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Inventory of the John S. Harbison Papers
D-080  
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Table of contents What's This?
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms
  • Access
  • Processing Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Publication Rights

  • Creator: Harbison, J. S. (John S.)
    Title: John S. Harbison Papers
    Date (inclusive): 1857-1920
    Extent: 1.3 linear feet
    Abstract: John S. Harbison (1826-1912) was one of the first beekeepers to import bees into California and was an inventor of innovative beehives and new methods of rearing queen bees. He authored An Improved System of Propagating the Honey Bee (1860) and The Beekeeper's Directory (1861). His papers contain daybooks documenting Harbison's beekeeping activities; correspondence to and from his brothers, his patent representatives, and business partners; and deeds, business receipts and patent grants.
    Physical location: Researchers should contact Special Collections to request collections, as many are stored offsite.
    Repository: University of California, Davis. General Library. Dept. of Special Collections.
    Davis, California 95616-5292
    Collection number: D-080
    Language of Material: Collection materials in English.

    Biography

    John Stewart Harbison was born to William and Margaret (Curry) Harbison in Beaver County, Pennsylvania on September 28, 1826. Harbison followed in his father's footsteps and became interested in beekeeping and the nursery trade.
    In 1854, he settled in Calaveras County, California where he began searching for gold. His quest for gold did not last long and in early 1855 he relocated to Sutterville, near Sacramento, where he started the first nursery of fruit and shade trees in the Sacramento Valley.
    Harbison returned to Pennsylvania in 1857 with the intention of shipping bees back to California. His first shipment of bees arrived in San Francisco on November 30, 1857 aboard the Sonora. Since this endeavor was successful, he obtained a second supply of bees from Pennsylvania the following year.
    During 1857-1858, Harbison created a bee hive with a section honey box. The hive, which was patented by Harbison, is described and illustrated in his book, The Beekeeper's Directory (1861).
    Harbison formed a four year partnership with R.G. Clark in 1869 for the purpose of introducing and keeping bees in San Diego County. Harbison agreed to furnish one hundred and ten colonies of bees, bee supplies, and the necessary financing to transport and keep the bees in San Diego County, while Clark had complete charge of the apiaries. The partners equally divided the surplus honey and any increase in the colonies.
    By 1873, Clark & Harbison had sold three hundred colonies of bees to the residents of San Diego County. When their four year contract expired in November 1873, they split the bees and apiary sites evenly and operated their apiaries separately.
    Harbison continued his nursery and apiary business near Sacramento until February 1874 when he moved to San Diego.
    He passed away on October 12, 1912.
    Source:
    Watkins, Lee H. "John S. Harbison: Pioneer San Diego Beekeeper." The Journal of San Diego History. 15.4 (1969): 17-26.

    Scope and Content

    The John S. Harbison Papers contain daybooks documenting Harbison's beekeeping activities; correspondence to and from his brothers, his patent representatives, and business partners; and deeds, business receipts and patent grants. Also included are manuscripts of his book The Beekeepers' Directory.

    Arrangement of the Collection

    The collection is arranged in six series: 1. Writings by Harbison, 2. Correspondence, 3. Legal and Financial Materials, 4. Works by Others, 5. Ephemera, 6. Photographic Materials.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Harbison, J. S. (John S.)--Archives
    Beekeepers--California
    Bee culture--California
    Bees--California

    Access

    Collection is open for research.

    Processing Information

    Sara Gunasekara processed this collection and created and encoded this finding aid.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], John S. Harbison Papers, D-080, Department of Special Collections, General Library, University of California, Davis.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright is protected by the copyright law, chapter 17, of the U.S. Code. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Collections, General Library, University of California, Davis as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.