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Claudine Harris papers

Identifier: IWA0446

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Scope and Contents

The Claudine Harris papers date from 1903 to 2022 and measure 4 linear feet. The papers are arranged in seven series: Biographical, Personal Writing, Family Writing and Recipe Books, Correspondence, Professional, and Volunteer Activities, and Valentine Maroni.

The Biographical series contains information and artifacts about Claudine Harris' childhood, education and social life primarily dating from the 1930s-1950s. Within this series are her baby book and her school records from grade school in France through her master's degree from Radcliffe College. Also included is her application for graduate school at Radcliffe in 1947, which contains a statement written by Harris about her educational interest in Nuclear Physics.

Much of the Personal Writing series is autobiographical in nature and reflects various periods of her life. A spectacular example of this is the one page she wrote describing her reaction and the reactions of her classmates to the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. Some of the material in this series and the Family Writing series, originally written in French, was translated into English by Claudine Harris. In addition, this series contains Claudine Harris's personal writing based in Iowa City. She participated in the Poetry in Public project in 2009, where her poem "Blue Jeans" was displayed on an Iowa City bus. Her essays, poems and photographs written during 2006-2010 are based Iowa City and include: Imaging Iowa City, Echospace and Gilbert Street and a Half-Ten Years Later.

The Family Writing and Recipe Books series is rich in information about the Maroni family as well as the family of Claudine Harris' husband, Jim Harris. Writings by Claudine Harris' parents and a collection of poetry and essays by Jim Harris' mother, Janet S. Harris, are included. Recollections, the memoirs of Claudine Harris' brother Yves Maroni, and Looking Over My Shoulder, the memoirs of Claudine Harris' mother Valentine Maroni, complement other biographical information in the collection. The World War Two experiences of Claudine Harris' brother, Jacques Maroni, are documented in his 1940 journal. This series also contains the handwritten recipe books of Claudine Harris' mother and her maternal grandmother Yvonne Meyer-May.

The Correspondence series consists mostly of letters written during World War Two. The letters to Claudine Harris from her mother span the period 1943 to 1946. Correspondence between Claudine Harris and her brother Jacques Maroni during his service in the U.S. Navy from 1944 to 1946 is included. This series also contains letters from Claudine Harris' great uncle Hippolyte Dreyfus to his family in France during his extensive travels in the Middle East and Asia from 1903 to 1925 on behalf of Baha'I causes and during travels to the United States and North Africa. A few of the letters were written by Hippolyte Dreyfus' wife Laura Barney.

The Professional series documents Claudine Harris' employment history from 1948 to 1999, including her job searches and freelance work. Copies of her resumes are contained in this series. A large part of this series pertains to Harris' employment at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

The Volunteer Activities series relates primarily to Harris' involvement in the Johnson County and Iowa chapters of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI). Included are correspondence, newspaper articles, writings by Claudine Harris, the tenth anniversary history (1985-1995) of AMI of Iowa and advocacy information pertaining to NAMI of Johnson County and NAMI Iowa.

The Valentine Maroni series consists of documents from Harris's mother written in French and English, such as personal reflections, ideas for a peace settlement, and fraternity hazing. Also included are materials from Maroni's radio shows, which explored various topics related to international affairs.


  • Creation: 1903 - 2022


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to the University of Iowa, with the exception of the personal writings, for which the donor retains copyright during her lifetime.

However, copyright status for some collection materials may be unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility and potential liability based on copyright infringement for any use rests exclusively and solely with the user. Users must properly acknowledge the Iowa Women’s Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, as the source of the material. For further information, visit

Biographical / Historical

Claudine (Maroni) Harris was born in Paris, France, on December 10, 1926, the daughter of Valentine (Meyer-May) and Robert Maroni. She had two brothers: Yves, born August 31, 1920 and Jacques, born January 9, 1923. Her grandparents, Albert and Dona Maroni, and Paul and Yvonne Meyer-May, were all French. Claudine Harris attended a number of schools in France and the United States. Her early education was in France. She had one year of secondary school remaining when her immediate family came to the United States in 1941 during the Second World War and settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Claudine Harris graduated from Cambridge High and Latin School in 1942.

Accepted at Radcliffe College, she received her B.A. degree in physics in 1946. There followed a year as Instructor in Physics at Simmons College, in Boston. She then returned to Harvard University to pursue graduate work in physics and received an M.A. in 1949. She married James Lee Harris on January 1, 1954. Jim (born January 6, 1920 in Richmond, Virginia, died September 20, 2001, in Iowa City) was the son of Janet (Sharp) and James Davis Harris. Claudine and Jim Harris began life together in Cambridge, where their two children were born: Gregory, November 21, 1954 and Nicole, June 5, 1956.

Harris began her professional career working in radiation detection instrumentation, first as a research assistant at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Radioactivity Center, while she was still a student; then with Tracerlab, a Boston company, where she headed a team developing Geiger counters from 1949 until 1953. When she left Tracerlab, she sought work as a technical editor. She worked in that capacity at the MIT Lexington Laboratory until her son was born. She stayed home to raise the children until 1963, when she returned to employment outside the home. From then on, until her retirement from paid jobs in 1993, she was employed in various forms of technical writing and editing, sometimes on a part-time basis, sometimes as a freelancer, and eventually full-time for twenty-one years until her retirement.

From 1963 to 1967, she held several part time jobs in Cambridge. After completing graduate studies at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Jim Harris had begun a practice in architecture and urban planning in Cambridge. In 1967, he joined the faculty at the University of Iowa to develop the Graduate Program in Urban and Regional Planning, and the family moved to Iowa City. During her first years in Iowa, Claudine Harris free-lanced for the University of Iowa Press, doing a large number of book indexes, and taking on occasional short editing jobs for faculty members.

After the children left for college, she returned to full-time work as a technical writer at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC). Most of her work at UIHC was for the Child Health Specialty Clinics (CHSC), formerly known as the State Services for Crippled Children. She wrote grant applications for clinical research projects in areas related to child disabilities, and reports to the granting agencies, the state of Iowa and the UIHC. In 1981, she joined the Information Systems Department of the UIHC where she wrote a variety of materials documenting computer applications for hospital administration and financial management and coordinated the development of a multi-media public information display. At the time of her retirement in December 1993, she was a Senior Application Specialist (Technical Writer).

Until her children finished school and left for college, Claudine Harris devoted herself to the family and to volunteer activities, while occasionally taking on book indexing and short editing jobs for the University of Iowa Press. A major volunteer activity during that period was as editor of the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Johnson County's monthly newsletter, the Voter. She had been a member of the LWV since 1961 when she lived in Cohasset, Massachusetts. She served on the LWV of Johnson County board of directors and participated in a county study.

Other volunteer posts were with the Cardinal Council of Girl Scouts and the Unitarian Universalist Society of Iowa City. She also participated in the consultation of Religious Communities and was a director of the Iowa City Area Science Center. In 2001, she returned to the board of the LWV.

In 1985, Claudine Harris had joined the newly-forming chapter of the Alliance for the Mentally Ill (AMI) in Johnson County, which later became the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI). From that time, advocacy for mental illness services became the main focus of her volunteer activities. She served NAMI in numerous capacities in the county and in the state. She was president of NAMI of Johnson County from 1990 to 1992, and of NAMI Iowa from 1992 to 1996. She served as legislative chair of NAMI Iowa from 1992 to 2001. Her work with NAMI led her to participate in a number of task forces and committees concerned with making changes in the mental health services delivery system in the state of Iowa. She served in 1992 and 1993 on a Restructuring Task Force established by the state legislature to recommend improvements in the mental health care delivery system.

She died in Iowa City in 2022.


4.00 Linear Feet (Photographs in boxes 1 and 9.)

Language of Materials



Harris worked in radiation detection instrumentation. She was active in the Johnson County League of Women Voters and the Johnson County Alliance for the Mentally Ill.

Method of Acquisition

The Claudine Harris papers (donor no. 654) were donated by Claudine Harris in 1999 and subsequent years.

Processing Information

This collection contains materials from the Iowa State Services for Crippled Children before its name change to the UIHC Child Health Specialty Clinics.

Stacy Ross, 2001; Janet Weaver, 2003; Sarah Dorpinghaus, 2009.
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Iowa Women's Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)