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Robert E. Harrill Papers, 1923-1981, undated

Manuscript Collection #428

Descriptive Summary Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Title: Robert E. Harrill Papers
Creator: Harrill, Robert E., 1893-1972
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: 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.

Administrative Information Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

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.

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.

Acquisition Information

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

Processing Information

  • Processed by M. York, November 1981

  • Encoded by Apex Data Services


Biographical / Historical Note Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

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.

Description Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

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).

Subject Headings Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Container List Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Box 1#0428.1
Correspondence; Robert Harrill's writings
Box 2#0428.2
Clippings, photographs, Katie Harrill's writings, pamphlets, papers pertaining to Harrill's death, miscellany

Online access to this finding aid is supported with funds created through the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). These funds come through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services which is administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. This grant is part of the North Carolina ECHO, Exploring Cultural Heritage Online, Digitization Grant Program.

What is this page? Click here to learn more abou this webpage
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Special Collections Division, J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The materials described here are physically available in our reading room. None of the original documents in this collection are digitally available online at this time.
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