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Barbara Harris (1935-2018) Papers

Identifier: 55/58

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The Barbara Harris (1935-2018) Papers consists of 3 boxes and 1.86 gigabytes of digitized items devoted to materials related to the actress’s career on stage, film, and television. The collection spans Harris’s career, with particular emphasis on her theatrical roles on Broadway and work with The Second City improv group. The collection includes clippings, photographs, programs, resumes, teaching and improv-related materials, books, LP sleeves, VHS and audiocassette tapes, video, and sheet music autographed by composer William Bolcom. Also included are photocopies of Harris’s correspondence, which includes letters from Jacqueline Kennedy, Lillian Hellman, Robert Altman, Jerome Robbins, and Alfred Hitchcock. In addition, the collection includes digital files of scanned photographs, scanned images of some programs, resumes, and a City Council Resolution, and digitized video recordings of a Second City performance as well as the Bell Telephone Hour’s presentation of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.


  • 1961 - 2018


Conditions Governing Access

Boxes 1-3 of this collection are stored off-site and require two business days advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.


3 Boxes

1.86 Gigabytes

Language of Materials



The Barbara Harris (1935-2018) Papers consists of 3 boxes devoted to materials related to the actress’s career on stage, film, and television. The materials span the years 1961 to 2011 and includes biographical materials, playbills, teaching notes, photographs, VHS and audiocassette tapes, and 1.86 gigabytes of digitized files.


The collection is arranged alphabetically according to folder or item title. The items in Box 1, Folder 1 were originally held in an album, but were removed for preservation purposes.

Some digitized files under the title "Barbara for Memorial," scanned photographs and other documents, were received with specific file names. Remaining files have been renamed by processors with generic "Image" and consecutive numeric file names as original file names did not add context for the files and for researchers' ease of use. Digitized files have been maintained in their original order within file directories.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Access to digitized materials within the collection can be viewed within the reading room during research appointments. All necessary hardware and software will be provided during the appointment to access these materials to the best of our abilities. Digitized materials can also be accessed virtually by request.

Available digitized materials in this collection are delivered to researchers in digital formats. Requests for different access methods, such as those not using computers or with the aid of assistive technologies, must be made in advance.

Custodial History

Acquired digitized materials in this collection were downloaded from a cloud server and transferred to the best of our abilities in order to extract the content without altering any of its data. Preservation files have undergone a checksum algorithm and have been bagged with metadata to allow for future data integrity and authenticity checking and repair according to the Libraries' digital preservation policy.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Alison Becker, April 24, 2019, as Accession #2019-054. Digitized files were received via cloud storage. Digital image files had previously been digitized from original photographs and documents, but not by Northwestern University Libraries. The original medium the video files were digitized from is unknown.

Separated Materials

One DVD that was unrelated to Harris's career was discarded.

Guide to the Barbara Harris (1935-2018) Papers
Kyle Kaplan
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Library Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US