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H. S. Drinker Letter

A description of the letter at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: LMD
Date: 22 Mar 2010

Biographical History

H. S. Drinker was a nineteenth century resident of Philadelphia. He may have been a member of the prominent Drinker family, who were well-known Quaker merchants in Philadelphia.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The H. S. Drinker Letter is a handwritten transcript of a letter Drinker wrote describing a trip he took in the summer of 1812. It was written 3 Aug 1812, and was sent from Bedford Springs, Pennsylvania, where Drinker was staying temporarily. Drinker discusses traveling through New York and Pennsylvania and the various places he visited along the way, including the cities of Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Erie. The region was very tense due to the recent declaration of war. Drinker relates many meetings with militias and military men near the border, including General William Wadsworth of the New York State militia. There is also a long passage about Drinker's visit to Fort Niagara.

Drinker spends several pages discussing the Harmony Society of Pennsylvania, a religious commune of German immigrants founded in the early nineteenth century by Lutheran separatists. Drinker met with the society's founder, George Rapp, in their town of Harmony, Pennsylvania. He describes some of the group's customs, including their practice of celibacy.

Arrangement of the Collection

Single item.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings


Drinker family.
Drinker, H. S.
Rapp, George, 1757-1847.
Wadsworth, William, 1761-1833.


Harmony Society -- History -- Sources.


Bedford Springs (Pa.) -- History.
Buffalo (N.Y.) -- History.
Erie (Pa.) -- History.
Geneva (N.Y.) -- History.
Harmony (Pa.) -- History.
New York (State) -- Description and travel.
Niagara Falls (N.Y.) -- History.
Old Fort Niagara (N.Y.) -- History.
Pennsylvania -- Description and travel.
Philadelphia (Pa.) -- History.
United States -- History -- War of 1812 -- Correspondence.

Genres and Forms


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

H. S. Drinker Letter,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Purchased, 1966.

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