Eugene Lincoln Pratt



Eugene L. Pratt

I would like to introduce to you, Mr. Eugene L. Pratt. Mr. Pratt became the second editor and publisher of The Swarthmore when he purchased the paper from the Rev. John A. Cass in May of 1895. The paper continued under his leadership until his sudden death from pneumonia in March of 1909. His wife, Mrs. Grace B. Pratt assumed the work as editor and continued the paper for time. Grace, along with their daughter Rachel, had been the typesetter for the paper in their house. Peter Told (editor, 1937-1976) wrote that “he was a bee specialist and his hobby was reflected in the news. The circulation [at that time] was 600.”

Mr. Pratt, born in 1873, was a published author on the rearing and care of the queen bee. The best known of his booklets, published under the nom-de-plume “Swarthmore” were Increase, Baby Nuclei, Commercial Queen-Rearing, Simplified Queen-Rearing, and Forcing the Breeding Queen to Lay Eggs in Artificial Queen-Cups — all devoted to rearing queens under the well-known “Swarthmore” plan. He contributed frequent articles to the British Bee Journal and in 1890 edited the Queen-breeders’ Department of the American Apiculturist.

It was in an article I discovered in the British Bee Journal (editor: Thomas William Cowan) that I found Mr. Pratt’s obituary. Mr. E. F. Phillips wrote about visiting the Swarthmore apiary in 1905, which was on the corner of Yale and Vassar avenues, where the Pratts lived.

I quote from “A Visit to Swarthmore”:
“Before seeing the yard let us meet the man behind it all. The engraving here printed is a very excellent likeness of Mr. Pratt. He is a man of short stature, rather artistic in his make-up, and with a deep sense of appreciation of what is worth while in his life. He to some extent disregards conventionalities, and appreciates more that most men the fact that what is lasting and of greatest value is not the hurried scramble after money, but careful solid worth which will stay and be of value to mankind.

“Mr. Pratt has also devoted much time to the breeding of a particular strain of Italian bees which he calls the “Golden-all-over” bees. The name describes them well, for they come as near to filling the description of the old Roman poet Vergil [sic] as any bees that I have ever seen. These bees are not cross, as are some of the five-banded bees, but are the most gentle bees that have come to the notice of this writer.

“In conclusion I would commend to your good graces my friend Mr. Pratt. He is a good fellow, and is worthy of the careful consideration which you may give to his writings.”


We have an update thanks to Donna Morris Ferruzzi!

Eugene Lincoln Pratt’s wife’s name was Grace B. Barnes. She was born in Marlborough, Massachusetts (Eugene was born in Middleborough, Mass.). They were married in Marlborough in 1887. They were probably not born Quakers. In 1896, Eugene petitioned to become a member of the Swarthmore Monthly Meeting (rather than transferring from another meeting). Eugene died at Jefferson Hospital after a stay of five days for treatment of influenza, pneumonia and pleurisy. After his death, Grace’s father, William B. Barnes, a widower, came to live with Grace and daughter Rachel at their home on Vassar Avenue. Grace died of some type of nephritis at Hahnemann Hospital in 1917.