This portrayal, originally developed for Old Economy Village (now a Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission site), incorporates vocal and instrumental selections drawn from the extensive Music Archives of the Harmony Society.
Additionally, Miss Rapp demonstrates the process of silk production from sericulture (seasonal rearing of silkworms) to fiber processing (including reeling and spinning) and weaving; silk demonstrations have been presented for site visitors, summer camp programs, and organizations including the Communal Studies Association and the Herb Society of America.
Miss Rapp has frequently been found “at home” to visitors to Old Economy Village: advocating American silk production, performing in concerts, and participating in special site events. She also participates in events in the “outside world,” including scout overnights at the Heinz History Center, the re-opening of the Brownsville Wharf, a meeting of female entrepreneurs at Christian Klay Winery, and programs for school students.
Gertrude Rapp (1808-1889) was a pioneer in the American silk industry as foreperson of the Silk Mill at Economy, Pennsylvania. A member of the Harmony Society (a communal religious organization founded by her grandfather George Rapp and several hundred German immigrants), Miss Rapp not only supervised the production of silk goods equal to those imported from Europe but also served as the official hostess of the Society. She was an accomplished pianist and singer– the only female Harmonist who studied an instrument.
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