Scope and arrangement
Harrisse's papers consist of manuscripts of some of his writings, and correspondence, documents, and printed material dating from his early years in the United States to the end of his life. Included are: the manuscript of his Discovery of North America mounted in ten large volumes; seven boxes containing the manuscript and proof of his Découverte... (in French); and the manuscript of his Epistola. The Epistola is a series of autobiographical letters to his old friend Samuel Barlow written from his vacation spot in Divonne, France, August, 1883 (published, New York Public Library Bulletin, June, 1967).
A group of manuscript and printed items are bound in a volume titled Essays, memorials, etc., 1854-1857. Included are two essays by Harrisse, one published in pamphlet form titled "An essay on the literary institution best adapted to the present wants and interests of our country", 1857, and a manuscript of "An essay on the organization, regulation, and management of a literary institution best adapted to the wants and interests of North Carolina", 1854, with related clippings and correspondence. Also included is Harrisse's memorial submitted to the trustees of the University of North Carolina "Does the internal condition of the institution correspond to its external prosperity", 1856, and clippings documenting the controversy that resulted in the dismissal of Professor B. S. Hedrick of the University of North Carolina for being a "Black Republican" (a member of the Republican Party who aided the freedmen).
The correspondence is in English, French, Spanish, Italian, and some German. Included are 34 letters to Harrisse, 1878, from correspondents in Santo Domingo, Cuba, France, and Spain relating to his investigations into the site of Columbus' burial place, and 74 letters from correspondents in Italy, France, and Spain, 1885, about his research concerning the Columbine Library (Bibliotheca Columbina) which was founded by the bequest of Columbus' son, Fernando. Also included is correspondence, 1860s-1910s, between Harrisse, Samuel Barlow, bibliographer Henry Stevens, bookseller James Osborne Wright, and Wilberforce Eames concerning Barlow's library (including its sale) and other bibliographical matters, Harrisse's research, and, to a smaller extent, his legal practice. Of note are two nineteenth century carte de visite portrait photographs. One is of a Duke of Veragua (a descendent of Christopher Columbus), the other is probably of Barlow.
One group of items comes from Professor E. V. Howell of the University of North Carolina. Included are Howell's transcripts of letters by or about Harrisse, 1853-1856, and transcripts of letters received by Howell, apparently in response to his questions about Harrisse, 1922-1924, from former students and others who knew Harrisse at the University of North Carolina. Howell also made photostats of Harrisse's letters (to Barlow and others), printed articles, notes, and other documents, ca. 1850s-1880s.
A few additional printed and manuscript items are included. Of note among these are a typescript biographical sketch of Harrisse by Henry Vignaud; a book, John Cabot's Landfall in 1497 and the Site of Norumbega by Eben Norton Horsford, with Harrisse's notes, and letters and clippings pasted in; and a notebook of "cartographical memoranda", notes and sketches of the new world made by Harrisse in Paris during the Paris Commune, 1870-1871.