Robert Harrod collection on John Newman Harris
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Robert Harrod collection on John Newman Harris

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Georgia Historical Society
Creator: Harrod, Robert P.
Title: Robert Harrod collection on John Newman Harris
Dates: 1906-2013
Extent: 0.5 cubic feet (1 box)
Identification: MS 2568

Biographical/Historical Note

John Newman Harris was born in Petersburg, Virginia November 30, 1889. He moved to Savannah, Georgia in 1908 and by 1917 was a grocer and poultry farmer. In 1924 he opened Johnny Harris Tavern and Bar-B_Que Restaurant on Victory Drive. A new Johnny Harris Restaurant was completed in 1936. John Harris died April 25, 1942. The restaurant continued to operate according to the terms of John Harris' will; ownership eventually passed to the Donaldson family who continue to run the restaurant as of 2014.

Robert P. Harrod is a retired New York Daily News and Newsday Genealogist and Biographical Researcher. He is the nephew of John Harris and compiled this information on his uncle and the restaurant he built.

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains research materials on John Newman Harris (1889-1942), his family and the Johnny Harris Restaurant established 1924 in Savannah, Georgia. Included are photographs, postcards, newspaper clippings, vital records, and menus. Many of the materials are reproductions of originals still retained by Robert P. Harrod, including many of the photographs and the menus. There is also a biography "Remembering Johnny Harris" written by Robert Harrod. A DVD of transferred 16mm film of John Harris, his wife and their monkey, and two 45rpm records are included in this collection.


This collection is arranged into 1 box: Binder 1: Contains biographical and genealogical materials on John Newman Harris (1889-1942) and the Johnny Harris Restaurant he founded in 1924. Included are postcards, reproductions of menus, newspaper articles, a copy of the original will of John Newman Harris that was probated after he died in April, 1942, and photographs both original and reproduction. 1920s-2013 Folder 1: Contains additional genealogical material on John Newman Harris, Bowman family, Mary L. Harris Bowman Alford, and Nellie Latrelle Syms Harrod. Additional photos and biographical material on John Newman Harris. As well as information on the Thunderbolt Casino and amusement Park. Some material may be duplicates. Folder 2: Duplicate and revised copies of "Remembering Johnny Harris" a biography of John Newman Harris written by Robert Harrod. Folder 3: Postcards of various Savannah and Georgia locations including the Thunderbolt Casino, the Savannah Races, and the Cloister Hotel on Sea Island. There is also a reproduction of a photograph of Mary Syms Harris taken on her honeymoon at the Cloister Hotel. Folder 4: A DVD of transferred 16mm film, 1940-1941, of John Newman Harris, Mary Syms Harris (The Monkey Lady) and Baby Girl "Daughter" (the monkey). Two 45rpm records, 1959, Johnny Harris' Restaurant (339) "How Come You Do Me" and "Blizzard Head Blues" by Jack Elkins and His Orchestra. O.T.C. Records (1000) "Family Christmas" and "There'll Always Be a Christmas" by Jack Elkins and His Orchestra with vocals by Jan Easterling.

Index Terms

45 rpm records.
Biographies (documents)
Bowman family.
Donaldson, Kermit Lynwood, 1909-1969.
Genealogies (histories)
Harris, John Newman, 1889-1942.
Harris, Mary Syms, 1912-2001.
Johnny Harris Restaurant.
Thunderbolt Casino.

Physical and Technical Access Restrictions

A DVD player and record player are required to access portions of this collection. The Georgia Historical Society does not own the necessary playback equipment.

Administrative Information

Processing Information

This collection is processed at the Basic Level (or collection level). There is no detailed inventory for this collection as it is not fully processed. To request that this collection be added to our priority list of collections to be fully processed as staffing and funding allow, please contact the Library and Archives staff.


Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.