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Harriet W. Elliott Collection

Identifier: MSS 0025

Scope and Contents

The Harriet W. Elliott Papers date from 1900 to 1947 and contain correspondence, speeches, reports, minutes of meetings, newspaper clippings, photographs, publications, and news releases.

Most of the early correspondence (1900-1907) was written by Elliott to her mother, with a few letters to her father, sister (Alma) and brother (Blaine). The letters originated from Park College (1900-1904) and from Hanover College (1906-1907).The letters reflect the life of a young girl in school, away from home. They are full of discussions on grades, clothing, food, teachers and classmates, pranks played by the students, and requests for money. Letters tell of dancing (November 10, 1901, September 29, November 2, and December 16, 1902); small pox at school (September 12 and October 20, 1902); egg roasts (October 20 and 27, 1902); girls being "fired" because they broke Rule #2 (Rule #2 governed the time boys were allowed to visit. November 25, 1901 and November 24, 1902); seeing two boys while out walking (April 8, 1901); success of the school's debating teams (March 7 and 8, 1901); and other school-related happenings. Also included are the grades from both schools.

The letters from the summer of 1920 were written by Elliott to her family while visiting England and France. She was particularly interested in the labor movement in Europe and attended the National Trade Union Conference. She told her parents that she was very impressed with the leader of the coal miners but declared that "the whole trade union movement is red and no doubt of it." Her letters also tell of meeting with various European women leaders.

The papers relating to the work of Elliott as Consumer Commissioner on the Advisory Commission to the Council of National Defense constitute the largest amount of material in the collection. This includes correspondence, speeches, progress reports, minutes and miscellaneous items. Among the correspondence are letters of congratulations upon her appointment and letters regarding the events surrounding her resignation. General correspondence includes contacts made with consumer groups across the country, letters relating to administrative matters of her division and letters discussing the aims and general concepts of the Commission.

Several small collections of correspondence are filed by the name of the individuals. People in this series include Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Judge Florence Allen, O. Max Gardner, Mary "Molly" Dewson, and others. Some of the correspondence is purely personal; however, much of it concerns a specific organization, idea or event. Most of the correspondence with the Roosevelts concerns Elliott's work as Consumer Commissioner. The correspondence with Mrs. Roosevelt, in particular, relates to the problems of the consumer, while that involving Franklin Roosevelt concerns administrative reports and topics dealing with her position. Some letters filed under Judge Allen's name deal with the efforts of various women (inspired by Elliott) to have Judge Allen named to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Correspondence with Mary "Molly" Dewson usually concerns the activities of the National Democratic Party. Another collection of letters involves efforts to keep Ellen Woodward in a prominent position in the Federal Government after the abolishment of the Social Security Board.

There are papers dealing with various organizations and commissions, usually small amounts of correspondence and miscellaneous items. These include the Democratic National Committee, Federation of Women's Clubs, Committee of the South, National Committee on Better Care for Mothers and Babies, and N.C. Conference for Social Service. Small amounts of papers dealing with other governmental appointments show her role as director of the Woman's Division of the War Finance Committee (1942-1946) and as a member of the Advisory Council of Educators working on admitting women into the U. S. Navy.

The material relating to her role with UNESCO contains a small amount of correspondence along with minutes and records of meetings in 1945 and 1946. Also included are such miscellaneous items as the passport used in her trip to London in 1946.

The position of women in government and society is the one theme that runs through many of the papers. Although supporting the defeat of the equal rights amendment (1938 and 1945-1947) for women, Elliott was a staunch believer in women having equal representation in all endeavors, including government positions. Her efforts on behalf of Judge Florence Allen and Ellen Woodward show her avid interest in this area.

A small collection of material (news releases, newsletters and reports) from the Women's Committee, Council of National Defense, is included in the Elliott Collection. It was assumed that these papers belonged to her because she was appointed by President Woodrow Wilson to the Women's Committee and because her handwriting is found on many of the papers. Among the miscellaneous papers in the collection are speeches and talks made by Elliott; papers involving her family; personal financial records; and biographical material.


  • 1900 - 1947


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information. Please see our Sensitive Materials Statement.

Biographical or Historical Information

Harriet Wiseman Elliott was born in Carbondale, Illinois, on July 10, 1884, and died there on August 6, 1947. She attended Park College in Parkville, Missouri, received her bachelor's degree from Hanover College in Indiana and her master's degree from Columbia University in New York. Elliott joined the faculty of the North Carolina State Normal and Industrial College (later Women's College and now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro) in 1913, as a teacher of political science. In 1935 she became Dean of Women at the school.

In addition to her involvement in education in North Carolina, Elliott gained prominence during the war years as the Consumer Commissioner on the Advisory Commission to the Council of National Defense (1940-1941), chairman of the Woman's Division of the War Finance Committee (1942-1946), Deputy Director of the Office of Price Administration, and United States delegate to the United Nations Conference on Education, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in London in 1945. She was active in various political, civic and professional organizations as well as holding membership on several state committees and commissions.

UNCG's student union building, the Elliott University Center, is named for her and the Harriet Elliott Lectures in Social Science are held in her memory.


5.00 Linear Feet (12 boxes)

Language of Materials



Harriet Wiseman Elliott (1884-1947) taught political science at the North Carolina State Normal and Industrial College (now UNCG), and became Dean of Women in 1935. She also gained prominence during World War II for her high-level work with the Council of National Defense, War Finance Committee, Office of Price Administration, and the United Nations.

The Harriet W. Elliott Papers date from 1900 to 1947 and contain correspondence, speeches, reports, minutes of meetings, newspaper clippings, photographs, publications, and news releases.

Arrangement Note

An artificial arrangement of papers has been created because the original order was destroyed through multiple moves. The Harriet W. Elliott Papers are organized into the following series and subseries: 1. CORRESPONDENCE 1.1 Early Correspondence 1.2 Later Correspondence 2. COUNCILS, COMMITTEES AND ORGANIZATIONS 2.1 Councils and Committees for Service Women 2.2 UNESCO 2.3 Other Councils, Committees and Organizations 3. ADVISORY COMMISSION TO THE COUNCIL OF NATIONAL DEFENSE 3.1 Correspondence 3.2 Memos and Progress Reports 3.3 Commission Minutes 4. OTHER MATERIAL 4.1 Biographical Materials 4.2 Photographs 4.3 Publications

Method of Acquisition

Transferred from Elliott's office after her death in 1947. However, the early personal letters were given to university archives by Mrs. Allan Pearce - wife of Elliot's nephew - in 1967.

Offensive Language Statement

The UNC Greensboro University Libraries collects, preserves, and makes accessible unique and historical materials for learning and research. The nature of historical materials is such that some material may represent positions, norms, and values that are offensive and objectionable. These materials represent the opinions and actions of their creators. By providing access to these records in our reading room and through our digital collections, we recognize that archives and rare books can play a vital role in holding those creators accountable and in helping us learn from the past.

Our finding aids and other collection descriptions may occasionally re-use language provided by creators or former holders of the materials, but we strive to place outdated or offensive terminology in context. That said, we recognize that we may not always make the right decision and welcome feedback from all sources so we can learn and adjust our practices. Please contact us at if you encounter problematic language in our finding aids or other collection description. We will review the language and, as appropriate, update it in a way that balances preservation of the original context with our ongoing commitment to describing materials with respectful and inclusive language.

Processing Information

Processed by Archives Staff. Encoded by Jason Alston, July 2009

Harriet W. Elliott Papers
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Repository Details

Part of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives Repository

P.O. Box 26170
320 College Ave.
Greensboro NC 27402-6170 US