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COLLECTION Identifier: HOLLIS 9006178

Marcia R. Harrison papers

Overview

The Papers of Marcia R. Harrison relate mainly to two distinct periods of her life. The first is her termination from the U.S. State Department in 1951, when she was determined a security risk by the Loyalty Security Board, and her unsuccessful appeal of this decision. The second is her 1983 termination from the Department of Health and Human Services and her subsequent unsuccesful lawsuit accusing the Department of age discrimination.

Dates

  • 1935 - 1998

Conditions Governing Access

Access to these papers is governed by the rules and regulations of the Harvard Law School Library. This collection is open to the public, but is housed off-site at Harvard Depository and requires 2 business-day advance notice for retrieval. Consult the Special Collections staff for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Harvard Law School Library holds copyright on some, but not all, of the material in our collections. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be directed to the Special Collections staff. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from the Harvard Law School Library are also responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations who hold copyright.

Extent

13 boxes
The Papers of Marcia R. Harrison relate mainly to two distinct periods of her life. The first is her termination from the U.S. State Department in 1951, when she was determined a security risk by the Loyalty Security Board, and her unsuccessful appeal of this decision. The second is her 1983 termination from the Department of Health and Human Services and her subsequent unsuccessful lawsuit accusing the Department of age discrimination.

Marcia Harrison was investigated by various branches of the Federal government numerous times before her termination in 1951, mainly because of her involvement in the 1930’s in organizations that had since been identified as subversive. These organizations include the American Student Union, the Young Communist League, and the Washington Bookshop Association. Though Harrison was cleared in all prior investigations, in 1951 an unidentified informant alleged that Harrison had been active in the Library of Congress branch of the Communist Party when she was employed there as a cataloger, and this unsubstantiated and anonymous accusation led to the Loyalty and Security Board’s determination that Harrison posed a security risk as a Federal employee. The first three boxes of this collection contain materials pertaining to Harrison’s termination, her Loyalty and Security Board hearing, her subsequent appeal, previous investigations of her activities, and her later efforts to obtain eligibility for Federal employment outside of the State Department. In addition to materials generated and received by Harrison and her lawyer before and up to 1952 such as correspondence, file memoranda, and legal documents such as briefs and affidavits, Harrison later received an extensive collection of government documents related to her case that were declassified after amendments to the Freedom of Information Act were made in 1975. This set of investigation files from the FBI, the State Department, the CIA, and the Civil Service Commission are a useful resource for scholars studying Federal investigations of suspected communists during the 1940’s and 1950’s.

In 1983 Harrison was terminated from her position as an attorney at the Department of Health and Human Services, reportedly for her unsatisfactory work performance. Harrison believed that she was fired because she refused to retire, and sued the Department for age discrimination. The rest of this collection relates to Harrison’s unsuccessful age discrimination case. The bulk of this material consists of copies of Harrison’s work product from the years 1979-1983, making this collection useful not only to those interested in age discrimination cases, but also to those interested in the work of the Health and Human Services Department during those years.

Historical/Biographical Information

Born April 6, 1918 in Rochester, NY

Graduated from Vassar in 1938

1939-1941 worked as cataloger at Library of Congress

1941-Aug 1944 worked as an economist in the Office of Price Administration

1944 - 1945 worked as an economist or foreign economic analyst at the Foreign Economic Administration

1945 – 1951 worked as an economist for the U.S. State Department

April 1951 was suspended from government service for loyalty reasons

August 1951 Harrison was publicly named by Senator Joseph McCarthy in his list of 26 State Dept employees who were thought to be communists

1952 Harrison was deemed a security risk by the State Department’s Loyalty Board and was terminated from her position as of Dec. 31.

1952 – 1955 attended Harvard Law School as part of the third class in which women were permitted to enroll; she was one of 13 women in a class of 520 upon entrance

1955 obtained an LL.B. from HLS, rank 107/444, average B

March 1956 was admitted to NY bar

1955 – 1962 worked at Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in New York as an attorney

1962 - 1968 worked in the Department of Interior, Office of Territories, as an economist

1968 - 1983 worked for the Department of Health and Human services, Office of General Counsel, as an attorney-advisor

May 1983 Harrison was discharged for unacceptable performance from the Health, Education, and Welfare Department

1984 – 1987 Harrison sued the department for age discrimination, but was unsuccessful

Died Dec. 4, 2001

Series List

  1. Series I: Material Related to Marcia Harrison’s Loyalty Case, 1938-1952. 1938-1952.(8 folders)

    This Series contains materials collected by Harrison and Warner Gardner, her lawyer, before and during Harrison’s 1951 hearing and 1952 appeal. These materials include correspondence with government officials and others; file memoranda; partial and full hearing transcripts; transcript corrections; newspaper clippings relating to Senator Joseph McCarthy’s list of 26 State Department employees suspected of communist sympathies, of which Harrison was one; copies of affidavits in support of Harrison; court briefs; and various other miscellaneous materials.

  2. Series II: Marcia Harrison’s Eligibility for Federal Employment, 1955-1957. 1955-1957.(4 folders)

    This Series contains materials related to Harrison’s struggle to obtain eligibility for Federal employment after graduating from Harvard Law School. Also included are some materials related to the decision of the Committee on Character and Fitness of Applicants for Admission to the Bar in New York to approve her. Materials include correspondence with government officials; correspondence with friends, employers, professors, and other acquaintances who wrote affidavits in her support; materials related to Harrison’s time spent as a student at Harvard Law School; hearing transcripts; and handwritten notes.

  3. Series III: Documents Related to Marcia Harrison Declassified by the Freedom of Information Act, 1935-1978. 1935-1978.(2 boxes/21 folders)

    This Series consists of materials received by Harrison in 1975-1978 from various governmental agencies in response to her request for declassified documents about her case. Documents were received from the State Department, the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Civil Service Commission. Materials include correspondence; interoffice memoranda; handwritten notes; newspaper clippings; copies of pages from the Vassar College newspaper, 1935-1937, when Harrison was involved in its publication; statements about Harrison’s loyalty and character, both positive and negative, from her acquaintances; Harrison’s job applications; information on her personal background; transcripts of proceedings; and other miscellaneous materials.

  4. Series IV: Harrison’s Age Discrimination Case, 1982-1987. 1982-1987.(9 boxes/86 folders)

    This Series contains materials related to Harrison’s termination from the Department of Health and Human Services in 1983 and her subsequent lawsuit alleging age discrimination. Materials include Harrison’s job applications; documentation of promotions and pay increases; personnel files; work appraisals; depositions; correspondence; memoranda; handwritten notes; various legal documents; transcripts of proceedings; and a voluminous collection of Harrison’s work product at the Department of Health and Human Services for the years 1979-1983.

  5. Series V: Miscellaneous/Ephemera, 1955-1998. 1955-1998.(1 box/3 folders)

    This Series contains miscellaneous materials and correspondence; a certificate of membership in the Oliver Wendell Holmes Society of the Harvard Law School; and a copy of Harrison’s Third Year Paper, “Basing Point Price Systems.”

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers of Marcia R. Harrison were transferred to the Harvard Law School Library in 2002 in accordance with Ms. Harrison’s will.

Processing Information

Processed by Erica C. Bicchieri.
Link to catalog
Title
Harrison, Marcia R. Papers, 1935-1998: Finding Aid.
Author
Harvard Law School Library, Cambridge, MA 02138
EAD ID
law00117

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard Law School Library, Historical & Special Collections Repository

Harvard Law School Library's Historical & Special Collections (HSC) collects, preserves, and makes available research materials for the study of the law and legal history. HSC holds over 8,000 linear feet of manuscripts, over 100,000 rare books, and more than 70,000 visual images.

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