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Florence (Daisy) Jaffray Harriman letter and clippings

Identifier: MSS-0634

Scope and Contents

The collection contains a thank you letter, postmarked 22 February 1941, written to Miss Harriet D. Mitchell, as well as a newspaper clipping from 19 April 1963.


  • 1941; 1963

Conditions Governing Access


Biographical / Historical

Florence Jaffray (Daisy) Harriman was born Florence Jaffray Hurst on 21 July 1870 in New York City to shipping magnate F.W.J. Hurst and his wife Caroline. When Florence was three years old, her mother died at the age of 29. Daisy, as she was known throughout her life, and her sisters were raised in and around New York City by her father and maternal grandparents. In 1889 she married J. Borden Harriman, a New York banker. They had one daughter, Ethel M.B. Harriman (Ethel worked on Broadway and in Hollywood as an actress and writer - as either Ethel Russell or Ethel Borden).

Daisy was a socialite, but one with a social conscience. She led efforts by the New York chapter of the National Women's Committee to expose harsh working conditions in New York City's factories, foundries, and hotels. Her leadership and organizing skills became increasingly directed toward the disenfranchised and impoverished. She was active in the women's suffrage movement and crusaded against unhealthy conditions in New York's tenements.

J. Borden Harriman became seriously ill in February 1913. Hoping that her husband would benefit from the healing waters in the Bohemian spa in Karlsbad (then part of Austria-Hungary), Daisy brought her family to Europe in June of 1914. They were still there when Austria-Hungary attacked Serbia in late July. They managed to leave Karlsbad on the last train crossing the frontier through Germany to France. They returned from Europe on an armed British vessel, the RMS Adriatic. Her husband's health continued to deteriorate, and he died on 1 December 1914. Daisy never remarried.

Harriman increased her charitable and political activity. She had been in charge of the Red Cross Women's Motor Corps in France during the First World War. She was subsequently Minister to Norway, 1937-1940, a founder of the Women's National Democratic Club, and a member of the Federal Industrial Relations Committee. She also directed the Women-in-Industry Committee of the Council of National Defense.

Harriman received a Citation of Merit for Distinguished Service, presented by President Kennedy on 18 April 1963 (when she was 92 years old). It states: “In her illustrious career in public service, Mrs. Harriman has made singular and lasting contributions to the cause of peace and freedom. . . . In all of her endeavors, Mrs. Harriman has exemplified the spirit of selflessness, courage and service to the Nation, reflecting the highest credit on herself and on this country. She has, indeed, earned the esteem and admiration of her countrymen and the enduring gratitude of this Republic.” Harriman died in Washington, D.C., on 31 August 1967.


0.01 Linear Feet (3 items)

Language of Materials



A letter written by Harriman to Miss Harriet D. Mitchell, thanking her for a gesture of kindness, as well as a newspaper clipping from 19 April 1963.




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Processed by

unknown, 2008; updated by Martha Bace, 2013
Guide to the Florence (Daisy) Jaffray Harriman letter and clippings
February 2008
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266