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Manuscript Group 310
JOHN DUSS PAPERS
1882-1951
11 cubic feet


John Samuel Duss (b.1860 - d.1951) was the last trustee of the Harmony Society, serving in that position from 1890-1903. The Harmonists were a religious communal society founded by Johann Georg Rapp in 1805 that exerted a major influence on the economic development of Western Pennsylvania. Duss was born in Cincinnati, and after his father was conscripted into the Confederate Army, Duss's Mother Sarah took two year old son John to Economy, Pennsylvania to join the Harmony Society. Duss lived with the Harmonists on and off throughout his life.

Duss was a musician, composer and band leader who conducted the Economy Band from 1883. This band merged with the Great Western Band of Pittsburgh in 1900 to form the Duss Concert Band and Metropolitan Opera House Orchestra. Duss also wrote The Harmonists: A Personal History (Harrisburg: The Pennsylvania Book Service, 1943).

Up until Duss's death in 1951, the John Duss Papers were known variously as the Harmony Society Archives and the Duss Memorial Exhibit. For the most part, the materials for the period of his trusteeship of the Harmony Society, 1890-1903, are contained in the Harmony Society Papers (Manuscript Group 185). Duss's musical compositions and library have long been housed at the PHMC's Old Economy Village Historical Site in Ambridge. The John Duss Papers have also now been transferred to Old Economy Village.

For related records see the Harmony Society Papers (Manuscript Group 185), Old Economy Village Collection (Manuscript Group 354), Karl Arndt Collection of Harmony Society Materials (Manuscript Group 437), Knoedler Family Collection (Manuscript Group 330), and Henry Mohn Family Collection (Manuscript Group 332), which have also been transferred to Old Economy Village.




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