George Washington Harris Papers

Identifier: MSS.0194

  • Staff Only

Scope and Content Note

The George W. Harris papers contains correspondence, a bound volume of stories, including letters to editor and Sut Lovingood Yarns. Also included is the dissertation “The Life and Works of George Washington Harris” – by Donald Day, March 1942 and a typescript of the manuscript “High Times and Hard Times. Sketches and Tales” by George W. Harris – by M. Thomas Inge. © 2012 Vanderbilt University Special Collections and University Archives


  • multiple

Language of Materials


Biography of George W. Harris

George Washington Harris was born near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on March 20, 1814. In 1819 he moved to Knoxville, Tennessee with his older half-brother, Samuel Bell. Harris worked as an apprentice in Samuel Bell’s metalworking shop. He married Mary Emiline Nance in 1835 and bought land in Blount County, Tennessee. George Washington Harris’ first writing was in the form of political articles for the Knoxville, Argus in the late 1930’s. In 1843 he began writing epistles and he was published, under the pen name “Mr. Free.” The works published were four letters describing rural customs, sports, and hunts. George Washington Harris reached literary achievement through his character named Sut Lovingood who used a folk dialect common to Tennessee. A compilation of adventures specific to Sut Lovingood, which had previously been published separately in various newspapers from the 1850’s to the 1860’s came to be contained within Sut Lovingood’s. Yarns Spun by a “Nat’ral Born Durn’d Fool.” George Washington Harris is one of a number of seminal writers of southern humor and influenced writers such as Mark Twain and William Faulkner. He died in 1869 in Knoxville, Tennessee.


.84 Linear Feet

Physical Location

Special Collections & Archives

Finding Aid for the George Washington Harris Papers
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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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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