The Historical Society
of Harford County, Inc.

Welcome! The Historical Society of Harford County, Inc. is a not-for-profit membership organization whose mission is to collect, preserve, present, promote, and interpret the rich and diverse history of the County area, in its regional context, from its prehistoric origins to the present. The Society currently preserves over 250,000 documents and some 500 artifacts. The Society uses its facilities, library, archives, digital data bases, artifacts, systematic historical research, and creative educational opportunities to ensure that the County’s past are accessible to the public, local and worldwide, today and in the future. The Society was incorporated in 1885 and welcomes all interested persons to enjoy its many activities, services, and facilities. The Society motto is: "Preserving Our Past for Your Future." We proudly report that the Society recently received the “Award for Excellence.” Thus, it joins a small group of outstanding non-profit organizations in Maryland that have qualified for the award

PastPerfect-Online Electronic Card Catalog
125th Anniversary Chronology Limited Edition Book   
NEW: Original Founders/Members
2010 Annual Report
Hays House
Tudor Hall
Memorials: War    Biographical
FOR SALE: Books,  Bulletins, and Photo Prints
About Us Events Archives Court Records Exhibits Genealogy Library Membership Publications
 Contents of Web Site   Online Archives  Oral History  County Photographs 
 Headquarter's Neighbors   Save the Aberdeen B&O; Station   Booth Research Center 

This site is updated very frequently, sometimes daily. Please adjust the internet settings of your software to get the latest version.

Headquarters, Photographed in April 2010 by El Penski

    For many years the Society moved among a series of temporary sites. In 1990, the Society Headquarters and Archives were located at 33 West Courtland Street, Bel Air, the Archives were to be found at Southampton Middle School, and the Court Records were situated in the "Old Aberdeen High School." Finally, in 1992, the they were moved into the "Old Bel Air Post Office." This lovely, neo-colonial facility is located at 143 North Main Street (at the corner of Main and Gordon Streets). It is the focal point for Society services and activities. Maps & Directions

ACTIVITIES; (Open to public)
     The Society holds regular dinner meetings, lectures, tours, open houses, classes, and other programs on the heritage of Harford County. Please call for reservations, 410-734-6894.

  • Gift Shop at Headquarters, it is open during regular hours of the Society. Call Lena Caron to help at 410-838-7691.
  • Hays House is open every Sunday, 1 - 4 PM, except from the holidays in December until it reopens in March after winter break, and others days by appointment. Call 410-838-7691. $3.00 for adults, $2.00 for students and seniors. Children under 4 years old & Historical Society of Harford County members are free. Special event admission is $5.00 for adults, $3.00 for students and seniors. Maps & Directions For more information regarding any event please contact the Historical Society of Harford County, Inc. at 410-838-7691, 410-838-1213, or [email protected]
  • Archives and Research Library Open, 10 AM - 2 PM, Fourth Saturday of every month January through October, for other times see below, Headquarters. $4.00 fee for nonmembers.

  • QUILT Hays House Museum, Historic Quilt Exhibit to run March through August 2011 on Sundays 1-4 p.m.

  •    The History of the Canning Industry in Harford County, Speakers: Carole Deran and Bernie Bodt, the event will take place Sunday, June 12th, 2011 beginning at 2:30 PM at the Historical Society Headquarters, 143 North Main Street, Bel Air (the Old Post Office Building). Dessert will be provided and a display of canning artifacts and memorabilia will be featured. Reservations are required. For tickets please contact the society at 410-838-7691. The lecture is free of charge, but there will be a $10 charge for the dessert. Also, Reservations for dessert and lecture can be made by mailing a check for $10 to the Historical Society of Harford County, 143 N. Main Street, Bel Air, MD 21014.
  •    The Amateur Jousting Club of Maryland will present a benefit match on July 9th, 2011 on the grounds of the Elkridge-Harford Hunt Club to raise funds for the Historical Society of Harford County. The Bob Six Memorial Joust will take place beginning at 11:00 AM in the horse show/polo ring of the hunt club's facility at 3405 Pocock Road at the corner of the Jarretsville Pike and next to Ladew Gardens. This is a family day and tailgate picnics are encouraged. There is no seating so please bring blankets or lawn chairs. (Please no pets). Admission is $20 per car.
        This is the first new tournament to be held in Harford County in the past 15 years and will be only the second to be held in the county overall today. Members of the AJC will meet with spectators to explain the sport. A class for amateur riders who have never jousted before will also be held. (call 410-838-7691 for info)
        In August of 1958, it was realized by four very enthusiastic Jousters, that a Club had to be formed to encourage the Amateur Rider. With the fun of Jousting as its major foundation, John Billingslea, Pete Kahl, Bob Six, and Dick Slade, met at the Big Ol’White House in Fallston, Maryland to establish the ideas and plans of what was to become the Amateur Jousting Club of Maryland. The late Bob Six had a life-long connection to the Elkridge-Harford Hunt and the AJC has named the tournament in his memory. Bob Six was was inducted into the Jousting Hall of Fame in the mid 1970s.
        In the past 53 years of its existence, The Amateur Jousting Club has presented well over 650 Jousting Tournaments and Exhibitions throughout the State of Maryland. Over 600 members have joined the organization. Maryanna Skowronski, Director
    Flyer on Jousting Returns to the Elkridge-Harford Hunt Club

  •    Celebrating Harford Veterans, Harford County citizens have a long history of military service dating to the earliest colonial days. The history of Harford’s involvement is evident in the memorabilia and documents stored at the Historical Society of Harford County. Yet few people ever have a chance to see the collection. On November 10th and 11th of 2011 a celebration is planned to recognize this strong tradition by inviting the public to participate in a two day event at the Bel Air Armory 39-41 N. Main Street in Bel Air. A committee consisting of Historical Society members along with town and county representatives initiated event planning in January for this Veterans Day celebration. The festivities will begin on Thursday, November 10, 2011, 5 PM to 8 PM with a wine and cheese reception at the Armory. Visitors will be treated to the music of Duke Thompson, Maryland Conservatory of Music and be able to preview the Historical Society exhibits. The exhibits will include uniforms, maps, photographs and memorabilia from each major conflict involving Harford County residents since the American Revolution. Many of these items have never been exhibited to the public. Some items of special interest include a copy of the Bush Declaration, watercolor maps produced by French troops during the Revolution, a preview of exhibit materials developed for next years War of 1812 exhibition, photographs of Aberdeen Proving Grounds and Edgewood Arsenal’s development and much more.
        The major celebration will begin at 10 AM on Friday, November 11, 2023 in front of the Armory. A parade featuring a military band and Color Guard detachments from numerous organizations, as well as the National Guard will initiate the ceremony which will include music, speakers, a reading of "In Flanders Fields" and a National Guard fly over ceremony. Details are still being finalized. Following the parade and ceremonies, a luncheon will be served in the Armory featuring a special guest speaker. The luncheon will be limited to 200 people so anyone interested in attending should sign up early. Tickets are available through the Historical Society, 143 N. Main Street, Bel Air, MD. The exhibits will reopen for the general public between 2 PM and 5 PM.
    For more information on Celebrating Harford Veterans

For more information regarding any event please contact the Historical Society of Harford County, Inc. at 410-838-7691 or [email protected].
Past Activities of the Historical Society of Harford County since October 2003

THE ARCHIVES;  (Open Wednesdays 8 AM - 2 PM and 4th Saturday of Month from 10 AM - 2 PM except around holidays)
     A unique aspect of research materials is the tens of thousands of original source items dating back to the 1668. These include plats, letters, diaries, scrapbooks, ledgers, newspapers, and legal and business correspondence. Over 7000 photographic images complement the collection. If you need information on your historic home, a home of your ancestors, or a historic house you might buy, come to the Archives for help. All items are preserved in a professional manner and are carefully cataloged and cross-indexed. Skilled attendants are eager to assist researchers. Click for an Overview of Archives Collection. For sample documents click on  Old Licenses or Havre de Grace Harbor, 1837. $4.00 fee for non-members.

COURT RECORDS;  (Open Tuesdays 10 - 12 AM & 1 - 2:30 PM, except around holidays).
     The Society holds many of the early records of Harford County courts. Records begin about 1774 when Harford County came into existence. Cataloging has proceeded up to about the mid 19th century. The materials are being cataloged and indexed by volunteers for use by researchers. $4.00 fee for non-members.

EXHIBITS; (Open anytime the Library, Archives, Family History, or Court Records are open)
     The headquarters building contains a series of exhibits reflective of both county history and the Society's varied collections. Most exhibits change on a regular basis. Native American rock carvings are one of the permanent exhibits.

FAMILY HISTORY (GENEALOGY);  (Same hours as the Library)
     The Society is an excellent resource center for family history in Harford County, Maryland and adjacent areas. For details click here: Indices, Files, Family Histories, and Reference Books. If you are a researcher unable to visit our library click on History, Genealogical, & Cemetery Research Services . $4.00 fee for non-members.

THE HAYS HOUSE MUSEUM;  (Sundays 1 to 4 PM except winter break from the December holidays until early March)
     The Hays House Museum is located at 324 Kenmore Avenue, near the Bel Air High School, in Bel Air, Maryland. The Hays House was built in 1788 and is the oldest house in Bel Air. The Historical Society of Harford County, Inc., operates the historic house as a museum whose mission is to be a history-in-action museum and a valuable educational resource that illustrates and re-creates to the extent possible the social, cultural, economic, and practical aspects of the daily life of rural gentry primarily during the historical period 1788-1820. Hays House is open every Sunday, 1 to 4 pm, except for winter break (see above), and others days by appointment. Admission is $3.00 for adults, $2.00 for students and seniors. Children under 4 years old and Historical Society of Harford County members are free. Special event admission is $5.00 for adults, $3.00 for students and seniors. Maps & Directions   For more information regarding any event please contact the Historical Society of Harford County, Inc. at 410-838-7691, 410-838-1213, or [email protected] Click here to go to Hays House Web Site
All Hays House Museum Special Events are sponsored by the Historical Society of Harford County, Inc., and are made possible in part by a grant from the Maryland Council for the Arts through the Harford County Cultural Arts Board and Harford County Government.

RESEARCH LIBRARY;  (Open Thursdays 9 AM - 3 PM and 4th Saturday of Month from 10 AM - 2 PM except around holidays)
     The Society possesses an extensive collection of print material on Harford County and Maryland history. All materials are cataloged, many are indexed, and attendants are happy to help researchers. Maps, microfilm, newspapers, vertical file materials, and African-American history files are also part of the collection. A team of volunteers is creating PastPerfect digital data bases. A list of some of the the more valuable books available can seen at "Book List". If you are interested in research, but unable to visit our library, click on History, Genealogical, & Cemetery Research Services. $4.00 fee for non-members.

     The Historical Society of Harford County welcomes individuals, families, and organizations of all backgrounds, ages, and degrees of interest and involvement. The only requisite for membership is a genuine commitment to the county and its people, and the payment of annual dues (a portion of which is tax deductible). The Society encourages all members to become as active as they can. The Society is run mostly by volunteers. Members get the Bulletin, meeting notices, use of the all Society research collections, admission to the Hays House Museum, Headquarters museum, discounts at Society shops, advanced invitations to all Society dinners, programs, and activities, and the Newsletter free. Membership Application

     The Harford Historical Bulletin, the Society's illustrated journal, is published a few times a year and mailed free to all members. The Newsletter is mailed free to members six times a year, and it containes committee reports, future activities, items of interest and pictures. Special publications, Bulletin's, and books are sold at the Society Headquarters or by mail:  Books for Sale.     Back issues of Bulletins are sold throught the mail and at the Society Headquarters. Buy Bulletins by mail!      Index to All Bulletins

Your thoughts, corrections, and suggestions are welcomed at the e-mail address:  [email protected]. This website was updated on May 27, 2011. All images and text are copyright from 1996 to the present by The Historical Society of Harford County, Inc., 143 N. Main St., Bel Air, MD 21014; TELEPHONE: (410) 838-7691; E-MAIL:   [email protected]. All rights reserved and no use without consent. Designed and written to be an easily accessible, readily updated and restructured web site by Elwin C. Penski. Contributors acknowledged on appropriate page or on the Webmaster's Page.

About Us Activities Archives Court Records Exhibits Genealogy Library Membership Publications