Achsah M. Harris Papers

Summary Information

Emporia State University Special Collections and Archives
Harris, Achsah M.
Achsah M. Harris Papers
0.1 Linear feet
Life Certificate and Bachelor of Arts diploma from Kansas State Normal School, 1886 and 1908, Bachelor of Arts diploma from University of Michigan, 1918, and Master of Arts diploma from Columbia University, 1921.

Preferred Citation note

Achsah M. Harris Papers, 2006.0010, Emporia State University Special Collections and Archives, Emporia State University.

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Biographical Note

Achsah M. Harris was born January 10, 1867, in Plymouth. She and her family moved to Emporia, Kansas, in 1882 where Miss Harris attended the Kansas State Normal School. She earned a Life Certificate in 1886. After that, she taught one year in El Dorado, Kansas, and two years in the Emporia City Schools. She began working as an assistant teacher at the Kansas State Normal School Model School. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kansas State Normal School in 1908. She also received a Master of Arts degree in 1921. While she was a teacher in Emporia, Achsah did many things. She instituted a class for college students known as “Primary and Kindergarten Methods.” She wrote many articles in a variety of educational magazines. One was “First Reader” which was used in almost every elementary school in Kansas. Another was “Course of Study for Primary Grades” which was used as guidance for primary teachers. Achsah was an advocate of modern trends and believed in “free activity with guidance.” She helped organize the May Fete, the annual operetta, every year for the college and was involved in many activities. These included singing in the church choir, membership in Kappa Delta Phi, sponsor of Sigma Sigma Sigma, a charter member of the Fortnightly Club, Faculty Council of Women, American Association of University Women, and the National Education Association.

Achsah was a teacher at the Model School until she was promoted to Professor of Elementary Education in 1912. In 1918, she became head supervisor at the Primary Institute. Four years later, in 1922, she became the kindergarten supervisor. After six years at the kindergarten level, she became the principal of kindergarten and primary grades. One year later she went back to being the supervisor of primary grades. In 1930 she returned to where she started as the Professor of Elementary Education. Achsah retired from Kansas State Teachers College in 1936. She died on February 23, 1950.

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Scope and Contents note

This collection consists of three diplomas and one Life Certificate. The Life Certificate was obtained from the State Normal School of Kansas on June 17, 1886. Her first Bachelor of Arts degree was earned from the State Normal School in 1896. The dates on this diploma are difficult to interpret. The degree is dated May 3, 1918, but it was actually obtained in 1896. This date is written in small print under the title “Bachelor of Arts.” This degree has a gold seal with a cream ribbon. It is also signed by all of the Board of Regents and faculty members. Her second Bachelor of Art degree was earned at the State Normal School of Kansas in 1908. This diploma has a gold seal with a blue and cream ribbon. Her Master of Arts degree was earned at Columbia University in New York on October 26, 1921. This diploma features a black and white, two-dimensional seal with no ribbon.

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Arrangement note

This collection is arranged chronologically.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Emporia State University Special Collections and Archives March-April 2006

1200 Commercial St
Campus Box 4051
Emporia, KS, 66801
(620) 341-6431

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

Yearbooks from 1898-1936 feature many pictures of Achsah Harris throughout her years in Emporia. She was featured twice in the Alumni News (vol. 12, no. 3 (February, 1935) and vol. 14, no. 1 (October, 1936)). In the first article, she was briefly mentioned when she was running for a position on the school board. There was also a full article telling of her teaching and education history after the announcement of her retirement. The Faculty Card File gives a brief description of her education and teaching positions at Kansas State Normal School and Kansas State Teachers College. There is a two-page story about Aschah Harris in the Kansas State Teachers Quality of Greatness II; this includes a summary of her life. Lastly, her obituary is available via microfilm copy of the Emporia Gazette dated February 23, 1950.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Kansas State Normal School.
  • Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia.

Personal Name(s)

  • Harris, Achsah M.


  • College teachers -- Kansas -- Emporia.
  • Kansas State Normal School -- Faculty
  • Kansas State Normal School -- Students.
  • Kansas State Teachers College -- Faculty.
  • Students -- Kansas -- Emporia.

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Collection Inventory


Life certificate and diplomas 1886-1921 

General note

Life Certificate- State Normal School of Kansas, June 17, 1886; Diploma- Bachelor of Arts, State Normal School of Kansas, June 3, 1908; Diploma- Bachelor of Arts, University of Michigan, May 3, 1918; Diploma- Master of Arts, Columbia University, October 26, 1921

Drawer 2