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Sadye Harris Powell family papers, 1910-2006

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322



Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/8zs9t

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Powell, Sadye Harris, 1889-1964.
Title: Sadye Harris Powell family papers, 1910-2006
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 1041
Extent: 2 linear feet (5 boxes), 2 oversized papers boxes (OP), 1 bound volume (BV), and 5 oversized bound volumes (OBV)
Abstract:Papers relating to the Sadye Harris Powell family, an African American family from Atlanta, Georgia, including photographs, scrapbooks, correspondence, and printed material.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Special restrictions apply: This collection contains some copies of original materials held by other institutions; these copies may not be reproduced without the permission of the owner of the originals.

Separated Material

The Rose Library holds publications formerly owned by Sadye Harris Powell. These materials may be located in the Emory University online catalog by searching for: Powell, Sadye Harris, former owner.


Purchased from David McCord Bookseller, 2006.

Custodial History

Virginia Rose Hannon inherited the materials in this collection upon the death of Sadye Harris Powell in 1964.


[after identification of item(s)], Sadye Harris Powell family papers, Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library, Emory University.


Arranged and described at the collection level by Elizabeth Russey, March 3, 2006.

Arranged and described at the file level by Riley Griffin, 2018.

Emory Libraries conservation staff conducted extensive conservation work on some scrapbooks in this collection (OBV1-5), including dry cleaning throughout the text block, mending, flattening, and removal of pressure sensitive tape and staples. This conservation work was funded by a grant from the National Park Service's Save America's Treasures program. Detailed conservation reports are available by request.

This finding aid may include language that is offensive or harmful. Please refer to the Rose Library's harmful language statement for more information about why such language may appear and ongoing efforts to remediate racist, ableist, sexist, homophobic, euphemistic and other oppressive language. If you are concerned about language used in this finding aid, please contact us at rose.library@emory.edu.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

Sadye Harris Powell (1889-1964), an African American nurse from Atlanta, Georgia, was born in 1889 to William A. and Aurelia Virginia (Jennie) Harris. She graduated in 1910 from Spelman High School, the precursor and original form of Spelman College. After pursuing her nursing education at Provident Hospital and Training School of Chicago (1912), Harris served as head nurse at the Fair Haven Hospital, previously located at Morris Brown University in Atlanta.

In 1919, Harris married surgeon Charles W. Powell, and in 1928, together they founded the William A. Harris Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, the first and one of the only privately available hospital facilities for African Americans in Atlanta. This hospital was located on Hunter Street and was one of few modern and well-equipped institutions of its kind. Mrs. Sadye Harris Powell acted as superintendent of the hospital.

Powell was very active in social welfare programs. During her lifetime of service to the community, she was a member of the Board of Directors of the Girls' Club, the first life member of the YWCA, a life member of the National Association for the Advanement of Colored People, and an officer in the Women's Auxiliary of the Atlanta Medical Society. In 1948, she was elected to the board of trustees for Spelman College. Sadye Harris Powell died February 26, 1964 and is buried in Atlanta's historic Oakland Cemetery.

Virginia Rose Hannon, the daughter of Sadye Harris Powell's sister Nellie Harris and husband Wylie W. Hannon, graduated from Spelman in 1934 and became a social worker. She was a member of the Red Cross during World War II and served in England and Germany.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the family papers of Sadye Harris Powell from 1910-2006 and includes correspondence, personal papers, photographs, and printed material. The majority of the collection documents Sadye Harris Powell's life and career, including photographs of family and friends and the William A. Harris Memorial Hospital, and printed material relating to events attended by Powell at Friendship Baptist Church and Spelman College. There are additional materials, including correspondence and photographs documenting the life of Virginia Rose Hannon, as well as genealogical research conducted by Hannon in partnership with Harry Murphy.

One scrapbook in the collection contains cards and letters documenting the retirement of Florence Harris (Sayde's sister) as Choir Director of Friendship Baptist Church (Atlanta, Georgia) in 1972. Three of the photo albums, 1910s-1930s, were created by Virginia Rose Hannon and contain images of the Harris, Powell and Hannon families and document Virginia's life from childhood to matriculation at Spelman College. The remaining photo album, 1937-1938, was compiled by an unknown African American member of the United States Marine Corp and contains images from Germany, Sweden, Hawaii, Jamaica, Haiti, Panama, and Puerto Rico.

Arrangement Note

Arranged by record type, then in alphabetical order.

Selected Search Terms

Personal Names

Corporate Names

Topical Terms

Geographic Names

Form/Genre Terms

Container List

Box Folder Content
1 1 Hannon, Virginia, 1934-1961
1 2 Hannon, Virginia, undated
1 3 Todd, James, 1946 March 13
Personal papers
1 4 Atlanta University Alumni Association, announcement, 1936 May 28
1 5 Bicentenaire de Port-au-Prince, travel plans, 1949 December
1 6 Eisenhower, Dwight D., inaugural ball, invitation and letter draft, 1957
5 1 Genealogy notes, correspondence, personal accounts, 1991-2006
5 2 Genealogy notes, correspondence, photocopies [Georgia Confederate research], 1991-2006
1 7 Genealogy notes, photocopies, 1991-2006
1 8 Hannon, Virginia, International Club, notes, circa 1955
1 9 Hannon, Virginia, resumes, circa 1947-1979
1 10 House description and diagram, undated
1 11 Infantile Paralysis Campaign Committee, dance invitations, 1950
1 12 Onaze, Mbele K. (Leonard Green), "Point of View 'By' An Omnipotent Being," term paper, 1979 April 23
1 13 Spelman College Board of Trustees, agendas and reports, 1962
1 14 Thurman, Howard (Dean), Boston University Marsh Chapel, program summary, 1961-1962
1 15 Trans World Airlines, trip certificate, 1955 February 5
1 16 The Twelve and One club, booklet, undated
1 17 West Lake Drive Community Club, roster, 1965 January 15
Photo albums and scrapbooks
OBV2 Hannon, Virginia Rose, photo album, Spelman College and Atlanta, circa 1910-1930s [1 of 3]
OBV3 Hannon, Virginia Rose, photo album, Spelman College and Atlanta, circa 1910-1930s [2 of 3]
OBV4 Hannon, Virginia Rose, photo album, Spelman College and Atlanta, circa 1910-1930s [3 of 3]
OBV1 Harris, Florence, scrapbook, retirement as Choir Director, Friendship Baptist Church (Atlanta, Georgia), 1972
BV1 - Palmer, Lorning, photo album, circa 1920
OBV5 United States Marine Corps, photo album, 1937-1938
1 18 Christmas cards, circa 1941-1942
1 19 Elaine, Sadie, wedding reception, undated
1 20 Family and friends, circa 1920-1950 [1 of 8]
1 21 Family and friends, circa 1920-1950 [2 of 8]
1 22 Family and friends, circa 1920-1950 [3 of 8]
2 1 Family and friends, circa 1920-1950 [4 of 8]
2 2 Family and friends, circa 1920-1950 [5 of 8]
2 3 Family and friends, circa 1920-1950 [6 of 8]
2 4 Family and friends, circa 1920-1950 [7 of 8]
2 5 Family and friends, circa 1920-1950 [8 of 8]
2 6 Hannon, Virginia Rose, circa 1930
2 7 Hannon, Virginia Rose, "Exposition d'Haiti," booklet, undated
2 8 Hannon, Virginia Rose, Sadie Elaine, and Mattie Harris, circa 1930-1940
OP1 1 Family and friends, circa 1920-1950 [1 of 4]
OP1 2 Family and friends, circa 1920-1950 [2 of 4]
OP1 3 Family and friends, circa 1920-1950 [3 of 4]
OP1 4 Family and friends, circa 1920-1950 [4 of 4]
OP1 9 House drawing, undated
3 1 Military and Red Cross, 1945 March-1946 December
3 2 National Baptist Convention Tour, undated
3 3 Powell, Charles W. (Doctor), family, circa 1920-1950 [1 of 2]
3 4 Powell, Charles W. (Doctor), family, circa 1920-1950 [2 of 2]
OP1 7 Powell home, undated
OP1 5 Smith-Hughes Teacher Training Class in Trades and Industries, Prairie View College, 1923
OP1 6 William A. Harris Memorial Hospital, undated
3 5 William A. Harris Memorial Hospital and nurses, undated
OP1 8 Unidentified group of men, undated [Photographer: C.M. Battey, Tuskegee Institute, Alabama]
Printed material
OP2 1 "An Appeal for Human Rights," Atlanta Daily World, 1960
3 6 Atlanta University, Centennial Convocation, program, 1965 October 17
3 7 "The Beauties of Indian Civilization," speech program, 1939 June 23 [Sue Bailey Thurman speaker and signature]
3 8 Branko Krsmanovich Chorus of Yugoslavia, concert program, March 31 [no year]
3 9 Community Council of the Atlanta Area incorporated, "Future Hospital Plans of the Atlanta Area," report, 1966 March
3 10 Farley, James A., "Building for Careers," booklet, 1955 March 21
3 11 Friendship Baptist Church, "Handbook for Ushers," pamphlet, 1960
3 12 Friendship Baptist Church, Men's Day program, 1955 [Howard Thurman, speaker]
3 13 Friendship Baptist Church, Sadye Harris Powell funeral program, 1964 March 2
3 14 Friendship Baptist Church, 85th Anniversary Bulletin, 1947
3 15 Friendship Baptist Church, 106th Anniversary Bulletin, 1968
3 16 Haley and Clark Photographers, advertisement, 1947
3 17 Harris Cab and Taxicab Company, business card, undated
3 18 Johnson, Mordecai (Doctor), speech program, 1951 September 30
3 19 Morehouse College Glee Club Founders' Day, concert program, 1965 February 21
3 20 National Assembly of Links Incorporation, ninth annual, programs and maps, 1957 June 27-30
3 21 "Native Son," program, 1941 March 24
4 1 Palmer Memorial Institute (Sedalia, North Carolina), "The Palmerite," yearbook, 1946 [Sadye Harris Powell, senior year]
4 2 Spelman College, annual report, 1962 April
4 3 Spelman College, Manley, Albert Edward, honorary anniversary dinner, 1963 April 26
4 4 Spelman College, "Spelman Messenger," 1951 February [article on Sadye Harris Powell]
4 5 Spelman College, "Spelman Messenger," 1964 February [Sadye Harris Powell tribute]
4 6 Stafford, William R., "To Mother," pamphlet, 1931 May 10
4 7 William A. Harris Memorial Hospital incorporated, petition, 1941 April 4