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Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
.83 linear feet (2 file boxes)
When the diaries begin, Clara Morris has already started her acting career. She had some time earlier boarded with a family named Hefty to whom she occasionally sent money. They had lost their boarding house and were left penniless.
She married Frederick C. Harriott on November 30, 1874 and supported him from then until he started acting with her in 1892. Her mother lived with them in their first home, the Pines, in New York and in later homes in Fair Lawn, Whitestone, and Colonial Heights, New York. Most of the money she earned from acting was spent for the support of others - her mother, her husband, the Heftys and her many pets.
Morris constantly suffered ill health partly due to an injury to her spine in childhood. On several occasions she was forced to miss rehearsals and performances. Usually upon arrival in a new town it was necessary to procure a doctor immediately. Her eyesight also bothered her and she went partially blind from 1910 until 1914. The only entries from this period are four in 1911. In 1914 she regained her sight.
She played several different fund benefits in the 1880's including those for the widow of a Yonkers police sergeant, the Custer Memorial Monument, and Edgar Allan and Virginia Clemm Poe's graves. She continued her acting career until 1905 after which she only made small appearances in variety shows, and gave talks and lectures. After her retirement her days were spent painting, writing, knitting, sewing, embroidering, reading, taking and giving French, Spanish and Italian lessons, and playing the guitar.
As of 1895 she had already begun to make money by writing and selling short stories and articles. In addition to these she wrote three books: Little Jim Crow, 1894, The Silent Singer, 1898, and Life on the Stage, 1901. Her husband died May 29, 1914 and her mother August 30, 1917. When she was left alone, she found it necessary to take in boarders to supplement the money she received for writing. She continued her writing until her death on November 20, 1925.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The papers of Clara Morris were deposited with the Schlesinger Library in October 1969 by Mr. and Mrs. George MacAdam.
- Box 1: Volumes 1-27
- Box 2: Volumes 28-56.
- Morris, Clara, 1848-1925. Diaries of Clara Morris, 1867-1924: A Finding Aid
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- EAD ID
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