Louise Harris papers, 1890-1990

(bulk 1960-1985)


John Hay Library, Special Collections
Box A
Brown University
Providence, RI 02912
Tel: 401-863-2146
email: hay@brown.edu

Published in 2013

Collection Overview

Title: Louise Harris papers
Date range: 1890-1990, (bulk 1960-1985)
Creator: Harris, Louise
Extent: 15.75 linear feet
Abstract: The Louise Harris papers include a variety of materials, chiefly correspondence, research materials and galley proofs, related to her writings concerning C.A. Stephens, The Youth's Companion, and the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. The papers also include personal correspondence; certificates and plaques from various organizations; scrapbooks related to her book A Chuckle and a Laugh: A Tale of the C.A. Stephens Collection; printed material such as magazines, journals, and newspapers; photographs, microfilms, audiocassettes and items related to her interst in geneology. The material in these papers is dated from 1890 to 1990. Most is dated between 1960 and 1985.
Language of materials: English
Repository: John Hay Library, Special Collections
Collection number: Ms.2012.013

Scope & content

The Louise Harris papers consist mostly of correspondence, research materials and galley proofs related to her writings concerning C.A. Stephens, The Youth's Companion, and the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. The papers also include personal correspondence, certificates and plaques, scrapbooks, printed material such as magazines, journals, and newspapers, and items related to her interest in genealogy. The material in these papers is dated from 1890 to 1990. Most is dated from 1960 and 1985.

The papers have been organized into the following series:

Series 1. Correspondence includes personal letters to friends and family members, letters to political leaders, and letters to and from organizations and businesses concerning Miss Harris' historical and genealogical research. The letters are dated from 1961 to 1990. Most were written between 1960 and 1980. Copies of letters written by Louise Harris are included in this series. It has been organized into two subseries:

Subseries 1. General correspondence contains correspondence that Louise Harris had organized by the name of the correspondent. Correspondence found in other parts of her papers has been interfiled in this subseries, with the exception of correspondence in Series 2. Writings. Most of the correspondence is to various book dealers, libraries, historical societies and newspapers. A large number of letters were written to the Library of Congress regarding her research; to Senator Claiborne Pell and other members of the Rhode Island Congressional delegation; and to Algie Elton, a woman who made the Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy dolls that Miss Harris brought with her to entertain children who were patients at Rhode Island Hospital. The correspondence to the book dealer Dr. Milton Kronovet includes a card with the Pledge of Allegiance handwritten and signed by Francis Bellany, who claimed authorship of the Pledge.

Subseries 2. Direct mail contains correspondence from various organizations, most of which are associated with the Republican Party or with conservative political causes. These organizations include the Republican National Committee, the United States Justice Foundation and the Committee to Re-Elect Ronald Reagan. The letters include requests for donations as well as information about the organization's activities. This material, most of which is dated from 1980 to 1990, has not been arranged by organization or date and is not in folders.

Series 2. Writings is dated from 1898 to circa 1972. It has been arranged into three subseries:

Subseries 1. C.A. Stephens research materials contains audiovisual material (audiocassettes and microfilm) as well as a variety of printed material related to Miss Harris' books about C.A. Stephens. The audiovisual material is housed in two shoeboxes. It includes microfilm copies of the Charles Asbury Stephens Collection, housed at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, as well as copies on microfilm of a Ph.D. dissertation and a Master's thesis about C.A. Stephens. Some of the audiocassettes were recorded at meetings of organizations or contain notes regarding Miss Harris' books. Others are commercially produced. They include Great American Speeches and two cassettes of the series You Are There. The printed material includes copies of newspaper articles, biographical information about Stephens, and copies of some of Stephens' stories. The material in this subseries is dated from 1898 to 1977.

Subseries 2. Articles by Louise Harris contains articles written by Miss Harris, chiefly about C.A. Stephens, as well as some correspondence related to the articles. This subseries is dated from 1965 to 1970.

Subseries 3. Books by Louise Harris consists mostly of galley proofs, research material, and correspondence related to each title written by Miss Harris. This subseries is arranged alphabetically by the title of the book with the exception of the six scrapbooks entitled A Chuckle and a Laugh: A Tale of the C.A. Stephens Collection. Volume two of the scrapbooks is disbound and is housed in a box separate from the other volumes. The material in this subseries is dated from circa 1967 to 1981.

Series 3. Personal papers is dated from 1890 to 1989. It has been organized into three subseries:

Subseries 1. Photographs, biographical materials and other papers includes photographs, biographical materials related to Miss Harris and her family, and Miss Harris' applications and acceptances to various biographical directories. Other papers in this series include material from the International Biographical Centre conventions in 1975 and 1976, lists of gifts to Brown University and the C.A. Stephens Collection, maps of Norway, Maine, newspaper clippings, pamphlets and ephemera such as membership cards and greeting cards. The program from Miss Harris' Service of Dedication at her baptism in 1907 and her address book are also included. The material in this subseries is dated from 1907 to 1980.

Subseries 2. Printed materials consists mostly of magazines, journals, newspapers and photocopies from newspapers. Some of the magazines are political publications, such as First Monday, which is published by the Republican National Committee. Others such as The Youth's Companion are related to Miss Harris' research on C.A. Stephens. Some of this material contains articles about Miss Harris' work with the C.A. Stephens Collection. Other printed material includes a music score for organ and a copy of The Youth's Companion Bird Portfolio. The material in this subseries is dated from 1980 to 1989.

Subseries 3. Awards and certificates contains plaques and certificates given to Miss Harris by various organizations, including the International Who's Who of Music, the International Who's Who of Community Service, the National Register of Prominent Americans, The World Who's Who of Women, and Brown University. The plaques are dated from 1973 to 1977. The certificates are dated from 1975 to 1984.


Arrangement

The collection has been arranged into the following series:
  • Correspondence
  • Writings
  • Personal papers
The papers are housed in 12 records center boxes, 5 document boxes and 2 oversize boxes. Boxes 10, 11, 15, 16 and 17 are document boxes. Boxes 10 and 11 contain material from Series 2. Writings, Subseries 3. Books by Louise Harris. Box 15 contains photographs from Series 3. Personal papers, Subseries 1. Photographs, biographical materials and other papers. Boxes 16 and 17 contain magazines and journals from Series 3. Personal papers, Subseries 2. Printed materials. Boxes 13x and 18x are oversize boxes. Box 13x contains volume 2 of the scrapbook entitled A Chuckle and a Laugh: A Tale of the C.A. Stephens Collection . Box 18x contains material from Series 3. Personal papers, Subseries 2. Printed materials and Subseries 3. Awards and certificates.

Biographical/Historical note

Hattie Louise Harris was born on September 28, 1903 in Warwick, Rhode Island. She was the daughter of Samuel P. Harris and Faustine Borden Harris. Miss Harris graduated from Pembroke College at Brown University in 1926, where she majored in economics. From 1928 to 1946 she worked as the secretary in her father’s printing business, Samuel P. Harris Incorporated. She studied organ with T. Tertius Noble, the English-born organist and composer, and from 1928 to 1945 she gave recitals, taught piano and organ, and served as the organist in various churches.

Miss Harris is best known for her historical research concerning the history and authorship of the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag and for her writing regarding C.A. Stephens, a medical doctor who wrote for the magazine The Youth’s Companion from 1871 until his death in 1931. She published several books regarding the American flag and the history and authorship of the Pledge of Allegiance, including The Flag over the Schoolhouse (1971), Old Glory: Long May She Wave (1981) and Time for Truth (1987). The latter two titles are sequels to the first.

Miss Harris was a great admirer of C.A. Stephens, having read The Youth’s Companion as a child. She established and was the curator of the C.A. Stephens Collection at Brown University, where she wrote several books about him, including A Comprehensive Bibliography of C.A. Stephens (1965), None but the Best (1966), A Chuckle and a Laugh: A Tale of the C.A. Stephens Collection (1967), The Star of the Youth’s Companion (1969), and Our Great American Story-teller (1978). In addition, she compiled and edited several volumes of Stephens' stories, including Molly's Baby: A Little Heroine of the Seas (1969), Under the Sea in the Salvador (1969), C.A. Stephens Looks at Norway: Story-teller's Edition (1970), Charles Adams Tales (1973), and Little Big Heart (1974).

Miss Harris was also interested in genealogical research. She was an elected member of the Clan MacLaren Society of Edinburgh, Scotland, and was a member of several honor societies, including the International Biographical Association and the American Biographical Institute Research Association. She was listed in a number of biographical directories, including Notable Americans of the Bicentennial Era and the International Register of Profiles. Her memberships included the American Historical Association, the National Historical Society, the American Heritage Society, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the American Guild of Organists, the Audubon Society and the National Wildlife Society. She was a member of the Central Baptist Church in Providence.

Miss Harris’ contribution of a percentage of her estate in the name of her grandfather, Frederick P. Borden, was instrumental in helping to create what is now the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University. When the School's first class graduated in 1975, Miss Harris was recognized as a founder of the Medical Education Program at Brown. She was also a benefactor of Rhode Island Hospital, where she was an active volunteer worker with children.

Miss Harris passed away in Providence, Rhode Island, on July 19, 1993.

Access & Use

Access to the collection: There are no restrictions on access, except that the collection can only be seen by prior appointment. Some materials may be stored off-site and cannot be produced on the same day on which they are requested.
Use of the materials: All researchers seeking to publish materials from the collections of the John Hay Library are requested to complete a Notice of Intent to Publish, prior to reproducing, quoting, or otherwise publishing any portion or extract from this collection. Although Brown University has physical ownership of the collection and the materials contained therein, it does not claim literary rights. It is up to the researcher to determine the owners of the literary rights and to obtain any necessary permissions from them.
Preferred citation: Louise Harris papers, Ms.2012.013, Brown University Library
Contact information: John Hay Library, Special Collections
Box A
Brown University
Providence, RI 02912
Tel: 401-863-2146
email: hay@brown.edu

Administrative Information

ABOUT THE COLLECTION  
Acquisition: The Louise Harris papers were a bequest to the Brown University Library from Louise Harris. The papers were received in 1996. An additional four boxes of material (A2001.70) were a gift from Helen McLoughlin, daughter of William McLoughlin, who was a professor of history at Brown University.
Accruals: No further material is anticipated for this collection.
Processing information: This collection was processed under the guidelines of the two-year Basic Processing grant awarded to Brown by the NHPRC. Materials were refoldered as needed and housed in acid free boxes.
ABOUT THE FINDING AID  
Author: Finding aid prepared by Brown University Library staff.
Encoding: This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2013-01-31
Descriptive rules: Finding aid based on Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)
Sponsor: Processing funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Additional Information

Related material: Charles Asbury Stephens Collection, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library.
Alternative guide: Brown University Library catalog record for this collection: Louise Harris papers

Inventory


Series 1. Correspondence, 1961-1990

Subseries 1. General correspondence, 1961-1988

Container Description Date
Box 1 A-G
Box 2 H-O
Box 3 P-Z

Subseries 2. Direct mail, circa 1980-1990

Container Description Date
Boxes 4-7 Political mailings
circa 1980-1990

Series 2. Writings, 1898-1981

Subseries 1 . C.A. Stephens research materials, 1898-circa 1972

Container Description Date
Box 7 Audiovisual material
circa 1972
Box 8 Printed material and notes
1898-circa 1969

Subseries 2. Articles by Louise Harris, 1965-1970

Container Description Date
Box 8 Articles by Louise Harris
1965-1970

Subseries 3. Books by Louise Harris, circa 1967-1981

Container Description Date
Box 8 Charles Adams Tales-Flag over the Schoolhouse
circa 1973
Box 9 Flag over the Schoolhouse-Old Glory
circa 1971-1981
Box 10 Star of the Youth's Companion-Story-teller's Edition
circa 1969
Box 11 Story-teller's Edition-Under the Sea
circa 1969
Box 12 A Chuckle and a Laugh: Scrapbooks, vols. 1, 3-6
circa 1967
Box 13x A Chuckle and a Laugh: Scrapbook, vol. 2
circa 1967

Series 3. Personal papers, 1890-1989

Subseries 1. Photographs, biographical materials, and other papers, 1907-1980

Container Description Date
Box 14 Biographical materials and printed ephemera
1907-1980
Box 15 Photographs
1926-circa 1975

Subseries 2. Printed materials, 1890-1989

Container Description Date
Boxes 16-17 Magazines and journals
1964-1989
Box 18x Newspapers, oversize magazines and other printed materials
1890-1988

Subseries 3. Awards and certificates, 1973-1984

Container Description Date
Box 18x Certificates
1975-1984
Box 19 Plaques
1973-1977