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Harry C. Perry, Jr. papers


Harry C. Perry, Jr. papers
Perry, Harry C., Jr.
Collection number:
0.25 linear feet
Bulk dates:
Inclusive dates:
Collection Area:
Literature and Rare Books
Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries, Hornbake Library, College Park, MD 20742. Tel: 301-405-9212, Fax: 301-314-2709, Email:

Harry C. Perry, Jr. (b. 1919), was Katherine Anne Porter's tax accountant for approximately five years in the early 1960s. He filed Porter's federal and District of Columbia tax returns from 1959 until 1964. The collection documents Porter's financial situation before and after the publication of Ship of Fools. Included in the collection are financial papers, correspondence, and newspaper clippings related to Porter.

Important Information for Users of the Collection


This collection is open for research.

Preferred citation:

Harry C. Perry, Jr. papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Publication rights:

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.


This collection is PROCESSED.

Historical Note

Harry C. Perry, Jr., Katherine Anne Porter's first accountant in Washington, D. C., was born in Frederick, Maryland, on February 20, 1919. He was the second of thirteen children born to Nannie Frances (Bentz) and Harry Clay Perry, Sr. During the Depression, the Perry family moved from Frederick to Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Mr. Perry received his Master of Commercial Science degree in 1954 from Benjamin Franklin University, where he also earned his bachelor's degree. He worked in Washington, D. C., as an accountant for Malin and Dery, Public Accountants, from 1951 until 1962, when he was named a partner in the firm. He and his wife, Violet Fern Caldwell, have two children, Harry Clay III and Judith Suzanne. He has three grandchildren and continues to work in the District of Columbia as the surviving member of the Malin, Dery, and Perry accounting firm.

Mr. Perry became Katherine Anne Porter's accountant in 1960 through the agency of a mutual friend, John Prince. Mr. Perry acted as Porter's accountant from 1960 until 1964. He prepared and filed her federal and District of Columbia tax returns from 1959 until 1962. The final return, for 1962, was filed during Porter's 1963 residence in Europe.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The papers of Harry C. Perry, Jr., span the years 1958 to 1966, with the bulk created between 1959 and 1964. The collection contains financial papers related to Katherine Anne Porter's federal and District of Columbia income taxes, such as tax returns, itemized lists of expenses and income, and receipts. The collection also contains correspondence between Porter and Mr. Perry, mainly relating to Porter's finances. They also discuss political and personal topics such as Porter's experiences during her residence in Europe and her opinions of the Civil Rights movement.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

Harry Perry, Jr., donated his papers relating to Katherine Anne Porter to the University of Maryland Libraries in October 1983.

Processing Information

Processed by:

Processing begun by: Pascale Compere, May 1998. Processing and guide completed by: Steve Hausfeld, July 1998.

Processing note:

The collection was placed into one series. Items in the collection were arranged chronologically and foldered by tax year. All staples and paper clips were removed and replaced with plastic clips. All materials were placed in acid-free folders in an acid-free box.

Encoded by:

EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Michael Yates.

Arrangement of Collection

The collection has been arranged into one series.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Correspondence and Financial Papers, 1958-1966 (0.25 linear feet)

This series includes federal and District of Columbia income tax returns and itemized lists of income, expenditures, and deductions. Also included are airplane tickets, travel itineraries, bank statements, a cancelled check, an insurance card, royalty statements, and store receipts as well as business and personal correspondence between Miss Porter and Mr. Perry.

The collection documents Miss Porter's professional and private life, including the dramatic change in her financial situation after the publication of her best-selling novel, Ship of Fools. Also included is information regarding awards, expenses, income, taxes, and advances from her publishers Harcourt, Brace and World and Little, Brown and Co. The series also documents Miss Porter's one-year residence in Europe; her regular monthly support of her older sister, Gay (Porter) Holloway; and her opinions of the Civil Rights movement and tax "revenooers," her term for the Internal Revenue Service.

Miss Porter filed estimated tax returns, which required her to pay installments throughout the year. Mr. Perry often reminded her to pay these. Many of Miss Porter's responses to the reminders expressed her confusion and frustration with the tax system. A note sent to Mr. Perry with a delinquency notice from the California Franchise Tax Board, dated December 9, 1963, is representative: "Here's that man with the sawed-off shotgun again! Do what you can, and blessings on your head!"

Miss Porter's final letter to Mr. Perry, dated September 5, 1966, explained her decision to seek help from a manager: "a CPA who also runs financial affairs for poor creatures like me, who can't run their own." The items in the collection are arranged chronologically and foldered by tax year.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Correspondence and Financial Papers, 1958-1960 series 1box 1folder 1
Correspondence and Financial Papers, 1959-1962 and undated series 1box 1folder 2
Correspondence and Financial Papers, 1960-1961 series 1box 1folder 3
Correspondence and Financial Papers, 1961-1963 series 1box 1folder 4
Correspondence and Financial Papers, 1962-1964 series 1box 1folder 5
Correspondence and Financial Papers, 1963-1964 series 1box 1folder 6
Correspondence and Financial Papers, 1965-1966 series 1box 1folder 7

Related Material

Additional materials related to Porter's finances, including her correspondence with Mr. Perry, can be found in Series I and IV of the Papers of Katherine Anne Porter. Materials related to John Prince, who introduced Porter to Mr. Perry, can be found in the Papers of Mr. and Mrs. John A. Prince and the Papers of Katherine Anne Porter, Series I.

For other related archival and manuscript collections, please see the following subject guides.

Selected Search Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the University of Maryland Libraries' Catalog. Researchers desiring related materials about these topics, names, or places may search the Catalog using these headings.


Names (Added Entries)