Clarence Harmon papers, 1994-2001 | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center
The Clarence Harmon papers consist of materials generated and collected by Harmon and his administration when he was mayor of St. Louis, Missouri. The papers included correspondence, reports, project files and subject files, press releases, speech files, newsclippings, audio and video recordings, and some photographs. There are several speeches given by Harmon when he was St. Louis Chief of Police before becoming mayor, as well as three record cartons of campaign material. The papers include files kept by Deputy Mayor for Administration Julian Boyd, but almost nothing from Deputy Mayor for Development Mike Jones, who was fired in 2000. There are files from Harmon's special assistants Gail Hicklin, David C. Sorden, Mel Trammel, and Barry Williams; intergovernmental affairs officers Nancy Farmer, Tom Villa and Ann Auer; communications directors John Boul, Chuck Miller, and Tom Keller; school liaison Marjorie Smith; communications assistants Ed Davis and Michael West; speechwriters/public information officers Brooke Bascom and Matt Stevens; and operations director Marie Jeffries.
The Harmon papers cover a wide range of topics. Issues include gun control and violent crime, transportation, trade and infrastructure development, matters of racial equality and social justice, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and international relations. Through both direct administrative action, and mayoral led organizations such as the St. Louis Human Development Corporation, the East-West Gateway Coordinating Council, and the St. Louis World Trade Center, Harmon’s office attempted to address the city’s most pressing issues and secure St. Louis as a major metropolitan hub for the future. Other highlights of the mayor’s efforts documented in the papers include the strengthening of the North American Trade Corridor (a coalition of businesses, government agencies, civil organizations, metropolitan centers, and rural communities designed to promote cross-border interests, and develop multimodal communication and transportation infrastructures) and the expansion of the St. Louis Sister Cities International, a multinational city-to-city network with participants from more than fifteen countries designed to showcase St. Louis as an international city, and to foster mutually beneficial relations in economic development, education, art, culture, medicine, and sports.
The Harmon papers also underscore the tremendous social and cultural challenges the city and the nation were experiencing during the turn-of-the 21st century. New awareness regarding HIV/AIDS led to new legislation at all levels of government regarding proper treatment facilities and patient rights. The mayor’s office not only worked diligently to comply with these new regulations, it also served as leader in securing emergency AIDS relief.
The Harmon collection is also a pertinent resource for information regarding modern inner city social conditions. As is the case with many other cities, throughout the millennial decades St. Louis has been beleaguered with issues such as gun violence, domestic violence, racial discrimination, overcrowding jails and prisons, and healthcare for the poor and indigent. Special projects undertaken during Harmon's term and fully documented in the papers include the St. Louis Regional Conference on Racial Justice and Harmony; City Living urban renewal; Connectcare health care; and the year 2000 visit to St. Louis by Pope John Paul II.
Overall, the Harmon collection offers a window into the busy office of a major metropolitan public leader. Individually, the collection’s various topics also offer a wealth of information for researchers of various disciplines, including urban planning, history, race relations, public health, and international diplomacy.