Collection inventory

Special Collections home page

Rappites Collection

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 8 Sep 2015

Biographical History

The Rappites, also known as the Harmony Society, was a Christian society founded in Germany in 1785 by Johann Georg Rapp (1757-1847) and his adopted son Frederick (Reichert) Rapp (1775-1834). The group came to to the United States in 1805, where they settled first in Harmony, Pennsylvania; they relocated to Harmony in what was then Indiana Territory (now New Harmony, Indiana) in 1814, and finally returned to Pennsylvania in 1825, to land owned by Frederick Rapp, where they named their new town Economy. In all three locations, but particularly in Economy, they were highly successful with farming and various manufacturing businesses, including woolen, cotton, grain and sawmills as well as silk production. The Society dissolved in 1905, victim of an aging membership and its tenet of celibacy.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Rappites Collection consists of numerous letters and a few pieces of business material (e.g., a shipping rate chart) pertaining to the Rappites' settlement in Economy, Pennsylvania. Some of the correspondence is to Georg Rapp, while some are addressed to other residents of the town. Either the dealer or the original collector of these items was evidently much interested in postal rates; this unknown person's captions and notes on postage, cancellations, stamps and so on are included in the collection, each one preceding the item to which it refers.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection remains in original order.


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.

Related Material

See also the H. S. Drinker Letter. Special Collections Research Center has numerous manuscript collections and printed material relating to communal living and utopian communities. Please search our collections to locate additional manuscript collections and refer to the Classic Catalog for published and printed items.

Subject Headings


Rapp, Frederick, 1775-1834.
Rapp, George, 1757-1847.

Corporate Bodies

Harmony Society.


Collective settlements -- United States -- History.
Communal living -- Pennsylvania.
Communitarianism -- United States.


Economy (Pa.) -- History -- Sources.

Genres and Forms

Printed materials (object genre)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Rappite Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Purchase, 2015.

Table of Contents