Monday, June 22, 2009

House Museum: Joel Chandler Harris

The name Joel Chandler Harris may not be as familiar to some as the characters he immortalized. For over a century, Brer Fox, Brer Rabbit, Brer Bear and the Tar Baby have played tricks on each other, visited the Laughing Place and generally cut up and carried on as told by Uncle Remus. The stories appeared in newspapers, storybooks, a Disney film and in oral tradition. Though the stories about this cast of characters originated on Southern plantations and were the stories slaves told their children, Harris, then an associate editor at the Atlanta Constitution, began writing the stories down and publishing them.

The Uncle Remus tales are considered by some to be outdated and politically incorrect by today’s cultural standards, but all that aside, the stories are just plain entertaining.

The Harris home, nicknamed The Wren’s Nest, is located in Southwest Atlanta’s West End neighborhood. It is Atlanta’s oldest house museum. The furniture in the home was used by Harris, his wife, and their six children. On a tour of the house, visitors learn all about the family and their time at The Wren’s Nest and Harris’ writing career.

The house is open for tours Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. If you can, try to make your visit coincide with Saturday’s storytelling, which begins at 1 p.m.

For more information on Harris, the Uncle Remus tales and The Wren’s Nest, visit

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