and ephemera (turn of the 20th century), and greeting cards (mid 20th century). There are also loose greeting cards and additional correspondence.
One of the highlights of the collection is Rees's original manuscript for Historical Sketches of Charlestown Township, completed around 1943. Many manuscript pages feature pasted-in clippings, photographs, and illustrations and/or maps drawn in color by Rees. There are also research notes, newspaper issues, and clippings on topics of interest to Rees, including Charlestown Township history as well as birds, plants, and Rees family genealogy. Rees acquired a small amount of original historic documents, most of which he probably inherited from ancestors, but some of which may relate to local history or his other research interests. There are several 18th and 19th century deeds, a will from John Rees (1837), a student copybook (1832), a J. Rees patent, and scattered other items in the collection.
Some hand-drawn maps, blueprints, and diagrams that can be found in this collection may relate to Rees's Historical Sketches of Charlestown Township; others may stem from Rees's work as township road master.
Intermixed in this collection are some items from the donor, Frank Young, who like Rees was involved in Charlestown Township government. A quantity of clippings, correspondence with the Township Board of Supervisors, meeting minutes of the Charlestown Civic Association, and black and white photographs from the 1960s are from Young rather than Rees.
Gift of Frank Young.
Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2012-2014 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.
In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact Charlestown Historical Society directly for more information.
- Charlestown Historical Society
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Sarah Leu through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
- This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- Access Restrictions
Contact Charlestown Historical Society for information about accessing this collection.