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Ned Harrington research files and publications

1871-2006 [bulk 1980-2000], 3 linear feet


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

Summary Information

Historic Carversville Society
Harrington, Edwin, 1920-2009
Ned Harrington research files and publications
Date [bulk]:
Date [inclusive]:
Call Number:
3 Linear feet
A prime example of a 19th-century farming community, Carversville in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, was one of the first districts to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. Edwin (Ned) Harrington (1920-2009), who was considered Carversville's official historian, authored numerous publications concerning the history of the village. The Ned Harrington research files and publications, 1871-2006 (bulk 1980-2000), include privately-published histories authored by Ned Harrington dating primarily from the 1990s, as well as Harrington's research files.
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"The rural village of Carversville [Bucks County, Pennsylvania] was a Lenni Lenape gathering place which they called Aquetong, or "many springs", over 300 years ago when William Penn granted tracts to his steward, James Harrison, and to Joseph Pike. Harrison, who never saw the property, deeded his 500 acres to Randall Blackshaw and the Pike tract was divided into four 100-acre parcels.

"The village was first surveyed in 1702 after families had begun arriving on horseback. By 1730 roads had been cut into the forests so settlers could haul out wool and farm produce and bring in lumber that was being rafted down the Delaware River from Upper Pennsylvania.

"Originally called Indian Village, the town was later named Mill Town, later Milton and finally, in 1833, Carversville. The latter name was borrowed from the postmaster whose last name was Carver.

"A center of commerce from its inception, Carversville boasted such diverse enterprises as Stovers Mill, the Fretz Mill, the Carver Mill, the Suggin Bag manufactory, a sash and blind mill and the famous Roram Hat factory.

"In 1859 the Excelsior Normal Institute was founded on the hill overlooking the Village. The five-story stone building became a well-known school which turned out scholars until it fell on hard times in the late 19th century. Until its demise, students could peer down at the thriving village served by stagecoaches from the railroads at Doylestown and nearby Bull's Island, N.J., just three miles away. When the teaching ended, the pleasure began as the building became a resort. Its lifespan , too, was short-lived. The final use for the property was as the Carversville Christian Orphanage. The building was razed in the mid 1900s, but its legacy is intact thanks to the research of it's [late] tenant, Edwin "Ned" Harrington, the Village's official historian.

"The Presbyterian Church, founded in 1872 has disbanded; the building is now a private home. The older Christian Church (1838) still serves the spiritual and social needs of many of the villagers...

"Carversville is a prime example of a 19th Century farming community and this earned it National Register of Historic Places status from the Department of Interior in 1979. Officially, the Village became "historic." Carversville was one of the first districts to be so honored and it is now under the protection of federal, state and local laws that regulate changes made to any building which may destroy its historic value."


Quoted text from "History." Accessed April 16, 2013.

Scope and Contents

This collection includes privately printed histories of Carversville subjects authored by local historian Ned Harrington (Hillside Press), dating primarily from the 1990s, accompanied by Harrington's research files for the histories. These research files consist of photocopies of secondary and primary sources; clippings; correspondence; copies of photographs; and a small amount of primary documents including photographs, a few technical/architectural drawings, and ephemera.

Some of the subjects documented in this collection include: Carversville Hotel, Milton, Mill Town, Hillside, Solebury Township, Carversville Christian Orphanage and Farm, and the Excelsior Normal Institute.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

Historic Carversville Society

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Faith Charlton 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 Historic Carversville Society for information about accessing this collection.

Immediate Source of Acquisition Note

Gift of Edwin Harrington.

Processing Information Note

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 Historic Carversville Society directly for more information.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials Note

Historic Carversville Society local history collection includes an oral history interview with Edwin Harrington.

Bucks County Historical Society: Edwin Harrington collection, 1860-1978, MSC 295.

Solebury Township Historical Society: Ned Harrington local research files and publications, circa 1980-2008, SOL.03.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)
  • Carversville Christian Orphanage
  • Excelsior Normal School
  • Hillside Home (Carversville, Pa.)
Geographic Name(s)
  • Bucks County (Pa.)
  • Carversville (Pa.)
  • Education
  • Local history
  • Orphanages
  • Summer resorts

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