Annie Beth Abney Collection of Nathaniel E. Harris Research FilesAnnie Beth Abney Collection of Nathaniel E. Harris Research Files

Annie Beth Abney Collection of Nathaniel E. Harris Research Files

Descriptive Summary

Title: Annie Beth Abney Collection of Nathaniel E. Harris Research Files
Creator: Abney, Annie Beth
Dates: 1957
Extent: 1.0 box (.25 linear feet), including 5 photographs
Collection Number: RBRL/027/NEH
Repository: Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
Abstract: The Annie Beth Abney Collection of Nathaniel E. Harris Research Files consists of photographs and correspondence gathered by Abney while writing a master's thesis at the University of Georgia on Nathaniel Harris who served as Governor of Georgia from 1915 to 1917. Prior to his term as governor he also served in the Georgia House of Representatives and Senate, and as a judge in the Superior Court of the Macon Circuit. Harris was an attorney by profession. The photographs document Harris family gravesites and Governor Harris's affiliation with the Mulberry Street Methodist Church (Macon, GA) where he was an active member for fifty years. Correspondence in the collection includes letters written by Governor Harris; Warren Roberts, a fellow church member; and Governor Harris's son, Walter Harris. The subject matter of the letters centers on Harris's church activities and personal family matters dated 1866 (copy) and 1957.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

Nathaniel E. Harris Nathaniel E. Harris was born January 21, 1846, near Jonesboro, Tennessee and later moved with his family to Pine Log, Georgia. Harris attended Martin Academy until the outbreak of the Civil War. At age 16, he joined the Confederate infantry and eventually became an officer in the 16 th Virginia Calvary. He entered the University of Georgia in 1867 as a sophomore with the financial support of Alexander H. Stephens. Upon graduating from the university with an A.B. degree in 1870, Harris began studying law in Sparta, Georgia. He would eventually go on to receive his LL.D. degree from the University of Georgia in 1910.

In 1873, Harris moved to Macon where he practiced law with Walter Hill for the next 27 years. He was not confined to private practice, however, serving as city attorney from 1874 to 1882. Harris went on to serve as a representative in the state legislature from 1882 to 1885. It was during his term in the General Assembly that Harris achieved one of his greatest accomplishments, the founding of the Georgia School of Technology (later the Georgia Institute of Technology) in 1885. He served not only as the chair of the supervising committee for the school's establishment but also as the chair of the board of trustees until his death in 1929. Harris's interest in education also led him to introduce a bill calling for compulsory education.

Harris served in the Georgia Senate from 1894 to 1895 and as judge of the Superior Court of the Macon Circuit from 1912 until his resignation in 1915. Rather than finishing his term, Harris chose to run for governor of Georgia as a Democrat and was successful, taking office June 26, 1915, making him the last Confederate veteran to serve as governor. Shortly after his inauguration, the new governor tried unsuccessfully to apprehend the mob that lynched Leo Frank, an Atlanta factory supervisor convicted of murdering 13 year-old Mary Phagan. In addition, Harris helped pass an act that allowed Georgia banks to join the Federal Reserve. He was a staunch prohibitionist and in 1917 succeeded in prohibiting the shipment of liquor to or through Georgia. He also helped to send an act through the state legislature forbidding the sale of intoxicating liquor.

Upon leaving office, Harris returned to Macon to practice law. His days of public service were not over, however. From 1924 to 1925, he served as Pension Commissioner of Georgia while at the same time serving as president of the Electoral College of Georgia. Harris was also a member of the board of trustees of both Wesleyan College and the University of Georgia.

Harris was married twice. His first wife was Fannie Burke whom he married on January 12, 1873. They had six children. Fannie Burke died in 1898, and Harris married Hattie Jobe, an old friend, on July 6, 1899. Nathaniel Harris died in Hampton, Tennessee, on September 21, 1929.

Annie Beth Abney Annie Beth Mobley Abney graduated from the University of Georgia with an A.B.J. in journalism in 1956 and a master's degree in history in 1957. She married George Morris Abney, a University of Georgia professor, in 1959. Abney was a writer of note whose articles appeared in a number of state and national magazines. She was once president of the Athens Historical Society and associate editor of Georgia Historical Quarterly. Abney was active for many years in the civic, religious, and cultural life of Athens, Georgia, and, as a result, she was named Woman of the Year for Volunteer Public Service by the Athens Business and Professional Women's Club in 1977.

Scope and Content

The collection consists of photographs and correspondence relating to Georgia Governor Nathaniel E. Harris, collected by Annie Beth Abney while writing a master's thesis at the University of Georgia. The photographs document Harris family gravesites and Governor Harris's affiliation with Mulberry Street Methodist Church (Macon, GA) where he was an active member for fifty years. Correspondence in the collection includes letters written by Governor Harris; Warren Roberts, a fellow church member; and Governor Harris's son, Walter Harris. The subject matter of the letters centers on Harris's church activities and personal family matters dated 1866 and 1957.

Organization and Arrangement

The collection is organized in two series: I. Photographs and II. Correspondence.


Administrative Information and Restrictions

Preferred Citation

Annie Beth Abney Collection of Nathaniel E. Harris Research Files, Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Georgia, 30602-1641.

User Restrictions

Library acts as "fair use" reproduction agent.

Copyright Information

Before material from collections at the Richard B. Russell Library may be quoted in print, or otherwise reproduced, in whole or in part, in any publication, permission must be obtained from (1) the owner of the physical property, and (2) the holder of the copyright. It is the particular responsibility of the researcher to obtain both sets of permission. Persons wishing to quote from materials in the Russell Library collection should consult the Director. Reproduction of any item must contain a complete citation to the original.

Finding Aid Publication

Finding aid prepared by Russell staff, 2000.

Converted to EAD2002 and updated to reflect RLG Guidelines (2005), 2012.


Related Materials

Access Points

Georgia--Politics and government--1865-1950.
Governors--Georgia.
Harris, Nathaniel Edwin, 1846-1929
Judges--Georgia.
Lawyers--Georgia.
Legislators--Georgia--Biography.
Macon, Ga.
Methodists--Georgia.
Photographs.

Related Collections in this Repository

Hoke Smith Papers

Richard B. Russell, Sr. Papers

Dudley M. Hughes Collection

Georgia Governors' Messages


Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

 

I. Photographs

Extent: 5.0 photographs, 3 sets
Box
1I. Photographs, 1957 (Extent: 5.0 photographs, 3 sets )
Scope and Content: Black and white snapshots of the Harris family cemetery plots and the Mulberry Street Methodist Church where Nathaniel Harris was a member for over fifty years and taught Sunday school classes. Annie Beth Abney took these photographs in March 1957 as part of her master's thesis research.
 

II. Correspondence

Box
1II. Correspondence, 1957
Scope and Content: This series contains three letters, one from Nathaniel Harris to his aunt, Mrs. Mary Haynes Gifford, written in 1866. The letter, a copy of the original, discusses Harris's personal family life at that time. The other two letters were sent to Annie Beth Abney as part of her research on Governor Harris. One is from Warren Roberts, a fellow Mulberry Street Methodist Church member, and recounts Nathaniel's involvement in the church. The last letter is from Walter Harris, Governor Harris's son, in which he provides Abney with an account of his father's career as well as background information of his own life.