Evangeline Harris Merriweather Scrapbooks
Dates: 1910-1950
Accession Number: 910524A
Donor: James A. Rupska
Description: One flat storage box; map drawer #4 (three diplomas)


Born August 16, 1893, Evangeline Evelyn Harris was a descendant of one of the pioneer families of Vigo County. Her parents were Ida Mayzeek and David Harris, who worked for the Vandalia railroad in Terre Haute. Evangeline graduated from Wiley High School and attended Indiana State Teachers College where she received an M.S. degree in education. Although she served as a teacher at both Lincoln and Washington Schools for over 25 years, she was also a talented musician. Beyond her vocal training in Terre Haute, she studied privately at the Oberlin, New England, and Boston Conservatories of Music and at Columbia University. A gifted soprano, Evangeline performed publicly in Terre Haute and other cities in the south and eastern United States. She also was the music supervisor for some of the Terre Haute public schools.

Her interest in writing seems to have come from working on her thesis for her masters degree at Indiana State Teachers College in 1936. As a supplement to her thesis project, Harris created a series of readers entitled The Family. Published in Terre Haute in 1938, The Family booklets offered positive images of African-Americans with illustrations by local artist M. Mikel Williams.

In 1940, Harris published Stories for Little Tots (Nashville, TN: National Publication Co.)--a book which was geared for black elementary school students and included brief biographies of prominent black men and women of achievement. A revised edition of Stories was released in 1944.

Evangeline Harris married Charles Merriweather who was a captain at a local fire department station. She died in Terre Haute on October 5, 1950 at the age of 57.

Content and Scope of Collection

This collection contains two scrapbooks which belonged to Evangeline Harris Merriweather. One scrapbook is personal in nature and contains programs, correspondence, newspaper clippings and photographs which chronicle Evangeline's personal and professional life. The other scrapbook is of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and contains newspaper clippings, photographs, programs, and memorabilia which reflect activities for the year 1939-40.

The Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority was first established in 1908 at Howard University to foster a sense of community among black college women. The Terre Haute Chapter, Alpha Eta Omega, received its charter in 1928 with five charter members. Evangeline Harris was one of them.

Both scrapbooks are brittle and in poor physical condition, so they must be handled with great care. The scrapbooks have been removed from their covers for their own protection and the pages are stored in numerical order in acid-free containers. Also a part of this collection are three diplomas belonging to Evangeline's sisters.

For related material, see the Evangeline Harris Merriweather Collection (#910601D-) and the Jane Dabney Shackelford Collection (#800627, D.C. 1, Folders 2-5).

Flat Storage Box





Folder 1

Personal scrapbook
(cover, p. 1-2)





Folder 2

Personal scrapbook
(p. 3-5)





Folder 3

Personal scrapbook
(p. 6-9)





Folder 4

Miscellaneous items

n.d.; 1923




Folder 5

Miscellaneous items






AKA Scrapbook: Alpha Eta Omega

ca. 1939-1940


Map Drawer 4







Wiley High School
(Ida Harris)

June 10, 1910





Indiana State Normal School
(Ida Harris)

June 14, 1914





Wilberforce University
(Ernestine Rosalind Harris)

June 17, 1920