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Harrison, Sarah Poulterer
American, 1817 - 1906
Poulterer, Sarah
Biography
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.
Bibliography
1933
Malone, Dumas, ed. Dictionary of American Biography. 20 vols. New York, 1943: VIII: 345-346.
1972
Wainwright, Nicholas B. "Joseph Harrison, Jr., a forgotten art collector." Antiques 102 (October 1972): 660-668.
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