Collection Title: Morris Abner Barr Collection
Collection Number: Coll. 106
Morris Abner Barr was born near Heister’s Mill, in Berks County, Pennsylvania on March 4, 1884. The oldest of six children, Barr helped his invalid mother with the housework and childcare and, at the age of fourteen, began working as a carpenter’s apprentice. He became a journeyman carpenter by the age of eighteen and left Berks County to build homes for local contractors in Phoenixville, PA. As his reputation for fine workmanship grew, he was encouraged by Main Line builders to start his own business. He established his carpentry and building business at 200 Linwood Street in Ardmore, PA. The earliest document from this business is dated September 14, 1913.
Barr married Minnie Mae Schock on September 1, 1909. The two met while teaching together at the Bern Union Sunday School in Berks County. Their daughter, Dorcas Aquilla was born on July 5, 1909. His wife died twelve days later on July 17, 1909 from complications in childbirth. Barr left his daughter in the care of his mother, sold his property, and took a job at The Bethany Orphan’s Home at Womelsdorf, PA. Two years later, on September 3, 1911, Barr married Sadie Irene Busch.
Barr met his second wife, Sadie, through an invitation to play the organ at her church in Valley Forge. She agreed to make a home for him and his daughter, who she called “Minnie” in memory of the child’s mother. In 1914, Barr purchased eleven acres of property in Valley Forge to build a cottage and, while digging the foundation, discovered a spring. In 1918, Barr applied for a registered trademark for his new business, The Valley Forge Mineral Springs.
The property was also rich in minerals and gemstones. Barr created a museum, The Spring Valley Mineral Cottage, to showcase his discoveries of moonstones, jasper, topaz, and star sapphires as well as deposits of platinum, silver, and gold. Individuals from twenty-nine countries along with local school children stopped to visit.
Barr’s discoveries were not limited to natural phenomena. In 1917, he was granted patents in the United States and Canada for a “Quick Change Machine,” used in banking, and also for “Racks,” a canning device. He received a certificate of merit from the National Institute of Inventors for the “money change device” in March of 1918.
In 1922, Barr saved the trunk of the George Washington Sentry Tree, a 300 year-old chestnut tree, which once stood on Old Eagle Road in Strafford, PA. It served as one of George Washington’s sentry posts during the Paoli Massacre. Barr sent pieces of the tree to U.S. presidents such as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower, to General Douglas MacArthur, to singer Kate Smith, and to well known Chester Countian Dr. Francis Harvey Green. Barr lectured to service organizations and schools throughout Chester County on the history of the Sentry Tree and Valley Forge.
In 1931, Barr started another business, The Royal Springs Fruit Farm, a twenty-one acre orchard located on R.D. #2, Kimberton, PA. The farm produced apples, cider, and vinegar but was noted for its 150 year-old Gravinstine apple tree. Barr’s second wife, Sadie, died the following year on April 22, 1932.
Barr married for the third time on January 12, 1934. He closed The Valley Forge Mineral Springs the same year. His third wife, Elizabeth Elaine Ripnak, lost her clerical job, played on Barr’s sympathies, and asked him to marry her. But from the first night of their marriage, she began emotionally abusing him. She attacked Barr physically with farm implements and her fists and viciously bit and kicked him. His lawyer advised him to have her arrested for mayhem and cruelty. After only two and half years of marriage, the Magistrate Court granted Barr an absolute disunion.
Barr joined many service organizations beginning with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in 1939. On November 4, 1941, Barr was nominated for the office of director of The Home for Orphans of Odd Fellows. He was an elected member of the Chester County Historical Society, a Member-at-Large of The Lions Club, a member of the Rosicrucian Order and the Kiwanis Club.
Beginning in 1943, Barr took eleven correspondence courses in agriculture from Pennsylvania State College. He received certificates for completing subjects such as Orchard Fruits, Commercial Fruit Growing, Principles of Insect Control, and Farm Forestry. There is additional evidence that he studied Elementary Mineralogy also at Penn State. Barr’s educational interests included courses with The Voice of Prophecy Bible Correspondence School in 1945. A deeply religious man, Barr served as president of the Churchman’s Brotherhood Evangelical and Reformed Church based in Missouri.
Barr began composing music in 1940. The earliest contract indicates that he began publishing his songs in 1948 with Gordon Music Company. He also published with Camdon Music Company, B&L Music Print, and Crown Music. Barr was a member of United Music, Inc. and the Federation of American Authors and Composers. Barr wrote and published the lyrics to over twenty-five songs.
One of Barr’s earliest poems, Des Fora In Da Train, dated 1900, is written in Pennsylvania Dutch. He took a correspondence course with the Bozenkill School of Creative Writing in 1949, the same year that the Poetry Digest Annual Anthology of Verse accepted his poem, “Fair Maiden.” Barr wrote short essays and novelettes in which his life was often the subject. His published works include Epitomes (1951), Life’s Memory Pictures (1952), How to Grow a Commercial Apple Orchard (1952), Random Faith (1954), and The George Washington Sentry Tree (1958). Barr was awarded a Doctor of Letters degree from Belin Memorial University in Manassas, VA, in 1961.
In his later years, Barr lived at 251 Walnut Street in Royersford, PA with his daughter, Minnie, a nurse at Phoenixville Hospital, who cared for him. He died in May of 1974.
Morris Abner Barr compiled and donated the papers in this collection. They consist of photographs, personal and business correspondence, certificates and awards, membership cards, business records, published music, poetry, and essays. He was a life member and benefactor of the Chester County Historical Society.
Morris Abner Barr’s time-line:
1884 – b. March 4, 1884 near Heister’s Mill in Berks County, Pennsylvania.
1898 – carpenter’s apprentice
1906 – m. Minnie Mae Schock on September 1, 1906 (dec. July 17, 1909)
1909 – daughter, “Minnie” Dorcas Aquilla
1911 – m. Sadie Irene Busch on September 3, 1911 (dec. April 22, 1932)
1913 – carpenter and builder, 200 Linwood Ave., Ardmore, PA
1914 – Spring Valley Mineral Cottage, Valley Forge, PA
1917 – Invented and received patents in USA and Canada for “Quick Change Machine” and “Racks”
1918 – applied for registered trademark for Valley Forge Mineral Springs
1922 – saved the George Washington Sentry Tree
1927 – lectured about the history of the Sentry Tree and Valley Forge
1931 – Royal Springs Fruit Farm, RD 2, Kimberton, PA
1934 – m. Elizabeth Elaine Ripnak on January 12, 1934
1939 – member, Independent Order of Odd Fellows
1940 – elected member, Chester County Historical Society
member-at-large, Lions Club
1941 – appointed director, Home for Orphans of Odd Fellows
1943 – began correspondence courses at Pennsylvania State College
member, Rosicrucian Order
1946 – member, Kiwanis Club
1948 – 1952 published lyrics and music
1949 – member, Federation of American Authors and Composers
1951 – published Epitomes
1952 – published Life’s Memory Pictures and How to Grow a Commercial Apple Orchard
1954 – published Random Faith
1956 – Morris Abner Barr fan Club started by Ada Mae Hoffrex of NJ
1957 – published Poetry/ Homespun Philosophy, vol.1
1958 – published The George Washington Sentry Tree
1959 – published Poetry/ Homespun Philosophy, vol. 2
1961 – awarded Doctor of Letters from Belin Memorial University, Manassas, VA
1974 – d. May
Series Title: Family Files
Quantity: 4 folders
Folder 1. Family photographs: portraits of Morris Abner Barr from age 35 to 65, a portrait of his first wife, Minnie Mae Schock, and a portrait of Rev. M. G. Herbein, the minister who married them. A group photo of Barr’s Bern Union Sunday School students and teachers, a photo of the home where his daughter was born in Bern County, photographs of paintings [copies of original works] which were stolen by Barr’s third wife Elizabeth Ripnak, photographs of other copied art work depicting George Washington and Jesus blessing the children, and photographs of an engraving labeled the Marriage of Pocahontas. An article about Barr from John V. Norris’s column, “Purely Personal,” The Daily Republican (Phoenixville), May 8, 1954.
Folder 2. Letters from Barr’s mother, Susanna Fritz Barr.
Folder 3. Letters from Barr’s brother, S. Irvin Baer.
Folder 4. Barr’s daughter, “Minnie” Dorcas Aquilla Barr, photograph of Minnie, programs, copies of letters written by Barr about his daughter’s volunteer service to Phoenixville Hospital during World War II, and receipts of mortgage payments.
Series Title: Personal Correspondence
Quantity: 5 folders
Arrangement: Copies of letters written by Morris Abner Barr arranged chronologically
Letters from others arranged alphabetically
Folder 5. Unknown personal correspondence: V-mail, post cards, and holiday cards unsigned or signed with only a first name.
Folder 6. Correspondence from Morris Abner Barr: handwritten copies of letters mostly concerning the celebration of George Washington’s 200th Birthday and gifts made of pieces of the Sentry Tree, including copies of letters sent to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Governor Arthur James (PA), and General Douglas MacArthur.
Folder 7. Personal correspondence: Armstrong – Hoffrek, including a note from Dr. Russell H. Conwell, the Baptist Temple, Philadelphia, PA, dated 1919 and another from Pierre S. Du Pont, Wilmington, DE, dated 1929.
Folder 8. Personal correspondence: Kanzinger – Shannon, including copies of a report written by eighth grader, Betty Jean Mauger about Barr, an “admired countryman.”
Folder 9. Personal correspondence: Schoenz – Woods, including a doctor’s report from H.L. Weikel, dated 1946 and letters and drawings from James G. White (Chief Thunder).
Series Title: Philanthropy
Quantity: 2 folders
Folder 10. Letters soliciting donations including one from Helen Keller, a thank you note from St. John’s Reformed Church of Phoenixville for the donation new pulpit Bible, dated 1905, a thank you from the Chester County Historical Society for a $100.00 donation to their building fund, dated 1941, and certificates from Boys Town and the Academy of Natural Sciences.
Folder 11. Letters of thanks for contributions, photos of missionary, Rev. Glessman, who Barr helped with donations, and a letter from Dwight D. Eisenhower about Brotherhood Week, dated 1948.
Series Title: George Washington Sentry Tree
Quantity: 4 folders
Folder 12. Letters of thanks from individuals and organizations for pieces of the Sentry Tree, including a testimonial from Lucien E. Davis, who remembered the tree from his youth as a relic of the Revolution.
Folder 13. Articles and letters of thanks for pieces of the Sentry Tree, including a note from the Smithsonian, a note from the Commonwealth of PA State Library and Museum, both dated 1940, photographs of Barr presenting a picture of Washington framed in wood from the Sentry Tree to Captain O’Donnell of Battery “C,” and a thank you from singer Kate Smith, also dated 1940.
Folder 14. Articles and letters of thanks for pieces of the Sentry Tree, including one from General Douglas MacArthur, General Headquarters, Southwest Pacific Area, dated 9th June 1942.
Folder 15. Articles and letters of thanks for pieces of the Sentry Tree.
Series Title: Lectures
Quantity: 1 folder
Folder 16: Articles and letters of thanks from community organizations, schools, and churches for Barr’s lecture on Valley Forge.
Series Title: Club Memberships
Quantity: 8 folders
Folder 17. Membership cards.
Folder 18. Independent Order of Odd Fellows: Articles, correspondence, membership certificates, and an article about Barr from the Pennsylvania Odd Fellow (December, 1947).
Folder 19. Home for Orphans of the Odd Fellows: Certificates and correspondence, including the notice of Barr’s nomination for director.
Folder 20. Chester County Historical Society: Certificate of elected membership, articles, and correspondence.
Folder 21. Lions Club: Articles, certificates, newsletters, and correspondence.
Folder 22. The Rosicrucian Order: Certificates and correspondence.
Folder 23. Kiwanis Club: Photograph, dated 1942, certificates, and correspondence.
Folder 24: Churchmen’s Brotherhood: Bulletin, program, and a letter about a contribution toward Barr’s wheel chair.
Series Title: Correspondence Courses
Quantity: 2 folders
Folder 25. Pennsylvania State College: Correspondence, certificates of completion from the School of Agriculture, course catalog, and study points [grades].
Folder 26. Voice of Prophecy Bible Course and other religious papers: a Vest Pocket Companion for Christian workers, prayers, church programs, certificates, and graded religious lessons.
Series Title: Music
Quantity: 5 folders
Folder 27. Correspondence, contract and royalty agreements from Gordon Music, Camdon Music, and membership certificate to the Federation of American Authors and Composers.
Folder 28. Correspondence, a list of Barr’s 50 songs, an anniversary edition of the Songwriters Nation (featuring Barr’s song, “Here’s to the Boys in Korea” (1950) on the front page), gift acknowledgement from Brown University for 25 pieces of sheet music [he also donated his novelette, At The Age of Fourteen], copies of Studio News, letters of thanks from Ambassador You Chang Yang of Korea and Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower for sending songs.
Folder 29. Correspondence, contracts from Crown Music, and gift acknowledgement from Brown University for 26 songs [Barr also donated The Uphill Road, Life’s Memory Pictures, and a poem].
Folder 30. Newsletters, copies of Studio News, and photos of musicians.
Folder 31. Published sheet music and song descriptions.
Folder 32. Published sheet music and song descriptions.
[The following items were removed from Morris Abner Barr Collection #106 and sent to curatorial — B.A.B. 9/18/2002]
Assay reports and gold samples sent from Albert C. Sonthal
1 – May 24, 1915
1 – July 12, 1915
1 – August 11, 1915
1 – September 8, 1915
1 – May 1, 1916
2 – May 16, 1916
5 lapel pins from the Lions Club
6 lapel pins from the I.O.O.F.
German Iron Cross with description
Ring gauge with description
God Bless America key chain
Set of keys to spring heads at Valley Forge Springs
Strand of George Washington’s hair and description
Lions Club pen knife
Name tag from Lions Club Convention 1949
Metal tag from Kiwanis Club
6 – Metal printing plates
Morris Abner Barr Photograph Collection
File 1: Morris Abner Barr Portraits
2 b & w photographs, Morris Abner Barr, both inscribed: “35 years old,” one printed as cameo includes typed biographical information, .
1 b & w photograph, Morris Abner Barr, inscribed: “37 years old, .
1 b & w photograph, Morris Abner Barr, inscribed: “59 years old Close to 60, 1944.”
1 b & w photograph, Morris Abner Barr, inscribed: 62 years of age .
1 b & w photograph, Morris Abner Barr, inscribed: “I have now found a remedy that helps to ease up on some of the terrific pain I suffered all those 15 years. The remedy is “Bills [sic] Rattle Snake oil at 50 [cents] per oz. By using it 3 times a day on my arm and legs I do get some relief from the awful pain. Morris Abner Barr, 64 years old .
1 b & w photograph, Morris Abner Barr, inscribed: “At 65 years of age,” photo by Olan Mills, Springfield, Ohio .
File 2: Barr Family
1 b & w snapshot, inscribed: “Mrs. Susanna Barr (89), mother to Morris Abner Barr,” [1900s].
1 b & w photograph, [Morris Abner Barr with two Sunday school teachers and students], inscribed: “At the age of 19 years Morris Abner Barr was superintendent of the primary department and organist of the Bern Union Sunday School from which he came to Phoenixville Reformed Church 37 years ago,” .
1 b & w photograph on mount, Minnie Mae Schock, inscribed: “Morris Abner Barr, The picture of my first wife who was one of my teachers in the Bern Union Sunday School where I was superintendent in my 18th year when my father drive [sic] me out.” [Barr described his courtship, marriage, and the death of his first wife in childbirth on the back of this photo, early 1900s].
1 b& w photograph, cropped, inscribed: “My daughter Minnie Dorcas Aquilla Barr so called at the request of her mother who said “must I die because of him;” she meant the doctor who left her suddenly after Minnie was born and did not return for 3 days – after July 5th 1909 and yet he lived just across the street. – so I had to suffer her loss, M A Barr,” [1900s].
1 b & w photograph mounted, inscribed: “The Rev. M. G. Herbein by whom I was married first and third time,” photo by Strunk, Reading, PA, [1900s].
1 b & w photograph mounted, inscribed: “This was my house in Berks County where my daughter was born and my wife died. We lived this place and worked very hard and my wife and I were happy here. However when she went I lost everything I had and went away broke,” [1900s].
1 b & w photograph mounted, inscribed: “I took this picture of the Busch family in 1910 at the request of Sadie Busch who later became my 2nd wife and she raised my daughter and when she was 24 years old Sadie passed away. [Barr’s 2nd wife Sadie died in 1932. He may have meant that they knew each other for 24 years.] My wife was a dress maker and her sisters all became graduates of West Chester State Normal School and all became wonderful school teachers.”
1 b & w photograph, inscribed: “Relatives and friends partaking of the Earth’s bounties at Valley Forge Springs,” [1900s].
1 b & w photograph, inscribed: “Table in “Shady Nook” in use by relatives and Friends on their trip to Valley Forge Springs,” [1900s]. 1 mat folder, inscribed: My only child whos [sic] mother died when she was 12 days old. Here she is a graduate of Phoenixville High School – also as an employe [sic] of the Phoenixville Hospital. For 9 years,” photo by The Radel Studio, Phoenixville, PA, [photo of Minnie is missing, replaced by reproduction of Morris Barr in 1923. Photo of Minnie Barr in clipping file may be the one referred to here].
File 3: Philanthropy
1 b & w snapshot, inscribed: “This picture was taken a year ago at the Y.M.C.A. Baghdad. You notice that Baghdad is far enough south to grow date palms,” and “I helped Rev. Glessman who stands by the car raise the money for this car in his work. Morris Abner Barr,” [1900s].
1 b & w photograph, inscribed: “James G. White – Chief Thunder, CKO-GA, Famous Indian Head Exhibition Artist,” [1940s].
1 b & w snap shot, inscribed: “erar [sic] Rev. Glessman missionary I helped get this Jeep,” [1900s].
File 4: Club Memberships
1 b & w snapshot, [two service men], inscribed: Corporal Earl Scheffey to Morris A. Barr,” [Scheffey was a member of the Odd Fellows], photo by Grim’s Photo Lab, Reading, PA, May 1944.
1 b & w photograph, inscribed: “Phoenixville Kiwanis Club pays visit to Bangor Club, photo by Hartman Studio, Roseto, PA, March 25, 1948.
1 b & w banquet photograph, inscribed: Testimonial Dinner-Dance, P.G.P.S., Milton Zimmerman, Masonic Hall Ardmore, Jan. 18, 1941, 316, [Barr marked his location and Minnie D. A. Barr appears to be sitting next to him.], [photo removed to conservation area 10/30/02], photo by Bell Photo, Philadelphia, Pa., 1941.
File 5: George Washington Sentry Tree
1 b & w snapshot, inscribed: “The remains of the General George Washington Sentry tree as found by Morris Abner over 25 years ago along the road to Strafford Station and Paoli Office on the Main Line from Philadelphia to Harrisburg, PA,” [1920s].
1 b & w snapshot, inscribed: “A presentation to Army officers going to camp with a picture of General George Washington kneeling in prayer in the snow. The frame was made from wood which was part of the tree upon which General Washington had a sentry post at the time of the Paoli Massacre. Morris Abner Barr at 60 years of age,” 1944.
2 b & w photographs, inscribed: “L. to R. Joseph P. Bailey, Maj. Frank E. Geiser, Morris A. Barr, Rev. Joseph Woods, Jr., Captain Arthur Tomkins (Phoenixville Burgess) Presentation of picture of Washington, framed with wood from the Strafford Sentry tree, to Captain O’Donnell of Battery C,” .
File 6: Plants and Flowers
1 b & w snapshot, inscribed: “Beautiful Wild flowers in Jungles of Valley Forge Springs,” [1900s].
1 b & w photo postcard, inscribed: “Many florists came to Valley Forge Springs conservatory of rare flowers plants and trees to see this beautiful rare, 28 year old century plant whose roots were totally rotten of,” [1900s].
1 b & w photograph, inscribed: “Morris Abner Barr, at Valley Forge Springs, in 1920 had his first bloom from the beautiful plants of Hydrangeas, that he raised from twigs, that he put in the ground some years before,” 1920.
1 b & w snapshot, labeled: “3 Irish Junipers and Australian Torch, Valley Forge Springs,” [1900s].
1 b & w photograph, [Barr taking a walk] inscribed: “One of the first trips over the barren field of what is now called “The Penna. Treasure farm,” [1900s].
1 b & w photograph, [Barr holding century plant] inscribed: “a 28 year old century plant living by an iris root now for 2 years as original root roted [sic] away and was grafted by M. A. Barr,” [1900s].
1 b & w photograph, [Barr holding plant] inscribed: “The Thorny Crown from Jerusalem raised by Morris Abner Barr from a little three inch twig,” [1900s].
File 7: Music
1 b & w photograph, front autographed: “To my dear friend, Morris Abner Barr, with sincere good wishes. L. Leslie Loth New York, N.Y. Dec. 25, 1948” and back inscribed: “This man was in his youth an Episcopalian choir boy and later became one New Yorks [sic] most noted musicians and for years lead the 500 Choir. He wrote the music to 4 of my poems and the full piano arrangements for two others,” 1948.
1 b & w photograph, [Uncle Jack and his band] inscribed: “It was through Uncle Jack who knew me well, that my Stradavarious [sic] violin good in the hands of a fine young man not shown here as his violin was stolen and he could not play on this occasion. Morris Abner Barr,” [1940s].
File 8: Art Collection
1 b & w copy photograph, [portrait of Washington? and family] inscribed: “Engraving by A. Robin N. Y.,” [1900s].
2 b & w copy photographs, [print entitled, “The Empty Chair” Dickens’s Study at Gad’s Hill, June 9, 1870.] inscribed: “Wonderful engraving of Dickens Study,” [1900s].
2 b & w copy photographs, inscribed: “Steel engraving, The Marriage of Pocohontas published by J. Smith 804 Market Street Phila about 1865,” [1900s].
2 b & w copy photographs, [Madonna and Christ depicted in both] inscribed: “Copies of Ecce Homo by Guido Reni (1575-1642) Original in Gallery at Bologne size of paintings 10×12 with 1½” frame These two paintings were stolen from my home by Elizabeth Ripnak,” [1900s].
1 b & w copy photograph, inscribed: “Washington presiding over the Masonic lodge at Alexanar [sic] No 22 right before the dedication of the Capital at Richmond,” [1900s].
1 b & w copy photograph, inscribed: “Trumbull Surrender of Cornwallis & Washington triumphial [sic] Entry into Yorktown,” [1900s].
2 b & w copy photographs, one inscribed: “The Lord blessing the little children Wonderful Engraving” the other, “Painted by Eastlake Engraved 1869,” [1900s].
File 9: Carpenter and Builder
1 b & w photograph, [Arts and Crafts style house] inscribed: “Build [sic] by M. A. Barr for Mrs. Blanch Gray, Phoenixville PA,” [1900s].
1 b & w photograph mounted, [Table set with fruits, blessings] inscribed: “Part of the interior of the bedroom of Morris Abner Barr at the age of 20 when he boarded himself and lived in a very small room on 3rd floor in Ardmore,” .
1 b & w sepia photograph mounted, inscribed: “Interior of Ardmore Y.M.C.A. in which Morris Abner Barr was an assistant to the Secretary at the age of 20 years,” .
File 10: Spring Valley Mineral Cottage
1 b & w snapshot, [Barr with a shovel and pick] inscribed: “Where Barr found the Sapphire now owned by Marshal Joffre of France,” photo by Ben Maser, [early 1900s].
1 b & w photograph, [Morris Abner Barr seated in wheelchair], inscribed: “M. A. Barr in his office looking over some of the rarest gems ever found in the United States,” [1900s].
1 b & w photograph, labeled: “Penna. Treasure Farm. M. A. Barr in Sand Quarry where Many Beautiful Gems Have Been Found,” June 1927.
1 b & w photograph, labeled: “A foot petrified in stone,” photo by Ben Maser, [1900s].
2 b & w radiographs, one inscribed: “Proof of tests made from mineralized sand stone, showing Radio Activities in some of the minerals found at “Valley Forge Springs,” and the other inscribed: “Granatoid Rock(Radioactive) slicken slide on back white & powdery sand on front from which the object here was produced,” [1900s].
1 b & w photograph, [pick axe in rock] inscribed; “The out cropping of the only commercial vein of stammite [sic] (Tin Ore) ever found in Penna running 9.88 per ton in Tin,” photo by Ben Maser, [1900s].
1 b & w snapshot, inscribed: “Outcropping of Greissoid [sic] in Jungles of Penna. Treasure Farm identicely [sic] the same as the Egyptian in Egypt,” [1900s].
1 b & w photograph, [Barr in stream] inscribed: “Hanging wall of the vertical quartz gold vein carrying from $28.00 to 174.00 per ton of silver and gold,” [1900s].
1 b & w photograph, inscribed: “This is a picture of a wonderful piece of marble from Italy from the Messosoic [sic] Age showing the Petrification [sic] of grasshoppers as marked x and grub worms marked o,” n.d.
1 b & w photograph, [Barr holding rock] inscribed: “said by great Geologists to be the most beautiful piece of Absidian [sic] in America,” [1900s].
1 b & w photograph, [Barr with box of gems] front inscribed: “Valley Forge Springs Gems,” [1900s].
1 b & w photograph, [Barr with shovel in sand quarry] front inscribed: “Mining Gems at Valley Forge,” back inscribed: “After gems in the sand quarry,” [1900s].
1 b & w photograph, [stone fire place and meteor] inscribed: “-e x on this picture indicates -rt of Meteor which fell in the blue marble quarry near Conshohocken which is claimed weighed over a ton,” [1900s].
File 11: Valley Forge Mineral Springs
1 b & w snapshot, labeled: “Colonial Arch over drive to Valley Forge Springs, [1900s].
1 b & w snapshot, labeled: “How iron water was collected at Valley Forge Spring’s Farm,” [1900s].
1 b & w snapshot labeled: “Prof. Geo. Currier, Private Curator, Valley Forge Springs, right and Morris A. Barr, left,” [1900s].
1 b & w snapshot, labeled: “3000 gallon tank buried at Valley Forge Springs to store water for sterilizing bottles,” [1900s].
1 b & w snapshot, inscribed: “Method of collecting Iron Water, which comes only drop by drop and collected in stone croks [sic] and stored away in glass bottles until consumed by Anemics,” [1900s].
1 b & w snapshot, inscribed: “At the age of (35) This was during the period of developing Valley Forge Springs which was done mostly by the help of one laborer for nearly 10 years,”  photo dated November 1952.
1 b & w photograph, labeled: “Valley Forge Springs Museum,” [1900s].
1 b & w photograph, labeled: “Annual picnic of mother’s club of Roosevelt School, Norristown, at Valley Forge Springs, 1927.”
1 b & w photograph, labeled: “Dr. Ericksen and family from Stockholm, Sweden. Mr. Wilkinson and family from Scotland. Mr. Morris A. Barr, carpenter who built the Valley Forge Springs Museum with the help of a laborer, up to this point and from here finished it alone between his deliveries, taking five years to do it,” [1900s].
1 b & w photograph, inscribed: “Groups of visitors to see the Mineral Springs,” [1900s].
1 b & w photograph, inscribed: “Hunting for the head springs in the Jungles and after digging for days discovered springs flowing over 3000 gallons a day undeveloped,” [1900s].
1 b & w photograph, inscribed: “Excavating for a pipe line from the Valley Forge Springs, to the Penna Kings Sons and Daughters Holiday House, ¼ quarter mile long which is using the no 2 or plain spring water continually. This pipe line is 600 feet long,” [1900s].
1 b & w photograph, inscribed: “Showing 3280 gallon cement basin as a “reserve” 150 ft from the head of the 10 springs and part of terra cotta pipe line which was all told 750 feet long,” [1900s].
1 b & w photograph, inscribed: “showing part of a pipe line before being covered and head of 10 springs in corn field,” [1900s].
1 b & w photograph, inscribed: “Breaking ground for the Valley Forge Springs Museum in 1921.”
1 b & w photograph, inscribed: “showing Plant residence and museum of the Valley Forge Springs,” photo by Ben Maser, Phila., PA, [1900s].
1 b & w photograph [long shot of residence and museum from road], [1900s].
1 b & w photograph [view of porch and plants], [1900s].
1 b & w photograph, inscribed: “Relations & friends on annual visit to Valley Forge Springs,” [1900s].
1 b & w photograph, [crowd of visitors at trade show with Mr. Barr standing in the background at his Pennsylvania Treasure farm display], photo by Bussa, 1927.
1 b & w photograph, inscribed: “Valley Forge Springs Museum under construction 1922 and residence of owner build [sic] in 1914.”
1 b & w photograph, inscribed: “Bottling room at Valley Forge Springs where the Alkaline, Lime, Iron Spring, and battery waters are labeled and sealed ready for distribution,” June 10, 1926.
1 b & w photograph, inscribed: “The latest and most up to date bottle washing and sterilizing machine. Operated by one man and a 10 horsepower motor,” June 10, 1926.
1 b & w photograph mounted, [portrait of Barr with very swollen hands, holding gallon water jugs] inscribed: “33 years old the first water from Valley Forge Springs was delivered in this manner,” photo by Mason’s Studio, Philadelphia, PA, 1917.
1 b & w photograph mounted, [Barr and his daughter in front of delivery truck both holding water jugs] inscribed: “The 2nd automobile M. A. Barr owned when two other waters were discovered by him,” 1919.
1 b & w photograph mounted, [front gate of Barr’s home], photo by Ben Maser, Philadelphia, Pa, [1900s]. [removed to oversized photo files]
1 b & w photograph mounted, [view of Barr’s front gardens], photo by Ben Maser, Philadelphia, Pa, [1900s]. [removed to oversized photo files]
1 b & w photograph mounted, [rear view of Barr’s residence and museum], photo by Ben Maser, Philadelphia, Pa, [1900s]. [removed to oversized photo files]
File 12: Royal Springs Fruit Farm
1 b & w snapshot, note attached: “At the age of in the early (40) my orchard at Valley Forge began producing some very choice fruit of which this limb of pears is proof,” [1920s].
6 b & w snapshots, [a series of views of Barr’s 150 year-old apple tree] inscribed: “The largest and oldest apple tree known, a “Gravenstine” This tree had an original spread of 75 feet, is 12 feet 9 inches around the trunk and gets one half inch larger every year,” 1943. 3
photographs, inscribed: “The picture of an apple grown on the 150 year-old Gravenstine apple tree. Grown in 1942 with the victory sign so beautifully displayed on its skin. This centenarian predicted Victory for America and her allies in the War,” photo by J. Will Sigman, Phoenixville, PA, 1946.
1 b & w photograph, [Barr standing in front of a fruit tree], [1900s].
1 b & w photograph mounted, inscribed: “Morris Abner Barr entering his Cold Storage room said to be the finest and most up to date in Chester Co. Pa,” 1934.
1 b & w photograph mounted, inscribed: “Morris Abner Barr working amongst his apples in his Cold Storage Rooms all alone in 1934.”
1 b & w photograph mounted, [crates of apples in storage], 1934.
1 b & w photograph mounted, [baskets of apples in storage], 1934. [photo descriptions included in ms. Collection]
1 b & w photograph on mount, Minnie Mae Schock, inscribed: “Morris Abner Barr, The picture of my first wife who was one of my teachers in the Bern Union Sunday School where I was superintendent in my 18th year when my father drive [sic] me out. However, this fine young Christian lady later revealed to me that she had prayed for me (4) years for my love and companionship before – My mother told me who later asked me to come home at Christmas time. I went even though father did not speak to me. There mother had this Minnie Schock at her home to meet me, and I felt if she had prayed for my love that long she was the one for me and I promised to marry her in a year when my work was complete 100 miles away. However, she only lived 2 ½ years when she died in child birth when she was neglected by the doctor. After which she said, “Must I die because of him, will you take care of my baby and raise her a good woman. I have done so. She called her Dorcas Aquilla, 2nd wife called her Minnie for her mother God bless her,” [1900s].
1 b & w photograph, group photo of Bern Union Sunday School, inscribed: “At the age of 19 years Morris Abner Barr was superintendent of the primary department and organist of the Bern Union Sunday School from which he came to Phoenixville Reformed Church 37 years ago. Before he left his native home in Berks Co. he took his department with two assistants to pose for a photograph in the Sunday School grove so that the he would have something to remember them by. All these children are now grown up, and married and some have grown up children. Mr. Barr never used any tobacco or liquor and always tried to set a good example for others to follow,” .
1 b & w photograph mounted, inscribed: “The Rev. M. G. Herbein by whom I was married first and third time. This was the man who came and knocked on my door after my first wife had died in childbirth, after she was buried and the baby and I were in the home all alone when I had no food fo her to eat and she laid on the bed and cried as she was hungry – I did not know what to do alone with her. I fell on my knees and read my bible [sic] and cried with the baby, asking God what to do, as I could not stay there alone. A knock came on the door, I brushed the bitter tears from my face got up went to the door – unlocked and opened it When Rev. Herbein said, My boy you have great sorrow – I come from Reading to see you and have a talk with you – wont you come in. Then he said are you all alone – Yes I am with this motherless babe crying for food – her grandmother wont take her – wont your mother take her – she is ill – go see her I think she’ll take her – I have a position for you at Bethany Orphans Home at Whomelsdorf [sic] – as a boys attendant – Because you do not smoke chew or drink – will you take it – Yes but I must sell everything first –How soon can you go – In three weeks – I sold farm and all and left,” [1900s].
1 b & w snapshot, inscribed: “The remains of the General George Washington Sentry tree as found by Morris Abner over 25 years ago along the road to Strafford Station and Paoli Office on the Main Line from Philadelphia to Harrisburg, PA. I supplied Canon Bayly with sufficient wod [sic] for the Litany Desk by request fro his new church he build [sic], [1920s].
1 b & w photograph, inscribed: “James G. White – Chief Thunder, CKO-GA, Famous Indian Head Exhibition Artist, Former Cowboy with A.H. Allard Ranch, South Dakota and Disabled World War Vetran [sic], World War # 1., Member of All American Indian Show, The above symbols is my Indian name Cko–ga translated into English from Winnebago means Chief Thunder,” [1940s].
1 b & w photograph, autographed: “To my dear friend, Morris Abner Barr, with sincere good wishes. L. Leslie Loth New York, N.Y. Dec. 25, 1948” and inscribed: “This man was in his youth an Episcopalian choir boy and later became one New Yorks [sic] most noted musicians and for years lead the 500 Choir. He wrote the music to 4 of my poems and the full piano arrangements for two others. The Federation of American Authors and Composers tried their best to have him as their music critic – He however always refused. Mr. Loth has over 500 songs to his credit,” 1948.
1 b & w photograph mounted, [Table set with fruits, blessings] inscribed: “Part of the interior of the bedroom of Morris Abner Barr at the age of 20 when he boarded himself and lived in a very small room on 3rd floor in Ardmore when he worked at his carpenter trade and spend his evenings in the Y.M.C.A. and also taught a class in the Lutheran Sunday School as well as organising [sic] and being the first President of the Brotherhood of Andrew and Phillip, as well as playing the Piano to the singing in the meeting. The food and fruit was send to him by his mother from the farm in Berks County,” .
1 b & w photograph, [two gems mounted in stick pins] labeled: “Two of the rarest gems in the world. On the left is the Celestial Harlequin opal, about 1 ½ times natural size, mounted in pin. As far as known it is the only gem of its kind, having eight distinct colors. The stone on the right is an absolutely perfect pure black Opal, which is also extremely valuable and rare, photo by Ben Maser, [1900s].
1 b & w snapshot, inscribed: “At the age of (35) This was during the period of developing Valley Forge Springs which was done mostly by the help of one laborer for nearly 10 years. You will notice that my right hand is badly swollen from over work on excavating masonry, cement work as well as plumbing and carpentry – The mind was always willing – However the body was often so over worked that at times I could hardly move anymore,” dated November 1952. “I took this picture of the Busch family in 1910 at the request of Sadie Busch who later became my 2nd wife and she raised my daughter abs when she was 24 years old Sadie passed away. My wife was a dress maker and her three sisters all became graduates of “West Chester State Normal School and all became wonderful school teachers – The two with the white shirt waist dresses still teach in the Norristown Area High Schools. Had it not been for this Christian Sadie Busch, there would never have been the wonderful Valley Forge Springs where I almost killed myself working and broke down twice. However, God’s work was carried out. His wonderful hidden spring was not known to humanity which came about as I was directed – which saved hundreds of lives during the 1917 Flu. And is still today purifying the health of thousands of the people using the water from Valley Forge Springs from its new source of supply. – The original supply having been destroyed by State Highway Dynamiting a new road bed nearby some years after the plant was in operation. However, I must reiterate, had there been no Sadie Busch there would have been no Valley Forge Springs. Sincerely, Morris Abner Barr.”