Harva Zelda Fisher, known by "Zelda," was born in Providence to Harry and Ida (Zurier) Fisher. Fisher's father was a Russian émigré with a grammar school education who became a real estate developer in Providence; her mother was an emigrant but schooled in the Providence schools. After studying Economics at Brown, Fisher received her Master's in Library Science From URI in 1966. She was the coordinator of library services at Bristol Community College in Fall River, Massachusetts, until her retirement in 1978.
Her husband, Harry Andrew Gourse, owned several stores for men and boys’ clothing, the largest in Fall River, where the couple built their home. Fisher and her husband established the Sydney Jane Gourse Memorial Scholarship in the memory of their first daughter who died at the age of 5. Their second daughter, Leslie, was a prolific author best known for her biographies of a wide range of jazz musicians and singers.
Fisher was past president of Fall River's Pembroke College Club and a member of Brown's first General Development Committee. She was also a member of the AAUW, the Sisterhood of Temple Beth El in Fall River, the Brandeis Women's Committee, the Rhode Island Jewish Historical Society, and the board of Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. She died on August 29, 2008.