Skip to Main Content

Harrison, Sarah Poulterer

American, 1817 - 1906

Poulterer, Sarah


Sarah Poulterer Harrison, originally of New York, was the wife of Joseph Harrison, Jr. [1810-1874], the Philadelphia engineer, financier and art collector. They were married 15 December 1836 and had seven children. Harrison was a foreman for the firm Garrett & Eastwick, eventually becoming a partner with in that enterprise. In 1841 the firm built the locomotive Gowan and Marx, whose performance attracted the attention of Russian engineers researching North American railroad equipment. Harrison and his partners were subsequently contracted by the Russian government to build locomotives and freight cars. As a result, the Harrisons spent most of the years of 1843-1850 in Saint Petersburg. They then lived mainly in London and Paris, returning to Philadelphia in 1852. The Harrison mansion on Rittenhouse Square (destroyed in the 1920s) included a wing as a gallery for Harrison's art collection, which included Gilbert Stuart's Vaughan portrait of George Washington [now NGA 1942.8.27], Benjamin West's depiction of William Penn's treaty with the Indians, and Charles Willson Peale's The Artist in his Museum [both now at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts]. Harrison also had in his collection George Catlin's American Indian Gallery, [now at the Smithsonian Institution] which he had acquired in England in 1852. Harrison was very ill in his late years, and it was Sarah who disposed of much of the collection after his death. In 1912 a final sale of the Harrison collection was held in in Philadephia, following Sarah's death.


Malone, Dumas, ed. Dictionary of American Biography. 20 vols. New York, 1943: VIII: 345-346.
Wainwright, Nicholas B. "Joseph Harrison, Jr., a forgotten art collector." Antiques 102 (October 1972): 660-668.

Related Content

  • Sort by:
  • Results layout:
Show  results per page

Works of Art

  • Filters:
  • Sort by:
  • Results layout:

Limit to works on view

Limit to works with online images

Limit to works of classification:

Limit to works of artist nationalities:

Limit to works belonging to editions:

Limit to works created between:

Limit to works containing styles:

Limit to works containing photographic processes:

Find works executed in:

Find works containing subject terms:

Find works with an alternate reference number (for example, Key Set number) containing:

Show  results per page
The image compare list is empty.