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

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Collection Overview

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

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
01/02/2014
Forms of Material
Letters (correspondence), Minutes, Publications
Languages
English

Restrictions

Access
Collection is open to all researchers.
Use
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],
[All]

Series 2: Church and Ministry, 1957-2010 and undated
This series is divided into three (3) sub-series: Bethany Baptist, Union Baptist, and Ministry. The entire series contains documents that relate to church/ministry materials. Material vary in form but include church bulletins, conference programs, materials from Minister Wives and Widows association, and church specific announcements/correspondences.
Subseries 1: Bethany Baptist, 1957-2010 and undated
Box 2: 1957-1976
Folder 5: Annual Session, 1957, 1971-1973
Contains booklets with the minutes for the Bethany Baptist Association Annual Session.
Folder 6: Annual Session, 1973 - 1976
Contains booklet with the minutes for the Bethany Baptist Association Annual Session.
Box 3: 1976-1987
Folder 1: Annual Session, 1976 - 1979
Contains booklets with the minutes for the Bethany Baptist Association Annual Session.
Folder 2: Annual Session, 1980 - 1982
Contains booklets with the minutes for the Bethany Baptist Association Annual Session.
Folder 3: Annual Session, 1982 - 1983
Contains booklets with the minutes for the Bethany Baptist Association Annual Session.
Folder 4: Annual Session, 1984 - 1987
Contains booklets with the minutes for the Bethany Baptist Association Annual Session.
Box 4: 1987-2000
Folder 1: Annual Session, 1987 - 1989
Contains booklets with the minutes for the Bethany Baptist Association Annual Session.
Folder 2: Annual Session, 1990 - 1993
Contains booklets with the minutes for the Bethany Baptist Association Annual Session.
Folder 3: Annual Session, 1993 - 1996
Contains booklets with the minutes for the Bethany Baptist Association Annual Session.
Folder 4: Annual Session, 1996 - 2000
Contains booklets with the minutes for the Bethany Baptist Association Annual Session.
Box 5: 1990-2010 and undated
Folder 1: Annual Session, 2001 - 2003
Contains booklets with the minutes for the Bethany Baptist Association Annual Session.
Folder 2: Annual Session, 2003 - 2010
Contains booklets with the minutes for the Bethany Baptist Association Annual Session.
Folder 3: Queens Contest and Women's Retreat, 1990-2000 and undated
This folder consists of church memos and a brief Rev. Harris biographical sketch but primarily contains information about the women’s convention, queens contest, and member information.
Folder 4: Newsletters and Memos, 1991-1993
Memos for the music committee are included with the church newsletter titled “Flashes”.
Folder 5: Memos and Correspondence, 1993 - 1994
This folder contains memos and correspondence letters to the church as well as church address lists.
Folder 6: Bethany Baptist Association, 1994 - 1997 and undated
This folder contains a variety of letters to the congregation, lists of names and addresses for association members and photographs of a U.S. map.
Folder 7: Bulletins, Memos, and Convention Information, 1994 - 1996 and undated
Church memos, unfinished bulletins, and church address list. Additional items include correspondence from Rev. Harris.
Folder 8: Bethany Baptist Association, 1995 and undated
Contains minutes, programs, memos and agenda for Bethany Baptist Association meetings. Additional items are lists of addresses for church and Virginia County administrations.
Box 6: 1995-2009 and undated
Folder 1: Letters and Memos, 1995 - 1998
Memos to Bethany Baptist association members, fund raising material, church congregation letters, and information about the queens contest.
Folder 2: Budget, Bulletins, and Retreat, 1996 - 1998 and undated
This folder contains several bulletins that are not finished, budget information, retreat information, and a few correspondence letters.
Folder 3: Sharing and Caring, Sunday School, 1996 and undated
Member list of the sharing and caring, donation listing for sharing and caring, church listing of participants, and Bethany Baptist Association Sunday School Superintendents list.
Folder 4: Joint Session and Convention, 1996 - 1998
Program for the 29th Annual Joint Session and memos from Bethany Baptist.
Folder 5: Rally and Convention, 1996 - 1997 and undated
Program for meetings, member listing, and committee leaders listing.
Folder 6: One Day Session and Spring Institute, 1997 - 1998
Programs for meeting, listing for courses offered, and church memos. Other items include service program and flyer for the 1997-98 Advent service.
Folder 7: Evaluation Form, 1998
This folder contains evaluations forms for 29th annual joint session meeting.
Folder 8: Fall Institute, 1998
This folder contains information pertaining to directions, classes, and memos pertaining to the Fall Institute.
Folder 9: Stony Creek High School, 1998 - 1999
Items include documents relating to the building survey of the former Stony Creek Jr. High School.
Folder 10: Trustees, Board, and Women's Convention, 1998
Items include information and memos for board meetings, listings of trustee members, and programs for women’s retreat.
Folder 11: Women's Auxiliary and Convention, 1998 - 1999 and undated
This folder contains memos to the president and members of the Bethany Baptist Association and Allied Bodies pertaining to the Women’s Convention. Other items include a partial bulletin, and listing of the women participating in the Women’s convention.
Folder 12: Advent. Service, and Ceremony, 2007 - 2009 and undated
Items in this folder include an outline for a dedication ceremony, program for Harris banquet, and service pamphlet for a funeral.
Subseries 2: Ministry, 1969-2010 and undated
Box 7: 1969-2010 and undated
Folder 1: First Baptist, 1969, 1996-2004, and undated
Items include Anniversary and souvenir programs for First Baptist Church.
Folder 2: Churches in or near Petersburg, Hopewell, and Surrounding Area, 1971-2005
This folder includes programs and booklets pertaining to Usher’s Union, Prince George and Vicinities Baptist Churches, and Friendship Baptist Church. Additional items included graduation program, banquet program in honor of Rev. Harris, and correspondence to Rev. Harris.
Folder 3: Ivor, Virginia, 1973-2008
This folder contains bulletins, anniversary booklets, and tribute programs for Rev. Harris from Little Gilfield and Gilfield Baptist Church.
Folder 4: Ministers' Wives and Widows, Part 1, 1974-1975, 1986, and undated
Items in this folder include booklets for the history and membership directory for the Ministers’ Wives and Widows association.
Folder 5: Ministers' Wives and Widows, Part 2, 2000-2010
This folder contains three booklets for the Ministers’ Wives and Widows conferences. It also includes the name tag of Ruth Jones that will be stored with the artifacts as well as a service program.
Box 8: 1995-2010 and undated
Folder 1: VA Baptist State Convention, 1995-2010 and undated
Items include Virginia Baptist State Convention Blue Ribbon Commission Strategy, program, and newsletter information from the Virginia Baptist State Convention.
Folder 2: Sermons, 2007 and undated
All items in this folder are sermon printouts or notes of Rev. Harris.
Subseries 3: Union Baptist, 1964-2009 and undated
Box 8: 1963-2008 and undated
Folder 3: Church Correspondence, 1964-1968
This folder contains correspondence to and from Rev. Harris but also contains some letters by Ruth Harris.
Folder 4: Souvenir Programs, 1964-2007
Five souvenir programs for the anniversary of the church are contained in this folder.
Folder 5: Programs, 1969-2007
Contents include: Programs for a testimony, church anniversary and a Ministers’ Wives and Widows event.
Folder 6: Church Correspondence, 1973-2008
Items in this folder are correspondence from Rev. Harris and other church leaders, Additional items include information about the Juneteenth event and certificate of distinction.
Folder 7: Bulletins, Part 1, 1983, 1993-1999 and undated
Primarily consist of bulletins but also included are by-laws for church clubs.
Folder 8: Bulletins, Part 2, 1997-1999
All items in this folder are bulletins from the church.
Folder 9: Events, Budget, and Letters, 1984-1997
Letters in this folder are from Ruth Harris, Rev. Harris and other pastors. Other items are programs and flyers for church events, service programs, and roster of church membership.
Box 9: 1993-1998
Folder 1: Pastor Anniversary, 1988 and undated
Contents include: programs honoring Rev. Harris, anniversary cards from community members, and photocopied photographs.
Folder 2: Back to School and Memos, 1993-1998
Memos, certificate of recognition and back to school information.
Folder 3: Letters and Press Release, 1993-1999
This folder is primarily comprised of letters and correspondence from Rev. Harris. Other items include information from Hopewell Housing authority, computer literacy survey, and press release.
Folder 4: Congregation Contribution and Budget, 1995-1998
Items in this folder contain information regarding donations/contributions made by church members, rally financial contributions, and church budget proposals.
Folder 5: Convention, Committees, Finances, and Daycare, 1996-1998
Items in this folder consist of flyers for conventions, list of committees with their members, income proposal/financial reports, and pictures of day care facilities in need of repair.
Folder 6: Dedication Program and Guest Speakers, 1996-1998 and undated
Dedication program from Oliver Hill Courts building, work verification/reference letter, and biographic/introductory material for guest spears are located in this folder.
Folder 7: Men's Meeting and Budget Report, 1996-1998
Items primarily consist of budget/financial reports but also included in this folder are memo’s for mens' meeting.
Folder 8: Fellowship and Revival, 1997-1998
Materials in this folder inform the congregation members of the upcoming revival and fellowship.
Folder 9: Martin Luther King Jr., 1997
Memos for Martin Luther King memorial breakfast, letters from the SCLC stating meeting will be held at Union Baptist and a script for a play are included in this folder. An additional item includes a blank petition for the Circuit Court of the City of Hopewell.
Folder 10: Vacation Bible School and Women's Day1997 and unda, 1997 and undated
This folder contains letters from Rev. Harris, introductory notes for guests, information on VBS (Vacation Bible School), and the Women’s Day financial report.
Folder 11: Committees, Christmas, and Bible Study, 1998-1999
List of committees and their members, names of trustees, bible study booklet, and Christmas greeting letter are included in this folder.
Folder 12: Missionary, Music, Revival, and Passion Week, 1999 and undated
Items include music ministry leaders and their salary, flyers and memos for Vacation Bible School, revivals, and Passion Week are also included.
Folder 13: Retreat and Facilitator, 2005
Comprised mainly of a PowerPoint printout and informational packet for the Welcome and Introduction of Facilitator. Other items include flyers for retreat.
Folder 14: Member List, Undated
List of church members and pledge of service cards.

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],
[All]

Administrative Information

Repository
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.