Albert W. Harris Papers

Identifier: MSS.0193

  • Staff Only

Scope and Content of Collection:

The A.W. Harris Papers are contained within one Hollinger box of 25 folders. The collection is primarily composed of the financial transactions, various correspondences, newsletters and horse pedigree papers from the Trotting Horse Breeders Association. The collection holds eight folders of receipts from the years 1861-1874, those of his wife Fannie A. Wilson, his in-law relatives Thomas B. Wilson, and W.L. Wilson; showcasing the sale of domestic goods, real estate, labor and livestock. Some purchases are accompanied by reserve stamps from the Civil War, and are noteworthy for their representation of 19th century local economics and business life within the Nashville area as well as broader Tennessee. The collection also holds seven folders of correspondence between the Harris and Wilson families between 1867-1895. These correspondences pertain to private matters, various business transactions of the family businesses, as well as the incoming correspondences of Temple O. Harris and A.W. Harris. Two folders containing documents, newspaper clippings, and records concerning agriculture and animal husbandry from the years 1867-1873. Four folders containing bank receipts from the Fourth National Bank from the years 1872-1873. The remaining four folders contain an assessment list issued by Davidson county in 1874, a newspaper clipping regarding veteran pensions, Nashville local business documents, and the personal notes of A.W. Harris.


  • undated

Language of Materials


Literary Rights Statement:

Permission to publish, copy, reprint, copy, reprint, digitize, orally record for transmission over public or private airways, or use materials from the A.W. Harris Papers in any and all other current or future development methods or procedures, must be obtained in writing from the Special Collections and University Archives Division of the Vanderbilt University Libraries. All rights are reserved and retained regardless of current or future development or laws that may apply to fair use standards.

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

A. W. Harris was born in Nashville in 1839 to William C. and Fannie Harris. William C. Harris was the one-time editor of The Republican Banner newspaper before its incorporation into The American and finally The Tennessean. As a young man, A.W. Harris worked as a wholesale shoe salesman until the outbreak of the Civil War in which he enlisted as a private in Company A, Rock City Guards, First Tennessee Regiment. He moved up in the ranks, achieving the position of major by the closing of the war. Once released from military service, Major Harris briefly lived in Mississippi where he conducted a plantation until his eventual return home to Nashville, Tennessee where he married Fannie Wilson, daughter of Dr. J.R. Wilson and had three children, Mary Lou, W.O. and Albert W. Harris. His youngest, Albert W. Harris would later become a student at Vanderbilt University receiving his M.D. in 1901 and later serving as a Captain in the Vanderbilt Medical Unit with the American Army in France and the Army for Occupation in Germany during WWI. After WWI, Dr. Albert W. Harris would serve on the medical faculty at Vanderbilt University as a professor of Clinical Neurology and Psychiatry until his death in 1941.

In Nashville, Major A.W. Harris would first work as a clerk and later an assistant cashier at the Third National Bank until its consolidation as the American National Bank in 1883. At such time, Harris would be elected as the Chief Executive Officer, accepting the position but not a pay raise, believing it was unethical when the country was facing economic turmoil. In 1884, he was elected to serve on the Board of Directors. For the next few years, A.W. Harris suffered from what was called an “affusion of the blood” most likely a form of apoplexy or hemorrhaging causing fits that were recorded in local newspapers for their violence. Nevertheless, and despite his doctor’s recommendations, A.W. Harris continued to serve the Nashville area diligently and tirelessly. In the years leading up to his death he aided in numerous estate disputes, wrote articles on the state of banking in the area and aided in the organizational formation and managed records for the Trotting Horse Breeders Association. On July 23rd, 1898, Major Harris experienced a coughing fit that ruptured an artery, causing a hemorrhage which resulted in his death.


0.42 Linear Feet

Physical Location

Special Collections & Archives

Finding Aid for the Albert W. Harris Papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Vanderbilt University Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Library
1101 19th Ave. S.
Nashville TN 37212 United States


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