Reverend W. S. Harris (1865- ?)
William Shuler Harris is the author of 7 books which have become collectible
less for their religious content than their usual presentation. Unlike the
vast majority most religious books written for the general public of his day,
Harris offered books whose covers alone captured the attention of the
potential reader. Venturing beyond the striking cover graphics, the
reader found unusual allegorical illustrations, moral & religious
education presented through parables, allegories, and other appealing
Harris' best known work is Life In A Thousand Worlds which is a series
of religious allegories using science fiction & space travel. It is included
in a number of science fiction bibliographies as an early appearance of
Harris was also a passionate Socialist. While this was not that unusual for
a person in his position & time, Central Pennsylvania was not a hotbed of
either the progressive Social Gospel movement which began at the turn of
the century, nor the even more radical Christian Socialism.
Most of Harris' books were sold by multiple publishers (e.g. Mr. World
And Miss Church-Member had at least 14 different publishers) many of whom
offered his books by subscription only. Thus, salesman's samples of his
books by various publishers can be found in profusion.
Very little Is known about Harris. He received his "deacon's orders" in 1890,
and "elder's orders" in 1892. Apparently, his first pastorship was The
Evangelical Church of Sunbury, Pennsylvania in 1890, and he later served at
Luke’s Church of the Evangelical Association also located in Northumberland
County, Pennsylvania. He first appears in Harrisburg city directories in
1903 as the minister of the Park St. United Evangelical Church where he
remained until 1912. The following year he is listed as Treasure of the
newly organized Harris Grape Juice Co., an appropriate enterprise for a
Prohibitionist. He remained in this position until around 1924. Although
during this period he is mentioned in 1916 as pastoring the Rutherford
Heights United Evangelical Church (Harrisburg) and becoming the pastor
of the Sixth St. United Evangelical Church (Harrisburg) in 1920. Another
pastor is listed in 1922, making Harris' position there brief.
By 1925, Harris appears as a "building contractor", and William, Jr.
(first listed as a student in 1920) as a "clerk", and the 1926 city
directory states merely "real estate" after Harris, and William,
Jr. as a "clerk". No occupation is given for Harris in 1927, but Wm.
Jr. is now listed as a "realtor", and the following year there is only
a listing for "William S." as "real estate". After 1928 there is no
listing for any of the Harris family, including his wife Emma whose name
had appeared since 1915.
Find available items by: W. S. Harris
Books by Reverend W. S. Harris
Content provided by: Henry F. Hain III.