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Vida A. Harris papers, 1915-1970

By Keli Rylance and Amy Wedel

Collection Overview

Title: Vida A. Harris papers, 1915-1970

Creator: Harris, Vida A. (1893-1985)

Extent: 2.0 Linear Feet

Arrangement: By subject

Date Acquired: 02/02/1989

Languages: English [eng]

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The collection documents the family, travels, education, and art practice of Kansas State Agricultural College graduate and teacher Vida Agnes Harris (March 29, 1893-May 25, 1985) from 1915-1970. Correspondence includes a letter Harris wrote while working as a domestic science instructor at the American Missionary Society's Tillotson College in Austin, Texas (1915), and letters received from Margaret Justin, Dean of Home Economics (1923-1954). Three diaries record Harris' international trips: Europe (1930); Mexico (1940) and India (1951). Sketches, block prints, paintings, and handmade greeting cards represent her art and design techniques. One folder contains photocopied, handwritten and typed recipes, a number of them credited to known associates.

Scant photographs and a notebook (1916-1918) pertain to her father, Samuel Murrell Harris (1858-1944), who operated the Hillside Dairy in Manhattan, Kansas. The photographs were taken during the early 1940s, and used by Ruth Linquist in her 1946 publication, Using and Sharing Our Hours (Chapel Hill, N.C.).  Samuel M. Harris is shown at the site of his old barn, located at 700 Harris Avenue. Kansas State's Memorial Stadium, Anderson and Seaton Halls, and power plant may be seen in the distance.

Biographical Note

Vida Agnes Harris was born 29 March 1893 in Harveyville, Kansas. She was the daughter of Samuel Murrell and Sarah Elizabeth (Thackrey) Harris. She was a home economics graduate of the Kansas State Agricultural College (B.S. '14). She began her career as a domestic science teacher at the American Missionary Society's Tillotson College in Austin, Texas. Short stints teaching at the University of Oklahoma and the Stout Institute were punctuated by returns to K.S.A.C. to participate in advanced summer courses. By the early 1920s, Harris had returned to Manhattan permanently. She taught art and design courses, developed illustrations for various faculty publications, and participated in the Cosmopolitan Club. She served on the Kansas State faculty from 1924 until her retirement as an associate professor in 1963.

Throughout her career, Harris sought educational advancement. She received a Master's degree from the University of Chicago in 1927, and subsequently studied at the Chicago Art Institute, the University of Mexico, and the University of Colorado. In 1930, she toured museums in Italy, France and Spain under the tutelage of Michel Jacobs (1877-1958), the founding director of the Metropolitan School of Art. She was a Fulbright teacher in India for two years (1951-52) and worked as an interior designer for five.

During her time at Kansas State, she co-authored a Lippincott text, Costume Design, wrote a bulletin titled The Picture on Your Wall, and created an illustrated map of the Manhattan campus. Printed by the Greiner-Fifield Lithographic Company, Ye Campus Mappe. . . of ye. . . Kansas State College was commissioned by Home Economics Dean Margaret Justin.

Harris died in 25 May 1985 and is buried in Manhattan's Sunset Cemetery.

Administrative Information

Use Restrictions: The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Physical Access Note: Original materials available during open hours of repository and any digitized materials that are online are available with Internet access.

Acquisition Source: Florence Walker

Separated Materials: Vida Harris faculty file

Related Materials: Photographs of Vida A. Harris. Turner, Mary Lee scrapbook. Richard L. D. and Marjorie J. Morse Department of Special Collections, Kansas State University Libraries. For more information please see https://www.k-state.edu/research/our-research/reports/fy2007/awards07.pdf.

Related Publications:

Aggie Alphabet The A.B.C.’s of College Life at K.S.C. Manhattan, Kansas, 1934.

Harris, Vida. Campus Mappe. . . of ye . . . Kansas State College. Printed by Greiner-Fifield Litho Co., Kansas City, Missouri. 23 September 1928.

Morris, Maria and Vida Agnes Harris. Costume Design: A Student's Handbook. Chicago: J.B. Lippincott, 1934.

"Omnicron Nu To Sell Unique Campus Maps." The Kansas Industrialist. 5 December 1928.

"Vida Harris." The K-Stater. June 1963, p. 12.

Preferred Citation: [Item title], [item date], Vida A. Harris papers, Box [number], Folder [number or title], Morse Department of Special Collections, Kansas State University Libraries.

Processing Information:

Acquired by A.R. Crawford, February 1989

Accessioned by Keli Rylance, University Archives and Special Collections Department Head at Kansas State University, August 2017

Processed by Amy Wedel, student processor at Kansas State University, 2017

Box and Folder Listing

Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Diary - Europe, 1930Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Diary - India, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Diary - Mexico, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Correspondence, 1915-1970Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Correspondence with Margaret Justin, 1933-1944Add to your cart.
Folder 6: ArtAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: ArtAdd to your cart.
Folder 8: ArtAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: ArtAdd to your cart.
Folder 10: Art - Kansas State UniversityAdd to your cart.
Folder 11: Art - ChristmasAdd to your cart.
Folder 12: Art - MexicoAdd to your cart.
Folder 13: Art - SevilleAdd to your cart.
Folder 14: Art - Sketchbook from a European painting tour, 1930Add to your cart.
Folder 15: Literary worksAdd to your cart.
Folder 16: Financial documents - ledger regarding Hillside Dairy from S.M. Harris, 1916-1918Add to your cart.
Folder 17: RecipesAdd to your cart.
Folder 18: Photographs, 1916-1944Add to your cart.