Archival Adventures in Small Repositories
Highlands Historical Society was formed in 1975 to preserve, restore and interpret the historic Highlands mansion and grounds from 1794 to the present. Anthony Morris (1766-1860), a wealthy Philadelphia politician and merchant, purchased over 200 acres of land in Whitemarsh Township, Montgomery County in 1794 and completed construction of The Highlands in 1796. Philadelphia wine merchant George Sheaff (1779-1851) acquired the property in 1813 and it remained in the Sheaff family for over a century. In 1917 the property was sold to Miss Caroline Sinkler (1860-1949), a native South Carolinian with strong ties to Philadelphia. Her niece Emily Sinkler Roosevelt and her husband Nicholas purchased the property in 1941 and gave it to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1957. The Highlands Historical Society maintains an archival collection documenting the history of the property and the families that lived there. The archival collections total over 15 linear feet of materials spanning the years 1797 to 2005 (bulk 1900-2005).