Harper family papers
Scope and Contents
The Harper family papers consist of clippings, correspondence, memorabilia, diaries, photographs, and
writings. Much of the material relates to activities of Methodists in Louisiana during the nineteenth
and early twentieth centuries.
Series 1: Clippings (1915-1954) include material related to the 100th anniversary celebration of Louisiana Methodism in 1947, including a letter signed by United States President Harry Truman. Also included are newspaper clippings about the Harper family as well as Robert Henry Harper and his writings.
Series 2: Correspondence (1862-1952) includes letters to and from the Harper family. Subjects include discussion of family members as well as Louisiana Methodist activities. Folder 5 includes letters of condolence related to the death of Jacob Dick Harper. Folder 8 includes letters related to the Methodist Episcopal Church South in New Orleans during Reconstruction. Folder 9 includes letters related to French Mission work; addressed to Jacob Dick Harper from Louis N. Beaudry, A. W. Wilson, and William J. Picot.
Series 3: Memorabilia (1819-1949) includes printed items related to Louisiana Methodists. Folder 10 includes Jacob Dick Harper's ordination records and a deed for land in Saint Landry Parish, Louisiana, from Robert Fryer to Joseph Andrews (1819). Folder 11 includes material from churches served by Robert Henry Harper including programs from First Methodist Episcopal Church South in Baton Rouge and First Methodist Episcopal Church South New Orleans. Folder 12 includes Clara Harper Woolfork's records for becoming a Louisiana teacher.
Series 4: Diaries (1908-1954) consists of pocket calendars noting the daily activities of Dr. Robert Henry Harper. These diaries were kept while he pastored Natchitoches Methodist Episcopal Church South, Parker Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South in New Orleans, Oakdale Methodist Episcopal Church South, First Methodist Episcopal Church South in New Orleans, and Golden Meadow Methodist Church.
Series 5: Photographs (1882-1974) includes images depicting the Harper family as well as people and places related to Louisiana Methodism. Folder 14 includes depictions of Jennie Fox Harper and Jacob Dick Harper. Folder 15 includes depictions of Rev. Joseph Burch Walker, Bishop John Christian Keener, churches, congregations, members of the Louisiana Conference Methodist Episcopal Church South at their annual meeting (1882), a school class on Bayou Schaeffer, a boat built at Morgan City under the direction of Rev. Martin Hebert (circa 1925), and Green Street in Thibodaux, Louisiana (circa 1925).
Series 6: Writings (1897-1956) primarily consists of material related to Dr. Robert Henry Harper’s books and sermons. Harper’s books include Louisiana Methodism (Washington, D.C.: Kaufmann Press, 1949) and In the Land of New Acadie (Nashville, Tenn: Board of Missions, Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1930).
- 1819 - 1974
- Harper family (Family)
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research use.
Conditions Governing Use
Physical rights are retained by the Centenary College of Louisiana Archives and Special Collections. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. copyright laws.
Biographical / Historical
The Harper family has strong connections to Methodism in Louisiana. In 1881, Jacob Dick Harper
(1846-1922) married Virginia Fox (1856-1933). Harper served as a minister in the Louisiana
Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. His pastorates included Washington (1873),
Arcadia (1874), Plaquemine and Gross Tete (1875), Evergreen Circuit (1876), Lake Charles (1877),
Opelousas District (1878-1879), Alexandria and Pineville (1880-81), Columbia (1882-1885),
Alexandria District (1886), Delhi District (1887-1890), Ruston (1891-1893), Homer (1894), Arcadia
District (1895-1896), Mansfield (1897-1898), Delhi District (1899), Alexandria District (1900-1903),
Lafayette (1904-1907), Bunkie (1908-1909), Winnfield (1910-1911), Zachary (1912-1915), Opelousas
(1916-1920), McDonoghville (1921-1922). Within the Louisiana Conference, Harper served as
secretary of the Board of Education, chairman of the Committee on Conference Relations, president of
the Board of Church Extension, and president of the Board of Missions. Harper’s children are Clara
Harper Woolfolk, Ruth Harper, and Rev. Robert Henry Harper.
Dr. Robert Henry Harper (1882-1965) was born in Columbia, Louisiana. He graduated from Centenary College of Louisiana in 1904; in 1923 Centenary awarded him an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree. On March 29, 1905, Harper married Edna Skipworth (d. 1954), the daughter of Henry Skipworth and June Dick DuBose Skipworth. In 1905, Harper joined the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South (later Methodist Church, South Central Jurisdiction) as a supply preacher; he was ordained in 1907. His pastoral appointments included: St. Martinville (1905), Pollock (1906), Lecompte (1907-1908), Natchitoches (1909-1913), Parker Memorial Church in New Orleans (1913-1916), First Methodist Church in New Orleans (1918-1925), presiding elder of the New Orleans district (1926-1928), editor of the New Orleans Christian Advocate (1929-1930), First Methodist Church in Lake Charles (1931), First Methodist Church in Baton Rouge (1932-1933), First Methodist Church in Lafayette (1934-1936), presiding elder/district superintendent of the Alexandria District (1937-1942), Napoleon Avenue Methodist Church in New Orleans (1943-1944), Mansfield (1945-1946), Parker Memorial Church in New Orleans (1947), Louisiana Memorial Methodist Church in Opelousas (1948-1952), Pollock (1953), and Golden Meadow (1954-1956). He also served as the conference secretary. Harper was an active mason having served as Grand Prelate of the Knights Templar of Louisiana and also the United States. He also served as Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, Free and Accepted Masons. Dr. Harper’s publications include Louisiana Methodism (Washington, D.C.: Kaufmann Press, 1949) and In the Land of New Acadie (Nashville, Tenn: Board of Missions, Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1930). Harper’s children are Henry Skipworth Harper and Robert E. Harper.
2 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
Arranged in six series: 1. Clippings (1915-1954), 2. Correspondence (1862-1952), 3. Memorabilia (1819-1949), 4. Diaries (1908-1974), 5. Photographs (1882-1974), 6. Writings (1897-1956).
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Collection donated by Clara Harper Woolfolk on 1978 March 15.
- Harper family (Family)
- Finding aid to the Harper family papers
- Chris Brown
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the Centenary College of Louisiana Archives and Special Collections Repository
2911 Centenary Blvd.
Shreveport LA 71104 US