Teenie Harris Archive Stories: Part 4


Teenie Harris, Photographer: An American Story closes April 7—don’t miss this chance to see some of Teenie’s photographs up close and share your own stories!

Here are two more of the recent updates we’ve made to the Teenie Harris Archive based on public feedback and further research on these important photographs. If you’d like to share more information about the people, places, or events in these images, or any of the nearly 1,000 photographs featured in the exhibition, you can send us an email at CMA-ArchiveProject@carnegiemuseums.org, or simply fill out one of the forms available in the exhibition.

The Woman on the Buick

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Doris Clark seated on Buick car with steel mill in background, Clairton, c. 1945 (Exhibition No. 391)

When we chose this image to be included in “Teenie Harris, Photographer: An American Story,” we were struck not only by the composition of the image, but by the distillation of many of the themes in the country at the time – the shiny American-made car in the foreground, the beautiful woman (who could have been used for inspiration for the GIs), the swimming pool that represented a degree of leisure for more classes, and the busy steel mill in the distance.  But we didn’t know who she was or where it was taken.

After combing the archives for other photographs of her or the location, we found her again with a group of friends:

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Group portrait of men and women, including Doris Clark standing ninth from left, and Lois Weaver standing fifth from right, posed outdoors near stone gate, Clairton, c. 1945

And in an incredible instance of serendipity, we were just about to interview Lois Weaver Watson who was one of those friends who appeared in the picture.  Mrs. Watson finally named “the woman on the Buick” as Doris Clark Moody, and with the new name in hand, we searched the online archives of the Pittsburgh Courier newspaper, and learned more about her.

Doris Christine Clark was born February 22, c. 1928, in Pittsburgh, to Doris and Henry Clark.  Her father died young, and her mother was later re-married to Cicero Griffith, then after his death, to former Negro League baseball player Ralph Mellix.

In the early 1940s, along with her friend Lois Weaver, she was in the dance corps of the National Negro Opera Company and performed in La Traviata.  Doris populated the gossip and society columns in the mid-1940s with reports of the parties she attended and her participation in local fashion shows.  In 1945, she graduated from Schenley High School.  In his “Junior Social Whirl” column on September 15, 1945, Mozelle Thompson in a farewell address upon leaving Pittsburgh to study art in New York stated: “we’ll remember Doris Clark’s house, which was the second home for the Smart Young Set.”

She attended West Virginia State College where she was a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority and graduated in 1951. Shortly thereafter, she took her first teaching job in North Carolina, where she taught in a Jim Crow-era five room school with outhouses and an outdoor water pump.  In 1953, she returned to Pittsburgh and began a long career as a teacher and librarian in the Pittsburgh Public Schools.

In 1956 she married Nathan Brown Jr., and began to participate in “Alpha Wives” activities (a club for women whose husbands were members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity).  She continued with her education and received a Masters Degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh in 1969.

At some point before 1975, she married Willis Moody and gained stepsons, Wayne and Willis Moody Jr.  She retired from the Pittsburgh Public Schools in 1982, and hundreds of family and friends attended a luncheon party in her honor at the Park Schenley restaurant in Oakland.

Doris Clark Moody passed away on January 29, 2000, and was buried in Homewood Cemetery.