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Harriet Doar papers

Identifier: MS0199

Scope and Contents

The bulk of the collection documents Harriet Doar’s life and career as a newspaper journalist, poet, and novelist. Also included are personal materials, correspondence, and research files. The Writing series contains drafts and notes on her books, poetry and short stories. Doar spent a lot of time and effort trying to get her stories and poetry published in various magazines and journals, succeeding a few times; though most of her creative fictional work remained unpublished. Moreover, some of her ideas for story lines never materialized into finished manuscripts.

As a great deal of Doar’s work concerned factual journalism, her papers include many “Research Files” concerning a wide variety of issues to substantiate her writing. For the most part, these files contain newspaper clippings, or other material on such matters as the women’s movement during the 1970s, local history and Southern culture, the arts scene in Charlotte, recent literature, local VIPs, the publishing industry, and much more. There is a close connection between the material in Doar’s Research Files and series on newspaper journalism. Some of her research files contain copies of newspaper articles that she wrote. Doar also kept extensive files on other writers, a series that contains files on 176 different writers.

There is a considerable amount of material from Doar’s family. The Frasers made carbon copies of many of their letters. Unless otherwise noted, the correspondence files in the collection are arranged by author, rather than by recipient. There is little remaining written correspondence between Doar and her children. James William Fraser (Harriet’s father) was an electrical engineer of considerable renown, having worked for the company that would later become Duke Power, as well as consulting work in Australia. His area of expertise was in hydro-electric power, and there is a substantial amount of information about his career and early hydro-electrical technology in the Family Papers series. Additionally, there is a significant amount of genealogical data in the Fraser Family Series.


  • Creation: 1864 - 1999
  • Creation: 1930 - 1990


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical Notes

Harriet Doar was a newspaper journalist, author, poet, and social commentator, whose work primarily was published in the Charlotte News from 1939 to 1946 and the Charlotte Observer from 1959 to 1982.

Harriet Fraser Doar was the daughter of James William Fraser and Annie Laurie MacGillvray Fraser, of Nova Scotia, Canada. The Frasers can trace their genealogy back about three hundred years, to Simon Fraser, who lived in Scotland in the seventeenth century.

Doar’s father, James, was a hydro-electric engineer, and moved from Canada to Charlotte to work for the W.S. Lee and Catawba Power Company (later known as Duke Power). In 1912 he moved his family to Australia to work on a hydro-electric project there, returning to Charlotte in 1915. By 1931 he had established his own company, J. W. Fraser & Company, an engineering and consulting firm, located in Charlotte. The Frasers had three children: Catherine Roy, Harriet Olding, and James Graeme Fraser.

Harriet Fraser Doar was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, on March 25, 1912. It was just eleven days after Harriet’s birth when her father left for Australia to pursue a temporary contract job. The rest of the family left Charlotte for Australia in September of that year.

She had her first experience with newspaper journalism in 1930 as a summer intern for the Charlotte News. After that summer, she began her studies at Duke University, and UNC Chapel Hill in the early 1930s. She continued to spend her summers there at the paper, where she worked on and off for several more years. In 1949, she became a writer for the News and Observer in Raleigh, where she stayed until 1951. In 1959 she returned to the Charlotte Observer. She retired in 1982 and was inducted into the North Carolina Journalism Hall of Fame in 1993. Harriet Fraser married Joseph Graham Doar in 1932. Ultimately, the marriage failed and they divorced in 1940. Graham moved to Chicago, but he stayed in touch with Harriet over the years. During World War II, he served as a sergeant in an engineering section.

In addition to her work for the Charlotte Observer, Doar did a great deal of free-lance writing, in short stories, novels and poetry. She acquired a lot of information on other writers and poets, and kept files concerning prominent issues of her day, such as racial and sexual equality, and political issues; though creative fiction was her first love. Doar died in Charlotte in 1999.


14 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Papers of Harriet Doar, a newspaper journalist, author, poet, and social commentator, whose work primarily was published in the Charlotte News from 1939 to 1946, and the Charlotte Observer from 1959 to 1982. This collection also includes her articles, correspondence, notes on other writers, and research subject files from the mid to late twentieth century.


The collection is divded into eight series, three of which (Writing, Research Files and Family Papers) are further divided into subseries. The eight series are: Personal Materials, Correspondence, Diaries and Notebooks, Writing, Research Files, Writers, Commendations and Family Papers (1864-1971).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Harriet Doar, 1988 and 1991; James Doar, 1999; and Jane Rondthaler, 2005.

Related Materials

LeGette Blythe Papers (Mss 64); Harry Golden Papers (Mss 20); James L. Lineberger Papers (Mss 99); Amon Liner Papers (Mss 142); North Carolina Writers Photograph Collection (Mss 32); T. J. Reddy Papers (Mss 79); Leary Love family papers (Mss 339).

Processing Information

Processed by Robert A. McInnes, 2005-2006.

Harriet Doar papers
Robert A. McInnes
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte NC 28223 United States

About this Site

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