Special Collections of the ODU 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

ID: 00/MG 60

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

Extent: 33.0 Linear Feet. More info below.

Arrangement: The collection is organized into five series: Series I: Legislative Files; Series II: Campaign Files; Series III: Virginia Opera Association; Series IV: General Papers; and Series V: Audio and Video Tapes.

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

Subjects: Civic leaders--Virginia--Norfolk, Hampton Roads (Va.)--History--20th century, Legislators--Virginia--Hampton Roads, Norfolk (Va.)--Politics and government--20th century, Virginia--Politics and government., 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

This collection contains material concerning Edythe C. Harrison's 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. 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.

Several boxes contain information concerning Harrison's 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
Legislators--Virginia--Hampton Roads
Norfolk (Va.)--Politics and government--20th century
Virginia--Politics and government.
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, Old Dominion University Libraries.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series I: Legislative Files, circa 1979-1982],
[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
This sub-series 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.
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, circa 1979-1982],
[Series II: Campaign Files],
[Series III: Virginia Opera Association],
[Series IV: General Papers],
[Series V: Audio and Video Tapes],
[All]

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