Thomas Clarke Harris Papers, PC.1860


Thomas Clarke Harris Papers, PC.1860


Thomas Clarke Harris was born circa 1849 in Granville County, one of six children of Martha Ann Hunter Harris (1827-1909) and Dr. Adam Clarke Harris (1823-1899). Around 1877 he married Annie L. Patterson (b. ca. 1855), and they became parents of a son and two daughters. Over his lifetime, Thomas Harris worked as a store clerk (during his youth in Granville County), a wood engraver, a science museum curator (at the State Museum in Raleigh), a civil engineer, a draftsman, a designer, an inventor, and a writer of adventure stories for boys, and of various topics such as hunting and fishing, and coastal scenes and life, including the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Though he moved with his immediate family to Baltimore, Maryland around 1900, many of his writings after that time convey a deep attachment to his native North Carolina. Harris died probably in the 1930s, after March of 1934. The private papers consist chiefly of published and published stories and articles by Harris, newspaper clippings, examples of engravings executed by him, and two blueprints and several newspaper clippings relating to inventions and designs by Harris.

Descriptive Summary

Thomas Clarke Harris Papers
Call Number
Harris, Thomas. C.
1.00 boxes
State Archives of North Carolina

Restrictions on Access & Use

Access Restrictions

Available for research.

Use Restrictions

Copyright is retained by the authors of these materials, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law (Title 17 US Code). Individual researchers are responsible for using these materials in conformance with copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying the materials.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item] in PC.1860, Thomas Clarke Harris Papers, State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, N.C., U.S.A.

Collection Overview

Over his lifetime Harris worked as a store clerk, wood engraver, science museum curator (State Museum in Raleigh), civil engineer, draftsman, designer, inventor, and writer of adventure stories for boys, and of topics such as hunting and fishing, and coastal scenes and life. Consists chiefly of published stories and articles by Harris, examples of engravings and technical drawings executed by him, and numerous newspaper articles relating to inventions and designs by Harris and some articles and letters to newspaper editors that reflect his viewpoints on various topics and his explanations of technical subjects. Of particular interest are a few handwritten manuscript essays, including ; dated 1903, and a typed manuscript essay, Additionally, a small quantity of the news articles refer to Harris's wife, Annie L. (Patterson) Harris; and two published new articles by Harris's son, Stanford Hunter Harris, including his impressions of Nicaragua in 1900 while he was working in that country with a hydraulics team and with canal engineers.

Arrangement Note

Collection arranged into two series: Letters, in chronological order; and Subjects, in alphabetical order.

Thomas Clarke Harris Biographi

Thomas Clarke Harris, a native of Granville County, was one of six children (four sons and two daughters) born to the former Martha Ann Hunter (1827-1909) and Dr. Adam Clarke Harris (1823-1899).Harris's formal education is unknown, but it appears that his family provided motivation and an above average foundation for educational achievement. His father, Adam Harris, appeared on the 1880 U.S. census as a physician and a minister, and of 1872, listed him as a physician, a merchant, and as a postmaster of the Sassafras Fork post office. Thomas's mother, a native of Halifax County, was recognized in magazine (17 February 1877) for her invention of a useful bread toaster.Two of Thomas Harris's brothers were graduates of the University of North Carolina: Eugene Lewis Harris (1856-1901) and Hunter Lee Harris (1866-1893). Eugene was also a graduate of Cooper Institute, New York City, was awarded a Ph.D. at UNC. Later, Eugene was prominent in Chapel Hill and Raleigh as an artist. He was a former registrar of UNC and is credited with designing the landmark Old Well on the university campus. He was also credited as the first North Carolinian to serve in an administrative position in the YMCA. Hunter Lee Harris also attended graduate school at UNC and served as a math and geology instructor at the university, 1891-1892. Tragically, he died in 1893 in a drowning accident. Census records and family genealogies show Thomas Harris married circa 1877 to Annie L. Patterson (b. ca. 1855), a native of Louisiana (as were her parents). Thomas and Annie were entered on the 1880 U.S. Census, as residents of Raleigh, and parents of Stanford, a boy of one. The occupation of Thomas listed at that time was that of a wood engraver.Subsequently, Thomas worked as a curator, during the 1880s and part of the 1890s at the State Museum in Raleigh, an early name for the institution that has evolved into the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. By 1896 he was employed as a draftsman with the U.S. Corps of Engineers, and engaged for around three years at Fort Caswell, N.C. located on Oak Island, Brunswick County, near the mouth of the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean. This time coincided with the time the federal government had appropriated funds to reconstruct the fort.By the time the 1900 U.S. census was enumerated, Thomas and his family were living in Baltimore, Maryland, where he was working as a civil engineer. Other children born to Thomas and his wife were named, including two daughters, Martha L. Harris, age 18 and working as a typewriter (an early desingation for both the typist and the machine); and Annie L. Harris, age 12; and son Stanford Hunter, age 20. Additionally, a nephew, E.[Eugene] E. Hunter, also 20 and a native of North Carolina, was living with the Harris family. Like his cousin, Martha, Eugene's occupation was listed as Over his lifetime, Thomas Harris worked as a store clerk (during his youth in Granville County) a wood engraver, a science museum curator, a civil engineer, a draughtsman, a designer, an inventor, and a writer of adventure stories for boys, and of various topics such as hunting and fishing, and coastal scenes and life, including the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Though he moved with his immediate family to Baltimore, Maryland, around the turn of the century, his writings after that time convey a deep attachment to his native North Carolina. It is uncertain when he died, but one of Harris's dated writings (6 March 1934) in this collection indicates that he was well over the age of 80. It appears that Harris and his immediate family all died and were buried at Baltimore. A son of Thomas and Annie L.(Patterson) Harris, Stanford was listed in the as a native of Raleigh and awarded the B.L. degree (Bachelor of Laws, now obsolete) in 1897. The online Worldcat has an entry for Stanford's thesis in fulfillment of requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree, 1897, entitled . His occupation as reported on the 1900 census was that of analytical chemist. During that period of time, Stanford was attached to a hydrographic party and engineers working on a canal near Lea Junta and later near San Carlos on the shores of Lake Nicaragua. Stanford wrote two descriptive accounts that were published in newspapers, and these are included in this collection. (See Subject Files: Harris, Stanford H.)

Contents of the Collection

1. <emph render="bold">Letters,</emph>, 1887-1904

Scope and Content:

These four letters reveal some details about Harris's career, interests, and his relocation from Granville County, then to Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina, and subsequently to Baltimore, Maryland.

Letter of Introduction from Ex. Commissioner of Agriculture, Montford McGahee,Dec. 16, 1887
Box PC.1860/folder 1
Letter of Introduction from Walter Clark. Assoc. Justice of the NC Supreme Court
Box PC.1860/folder 2
Letter of recommendation by Elias Carr,December 16, 1896
Box PC.1860/folder 3
Letter of Harris to Adjutant Gen. Dept. of the East, Governors Island, N.Y.,Sept. 20, 1904
Box PC.1860/folder 4

2. <emph render="bold">Subject Files, </emph>, 1893-1934

Scope and Content:

The subject folders contain for the most part magazine stories and newspaper articles or letters to the editor, and a small quantity of genealogical notes. There is one folder containing two published news articles by Harris's son, Stanford Hunter Harris. Dates range from 1886 to 1934.

<emph render="bold">Boys (Stories for),</emph>, 1904-1924
Box PC.1860/folder 5
<emph render="bold">Civil War Stories, Reminiscences</emph>,1905-1914
Box PC.1860/folder 6
Ku Klux Klan,circa 1921
Box PC.1860/folder 19
<emph render="bold">Clippings and Notes, Miscellaneous,</emph>, undated, and
Box PC.1860/folder 7
<emph render="bold">Columbian Exposition</emph>,1893
Box PC.1860/folder 8
Engravings by Harris,circa 1878-1884
Box PC.1860/folder 9
Firearms, Articles About,1905-1928
Box PC.1860/folder 10
Firefly, The (Newspaper published in Granville County),May 5, 1874
Box PC.1860/folder 11
Fishing Stories,July 1903
Box PC.1860/folder 12
Fort Caswell,1896-1897
Box PC.1860/folder 13
Granville County, Reminiscenses of,1896-1924
Box PC.1860/folder 14
Harris Family Genealogy Notes,undated
Box PC.1860/folder 15
Harris, Stanford H.,undated and 1901
Box PC.1860/folder 16
Hunting Stories,1903-1911
Box PC.1860/folder 17
Box PC.1860/folder 18
Medical,January 1900
Box PC.1860/folder 20
Miscellaneous Topics, 1893 and undated
Box PC.1860/folder 21
Newspaper and Magazine Articles, Miscellaneous, 1886-1916
Box PC.1860/folder 22
Newspaper Articles, Personal,circa 1893-1931
Box PC.1860/folder 23
North Carolina Coast,1903-1908
Box PC.1860/folder 24
Photographs,circa 1918, 1919
Box PC.1860/folder 25
State Toast,undated and 1916
Box PC.1860/folder 26
Tobacco,undated and 1898
Box PC.1860/folder 27
Winyah Bay [South Carolina],1896-1903
Box PC.1860/folder 28

Subject Headings

  • Harris, Annie L. Patterson
  • Harris, Stanford Hunter
  • Harris, Thomas Clarke
  • Harris Family
  • Hunter Family
  • Harris, Thomas Clarke
  • World's Columbian Exposition (1893 : Chicago, Ill.).
  • Boys--United States--Fiction.
  • Civil engineers.
  • Civil War, 1861-1865
  • Coast defenses.
  • Firearms--Design and construction
  • Fishing--Anecdotes
  • Genealogy.
  • Hunting stories, American--Southern States
  • Hunting.
  • Inventors.
  • Ku Klux Klan (19th cent.)--North Carolina--Granville County
  • Manners and customs--History--19th century.
  • Manners and customs--History--20th century.
  • Manners and customs.
  • Museum curators--North Carolina--Raleigh
  • Outdoor life.
  • Outer Banks (N.C.)--Description and travel.
  • Tobacco
  • Wives
  • Women in war.
  • Inventions
  • Authors
  • Baltimore (Md.)
  • Fort Caswell (N.C.)
  • Granville County (N.C.)
  • Halifax County (N.C.)
  • Raleigh (N.C.)
  • Sassafras Fork Township (Granville County, N.C.)
  • Authors.
  • Etchers and engravers.
  • Acquisitions Information

    Gift of Patricia Phillips Marshall, Raleigh, NC, 5 March 1997

    Processing Information

  • Processed by George Stevenson in preliminary stage; final processing by Fran Tracy-Walls
  • Finding Aid by Fran Tracy-Walls, October 2014.