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Harris Family Scrapbook Collection, 1966-1982

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS-2019-009

Content Description

W.T. Harris, as he came to be known, began his grocery store in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1949. In 1960, he merged his company with Teeters Food Mart, based in Mooresville, North Carolina, and formed Harris Teeter Supermarkets, Inc. The first store opened in Kannapolis, North Carolina. Harris Teeter Supermarkets continued to be successful, and in January 2014, was acquired by The Kroger Company, although Harris Teeter retained its name, brand, and headquarters in Matthews, North Carolina.

The Harris Family Scrapbook Collection consists of 14 scrapbooks of memorabilia kept by W.T. Harris and his family. The bulk of the materials are from the 1970s, with a few scrapbooks from the 1960s and 1980s. Examples of scrapbook materials include congratulatory letters, programs, awards, involvement in community organizations, speaking engagements, correspondence, and “Man of the Year” awards.

Dates

  • 1967 - 1981

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public without restriction. The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to duplicate or publish material for any collection belonging to the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room must be obtained by Library staff.

Biographical / Historical

William Thomas (W.T.) Harris, of the Harris Teeter grocery store chain, was a prominent businessman, self-made millionaire, Baptist devotee, politician, and community advocate.

Harris moved to Charlotte in 1934 and landed a job with A&P Self Service Food Store, where he quickly rose to store manager. Two years later, in 1936, he opened his own grocery story on Central Avenue, called Harris Food Store. Governed by religious devotion and strong ethics of honesty and straightforwardness, Harris’ grocery business grew and expanded across the Charlotte area until its merger with Teeter Super Markets of Mooresville, NC in 1960. Harris Teeter quickly became a multi-million dollar company and is currently headquartered in Matthews, NC. William Thomas Harris later served as President of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce in 1966.

In addition to his successful business pursuits, W. T. Harris made great contributions to the Charlotte community. As devout Baptists, the Harris family were frequent attendees of the church where W. T. Harris volunteered for over 26 years as teacher and later superintendent of the Sunday School. His religious beliefs carried over into his business and political pursuits, focused mostly on his rejection of alcohol, in the community and in his Harris Teeter stores (repealed by company board members in 1971).

As a Mecklenburg County Commissioner, Harris led the movement for a statewide public kindergarten system, which passed in 1973, and advocated for teachers.

In 1966, Harris was given the Charlotte News Man of the Year award, followed by the Mayor’s Special Citizenship Award in 1967. A boulevard going from north to east Charlotte was named in honor of him.

W.T. Harris died in Greensboro, North Carolina, on November 14, 1989, following a collapse while giving a speech. He was living in Charlotte at the time of his death, and was buried in Sharon Memorial Park.

Extent

2.4 Linear Feet (14 flat cases) ; Bottom 2 cases measure 29 inches in width.

6.91 Cubic Feet (14 flat cases)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

This collection consists of 14 scrapbooks of memorabilia kept by W.T. Harris and his family. The bulk of the materials are from the 1970s, with a few scrapbooks from the 1960s and 1980s. Examples of scrapbook materials include congratulatory letters, programs, awards, involvement in community organizations, speaking engagements, correspondence, and “Man of the Year” awards.

Arrangement

There are 14 scrapbooks in this collection, each in their own box.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was donated to the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room by Phyllis Harris Moore in December 2014.

Related Materials

Grocery Stores—Harris-Teeter. (CALL NUMBER: NCR VERTICAL FILES)

Harris, W.T., (William Thomas), 1909-1989. (CALL NUMBER: NCR VERTICAL FILES)

Bibliography

Find a Grave. “William Thomas Harris.” https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-

bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=103452849&ref=acom

New York Times. “Obituaries: William T. Harris, 81; Built Grocery Chain.”

http://www.nytimes.com/1989/11/16/obituaries/william-t-harris-81-built-grocery-

chain.html

Williams, Shane. Harris Teeter. http://northcarolinahistory.org/encyclopedia/harris-

teeter/

Condition Description

The materials in this collection are in good/fair condition. The scrapbooks are fragile but the documents and photographs are good.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of this collection was completed by Sydney Carroll in December 2018.

Title
Harris Family Scrapbook Collection, 1966-1982
Status
Completed
Author
Sydney Carroll
Date
August 2018
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Repository

Contact:
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library-Main
310 N. Tryon Street
Charlotte NC 28202 USA