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Joseph W. Sharp family diaries


Held at: Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society [Contact Us]720 First Avenue, Berwyn, PA, 19312

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

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"One of the more prominent families in Berwyn during the period of its greatest growth was the Sharp family: Joseph W. Sharp, Joseph W. Sharp Jr. and Joseph W. Sharp III. In fact, in the obituary for Joseph W. Sharp Sr. in the Local it was noted that he was "active in all public interests" in the neighborhood of Berwyn and was "regarded in many ways as the father of that town". He was perhaps best known for his part in the founding of the Berwyn National Bank.

"Joseph W. Sharp was born in Philadelphia in 1828, the son of an English immigrant, and was a well-known business man in the city. For many years he was the head of Sharp, Haines & Co., now known as HAJOCA, or Haines, Jones & Cadbury. Originally manufacturers of plumbing supplies, the company today is probably one of the leading plumbing supply distributors in the Philadelphia metropolitan area.

"In 1852, at the age of 25, he purchased a farm of several hundred acres, straddling South Leopard Road south of Sugartown Road in Easttown Township. Three years later he erected a large stone residence, ["Hawthorne"]... For several summers he drove daily from his Easttown home to his business in Philadelphia, but after a few years, according to his obituary, he became the first regular commuter from Berwyn on the Pennsylvania Railroad...

"A distinguished business man, he served as auditor for Easttown Township for many years, and "most efficiently managed the township's finances during the drafting period of the Civil War". He also presented to the township a piece of ground for a public school, on which shortly afterward the Leopard School was built.

"Although born a Friend, he married an Episcopalian, Sidney Bunting, and attended Old St. David's of Radnor, serving as its accounting warden for many years.

"In the 1880s he realized that the growing village of Berwyn should have its own bank. When it became known that Joseph W. Sharp was interested in the movement to have it founded, little time and effort were needed to complete the subscription to its capital stock. The bank opened in 1888, with Sharp as the president; Isaac A. Cleaver, vice president; and J. Comly Hall as the cashier. Sharp was also one of the originators of the Berwyn Building & Loan Association, and for over ten years its treasurer. When, earlier, the Lyceum was held in Berwyn Hall, he served as president of it.

"He died in his home at Hawthorne in 1908, in his 80th year, and is buried at Old St. David's."


Quoted text from: Moorshead, Frank. "They Built Berwyn: Joseph W. Sharp." Tredyffrin Easttown History Quarterly, 31:4 (October 1993): 127-148. Accessed January 8, 2014.

This collection consists of several dozen volumes. Most are diaries of Joseph W. Sharp, 1859-1910. The entries are brief, impersonal reports of daily activities and/or the weather. The collection also includes some farm financial information, loose correspondence, an account ledger, a farm ledger (1818-1838), and scattered other materials.

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 Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society directly for more information.

Tredyffrin Easttown 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.
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