Papers (1923-1981, undated) Including correspondence, writings, newspaper clippings, photographs, pamphlets and miscellaneous.
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.
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).
Gift of George Edward Harrill
Gift of Richard F. Becker
Gift of Dr. Stanley South
Gift of Mr. Michael F. Edwards
Processed by M. York, November 1981
Encoded by Apex Data Services
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.