Biography and History

Harrison Smith Morris was born in Philadelphia on October 4, 1856, the son of George Washington and Catharine (Harris) Morris. He had two younger sisters, Matilda Harris Morris and Jane Walters Morris, who never married. At the age of sixteen he went to work for the Reading Coal & Iron Company to help support his parents, who were in ill health. In 1893 he became the managing director of the Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts, a position which he held until 1905. Morris also served as editor of Lippincott's Magazine, art editor of the Ladies' Home Journal, and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee of the National Academy of Design. From 1909-1917 he was president of the Wharton Steel Company. His activities brought him in contact with leaders in the artistic and literary world. He also wrote and published his own works, in both English and Italian, on Roman history, literature, and culture, as well as at least seventeen volumes of poetry, fiction, and essays.

Morris married Anna, daughter of Joseph Wharton, on June 2, 1896. Their only child, Catherine Wharton Morris, nicknamed "Kit," was born on January 26, 1899. Harrison Smith Morris died on April 12, 1948. Anna Wharton Morris died on June 21, 1957, at the age of eighty-eight. Catharine "Kit" Morris Wright died in 1988.

Source: From the finding aid for C0003