Looking Back: The Teenie Harris Family through the Years


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Charles “Teenie” Harris, group portrait of Elsa Elliott Harris, her mother Annie M. Elliott, Agnes Elliott, Vann Harris, Lionel Harris, and unknown girl, standing on grass with trees in background, c. 1949, black and white: Ansco Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.24756 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive.

The last week of summer has come and gone, and with it go fond memories of warm sunshine and summer activities. I’m certain we’ll all miss the delicious tastes of the season—mouth-watering fruits and vegetables, barbecued meats, or fresh catches from the sea. The smell of sand and surf, fragrant meadows laden with flowers, and long sun-filled evenings spent outdoors are being traded for snuggling on a cozy couch with a great book or TV show. Perhaps you, like many, shared some fun moments with loved ones at family events such as weddings, baby showers, birthday parties, or reunions, enjoying the time seeing old friends and meeting new additions to your circle.

The family of Charles “Teenie” Harris had such a summer event—an annual family reunion. A portion of the festivities were held at Carnegie Museum of Art, which offered the Harris family time to explore the Teenie Harris Archive exhibition, Teenie Harris Photographs: Baseball in Pittsburgh. This collection was curated by Negro League player Josh Gibson’s great grandson—a fellow player and friend of Teenie’s. They also witnessed The Teenie Harris Archive’s contribution to Race: Are We So Different?, an exhibition currently on display at our sister facility the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

The Harris family is large and joyous, and their pleasant laughter filled the corridor as they viewed the exhibit. All five of Teenie’s children attended: Teenie Jr., Lionel, Vann, Crystal, and Cheryl, along with their children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and close friends. If you were observing their frivolity you could not help but feel like part of the family, especially with their collective warmth and welcoming attitude.

The following images are a sampling of Harris family photos, found in the archive. Knowing how much Teenie loved his family, I’m sure these were among Teenie’s favorites. Enjoy!

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Charles “Teenie” Harris, Ira Vann Harris spraying his brother Lionel Harris with a garden hose, in yard of Charles “Teenie” Harris’ home, 7604 Mulford Street, Homewood, c. 1948, black and white: Ansco Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.24415 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive.

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Charles “Teenie” Harris, Elsa Harris and two sons, Lionel and Vann at beach, possibly Presque Isle, Lake Erie, c. 1948, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.3223 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive.

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Charles “Teenie” Harris, Elsa Elliott Harris with two sons, Ira Vann and Lionel, and Ella Mae “Olga” Harris, at beach, possibly Presque Isle, Lake Erie, c. 1948, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.24759 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive.

2001-35-24011

Charles “Teenie” Harris, portrait of Crystal Harris holding Cheryl “Tiny” Harris and bottle in light colored blanket, seated on sofa in Charles “Teenie” Harris’ house at 7604 Mulford Street, Homewood, c. 1954, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.24011 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive.

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Charles “Teenie” Harris, portrait of Charles A. “Little Teenie” Harris wearing plaid suit, seated in chair, in Harris Studio, c. 1937, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.24004 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive.

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Charles “Teenie” Harris, Ira Vann Harris reaching to kiss Lionel Harris on bed, in Charles “Teenie” Harris’s bedroom with portraits of Charles “Teenie” Harris and Elsa Harris on dresser, c. 1946, black and white: Ansco Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.24005 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive.

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Charles “Teenie” Harris, portrait of Cheryl “Tiny” Harris wearing duck-patterned dress, lying back on small chair, in Charles “Teenie” Harris’ house at 7604 Mulford Street, Homewood, c. 1956, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.24013 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive.

2001-35-52515

Charles “Teenie” Harris, groom Charles A. Harris, and bride Beatrice Scott Harris wearing gown with lace overlay, holding bouquet and standing in front of fireplace with palms, in Scott residence, 7503 Tioga Street, October 8, 1950, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.52515 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive.

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Charles “Teenie” Harris, baby Tina Harris wearing plaid outfit, with Crystal Harris on right, and Cheryl “Tiny” Harris seated on sofa in background, possibly in Harris home, 7604 Mulford Street, Homewood, c. 1961, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.56679.2 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive.

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Charles “Teenie” Harris, the Harris family, from left: Crystal, Cheryl “Tiny,” Charles Jr. and Scott wearing plaid shirts and cowboy hats, Charles “Teenie” Harris squatting on left, Lionel, Vann, Jerrilyn “Jerry,” Elsa Elliott Harris, Beatrice Scott Harris, and Charles A. “Little Teenie” Harris holding baby Mark on right, gathered next to large Christmas tree, in Harris home, 7604 Mulford Street, Homewood, December 1960, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.53576 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive.