Harvard University (Ivy League), 2 Kirkland St, Cambridge, MA 02138
University of Pennsylvania (Ivy League), 3355 Woodland Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Fonthill Castle, 525 E Court St, Doylestown, PA 18901, Stati Uniti
Moravian Pottery & Tile Works Museum, 130 Swamp Rd, Doylestown, PA 18901, Stati Uniti
Mercer Museum, 84 S Pine St, Doylestown, PA 18901, Stati Uniti
Doylestown Presbyterian Church, 127 E Court St, Doylestown, PA 18901, Stati Uniti
Henry Chapman Mercer (June 24, 1856 – March 9, 1930) was an American archeologist, artifact collector, tile-maker, and designer of three distinctive poured concrete structures: Fonthill, his home, the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, and the Mercer Museum. He was a mutual friend of Henry Davis Sleeper’s and A. Piatt Andrew’s, and his famous house in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, much resembled Sleeper’s in Gloucester.
Henry Mercer was born in Doylestown, Pennsylvania on June 24, 1856. Mercer first traveled to Europe in 1870. He attended Harvard University between 1875 and 1879, obtaining a liberal arts degree. Mercer went on to study law at University of Pennsylvania Law School between 1880 and 1881, and he read law with the firm of Freedley and Hollingsworth. The same year he began studying at the University of Pennsylvania, he became a founding member of the Bucks County Historical Society.
Mercer, however, never practiced law; he was admitted to the Philadelphia County Bar on November 9, 1881, but departed for Europe the same month. From 1881 to 1889, he extensively traveled through France and Germany.
The University of Pennsylvania Museum appointed Mercer as the Curator of American and Prehistoric Archaeology in the early 1890s. Leaving his position with the Museum in the late 1890s, Mercer devoted himself to finding old American artifacts and learning about German pottery. Mercer believed that American society was being destroyed by industrialism, which inspired his search for American artifacts. Mercer founded Moravian Pottery and Tile Works in 1898 after apprenticing himself to a Pennsylvania German potter. He was also influenced by the American Arts and Crafts Movement.
Mercer was an outspoken opponent of the plume trade.
Henry Ford stated that the Mercer museum was the only museum worth visiting in the United States, and the Mercer Museum was apparently Henry Ford's inspiration for his own museum, The Henry Ford, located in Dearborn, Michigan. The Mercer Museum houses over forty thousand artifacts from early American society. Mercer died on March 9, 1930 at Fonthill, the house he designed and constructed from reinforced concrete in 1908-1912.
The Bucks County Historical Society now owns Fonthill, which is open to the public, and the Mercer Museum. The Moravian Pottery and Tile Works is owned and operated by the Bucks County Department of Parks & Recreation. These three buildings make up "the Mercer Mile". All three buildings were designed and constructed by Henry Mercer in the early part of the 20th century.
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