Robert E. Harrill Papers, 1923-1981, undated

Manuscript Collection #428

  • Descriptive Summary
    Title: Robert E. Harrill Papers
    Creator: Harrill, Robert E., 1893-1972
    Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
    Language: English
    Abstract: Papers (1923-1981, undated) Including correspondence, writings, newspaper clippings, photographs, pamphlets and miscellaneous.
    Extent: 0.7 Cubic feet, 2 archival boxes, consisting of business and personal correspondence, financial papers, photographs, and miscellaneous materials.
  • Description

    For further information concerning the Fort Fisher Hermit, see newspaper clippings and biographical material in this collection. Although the Hermit's family name is legally spelled "Harrill," he adopted the spelling "Harrell" for much of his correspondence.

    Correspondence of Robert E. Harrill (1933-1973, undated) comprises the bulk of the collection. His letters, primarily to his sister, Mae, and his son, George, discuss family matters, mental health, psychology, politics, and his philosophy of life. Scattered letters to and from the Taylor School of Bio-Psychology of Chattanooga, Tennessee, reflect Harrill's interest in that field. The Harrill correspondence written from Fort Fisher reflects many themes present in the earlier correspondence but also discusses his life as a hermit.

    Correspondence of George Harrill and others (1972-1981, undated) largely deals with publicity concerning the Hermit and George Harrill's desire to reopen the investigation of his father's death.

    Robert Harrill's writings include poetry and discussions of family matters and his philosophy.

    Also included in the collection are photographs of the Hermit, newspaper clippings (1958-1980, undated) and documents pertaining to his life at Fort Fisher and to his death, his 1937 divorce papers, and manuscript biographical material. The collection also contains pamphlets concerning the Taylor School (1923), writings by Harrill's wife, Katie, and Anson Gustavus Melton's Where is Love? and Other Poems (1938).

  • Biographical / Historical Note

    Robert E. Harrill (1893-1972), a native of South Carolina, worked for many years as a linotype operator and jeweler in Shelby, N.C. Possibly influenced by the Taylor School of Bio-Psychology, Harrill about 1955 moved to Fort Fisher, N.C., where he lived in an abandoned World War II bunker until his death.

  • Administrative Information
    Accessions Information

    June 19, 1981, 160 items; Papers of the "Fort Fisher Hermit," including correspondence (1933-1972), clippings, photographs, and miscellaneous materials. Gift of George Edward Harrill, South Euclid, Ohio.

    October 21, 1981, 30 items; Correspondence (1972-1981) and miscellaneous. Copies of original in possession of George Edward Harrill, South Euclid, Ohio.

    February 2, 1984 (unprocessed addition 1), 1 item; photograph of Fort Fisher Hermit. Donor: Richard F. Becker.

    February 25, 1993 (unprocessed addition 2), 3 items; a clipping, proclamation, and poem concerning Robert E. Harrill. Donor: Michael F. Edwards.

    April 21, 1993 (unprocessed addition 3), 1 item; a copy of "The Ft. Fisher Hermit." Donor: Michael F. Edwards.

    June 15, 1995 (unprocessed addition 4), 1 item; Booklet entitled "The Fort Fisher Hermit" by Stanley South. Donor: Dr. Stanley South.

    February 8, 2000 (unprocessed addition 5), 2 items; Audio cassette tape "My Life- The Ft. Fisher Hermit" and computer disc containing information about Robert E. Harrill. Donor: Mr. Michael F. Edwards.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of George Edward Harrill
    Gift of Richard F. Becker
    Gift of Dr. Stanley South
    Gift of Mr. Michael F. Edwards

    Access Restrictions

    No restrictions

    Copyright Notice

    Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

    Preferred Citation

    Robert E. Harrill Papers (#428), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

    Processing Information

    Processed by M. York, November 1981

    Encoded by Apex Data Services

Container List

Clippings, photographs, Katie Harrill's writings, pamphlets, papers pertaining to Harrill's death, miscellany

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Sensitive Materials Statement

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection, without the consent of those individuals, may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which East Carolina University assumes no responsibility.

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Container List

Clippings, photographs, Katie Harrill's writings, pamphlets, papers pertaining to Harrill's death, miscellany

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