The David Harris Archive

November 27, 2023Benjamin Stone

Photograph of a man draped in the American flag.

To celebrate the life of David Harris (1946-2023) and to announce the acquisition of his archive, Stanford Libraries hosted a memorial event on October 26th in Green Library. The program was recorded and can be viewed online.

Speakers from near and far shared their insights into David Harris’s extraordinary life, including Neil Reichline, lifelong friend and fellow activist; Lerone Martin, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Centennial Professor and Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute at Stanford University; Sophie Harris, who collaborated with her father to prepare the archives; Peter Schwartz, congressional campaign strategist and lifelong friend; Cheri Forrester, David’s wife; with concluding remarks and music by Gabriel Harris, David’s son. Recordings of selected writings by Harris were read by Peter Coyote. Family members also assembled a sampling of his archival materials to display at the event.

The Stanford Daily newspaper clipping about David Harris.
Courtesy: David Harris Archive, Department of Special Collections, Stanford Libraries.

As a prominent activist and journalist, Harris was a leader of the draft resistance movement during the Vietnam War era, and later became a widely published and acclaimed journalist and author. A native of Fresno, Harris was elected as Student Body President at Stanford in 1966. He reflected upon his undergraduate years at Stanford and his imprisonment for draft resistance in an interview contributed in 2021 to the Movement Oral History Project. He ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1976, a campaign richly documented in the archive.

Man holding up shoes
Courtesy: David Harris Archive, Department of Special Collections, Stanford Libraries.

The David Harris Archive will provide researchers, both at Stanford and beyond, a multifaceted window into his life and career, touching on the many causes he espoused and subjects on which he wrote, from the resistance to the war in Vietnam, to professional football, to conservation of the iconic California redwoods,” said University Librarian Michael A. Keller. “It will be studied in conjunction with a host of other collections documenting social justice in our time that reside here in the Department of Special Collections, such as the Bob Fitch Photography Archive. Fitch’s revealing images of Harris as a leader of the Resistance in the Vietnam era will shed further light on Harris’s powerful words of conviction and resolve as a proponent of peace and justice.”

The David Harris Archive contains an abundance of unpublished correspondence and writings that will be opened to all researchers after the papers are processed. In the interim, please direct research inquiries to Curator for British and American History Ben Stone or University Archivist Josh Schneider.

David Harris for Congress bumper sticker
Courtesy: David Harris Archive, Department of Special Collections, Stanford Libraries.