Vida A. Harris papers

Identity elements

Reference code

US US kmk 2017-18.015

Level of description



Vida A. Harris papers


  • 1915-1970 (Creation)


2.00 Linear Feet, 1.00 Box

Name of creator


Biographical history

Vida Agnes Harris was born on 29 March 1893 in Harveyville, Kansas. She was the daughter of Samuel Murrell and Sarah Elizabeth (Thackrey) Harris. She was a home economics graduate of the Kansas State Agricultural College (B.S. '14). She began her career as a domestic science teacher at the American Missionary Society's Tillotson College in Austin, Texas. Short stints teaching at the University of Oklahoma and the Stout Institute were punctuated by returns to K.S.A.C. to participate in advanced summer courses. By the early 1920s, Harris had returned to Manhattan permanently. She taught art and design courses, developed illustrations for various faculty publications, and participated in the Cosmopolitan Club. She served on the Kansas State faculty from 1924 until her retirement as an associate professor in 1963.
Throughout her career, Harris sought educational advancement. She received a Master's degree from the University of Chicago in 1927 and subsequently studied at the Chicago Art Institute, the University of Mexico, and the University of Colorado. In 1930, she toured museums in Italy, France, and Spain under the tutelage of Michel Jacobs (1877-1958), the founding director of the Metropolitan School of Art. She was a Fulbright teacher in India for two years (1951-52) and worked as an interior designer for five.
During her time at Kansas State, she co-authored a Lippincott text, Costume Design, wrote a bulletin titled The Picture on Your Wall, and created an illustrated map of the Manhattan campus. Printed by the Greiner-Fifield Lithographic Company, Ye Campus Mappe. . . of ye. . . Kansas State College was commissioned by Home Economics Dean Margaret Justin.
Harris died on 25 May 1985 and is buried in Manhattan's Sunset Cemetery.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

The collection documents the family, travels, education, and art practice of Kansas State Agricultural College graduate and teacher Vida Agnes Harris (March 29, 1893-May 25, 1985) from 1915-1970. Correspondence includes a letter Harris wrote while working as a domestic science instructor at the American Missionary Society's Tillotson College in Austin, Texas (1915) and letters received from Margaret Justin, Dean of Home Economics (1923-1954). Three diaries record Harris' international trips: Europe (1930); Mexico (1940) and India (1951). Sketches, block prints, paintings, and handmade greeting cards represent her art and design techniques. One folder contains photocopied, handwritten, and typed recipes, a number of them credited to known associates.
Scant photographs and a notebook (1916-1918) pertain to her father, Samuel Murrell Harris (1858-1944), who operated the Hillside Dairy in Manhattan, Kansas. The photographs were taken during the early 1940s, and used by Ruth Linquist in her 1946 publication, Using and Sharing Our Hours (Chapel Hill, N.C.). Samuel M. Harris is shown at the site of his old barn, located at 700 Harris Avenue. Kansas State's Memorial Stadium, Anderson and Seaton Halls, and power plant may be seen in the distance.

System of arrangement

This collection is arranged by subject.

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

Physical access

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

  • Latin

Language and script notes

Finding aids

Acquisition and appraisal elements

Custodial history

This collection was given accession number 2017-18.015.

Immediate source of acquisition

Acqusition Source: Florence Walker
Acqusition Date: 19890202

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information


Related materials elements

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related archival materials

Related Materials: Photographs of Vida A. Harris. Turner, Mary Lee scrapbook. Richard L. D. and Marjorie J. Morse Department of Special Collections, Kansas State University Libraries.
Related Materials URL:
Related Publications: Aggie Alphabet The A.B.C.’s of College Life at K.S.C. Manhattan, Kansas, 1934.
Harris, Vida. Campus Mappe. . . of ye . . . Kansas State College. Printed by Greiner-Fifield Litho Co., Kansas City, Missouri. 23 September 1928.
Morris, Maria and Vida Agnes Harris. Costume Design: A Student's Handbook. Chicago: J.B. Lippincott, 1934.
"Omnicron Nu To Sell Unique Campus Maps." The Kansas Industrialist. 5 December 1928.
"Vida Harris." The K-Stater. June 1963, p. 12.

Related descriptions

General note

Separated Materials: Vida Harris faculty file

Specialized notes

  • Citation: [Item title], [item date], Vida A. Harris papers, Box [number], Folder [number or title], Morse Department of Special Collections, Kansas State University Libraries.

Alternative identifier(s)

Archon Collection ID


Description control element

Rules or conventions

Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Sources used

Archivist's note

Finding Aid Author: Keli Rylance and Amy Wedel
Processing Info: Acquired by A.R. Crawford, February 1989
Accessioned by Keli Rylance, University Archives and Special Collections Department Head at Kansas State University, August 2017
Processed by Amy Wedel, student processor at Kansas State University, 2017

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