Jean Struven Harris papers
Scope and Contents
The Jean Harris Papers consist of correspondence; clippings; printed material; research material on correctional systems; writings; legal documents; memorabilia; audiotapes; video tapes (of television interviews); and her trial record.
Dates of Materials
- Creation: 1973 - 2005
- Creation: Majority of material found within 1980 - 1993
- Harris, Jean Struven (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.
Conditions Governing Use
The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to the unpublished works of Jean Harris within this collection. Copyright to materials authored by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.
Biographical / Historical
Jean Struven was born in Chicago, IL, in 1923. She earned an A.B. from Smith College in 1945 and married James Harris in 1946. They had two sons, David and James, Jr. From 1947-50 and 1953- 66 Harris taught at a variety of primary and secondary levels at the Grosse Point (MI) Country Day School. In 1965, Harris completed her M.Ed. and divorced her husband. She moved to Chestnut Hill, PA, where she served as director of the Middle School at the Springside School from 1966-71. In 1966 she met and began an affair with Dr. Herman Tarnower. In 1971 she became headmistress of the Thomas School in Rowayton, CT and in 1976, Headmistress, Madeira School, McLean, VA. Harris was convicted of second-degree murder in the 1980 death of Herman Tarnower and incarcerated in the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, N.Y., 1981-93. While in prison, she worked in the Children's Center, and wrote Stranger in Two Worlds (1986), They Always Call Us Ladies (1988), and Marking Time (1991) as well as a number of articles and unpublished manuscripts about women in prison. In 1986 she helped establish the Children of Bedford Fund, which pays school tuition for children whose mother's are incarcerated. After her release from prison Mrs. Harris worked for the Children of Bedford Fund and continued to write. Jean Harris died on December 23, 2012.
44.871 linear feet (44 containers)
Language of Materials
Teacher; Headmistress of Madeira School; Prison reformer. While incarcerated in the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, N.Y. (1981-93) for the murder in the 1980 death of Herman Tarnower she worked in the Children's Center, and published three books: Stranger in Two Worlds (1986), They Always Call Us Ladies (1988), and Marking Time (1991) as well as a number of articles and unpublished manuscripts about women in prison. In 1986 she helped establish the Children of Bedford Fund. The papers primarily date from 1980 and consist of correspondence; clippings; printed material; research material on correctional systems; writings; legal documents; memorabilia; audiotapes; video tapes (of television interviews); and her trial record.
This collection has been added to over time in multiple "accessions." An accession is a group of materials received from the same source at approximately the same time.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Jean Struven Harris donated her papers to the Sophia Smith Collection from 1984 to 2015.
Between September 2022 and February 2023, Smith College Special Collections renumbered many boxes to eliminate duplicate numbers within collections in order to improve researcher experience. A full crosswalk of old to new numbers is available.
- Finding aid to the Jean Struven Harris papers
- Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (https://github.com/harvard-library/archivesspace-preprocessor)
- 2017-07-26T17:48:21-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
- 2018-10-24: Updated to conform to DACS
- 2021-07-26: Added content description from accession inventories
Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063