William & Mary | Earl Gregg Swem Library Special Collections Database


Curtis West Harris and Ruth Jones Harris Papers, 1950-2012


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Collection Overview

Curtis West Harris and Ruth Jones Harris Papers, 1950-2012
Mss. Acc. 2014.006
11.0 Cubic Feet
Primary Creator
Harris, Curtis West

The collection is divided into six (6) series. Due to keeping as close to original order as possible, materials in each folder vary in form and may have a wide range of years. Folders in each series are arranged chronologically by the first date stated and then alphabetically if pertaining the same start date. Items in the folders have been left in the original arrangement, which means items may or may not be in chronological order.

Series 1 contains biographic materials. Series 2 contains documents relating church and ministry materials. It is composed of three (3) sub-series: Bethany Baptist, Ministry, and Union Baptist. Series 3 is for material relating to the town of Hopewell and contains two (2) sub-series for City Council and Hopewell Community. Series 4 contains digital photographs but also a collection from photo albums. It is important to note that his series contains newspaper articles that Reverend Harris placed in his photo album collection. Series 5 is titled SCLC/Civil Rights and is divided into the sub-series Civil Right and SCLC. Series 6 includes artifacts, which are housed with the Manuscripts Artifact Collection.

Date Acquired
Forms of Material
Letters (correspondence), Minutes, Publications


Collection is open to all researchers.
Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection contains biographical information relating to Reverend Curtis W. Harris, Ruth Jones Harris, Hopewell community members and calendars for the Harris family. Included in the collection are documents relating to Reverend Harris’ time spent serving on Hopewell’s City Council, materials from the churches Rev. Harris served, as well as his involvement with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In addition to this material are photo albums, pertaining to church related programs/activities and events at the Union Day Care Center, and artifacts.

Collection Historical Note

Reverend Curtis W. Harris was born in Dendron, Virginia on July 1, 1924 to Mr. Sandy Harris and Mrs. Thelma Harris. He attended Hopewell public schools, Virginia Union University, and received his pastoral training through the Medical College of Virginia. Harris’ list of positions held include but are not limited to: serving as pastor at Union Baptist and Little Gilford Baptist churches, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and mayor of Hopewell, Virginia. Harris has also been the recipient to numerous awards and proclamations for his involvement with the Civil Rights movement and the overall advancement of the Hopewell community.

By Rev. Harris’ side for over fifty years was Ruth Jones, whom he wedded in 1946. Ruth founded Hopewell’s Union Day Care Center in the early 1970’s as well as a program for senior citizens. She served on Hopewell’s Senior Citizen Commission in the early to mid-1980 and as an avid supporter of racial equality she cared for the home, six children and business while Rev. Harris was on the front lines for the cause.

Additional information pertaining to the biography of Curtis and Ruth Harris can be found at http://www.curtiswharris.com/.

Subject/Index Terms

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Biography, 1971-2012 and undated],
[Series 2: Church and Ministry, 1957-2010 and undated],
[Series 3: Hopewell, 1959-2009 and undated],
[Series 4: Photographs, 1950-2008],
[Series 5: Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and Civil Rights, 1962-2009],
[Series 6: Artifacts],

Series 3: Hopewell, 1959-2009 and undated
This series documents meetings of Hopewell city council, correspondence from state and local representatives, depositions, school board, and Hopewell community news/events.
Sub-Series 1: City Council, 1959-2009 and undated
Box 10: 1959-2009
Folder 1: Recall and Correspondence, 1959, 1999-2003, and undated
Newspaper clippings pertaining to the election recall, petition of removal from office, and letters of correspondence are included in this folder.
Folder 2: House and Energy, 1963, 2009
A letter to Rev. Harris regarding the school board and city council, data from the city attorney, and information about Hopewell’s house energy and water funding.
Folder 3: Curtis Election and Press Releases, 1967, 2006-2008
Items in this folder include flyer for Harris’ senate campaign, correspondence regarding environmental issues, and press release for removal of city councilors. Additional items include receipts for city council purchases and information regarding an equal employment opportunity case.
Folder 4: Citizen Letters, News Clippings, and CIty Documents, 1968-2008
This folder contains and invitation to White House for Clinton’s welcoming of Nelson Mandela, letters of complaints from citizens, and congratulatory letters.
Folder 5: Osage Bio-Energy, Campaigns, and Correspondence, 1971-1974, 1992-2009, and undated
News articles for information about Osage Bio-Energy and Harris’ campaigns as well as several letters of correspondence to Rev. Harris are included in this folder.
Folder 6: Blount Deposition, 1982
Folder 7: Butterworth Deposition, 1982
Box 11: 1982, 1998-2009 and undated
Folder 1: Edmonds Deposition, 1982
Folder 2: Elder Deposition, 1982
Folder 3: Hyatt Deposition, 1982
Folder 4: Parr Deposition, 1982
Folder 5: Sober Deposition, 1982
Folder 6: Strong's Deposition, 1982
Folder 7: Vergara's Deposition, 1982
Folder 8: Work Session, 1988-2009 and undated
Items from July 16, 2008 meeting and include memos, correspondence, and a pamphlet for Harris’ election campaign.
Box 12: 1995-2008
Folder 1: City of Hopewell, 1995-1996
This folder contains budget approval and a photocopy blueprint of Hopewell’s Visitor Center.
Folder 2: Joint Council Meeting, 1995, 1998
Included in this folder are the topics of discussion and meeting minutes from the Joint Council Meeting on May 1, 1998.
Folder 3: City Council Meetings, 1996-2008
This folder contains letters, memos, programs, and the agenda/minutes of city council meetings.
Folder 4: Development and Newsletters, 1996-1998
This folder contains interdepartmental newsletters about the duties of the cities departments.
Folder 5: City Council, 1997-1998
Included in this folder are the topics of discussion and newsletter from the City Council Meeting on May 22, 1998.
Folder 6: State and Local Government, 1997-1998 and undated
Items in this folder relate to Virginia’s Municipal League and the National League of Cities.
Folder 7: All-American City, 1998
The information in this folder relates to the application process and background information about the All American City award.
Folder 8: Budget Request and Receipts, 1998
Items in this folder include receipts for employee travel expenses, budget request, and interdepartmental newsletters.
Box 13: 1998 and undated
Folder 1: Community Reports, 1998
Folder 2: Council Meeting, May 1998
Folder 3: Council Meeting, May 1998
Folder 4: Council Meeting, June 1998
Folder 5: Council Meeting, June 1998 and undated
Folder 6: Council Meeting, June 1998 and undated
Box 14: 1998 and undated
Folder 1: Council Meeting, October 1998
Folder 2: Council Meeting, November 1998 and undated
Folder 3: Council Meeting, November 1998 and undated
Folder 4: Education and Curfew, 1998 and undated
Interdepartmental newsletters, business plans, materials proposing a curfew for minors, and information regarding the school system.
Folder 5: Resolutions and Escrow Agreement, 1998
Folder 6: Tri-Cities Long Range Transportation Plan, 1998
Documents relating to the transportation plan for Petersburg, Colonial Heights, and Hopewell, Virginia.
Box 15: 1998-1999 and undated
Folder 1: Vice Mayor: Youth in Government Day, 1998
Contains information about the Youth in Government Day.
Folder 2: City Attornery Documents, 1999
This folder contains a birthday card from Mark Warner and a booklet from the city attorney.
Folder 3: Council Meeting, February 1999
Folder 4: Council Meeting, February 1999
Folder 5: Tour and Butterworth, 1999, 2008
Information regarding city tour and Butterworth lofts.
Box 16: 2007-2009
Folder 1: Council Meeting and Legislative Program, 2007-2008
Folder 2: Education, Environment, and News, 2007-2009 and undated
Capital project for Hopewell Schools, community concerns, and city policies.
Folder 3: Newsletters, Proposal, and Banking, 2008
Proposal for federal lobbying, banking information, VA newsletters, and business correspondence.
Folder 4: Council Meeting, May 2008
Folder 5: Council Meeting, May 2008
Box 17: 2009
Folder 1: Council Meeting, February 2009
Sub-Series 2: Hopewell Community, 1959-2009 and undated
Box 17: 1959-2000 and undated
Folder 2: History, Plays, and Education, 1959, 1980-2000 and undated
Letter to the community, commencement program for Hopewell High School, pictures from an unknown gathering, Hopewell history souvenir program, and a black history calendar from Dupont Elementary.
Folder 3: Union Day Care, 1971-1972 amd undated
Documents relating meeting minutes, charter, and by-laws of Union Day Care Center.
Oversize Folder 1: Telegrams and City Resolutions/Proclamations, 1963-2009 and undated
Photocopies of western union telegrams stating voter support, and city resolutions/proclamations in honor of Rev. Harris.
Oversize Folder 2: Reverend Curtis Harris Campaign Posters, 1994-2001
Several campaign posters are included in the collection.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Biography, 1971-2012 and undated],
[Series 2: Church and Ministry, 1957-2010 and undated],
[Series 3: Hopewell, 1959-2009 and undated],
[Series 4: Photographs, 1950-2008],
[Series 5: Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and Civil Rights, 1962-2009],
[Series 6: Artifacts],

Administrative Information

Special Collections Research Center
Acquisition Source
Gift of Joanne Lucas, Daughter of Rev. Harris
Acquisition Method
Acc. 2014.006 was picked up from the donor by SCRC staff on 1/2/2014.
Preferred Citation
Curtis West Harris and Ruth Jones Harris Papers, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary.
Processing Information
Accessioned and minimally processed by Steven Bookman, University Archives Specialist, in January 2014. Processing and finding aid completed by Derek Sower, SCRC intern, in July 2014.
Finding Aid Revision History
Box and Folder List compiled by Derek Sower, SCRC intern, in July 2014. Box and Folder List added to database by Stephanie Krauss, SCRC staff, on 10/2/2014.