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This collection, which dates from circa 1853-1996, contains material documenting the history of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, including the Harpers Ferry Armory, the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, and the incorporation of Murphy Farm into the Historical Park. A highlight of the collection is a framed copyprint of members of the Colored Women's League on the Murphy Farm after their annual meeting in Washington, D.C., July 1896. Also contains several issues of Gleason's Pictorial, dating from circa 1853. Materials include newspapers, videorecordings, photographic prints, booklets, brochures, correspondence, maps and postcards.
During the Civil War, the Murphy Farm near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, witnessed the 11th-hour attack by Confederate Gen. A.P. Hill that forced the surrender of the 12,000-man federal garrison at Harpers Ferry. The farm is also the home of the Harpers Ferry engine house that abolitionist leader John Brown used in his abortive 1859 attempt to spark a slave uprising. The Brown fort was sent to Chicago for the 1893 Columbian Exposition, and, upon its return, Alexander Murphy deeded 5 acres to rebuild the structure on his farm. On August 15, 1906, the Niagara Movement, led by author and scholar W.E.B. DuBois, held its first meeting on American soil on the campus of Storer College, now part of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. The three-day gathering, held to discuss how to secure civil rights for African Americans, was later described by DuBois as "one of the greatest meetings that American Negroes ever held." Attendees of the 1906 meeting walked from Storer College to the nearby Murphy Farm to visit the engine house where John Brown's quest to free four million enslaved African Americans reached its bloody climax. Jim Kuhn was the great-great- grandson of the farm's original owners Alexander and Mary Murphy.
Custodial History note
Donated by Jim Kuhn.
Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access note
Use of the materials requires an appointment. Please contact the archivist at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conditions Governing Use note
Anacostia Community Museum does not hold the copyright to all material in this collection. Please contact the archivist for further information.
Preferred Citation note
Jim Kuhn collection on Harpers Ferry, Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution, gift of Jim Kuhn.
Anacostia Community Museum Archives
1901 Fort Place, SE
Washington, D.C. 20020