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In the Valley Collection (Corra Harris Historic Homestead, Bartow County, Georgia), 1902-2019

 Collection
Identifier: SC-H-001

Content Description

This collection contains material directly and indirectly related to Corra Harris, her family, and her home at In the Valley, Rydal, Georgia. There are a variety of materials in the collection including clippings, photographs, books, and other writings by Corra Harris. The bulk of the materials are clippings about the property and Corra Harris, articles and books by Corra Harris from 1910 to 1935, and photographs of the Corra Harris Garden Club from 2000 to 2001.

Kennesaw State University received the property and its contents in December of 2008, donated by Mr. Jodie Hill. At that time, the materials represented in this collection were removed from the property for preservation and storage in KSU’s Archives and Special Collections under the Department of Museums, Archives and Rare Books. KSU maintained the property until February 19, 2020, when ownership was transferred to Bartow County and the Etowah Valley Historical Society (EVHS). The agreement included a provision that the archival collection remain in the KSU Archives.

The KSU Archives and Special Collections maintains a partnership with the Etowah Valley Historical Society to serve as an educational resource for the Corra Harris Homestead.

The collection is arranged into three series: In the Valley, Corra Harris and Family, and General Documents and Ephemera. The In the Valley series contains materials which pertain directly to the property in Rydal, Georgia, once owned by the early twentieth Century writer Corra Mae (White) Harris (1869-1935). Included in this series are clippings about the property, a guest register from the house, photographs and prints of the house, and materials from the Corra Harris Garden Club. The clippings section includes newspaper and magazine clippings about the property ranging from 1935 to 2004. The guest register, which was located on the property, contains signatures of the visitors to In the Valley during the period from 1935 to 2009. The photographs and prints section contains reproductions of photographs and prints of In the Valley. The Corra Harris Garden Club section includes photographs of the Garden Club events, mainly from 2000-2001. It also includes a bible belonging to Marilee Henson, the founding president of the Garden Club, a Georgia State Senate Resolution recognizing the Garden Club, and clippings about the Garden Club from 2000-2002. The Corra Harris and Family series contains materials pertaining directly to Corra Harris and her various family members, particularly her husband Lundy H. Harris (1858-1910). The clippings section contains originals and copies of articles written by and about Corra Harris from 1905 to 1999. Correspondence contains handwritten materials sent by Corra and Lundy Harris, including a sermon written by Lundy Harris in an addressed envelope and a handwritten letter from Lundy H. Harris (donated by Alonzo M. Norris III). Photographs in this series are reproductions of Harris family photos and one original autographed photo of Corra. Books include nineteen first edition books written by Corra Harris, purchased by Jodie Hill and housed in the stone chapel at In the Valley until 2010. Family items are objects which were once owned by the Harris family. Included in this series are a brass candlestick and a first edition of A Circuit Rider’s Wife with inscription (donated by Alonzo M. Norris III). Also in this series are a small china collection, the book Harper’s School Classics: A Primer of Greek Literature, and the book The Foundation of Faith Considered in Eight Sermons Preached before the University of Oxford in the Year M.DCCC.LXXIX with inscription (donated by Susan Infinger). The Miscellaneous series contains materials which indirectly pertain to the property or Corra Harris and her family, but do not fit into either of the previous series. These materials include objects from the time period such as publications Corra Harris would have written for, but in which she was not published, articles about the area which In the Valley is located, and materials about the movie “I’d Climb the Highest Mountain,” based on her book The Circuit Rider’s Wife. Also in this series are books of value found on the property, but not written or owned by Corra Harris.

Dates

  • 1902-2019
  • Majority of material found within 1910-1935

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

The historic Corra Harris homestead, In The Valley, is now owned by the Etowah Valley Historical Society in Bartow County. The agreement includes a provision that Kennesaw State University (KSU) retains ownership of the items removed from the property and now in the possession of the KSU Archives.

The collection is open for research. Archival materials may contain sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state “right to privacy” laws. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals without the consent of those individuals may have legal cause for action if facts concerning an individual’s private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person. Privately donated materials may carry restrictions imposed by deed as a condition of donation and require the permission of the donor or donor’s agent. The KSU archives does not itself waive such restrictions, nor will it act as an advocate for any researcher seeking such waivers. KSU archives staff have taken care to identify and, in some cases, remove sensitive information found within its archival collections when undertaking archival processing work. However, privacy protected information may be revealed during use of the archival collections, particularly in those collections that are unprocessed or have been minimally processed. Researchers agree to make no notes or other recordation of privacy protected information if found within the archival collections, and further agree not to publish, publicize, or disclose such information to any other party for any purpose if found within the archival collections. Researchers agree to indemnify and hold harmless Kennesaw State University and its officers, employees, and agents from and against all suits, claims, actions, and expenses arising out of use of archival collections held by the Kennesaw State University Archives.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. Permission to publish, reproduce, publicly display, broadcast, or distribute this material must be secured from the repository and/or copyright holder.

Biographical or Historical Information

Corra Mae (White) Harris: Corra Mae (White) Harris, one of Georgia’s most prominent female writers of the early twentieth Century, was born on March 17, 1869 to Elizabeth and Tinsley Rucker White on her family’s plantation “Farmhill” in Elbert County, Georgia. Corra had a rudimentary education, she first received direction from her mother and later moved to the old Field school in Elbert County. When the family’s money provided Corra attended school at the Elberton Female Academy. She studied with her uncle, Albert Mathews, the principal of a school in Banks County for a short while in 1885. It was in Banks County that Corra would meet her future husband, Lundy H. Harris who was born in 1858 in McDonough, Georgia. She returned home from Banks County in 1886 and finished her final term at the Female Academy. Corra and Lundy Harris were married on February 8, 1887 at “Farmhill.” Lundy became a Methodist preacher the year before; after their marriage Corra followed Lundy, from church to church on the Redwine Circuit in Heart County, Georgia. At the end of 1887 Corra once again returned to her childhood home, “Farmhill,” to give birth to their first child, Faith, on December 24. Faith would be the first of three children of Lundy and Corra, but the only child to survive past infancy. In 1888 Lundy accepted a job at a church in Decatur, Georgia and moved his family. Later that year Dr. Warren Candler offered Lundy employment at Emory College as an adjunct professor in Greek; so the family moved again, this time to Oxford, Georgia. In June of 1898 Lundy suffered a mental breakdown and left Corra and their children to find his faith. At this time Corra wrote Al, Lundy’s brother, and he promptly told her she should come to Rockmart, Georgia and stay with him. By the spring of 1899 Lundy had returned to Corra in Rockmart. Lundy gained employment at the Rockmart Institute and Corra at a Country School. Later that same year an African American man named Sam Hose was lynched by a mob of white people in Newnan for killing a white farmer. Letters and articles denouncing the actions of the mob were published by the New York Independent. In response Corra wrote a letter to the editors of the Independent which explained the southerner’s actions; the Independent published this letter as “A Southern Woman’s Viewpoint.” The publication of Corra’s letter in the Independent received intense reactions from the readers which caused the editor to request more of her work. After another racially loaded piece followed by the reader’s reactions, the paper agreed to publish and pay for any work Corra sent them, launching her professional career as a writer. In 1900 Lundy accepted a position at Young Harris College and the family moves to Young Harris. For the next few years Corra moved around Georgia following Lundy to his various places of employment; first as a supply preacher in a small church in Groveton, Georgia near Augusta then to a church in College Park. Finally in 1902 Lundy is appointed assistant secretary of the Methodist Church’s Board of Education in Nashville, Tennessee. During this whole time Corra continues to write, publishing many articles, serials, book reviews, and her first book in 1902 (first published as a serial and later as a book) Jessica’s Letters. In 1910, Corra’s second and most famous book, A Circuit Rider’s Wife, was published. Though this was a triumphant accomplishment for Corra and her career it was coupled with tragedy; later that year her beloved husband took his own life with a morphine overdose, while visiting some friends in Pine Log, Georgia. Corra had spent her married life following Lundy around to his various jobs, living in dormitories, apartments, and rented homes; therefore after the death of her husband Corra decided that she would purchase the one thing she never owned, a home of her own. Corra spent the next year writing, traveling to research a story, and visiting friends. When Corra returned from Europe and finished her serial, “An Old Woman and a New One in the Old World,” she returned to Georgia to visit family and old friends. While visiting Clarence Anthony at his farm in Pine Log, the same farm where Lundy died, she found the home she would purchase in nearby Rydal, Georgia; Corra decided on this location because she felt close to her husband there. Corra would name her new home, which consisted of only an old log cabin, In the Valley. Over the next few years Corra would renovate the original cabin and make additions to it and the rest of the property. Corra spent the remainder of her years, from 1913 to 1935, at In the Valley writing and entertaining guests. During her time at In the Valley Corra accomplished many things; she published many more works, taught a course on “Evil” at Rollins College, and was awarded three honorary degrees from Oglethorpe University, The University of Georgia, and Rollins College. On May 3, 1919 in the middle of her accomplishments Corra lost her daughter Faith. Corra Harris died on February 7, 1935 and was buried at her home In the Valley. A Chapel, designed by the architectural firm Cram and Ferguson, was built the next year in 1936 over her grave.   In the Valley: In the Valley is located in Rydal, a small town in Bartow County, Georgia, slightly northeast of Cartersville, Georgia. The home was made famous because of its occupant, prominent Georgia writer, Corra Harris who owned the home from 1913 to 1935. Legend has it that the original cabin, dating back to sometime in the early nineteenth century, was built by a Cherokee Indian Chief who’s name does not remain. The Cherokee Chief, given the name Chief Pine Log because of the cabin’s close proximity to the town Pine Log, Georgia, was relocated during the trail of tears with the rest of the native population of the area. There is no record left of any Chief Pine Log in the 1835 Cherokee Census or any other historical record from the area. Corra Harris happened upon the cabin and property while visiting the Anthony Farm, in Pine Log, where her husband took his own life. The property was in ruins when Corra found it, but in the log cabin she saw her home and felt her husband’s presence. Corra Harris purchased the property in 1913, renovating and making additions to the original cabin. At this time Corra also added many outbuildings to the property including a worker’s quarters and a library around 1914. After Corra’s death a small stone chapel was added to the property in 1936. The estate was divided between Corra’s three nephews, William Albinius (“Al”) Harris, John Duncan Harris, and Frederick Mixon Harris, in accordance with her will. The two Rains sisters, Bettie and Trannie, were allowed to live on the land and see to its up keep as long as they never married. The two Rains sisters eventually married and, as stated in Corra’s will, the property was then offered to The Daughters of the American Revolution and then to The United Daughters of the Confederacy, but neither of the organizations was interested in the land. In 1949, the trust for the property was depleted. Al Harris’s widow and Corra’s two remaining nephews, John and Fred, sold the land to Trannie Rains Smith. While the land was owned by the Smith family, portions were sold leaving only the 56 acres directly attached to the cabin. Over the next few decades the property changed hands multiple times and in 1996 Jodie Hill, a Marietta businessman, bought the property and began restorations. In 2000 Mr. Hill began the Corra Harris Garden Club, in memory of the author, which helped with the up keep of the property. In December of 2008 Mr. Hill donated the property to Kennesaw State University.Note written by Nathan Teasdale

Extent

7 cubic feet (2 record cartons, 4 flat medium boxes, 4 flat oversized boxes, 1 artifact box, 1 half document case)

Language of Materials

English

Arrangement

The collection is organized into series according to whom they relate. Within each series, materials are arranged by format.

Source of Acquisition

Donated by Jodie Leon Hill. Date acquired: December 2008.

Accruals and Additions

Additional donation by Alonzo M. Norris III, great nephew of Mary Goodrum a friend of Corra Harris, on June 22, 2009.
Additional donation by Susan Infinger, niece of Corra Harris, on March 4, 2010.

Related Materials

Corra Harris papers, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Georgia.
Corra Harris papers, Robert W. Woodruff Library, Special Collections Department, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.
Martha Berry Collection, Correspondence Series, Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College, Rome, Georgia.
Etowah Historical Society, Cartersville, Georgia.
The Bartow County History Center Archives, Cartersville, Georgia.



Status
Completed
Author
Nathan Teasdale
Date
2011 July
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Revision Statements

  • 2020 July: updated by Maggie Thomas
  • 2022 January: updated by Maggie Thomas

Repository Details

Part of the Kennesaw State University Archives Repository

Contact:
1000 Chastain Road
MD 1704
Kennesaw GA 30144 GKJ