Dr. Eileen Aiken English will present the lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 6 in the classroom at the Old Economy Village Visitor Center.
The lecture will focus on Hildegard Mutchsler and her life and role in the Harmony Society.
English will also sign her books, which are available for purchase in the Harmonist Rose gift store at Old Economy.
A Harlot in Harmonie?
At Old Economy Village, a single name-Hildegart- invokes a legend. Hildegart Mutschler set off a string of scandals during her brief life (1806-1845), which drove a wedge between founder Georg Rapp and his congregation, and nearly alienated business manager Friedrich Rapp from his adopted father, according to Old Economy.
The Harmonist community was shaken as Hildegart grew in favor with Father Rapp. Among other things, he excused her from actions for which other members were banished. She left to marry, but was welcomed back; moreover, she was pardoned from celibacy. Father Rapp’s staunchest adherents never lost faith, although a large number were disillusioned by his deeds and some left the Society. Despite her unpopularity, Hildegart remained in the Harmonie, the keystone of a dynasty that spanned five generations.
This presentation will trace the relationship between the Mutschler-Feucht dynasty and Harmonist founder Georg Rapp, beginning with Hildegart’s grandfather, and ending with her son, who nearly became Head Trustee of the Harmony Society.
Dr. English, a retired professor from California University of Pennsylvania, has done extensive research and written several books on the Harmony Society. For the past 18 years, she has volunteered at Old Economy Village as a researcher and historic interpreter.