Sadye Harris Powell family papers, 1910-1991

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, 1910-1991
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 1041
Extent: 1.75 linear feet (3 boxes), 5 oversized bound volumes (OBV), and 7 oversized papers (OP)
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

In-process collection. As of March 2018, this collection is closed for processing.

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.


Purchase, 2006.


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


Processed by Elizabeth Russey, March 3, 2006.

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 papers of Sayde Harris Powell from 1910-1991. The papers include photographs of family members, incorporation papers for the William A. Harris Memorial Hospital, printed material from Atlanta churches, colleges, and African American organizations, a scrapbook, several photograph albums, and family correspondence.

The scrapbook 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

Unprocessed collection.

Selected Search Terms

Personal Names

Corporate Names

Topical Terms

Geographic Names

Form/Genre Terms