- Feb 28, 2009
Born in Pittsburgh, Charles "Teenie" Harris is the youngest son of William A. and Ella Mae "Olga" Taliaferro Harris, owners of the Masio Hotel on Wylie Avenue.
Teenie completes the eighth grade at the Watt School (now the Robert L. Vann School) in the Hill District.
With his brother William “Woogie” Harris (1896–1967), Teenie works as a chauffeur and mechanic until 1938. Woogie also owned the Crystal Barber Shop on Wylie Avenue and was involved in the numbers business.
Teenie marries Ruth M. Butler, and they have a son, Charles A. Harris. The couple separates around 1932.
Teenie becomes a founding member of the Pittsburgh Crawfords, a sandlot baseball team. He plays until 1930 when the Crawfords enter Negro League competition.
Teenie buys his first professional camera with funds supplied by his brother Woogie and begins to photograph local and visiting celebrities for Flash! magazine.
William Harris, Teenie’s father, dies, and the family closes/sells the Masio Hotel.
Teenie works as a freelance photographer for the Pittsburgh Courier, one of the country’s largest-circulation Black newspapers.
Teenie is operating a photographic studio in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. He has a listing in the city directory: Harris Studio (Charles T. Harris), 2128 Centre Avenue, “Commercial photographs, portraiture and commercial motion pictures taken and shown.”
Accepts job as staff photographer for the Pittsburgh Courier
Teenie marries Elsa L. Elliott. They have four children: Ira Vann Harris (b. 1944), Lionel L. Harris (b. 1945), Crystal Harris (b. 1951), and Cheryl A. Harris (b. 1953)
Teenie closes the Harris Studio at 2128 Centre Avenue.
The first listing appears in city directories for Teenie as “photographer, Pittsburgh Courier.”
Teenie retires from the Pittsburgh Courier
He signs a management agreement with Dennis Morgan, Pittsburgh artist and entrepreneur. Teenie’s archive is housed at the University of Pittsburgh until 1988. The first public exhibition of Harris photographs in Pittsburgh is organized by Rollo Turner, a professor in the Africana studies department.
Dennis Morgan forms the commercial Pittsburgh Courier Photographic Archive, based on his collection of negatives by Harris and other photographers.
Carnegie Museum of Art purchases 27 vintage Harris prints from the Pittsburgh Courier Photographic Archive for its exhibition “Pittsburgh Revealed” and accepts the gift of approximately 3500 vintage prints. Elsa Harris dies.
Teenie sues Dennis Morgan for noncompliance with their 1986 contract.
Teenie dies on June 12.
The lawsuit is settled, and the archive is turned over to the Harris family.
Spirit of a Community: The Photographs of Charles ‘Teenie’ Harris, a retrospective exhibition of Harris’ work, opens at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art. One Shot. The Photographs of Charles ‘Teenie’ Harris, a book by Stanley Crouch, is published; and the documentary film One Shot: The Life and Work of Teenie Harris premiers. Carnegie Museum of Art purchases the archive and all rights from Harris’ estate.
With support from The Heinz Endowments and the Institute for Museums and Library Services, Carnegie Museum of Art develops plans to preserve the archive, catalog its contents, and make images available on-line through the museum’s website.
Carnegie Museum of Art seeks community assistance identifying Harris’ subjects through The Trolley Station Oral History Center and Documenting Our Past: The Teenie Harris Archive Project, Part One.
Carnegie Museum of Art receives National Endowment for the Humanities grant to catalog and scan approximately 30,000 negatives.
To date, 18,000 negatives have been scanned, and 20,000 negatives have been cataloged. Carnegie Museum of Art launches publicly accessible on-line collection search capability that includes all Teenie Harris negatives with images.
Documenting Our Past: The Teenie Harris Archive Project, Part Two exhibited with a selection of approximately 200 images again seeking information from the Pittsburgh public about Harris’ images