Joel Chandler Harris papers
Scope and Content Note
The Joel Chandler Harris collection contains correspondence to and from Harris, writings by and about the author, family photographs, illustrations of his stories and books, papers of and relating to his family and associates, as well as materials about the Wren's Nest and Eatonton, and miscellaneous material relating to Harris and his works. The bulk of the papers date from 1880, around the time of the publication of Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings, to 1908, when Harris died. The oldest items in the collection are notebooks and essays Harris composed while a student at Eatonton Male Academy from 1858-1862. The most recent items are newspaper clippings about Harris and Wren's Nest written in the 1970s.
The first three series (correspondence, writings, photographs and illustrations) contain almost all of the papers that were created or owned by Harris. The most significant original manuscript materials not found in these first three series are the materials collected by Julia Collier Harris and Frank L. Stanton's unfinished and unpublished "Story of Uncle Remus," both in Series 4. Papers in Series 4 and 5 (printed materials about Harris and miscellany) have generally been collected since Harris's death and are about Harris, his writings, his home, and his family.
Series 1, Correspondence and related papers, contains letters written by Harris, his wife, children, publishers, illustrators, fellow writers, prominent persons of the day, and the general public who enjoyed Harris's writings or who had heard similar animal tales in their childhood. Harris's letters to his children are particularly extensive. Topics include family life, discussions of the publishing business, and national affairs at the turn of the century. Publishing contracts and papers of family members are also included. Correspondents include Samuel Langhorne Clemens, James Whitcomb Riley, Theodore Roosevelt, Walter Hines Page, Corra Harris, Andrew Carnegie, George Washington Cable, Arthur Burdett Frost, William A. Fuller, Hamlin Garland, Will N. Harben, Rudyard Kipling, Thomas E. Watson, and Charles Scribner. The illustrations date mostly from Harris's lifetime and many were used to illustrate his books and stories.
Series 2 of the papers contains many samples of Harris's writings. Original manuscript drafts of novels and Uncle Remus stories, copies of essays, articles and poems, clippings of newspaper columns, and a draft of an unfinished play comprise the second series. These drafts reveal Harris's habit of occasionally revising stories numerous times before submitting drafts to editors.
Photographs, (Series 3), printed materials (Series 4), and miscellany (Series 5), complete the Harris collection. Family snapshots and portrait photographs depict Harris and the Harris family from the 1860s to the 1960s. Periodical articles, clippings, book reviews, adaptations of Harris's works, Wren's Nest and Song of the South materials, advertisements, greeting cards and stamps bearing the image of Uncle Remus creatures or Joel Chandler Harris, give an indication of the public's acceptance of Harris's writings and his lasting contribution to this genre of American literature.
Language of Materials
Materials entirely in English.
Restrictions on Access
Special restrictions apply: Due to the fragile nature of the originals, researchers are required to use the microfilm copy where applicable.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Special restrictions apply: Reproduction (including photocopies) of drawings by Barry Moser prohibited with out permission of artist.
Joel Chandler Harris (December 9, 1848 - July 3, 1908), journalist and author of the Uncle Remus tales, was born in Eatonton, Putnam County, Georgia, the son of Mary Harris, a seamstress. From 1856-1862, he attended Eatonton schools, primarily the Eatonton Male Academy. In March 1862, he answered an ad for a printer's devil at The Countryman, a weekly newspaper published at the nearby Turnwold Plantation by Joseph Addison Turner. There Harris learned the newspaper trade and began composing poems, paragraphs, and short stories, several of which appeared in The Countryman. Turner encouraged and critiqued young Harris's writings and introduced him to the classics of literature.
In 1866, after The Countryman folded, Harris became a typesetter for the Macon Telegraph. Five to six months later, he traveled to Louisiana to work as a private secretary for William Evelyn, editor and publisher of the New Orleans Crescent Monthly, a magazine devoted to "Literature, Art, Science, and Society." He remained in New Orleans for six to eight months, the longest period of time Harris would ever spend outside of his native state. Returning to Georgia in 1867, he became printer and editor of the Monroe Advertiser of Forsyth, and in 1870, he joined the staff of the Savannah Morning News as associate editor. At all of these newspapers except the Crescent Monthly, Harris contributed poems, paragraphs, editorials and news reports for publication.
While in Savannah, Harris met Esther LaRose of Upton, Canada, who was spending the summer of 1872 with her parents in the Georgia city. They were married the following April. The Harrises had nine children, six of whom lived to adulthood. They were Julian Harris (1874-1963), Lucien Harris (1875-1960), Evan Howell Harris (1876-1878), Evelyn Harris (1878-1961), Mary Esther "Rosebud" Harris (1879-1882), Lillian Harris (1882-1956), Linton Harris (1883-1890), Mildred Harris (1885-1966), and Joel Chandler Harris, Jr. (1888-1964). Esther LaRose Harris survived her husband by thirty years, dying in 1938.
In 1876, a yellow fever epidemic in coastal Georgia drove Harris, his wife, and two young sons inland to Atlanta. When offered a position as associate editor of the Atlanta Constitution, Harris and his family decided to settle permanently in Atlanta. He joined editor Henry Grady in propounding the virtues of a "New South" and began writing Uncle Remus sketches. In December of 1880, Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings was published, winning its author instant critical and popular acclaim. Harris became widely known for his rendering of Negro dialect and for his retelling of plantation stories he had heard as a boy in Eatonton and Turnwold.
The year after Uncle Remus appeared, a more financially secure Harris moved his growing family to West End, then just outside of Atlanta. The property was first called "Snap Bean Farm," and later "The Wren's Nest." From 1883-1907, in addition to his duties with the Atlanta Constitution, Harris published twenty-three collections of Uncle Remus stories, novels, and a history textbook/storybook for Georgia students. He retired from the newspaper in 1900 to devote full-time to his writing. In 1902, Emory College, then located at Oxford, Georgia awarded him an honorary Doctorate of Literature. Three years later, he was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Finally, in 1907-1908, Harris served in his last editorial post, editing the New Uncle Remus Magazine (shortly after his death, the name was changed to Uncle Remus Home Magazine). He wrote numerous articles and editorials for the monthly periodical. Harris died in July 1908, leaving behind a large collection of Negro folk tales and writings on Southern lifestyles and values before, during and after the Civil War.
Biographical Source:Julia Collier Harris, The Life and Letters of Joel Chandler Harris (1918), Paul M. Cousins, Joel Chandler Harris: A Biography (1968), and R. Bruce Bickley, Joel Chandler Harris (1978).
35.125 linear feet (44 boxes) (20 oversized papers boxes and 7 oversized papers folders (OP); 2 bound volumes (BV); 6 framed items (FR); AV Masters: .25 linear feet (CLP); 25 microfilm reels (MF))
Personal and literary papers of American author Joel Chandler Harris including correspondence, writings, photographs, printed materials about Harris, and other papers.
Organized into six series: (1) Correspondence and related papers, (2) Writings, (3) Photographs, (4) Printed materials about Harris, (5) Other papers, and (6) Additions.
Finding Aid Note
Index to selected correspondents in Series 1 (Subseries 1.2-1.3), Series 4, and Series 5 is available.
Donated and purchased from various sources.
Additional Physical Form
Majority of collection also available on microfilm.
Processed by EKL, 1982.
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Index of Selected Correspondents
This is not a complete index to all correspondents. Materials other than correspondence (e.g. illustrations, contracts) that relate to particular individuals are not indexed. JCH is used to abbreviate Joel Chandler Harris's name.
- Alden, Henry Mills, 1836-1919
- The American Monthly Review of Reviews
- D. Appleton and Company
- Appleton, William Werthen, 1845-1924
- The Atlantic Monthly
- The Baker and Taylor Company
- Baker, Ray Stannard, 1870-1946
- Bierce, Ambrose, 1842-1914?
- Brooks, Eldridge Streeter, 1846-1902
- Brown and Derby Publishers
- Brown, Robert Adger
- Bryan, Ella Howard
- Bulingame, Edward Livermore, 1848-1922
- Cable, George Washington, 1844-1925
- Carnegie, Andrew, 1835-1919
- Century Magazine (Century Company)
- The Children's World
- Church, Frederick Stuart, 1842-1924
- Clark, Charles Heber, 1847-1915
- Clemens, Samuel Langhorne
- Collier's Weekly
- The Cosmopolitan Magazine
- The Critic
- The Current
- Dana, Charles Anderson, 1819-1897
- Dangerfield, Clinton (Ella Howard Bryan)
- Davidson, James Wood, 1829-1905
- Derby, James Cephas, 1818-1892
- D. Lothrop and Company
- Douglas, David
- Doubleday and McClure Company
- Doubleday, Frank Nelson, 1862-1934
- Doubleday, Page and Company
- Drake, Alexander, 1843-1916
- Edwards, Harry Stillwell, 1855-1938
- Emory Army Unit
- The ERA (Henry T. Coates and Company)
- Finley, John Huston, 1863-1940
- Frederick A. Stokes Company
- Frost, Arthur Burdett, 1851-1928
- Fuller, William A.
- Garland, Hamlin, 1860-1940
- Gilder, Jeannette Leonard, 1849-1916
- Gilder, Richard Watson, 1844-1909
- Gompers, Samuel, 1850-1924
- Halsey, Francis Whiting, 1851-1919
- Harben, William Nathaniel, 1858-1919
- Harper and Brothers
- Harris, Corra May (White), 1869-1935
- Harris, Joel Chandler, 1848-1908
- Harrison, Charles Curtis, 1844-1929
- Hawthorne, Julian, 1846-1934
- Hay, John, 1838-1905
- Hayne, Paul Hamilton, 1830-1886
- Hitchcock, James Ripley Wellman, 1857-1918
- Houghton, Henry Oscar, 1823-1895
- Houghton, Mifflin and Comapany
- Howe, Mark Anthony DeWolfe, 1864-1960
- Howell, Clark, 1863-1936
- Howells, William Dean, 1837-1920
- Hubner, Charles William, 1835-1929
- Johnson, Robert Underwood, 1853-1929
- Johnston, Frances Benjamin, 1864-1952
- Johnston, Richard Malcolm, 1822-1898
- Jones, Charles Calcock, 1831-1893
- Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
- Lanier, Sidney, 1842-1887
- Lathrop, George Parsons, 1851-1898
- Leslie's Monthly Magazine
- Lorimer, George Horace, 1867-1937
- Loye, Dorothy Barnes
- Marquis, Don, 1878-1937
- Martin and Hoyt Company
- Matthews, Brander, 1852-1929
- McClure's Magazine
- McClure, S.S., 1857-1949
- The Metropolitan Magazine
- The Nation
- J. R. Osgood and Company
- Osgood, J. R.
- Our Continent Publishing Company
- Page, Thomas Nelson, 1853-1922
- Page, Walter Hines, 1855-1918
- Paul R. Reynolds, Publishing Agent
- Reed, Henry M.
- Reynolds, Paul R.
- Rideing, William Henry 1853-1918
- Riley, James Whitcomb, 1849-1916
- Roosevelt, Theodore, 1859-1919
- Russell, R.H.
- Saturday Evening Post
- Scribner, Charles, 1854-1930
- Scribner's (Charles Scribner's Sons)
- Scudder, Horace Elisha, 1838-1902
- Sedgewick, Ellery
- Small, Maynard and Company
- Smith, Roswell, 1829-1892
- Stedman, Edmund Clarence, 1833-1908
- Stephens, Alexander Hamilton, 1812-1883
- Stoddart, Joseph Marshall, 1845-1921
- The Thinkers Club
- Ticknor, Benjamin H.
- Ticknor and Company
- Trent, William Peterfield, 1862-1936
- Turner, J.A., 1826-1868
- Twain, Mark, 1835-1910 (Samuel Langhorne Clemens)
- Wakeman, Edgar L.
- Watson, Thomas E. 1856-1922
- Weeden, Miss Howard, 1847-1905
- Woolson, Constance Fenimore, 1840-1894
- Youth's Companion
- American literature--19th century. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- American literature--20th century. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- American newspapers--Georgia. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Ga. : Newspaper). Subject Source: Lcnaf
- Children's literature--Illustrations. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Children's literature--United States. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Dwellings--Georgia. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Essays. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Fiction. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Galley proofs. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Illustration of books--United States. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Illustrations. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Juvenilia. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Literature--Adaptations. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Microforms. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Photographs. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Poems. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Publishers and publishing--United States. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Remus, Uncle (Fictitious character) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Joel Chandler Harris papers, 1862-1978
- Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University
- December 6, 2011
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note