Old Dominion University Libraries

Edythe C. Harrison Papers, 1961-1993 | Special Collections and University Archives

By Charles Hillen, revised by Jan Halecki, Mel Frizzell and Special Collections Staff

Collection Overview

Title: Edythe C. Harrison Papers, 1961-1993

Collection Identifier: MG 60

ID: 00/MG 60

Primary Creator: Harrison, Edythe C. (1934-)

Extent: 33.0 Linear Feet. More info below.

Arrangement:

The collection is divided into five series:

I. Legislative Papers

Sub-series A: House of Delegates

Sub-series B: Joint Subcommittee on Career, Technical and Vocational Education

II. Campaign Files

Sub-series A: Campaigns for House of Delegates (1979-1982)

Sub-series B: 1984 United States Senate Campaign

Sub-series C: 1984 Senate Campaign Clippings and News Releases

III. Virginia Opera Association

IV. General Papers

Sub-series A: Arts

Sub-series B: Education

Sub-series C: Abortion and V.O.I.C.E. (Virginians Organized for Informed Community Expression)

Sub-series D: Women's Issues

Sub-series E: Women in Leadership - Old Dominion University

Sub-series F: Women's American ORT

Sub-series G: Miscellaneous

Sub-series H: Reports & Publications

Sub-series I: Oversized Materials

V. Audio and Video Tapes

Sub-series A: Audio Cassette Tapes

Sub-series B: Reel-to-Reel Audio Tapes

Sub-series C: Video Tapes

Series I: Legislative Papers contains material regarding legislation proposed during Harrison's tenure in the Virginia House of Delegates. Some of the issues covered include; abortion, mastectomy, paternity, arts funding and education.

Sub-series B of this series involves Harrison's work on the Joint Subcommittee on Career, Technical and Vocational Education that she organized and chaired during her term in the Virginia House of Delegates. This sub series contains newspaper clippings, correspondence, reports of the committee and House Joint Resolutions.

Series II: Campaign Files contains material regarding the campaign for House of Delegates (Sub-series A), the campaign for U.S. Senate (Sub-series B) and newspaper clippings regarding both campaigns (Sub-series C).

Sub-series A: contains information on the elections in 1979, 1981 and her campaign in the 1982 Democratic primary against Delegate Tom Moss of Norfolk.

Sub-series B: contains information on political action committees, fundraising, contributions and contributors, research on various issues, preparatory notes for debates against Warner, reports stating her stance on the issues, political contacts throughout the state and election results in Virginia's ten congressional districts for previous elections. The correspondence includes letters of support, requests for information, letters from her constituents and condolence letters on her defeat. Her records also contain a considerable amount of material on her opponent, Senator John Warner. This material includes information on his Senate voting record, personal life, positions on various issues and contributions to his campaign for United States Senate in 1978.

Sub-series C: contains newspaper clippings regarding Harrison's campaigns. The bulk of this sub series pertains to the 1984 senate campaign.

Series III: Virginia Opera Association contains reviews of events, news articles, promotional materials, programs from the Virginia Opera and other opera and music festivals. The correspondence contains letters of support to and from the association and nomination letters for the committees of the Virginia Opera Association.

Series IV: General Papers includes material regarding Harrison's non-legislative activities.

Sub-series A: contains material regarding her work in support of the arts.

Sub-series B: contains information on the Virginia Vocational-Technical Education Foundation (VVEF) later renamed the Virginia Foundation for Business and Education. The material consists of meeting records, correspondence, news clippings, and reports.

Sub-series C: contains material regarding Harrison's work to keep abortion legal. Also included is material on V.O.I.C.E. (Virginians Organized For Informed Community Expression). The folders contain minutes of meetings, stances on abortion, membership solicitations and budget reports. Correspondence contains insightful information on the organization's purpose and the members of the organization. A letter of particular importance is from Pat Robertson to Bob Nusbaum, Vice-President of V.O.I.C.E.

Sub-series D: contains material regarding Harrison's work in women's issues. Most of this material pertains to Harrison's involvement with the National Women's Political Caucus (NWPC).

Sub-series E: contains material regarding the course taught by Harrison at Old Dominion University. The materials include lecture notes, course descriptions, reference materials. The sub series also contains material on the Friends of Women's Studies group at ODU.

Sub-series F: contains material regarding Women’s American ORT, a Jewish Women’s service and education organization. The materials include membership directories, newsletters, yearbooks, and other materials from the Norfolk/Tidewater chapters.

Sub-series G: contains miscellaneous materials such as personal correspondence, invitations, certificates, and portrait photos.

Sub-series H: contains published reports mostly concerning the issues of comparable worth and women in politics.

Sub-series I: contains oversized materials, mostly newspapers, also a birthday card, maps of voting precincts, sample ballot, and cross reference directory.

Series V: Audio and Video Tapes contains tapes mostly regarding Harrison's political activities. They include speeches, political ads, appearances on talk and news shows.

Date Acquired: 09/01/1994. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Civic leaders--Virginia--Norfolk, Hampton Roads (Va.)--History--20th century, Harrison, Edythe C., Legislators--Virginia--Hampton Roads, Norfolk (Va.)--Politics and government--20th century, Virginia--Politics and government--1951-, Virginia. General Assembly, Virginia. General Assembly. House of Delegates, Virginia Opera Association, Women legislators--Virginia

Languages: English

Abstract

Member of the Virginia House of Delegates (1979-1982), founder and president of the Virginia Opera Association, and unsuccessful candidate for United States Senator in 1984 against incumbent Republican, Senator John Warner. The first woman in Virginia nominated by the Democratic Party for statewide office. Collection primarily relates to her activities in politics and the 1984 Senatorial campaign.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Edythe C. Harrison Collection contains material concerning her activities as a delegate in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1979-1982, the Virginia Opera Association, the course she taught at Old Dominion University, Women in Leadership, and her campaign for United States Senator in 1984 against incumbent Republican Senator John Warner.

The bulk of the collection pertains to the 1984 United States Senate race, providing considerable insight into how a campaign operates from organizing staff and volunteers, establishing stances on various issues and soliciting electoral and financial support. The material contains information on political action committees, fundraising, contributions and contributors, research on various issues, preparatory notes for debates against Warner, reports stating her stance on the issues, political contacts throughout the state and election results in Virginia's ten congressional districts for previous elections. The correspondence includes letters of support, requests for information, letters from her constituents and condolence letters on her defeat. Two letters of particular note are from Bill Clinton, then Governor of Arkansas. Her records also contain a considerable amount of material on her opponent, Senator John Warner. This material includes information on his Senate voting record, his personal life, his stances on the issues and contribution material from his campaign for United States Senate in 1978.

The collection also contains records pertaining to the Subcommittee of Vocational, Technical, and Career Education which she organized and chaired during her term in the Virginia House of Delegates. The material contains newspaper clippings, correspondence, reports of the committee and House Joint Resolutions. Other items of importance include records on the Virginia Vocational-Technical Education Foundation, later renamed, the Virginia Foundation for Business and Education. The material consists of meeting records, correspondence, news clippings, and reports.

The material pertaining to the Virginia Opera Association contains reviews of the events, news articles, promotional materials, programs from other opera and music festivals and correspondence. This correspondence contains letters of support to and from the association and nomination letters for the committees of the Virginia Opera Association.

Several boxes contain information concerning her term in the Virginia House of Delegates. The material contains information on issues and legislation including abortion, the arts, breast cancer the deficit, arms control, crime, and Virginia's economy. The material also includes information on the elections in 1979, 1981 and her campaign in the 1982 Democratic primary against Delegate Tom Moss of Norfolk.

The box containing material of the course she taught at Old Dominion University, Women in Leadership, include bibliographies for research, pamphlets for Instruction, and textbooks. A considerable amount of material concerns the organization, V.O.I.C.E. (Virginians Organized For Informed Community Expression) It was established to counter vocal right-wing attacks on such issues as abortion and medical research on human reproduction and fertility. The folders contain minutes of meetings, stances on abortion, membership solicitations and budget reports. Correspondence contains insightful information on the organization's purpose and the members of the organization. A letter of particular importance is from Pat Robertson to Bob Nusbaum, Vice-President of V.O.I.C.E., distributed among the members of the organization.

Collection Historical Note

Edythe C. Harrison was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1934. She has lived in Norfolk, Virginia since 1957. A professional volunteer, Edythe founded and served on numerous committees and councils. She is a founding member of the Virginia Opera Association. She also served on Old Dominion University's President's Advisory Council, the Board of Directors of the Greater Norfolk Corporation, the Advisory Committee of the Day Care and Child Development Center of Tidewater, Inc., and National Board of Governors of the National Conference of Soviet Jewry. In 1980 she was a founding member of Virginians Organized For Informed Community Expression (V.O.I.C.E.), an organization established to counter vocal right-wing attacks on such issues as abortion and medical research on human reproduction and fertility. Additionally in 1983 she chaired the 2nd District chapter of the National Women's Political Caucus. Her awards and honors include Outstanding Professional Woman of the Tidewater, and the Brotherhood Award of the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

Edythe C. Harrison was first elected to political office in 1979 when she was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. The committees on which she served during her tenure in the House of Delegates, 1979- 1982, were Education, Labor and Commerce, Conservation and Natural Resources, and Chesapeake and its Tributaries. She also served as Chairperson of the Joint Legislative Subcommittee on Vocational-Technical and Career Education and represented Virginia at the National Conference of State Legislatures, Arts and the States Committee. President Jimmy Carter appointed Edythe Harrison to the Advisory Committee for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 1979. In 1982 political redistricting in Norfolk created single member districts. She opposed incumbent Thomas Moss in the Democratic primary and lost. In 1984 Edythe Harrison became the first woman from Virginia nominated to seek state-wide office. She challenged Republican incumbent Senator John Warner in the 1984 United States Senate Race and was defeated.

In 1994 the Harrison Opera House in Norfolk was named for her after she raised $10 million to have the 50-year old civic auditorium completely remodeled and expanded.

Subject/Index Terms

Civic leaders--Virginia--Norfolk
Hampton Roads (Va.)--History--20th century
Harrison, Edythe C.
Legislators--Virginia--Hampton Roads
Norfolk (Va.)--Politics and government--20th century
Virginia--Politics and government--1951-
Virginia. General Assembly
Virginia. General Assembly. House of Delegates
Virginia Opera Association
Women legislators--Virginia

Administrative Information

Repository: Special Collections and University Archives

Accruals: A second accession was received in 1998.

Alternate Extent Statement: 79 Hollinger document cases, 2 oversize boxes

Access Restrictions: The collection is open to researchers without restrictions.

Use Restrictions: Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from Special Collections and University Archives, and the holder of the copyright, if not Old Dominion University Libraries.

Acquisition Source: Edythe C. Harrison

Acquisition Method: Gift. Accession #A94-1

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], Box [insert number], Folder [insert number and title], Edythe C. Harrison Papers, Special Collections and University Archives, Patricia W. and J. Douglas Perry Library, Old Dominion University Libraries, Norfolk, VA 23529.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series I: Legislative Files],
[Series II: Campaign Files],
[Series III: Virginia Opera Association],
[Series IV: General Papers],
[Series V: Audio and Video Tapes],
[All]

Series III: Virginia Opera Association
Box 63
Folder 9: Correspondence
Folder 10: Miscellaneous
Folder 11: MASTERWORK-The Virginia Opera Capital Campaign for the Renovation of the Norfolk Center Theater
Folder 12: Promotional Material-Other Opera Companies
Folder 13: Nominating Committee, 1980-1981
Box 64
Folder 1: VOA Auction
Folder 2: Mary Queen of Scots Premier
Folder 3: Mary Queen of Scots
Folder 4: A Dickens Christmas in Norfolk
Folder 5: Governor's Awards for the Arts
Folder 6: New Yorker Magazine (Violetta in Virginia pp. 88-93), June 30, 1975
Folder 7: Opern Welt, Virginia Opera article pp. 25-26 (German), March, 1998
Folder 8: VOA Challenge, 1981
Folder 9: Harrison Opera House
Folder 10: 100th Birthday Celebration Luncheon Honoring Eleanor Robson Belmont, January 10, 1979
Folder 11: Guild Nominating Committee
Folder 12: Virginia Opera Association-Nominating Committee for the Opera Executive Committee
Folder 13: Opera Programs I
Folder 14: Opera Programs II
Box 65
Folder 1: Opera Programs III
Folder 2: Promotional Materials
Folder 3: Opera Reviews I
Folder 4: Opera Reviews II
Folder 5: Virginia Opera Association Miscellaneous
Folder 6: Pamphlets and Brochures

Browse by Series:

[Series I: Legislative Files],
[Series II: Campaign Files],
[Series III: Virginia Opera Association],
[Series IV: General Papers],
[Series V: Audio and Video Tapes],
[All]

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