African-American Personal Papers
ARMSTRONG, IRVEN. Collection, 1918-1996 (bulk 1918-1992). M 0745. One box. Collection guide online. The collection contains letters written by female students to Sgt. Irven Armstrong while he was stationed in France during World War I. The young women attended Indianapolis Public Schools No. 17. In general, the letters wish him well, commend his war service, express home front support of American soldiers, comment on the effects of the 1918 Influenza Epidemic, thank him for keeping America safe for Democracy, and bid him a safe return. The letters, executed with good penmanship, contain the signatures and addresses of the students, all who lived within blocks of the near westside school. All letters are dated 7 November 1918.
ARTIS, LIONEL F. Papers, 1933-1967. M 0762, OM 0401. One box, one oversize folder. Collection guide online. Lionel F. Artis (1895-1971) was born in Paris, Illinois. He grew up and received his early education in Indianapolis. He served with the army during World War I in Beaune, France. In 1933, he completed a bachelor of arts degree at the University of Chicago. He received a master of arts degree from Indiana University in 1941.
Artis was a civic leader in Indianapolis. He served as a board member of 23 organizations. As assistant secretary of the Senate YMCA, Artis organized the first Boy Scout troop at that institution. From 1937 to 1969, he managed Lockefield Gardens, a public housing facility. He was one of the organizers of Flanner House Homes. Artis was also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.
The collection includes correspondence, diplomas and programs from graduations, a military patch, newspaper clippings, photographs and awards. Of special note are a constitution, minute book and some administrative documents of the Community Hospital Association. The hospital was established in 1932 to aid with health care services for African-Americans in Indianapolis.
BEESON, CECIL: Jesse Pettiford Research Collection, 1972-1988. SC 2683. One folder. Collection guide online. Jesse Pettiford (ca. 1818-64) was living in Jennings County when he mustered into the U.S. Army in February 1864. He enlisted with the 28th United States Colored Troops, Company F, in Indianapolis. Pettiford did not return to his wife, Anna Blanks (ca. 1818-1920), and their several children after his military service. There are disputed reports on his whereabouts after the war. According to an 1883 memorandum concerning a pension claim from the Adjutant General’s office of the War Department, Pettiford died of pleurisy at Camp Fremont in Indianapolis on April 26, 1864. The records from the Indiana Adjutant General’s office and the published Civil War report of W.H.H. Terrell state that Pettiford deserted the Army in March 1864. Pettiford family oral tradition suggests that Pettiford was poisoned while he was on active duty.
From 1972 to 1988, in an effort to research Pettiford, Cecil Beeson corresponded with staff at several institutions including the Indiana State Library, Henry County Memorial Hospital, the National Archives and the Indiana Historical Society. In addition to his correspondence, the collection includes copies of a certificate of enlistment and service, pension claims and affidavits, and an 1868 marriage license for Anna Pettifoot (sic) and William Hood.
BLACKBURN, DORA ATKINS. Papers, 1926-1978 (bulk 1926-1978). M 0634. One box. Collection guide in library. Dora Atkins Blackburn was born in Indianapolis and attended Butler University. After her mother’s death, she and her sister Murray Atkins took over Atkins Flower Shop, started by her mother. Dora Atkins operated the flower shop in Indianapolis for more than 50 years. The collection contains several photographs of Blackburn, including a 1910 photograph of Blackburn with three classmates crocheting at school. There are materials related to the Blackburn genealogy; Blackburn’s mother, Dora Graham Atkins; and her father, Calvin R. Atkins, a physician. A 1937 letter from Arthur T. Long refers to an article about Dora Blackburn that appeared in Opportunity, the news magazine of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The collection contains photographs and clippings about the Atkins Flower Shop, including a guest list from the 50th anniversary celebration of the business. Mayor William H. Hudnut proclaimed Nov. 20, 1977 Dora Atkins Blackburn day in Indianapolis. Items relating to Calvin R. Atkins include a copy of the first annual report (1910) of Lincoln Hospital, established by black physicians to serve African-Americans in Indianapolis at a time of rigid segregation and critical health care concerns.
BROKENBURR, ROBERT LEE. Papers, 1941-1973. M 0492, OM 0223, BV 2432-2434. One box, one oversize folder, three volumes. Black Women in the Middle West Project. Collection guide in library. Robert Lee Brokenburr (1886-1974), an attorney, was the first African-American to serve in the Indiana State Senate. His parents were Benjamin and Mary Elizabeth Baker Brokenburr. He graduated from Hampton Institute and Howard University Law School. He was admitted to the Indiana Bar in 1917. Brokenburr married Alice Julia Glover in 1910. They had two children, Nerissa Lee (Stickney) and Alice Olga (Ray). Alice Julia died in 1945, and in 1948, Brokenburr married Jeanette Walker Hightower. Brokenburr often sat as judge pro-tem of the municipal, superior and circuit courts of Marion County. He was deputy prosecuting attorney for the 19th Judicial Circuit of Indiana. As a legislator, he authored many bills that passed into law, especially in the area of civil rights.
Included in this collection are three scrapbooks, mostly about Brokenburr’s senatorial career and several miscellaneous items. There are banquet programs, newspaper clippings, certificates, telegrams and a list of bills authored by Brokenburr from 1941 to 1973.
BROOKS, HARRY W. Papers, 1930-2000 (bulk 1970-1978). M 0753, OM 0391. Four boxes, three oversize folders. Collection guide online. Harry William Brooks Jr. (1928-), was born in Indianapolis, the son of Harry William Sr., and Nora Elaine Bailey Brooks. He attended the local public schools, graduating from Crispus Attucks High School in 1947. He enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army at age 19. He retired as a Major General in 1976. Brooks went to Basic Training in 1947. He married Doris Elizabeth Greene (March 17, 1930 to Oct. 29 1979) in 1948. Four children were born to this union. Later, he married June C. Hezakiah. Brooks served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. From 1974 to 1976, he was the commanding general of the Army’s famed 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii. Highly decorated, Brooks became a major general in 1974. After retiring from the military, Brooks joined Amfac Inc. of Hawaii. When he left Amfac Inc. in 1984, he was executive vice president of the company. Later that year, Brooks and his colleagues started Advanced Consumer Marketing Corp.. He is currently chairman of Brooks International. The collection materials reflect the career of a U.S. Army officer. It contains biographical materials, military orders and citations, speeches, reports, program booklets, news clippings and photographs. There are several photographs of Brooks in uniform and images of him with prominent politicians, entertainers and civic leaders.
CHAMBERS, WILLIAM A. Papers, 1971-1985. SC 2438. Four folders. Collection guide online. William Alexander Chambers (1898-1985), the son of Jesse W. and Nancy Violet Graves Chambers, was born in Hopkinsville, Ky. After serving in World War I, Chambers settled in Indianapolis. He worked for Ferguson Printing Company, and during his 50 years of newspaper experience he served as an editor for three black weeklies. An aspiring fiction writer during his later life, Chambers spent time developing two works entitled A Summer of Uncommon Retrospects and Rotterham Lodge Tales.
The collection contains biographical notes and obituaries pertaining to Chambers; materials related to an unpublished manuscript; and biographical information written by Chambers about the Eli Lilly family.
CHESTER, EMMA LEE. Papers, 1962-1985. M 0498. Two boxes. Collection guide online. The oldest of ten children born to Aron and Teadie Devine, Emma Lee Devine Chester (1942-) was born in Starkville, Mississippi. Chester received a bachelor’s degree from Mississippi State University and a master’s degree from Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. She began her teaching career with the Indianapolis Public Schools in 1972.
The collection contains the personal papers of Emma L. Chester and Julie Davis, a worker for the Marion County Welfare Department. It consists mostly of correspondence, certificates, and newspaper clippings.
CHILDS, HESTER B. Papers, 1944-1987. M 0676. One box. Collection guide online. Hester Blanche Childs (1909-87), although born in Duncan, Miss., lived most of her life in Indianapolis. A nurse by profession, Childs was also active in numerous civic and social organizations. The collection contains materials relating to Childs and other family members and highlights her activities in various clubs and organizations.
CONN, HARRIETTE BAILEY. Papers, 1909-1990. M 0692, OM 0370. Eight-and-a-half boxes, three oversize folders. Collection guide online. Harriette Vesta Bailey Conn (1922-1981) was the daughter of Robert Lieutenant and Nelle Vesta Bailey. Born in Indianapolis, she completed her early education in the city’s school system, graduating from Crispus Attucks High School at the age of 14 years. Following in her father’s footsteps, in 1941, she became a second-generation alumnus of Talladega College, and she later became an attorney. Her father, Robert L. Bailey, served as deputy attorney general to James Ogden from 1930 to 1932.
From 1955 to 1965, Harriette Bailey Conn served as deputy attorney general of Indiana under Edwin K. Steers. On May 1, 1970, the Supreme Court of Indiana appointed Conn State Public Defender, a position she held until her death. Succeeding Mel Thornberg of Anderson, Conn was the first woman and the first African-American to hold the position. Under Conn’s direction, the office that provided legal services for Indiana inmates who could not afford to appeal their convictions or sentences grew from a staff of three in 1970 to 27 in 1981.
Most of the material in the collection relates to Conn, her family, her organizational affiliations and her legal career.
COOPER, PAULA. Case Records, 1986-1989. M 0565. Two boxes. Collection guide online. Paula Cooper (1970-) was convicted of killing Ruth Pelke. Pelke was stabbed 33 times on May 14, 1985, in Gary. According to reports, Cooper and three younger friends skipped school, drank wine and smoked marijuana before visiting Pelke and inquiring about Bible lessons. Testimony further alleged that Pelke was murdered after admitting the girls into her house. They took 10 dollars and the keys to Pelke’s car.
The assigned public defender advised Cooper to plead guilty. Judge James Kimbrough sentenced Cooper to death. She was sent to death row at the Indiana Women’s Prison. In December 1986, Cooper’s case was taken up by Monica Foster, a young lawyer who had worked as a public defender. Foster and others organized a campaign on Cooper’s behalf, based on mounting public opinion, particularly in Europe and especially in Italy, where the death penalty had been outlawed. Appeals were made to the Indiana Supreme Court, which received two million signatures; to Gov. Robert Orr, who received an appeal from the Pope in September 1987; and to the United Nations, which received a million signatures. The Indiana Supreme Court heard arguments in the case, and on July 13, 1989, the Court overturned the death sentence, substituting the maximum allowable prison term (60 years with a minimum term of 26 years).
The collection contains letters, telegrams, petitions and cards arranged chronologically and addressed to the Indiana Supreme Court on behalf of Paula Cooper’s death sentence conviction. The vast majority of the appeals came from Italy, with some items sent from Belgium, Holland and West Germany.
CURRY, JUNE RESNOVER. Family Papers, 1905-1921. SC 2471, OM 214. Two folders, one oversize folder. Collection guide online. Cora Resnover Hampton (ca. 1890 1945) and Willa Resnover Donaldson (ca. 1894 1978) were the daughters of James H. and Narcissus Stokes Resnover. The sisters, who came to Indianapolis at an early age from Nashville, Tenn., were educated in the Indianapolis public schools. They attended Frederick Douglass School # 19, Manual High School, and Teacher’s College of Indianapolis which later became the Blaker College of Education at Butler University. Both sisters became teachers; Hampton taught in Indianapolis and Donaldson in Carbondale and Cairo, Ill. The collection contains five items related to the educational achievements of the two sisters. It includes Hampton’s 1911 Marion County teaching license, Donaldson’s diplomas from Frederick Douglass School and Manual Training High School, a Butler University transcript, and a 1921 job offer letter from Cairo, Ill.
DETHRIDGE, LUVENA W. Papers, 1927-1954 (bulk 1927-1935). M 0523, OMB 0056. Black Women in the Middle West Project. Collection guide online. Mary Luvena Wallace Dethridge (1894-1988), most commonly known as Luvena Wallace Dethridge, was born in Richmond, Ind. Her parents were Luther and Laura Wallace. She was married to Boston Dethridge, a worker at Reid Memorial Hospital, who died in 1979. Dethridge attended public schools in Richmond, and she studied with Samuel Garton, one-time department of music chairperson at Earlham College. Under Garton’s tutelage she spent time in Italy in 1929 and again in 1930 as a student and singer.
Most of the collection documents Dethridge’s work as a lyric soprano. There is correspondence, program booklets, a passport, newsletters, a scrapbook and newspaper clippings. Also included is a scrapbook (ca. 1935) compiled by the National Association of Colored Women, correspondence from the Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Indiana, and 1944 newsletters with news of servicemen from the Perfect Circle Factory in Hagerstown.
DICKINSON, JESSE L. Collection, 1922-1982. M 0532. Forty-six boxes, 10 cubic foot boxes. Collection guide online. Jesse L. Dickinson (1906-1982), an Indiana state legislator, was born in Chandler, Okla., in 1906. He moved to South Bend in 1928 with his wife, Helen. They were the parents of four sons: Valjean, Coleridge, Roland and Carroll.
Dickinson served in the Indiana House from 1943 to 1947 and from 1951 to 1959. He served in the Senate from 1959 to 1963. Representing St. Joseph County, he had a distinguished legislative career as an advocate for civil rights, mental health, services to the aging, housing, prison reform and fair employment.
The bulk of the collection contains Dickinson’s legislative correspondence and material pertaining to his career in public service. He was affiliated with numerous organizations, agencies and commissions. His papers are organized in seven major divisions: biographical information; correspondence; organizations; topics (includes 11 boxes of legislative correspondence dated from 1942 to 1965); speeches and programs; clippings; and scrapbooks.
EANS, PAULINE B. Papers, 1926-1981 (bulk 1970s). M 0405. One box. Black Women in the Middle West Project. Collection guide online. Pauline Eans (1905-1981) was a teacher of nursing education. She received a bachelor’s degree from Clark College (now Clark Atlanta University) and a master’s in public health education from the University of Michigan. A founder of the Northwest Civic Association, she was a member of the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee. In 1955, she joined the Wishard Hospital School of Nursing faculty in Indianapolis, retiring in 1977.
The collection contains materials related to Eans’s work at Wishard, Ala., A &M College, and Lincoln University (Missouri), where she spent her early career. Also included are items related to her university teaching and her community service in Indianapolis.
ENIX, ELIZABETH M. Papers, 1905-1994 (bulk 1990-1994). M 0756. One box. Collection guide online. Elizabeth M. Enix was born Jane Elizabeth Martin in Indianapolis in 1906. Her affiliations included the National Council of Negro Women and the Women’s Improvement Club. The collection includes correspondence, memoirs, programs and photographs. The memoirs discuss a number of topics, including Indianapolis buildings, the 1913 Indianapolis Flood and the Indiana Avenue neighborhood.
FOX, O. JAMES. Collection, 1945-2002. P 0266. One document case, four OVA boxes, three folders color photographs, 12 color slides, six color negatives, one folder printed material. Collection guide online. O. (Oscar) James Fox was born Oct. 2 1914 in Grand Rapids, Mich., and raised in Lakewood, Ohio. He earned a bachelor of arts degree at Miami University in 1937 and a master’s degree in education at Western Reserve University, Cleveland, in 1964. Fox arrived in Indianapolis in 1945 as a volunteer with the American Friends Service Committee. He was assigned to an urban work camp, part of Flanner House, a community center on the near west side of the city. One of his first jobs in Indianapolis was to photo document the slum area of the near west side of the city. He also wrote poetry associated with the photographs and his experiences living in an urban neighborhood. The collection includes black-and-white and color photographs and color slides made between 1945 and circa 1960. The photographs depict scenes of African-American families, children and the urban environment of the near west side of Indianapolis. Other color photographs document activities in the Flanner House Cannery and a party involving women and children.
GOENS, LILLIAN MARIE. Papers, 1884-1984 (bulk 1970-1984). M 0447, OM 0134. Two boxes, one folder. Black Women in the Middle West Project. Collection guide in library. Lillian Marie Goens was born in Washington, Daviess County, and lived in Indianapolis for 65 years. She worked at Wishard Hospital and was active in Barnes United Methodist Church and United Methodist Women. In the early 1970s, she was active in the Federation of Associated Clubs and the National Council of Negro Women. This collection includes personal material as well as programs, minutes and newsletters of organizations with which she was involved.
GRAY, MOSES W. Papers, 1950-1997 (bulk 1980-1996). M 0693, R 2008-2011. Fifteen boxes. Collection guide online. Moses William Gray (1937-), a retired General Motors manager, community activist and civic leader, was born in Rock Castle, Goochland County, Va. The son of Moses Gray Jr., a steel mill machinist and Ida Young Gray, a housewife, he was the fourth of seven siblings. Gray grew up in Conemaugh, Penn. He received a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Indiana University. He furthered his education at the University of Michigan and the General Motors Institute. Gray played football at Indiana University. He also played professionally for the Indianapolis Warriors and for the New York Titans (now New York Jets). Gray was married to Anne Marie Powell on Nov. 22, 1962. The couple has two adopted children, Tamara Ann and William Bernard. The 15-box collection consists primarily of materials related to Gray’s involvement with numerous community organizations. Much of the collection pertains to his advocacy for the adoption of African-American children. The collection is divided into seven major subject headings: biographical and personal; adoption; education; General Motors; Indiana University; 100 Black Men Inc.; and organizations.
GREAT BLACK HOOSIER AMERICANS. Collection, n.d. P 0180. One box. No collection guide available. Thirty pencil drawings by Vertine Young of notable African-American men and women who were born or lived in Indiana. The subjects are as follows: members of the 28th U. S. Colored Troops (group portrait); Lt. Nobel Sissle; Madam C.J. Walker; Bishop Paul Quinn; Richard Gordon Hatcher; Reverend J.M. Townsend, D.D.; Marion Stuart; Mari Edwards; Alexander E. Manning; George L. Knox; Albert Merritt; Cleo Blackburn; Dr. Perry Julian; Russell Smith; Marshall William “Major” Taylor; Wes Montgomery; Sallie Stewart; Gen. Harry W. Brooks; Lt. Charles Hall; Todd Duncan; Mrs. W.E.B. Dubois; Judge Rufus C. Kuykendall; Anita Lucette DeFranz; Elder W. Diggs; Jesse L. Dickinson; James Edwards; Ted Chambers; George W. Stevens; Wallace N. Terry II; Starling James; Rev. John McGinty (St. Mission Church).
GREATHOUSE, RUTH. Papers, ca. 1912-1936 (bulk 1934-1936). M 0622. Seven folders. Collection guide online. Ruth Greathouse was born in Indianapolis. Her parents were Archie and Rose Greathouse. The family home was located at 2631 N. Capitol Ave. The bulk of the collection includes correspondence to Ruth Greathouse from W.E. Mayo from April 1934 to August 1936. Mayo was in the Civilian Conservation Corps. Through early August 1934, he was located at Camp Knox in Kentucky, before moving to a CCC camp near Cromwell. He wrote Greathouse generally three to four times a month. His letters detail his activities and work assignments, as well as his affection for Greathouse.
GREEN, EMMA CASON. Papers, 1939-1983. M 0536. One box. Black Women in the Middle West Project. Collection guide online. The daughter of James and Rebecca Cason, Emma Cason Green (1884-1983) was born in North Middletown, Ky. In 1905, she married Charles Green (1884-1957), a farmer from Bourbon County, Ky. Four children were born of this union. During the 1940s the Green family moved to Anderson. Throughout her life. Green worked as a self-employed dressmaker. Most of the materials relate to the life of Green. She was an avid creative writer. Two folders contain speeches and poems. There is also an autograph book and scrapbooks commemorating her 34th and 50th wedding anniversaries.
GREER, REV. HESTER ANNA. Papers, 1880-1982. M 454. One box. Black Women in the Middle West Project. Collection guide online. Hester Anna Nolcox Greer (1880-1982), the daughter of John Western and Isabell Patterson Nolcox, was born and reared in Princeton. In 1898, she married Jesse Greer (circa 1870-1939), a minister. Floyd, Mariah Lula, Emath and Gretchen were born to this union. Also a minister, Hester Greer pastored congregations in Princeton, Indianapolis and Fort Wayne. She did missionary work in Jamaica and Cuba.
Most of the material in the collection relates to Greer’s missionary work. It contains genealogical materials, correspondence, and an unpublished autobiography, Life and Times of Hester Anna Greer.
HALL, MILDRED. Papers, 1916-2001. M 0796. One document case, 11 flat file folders of photographs, six folders photographs, one oversized photograph. Collection guide online. Mildred Marshall Hall, daughter of William Henry and Nettie Belle Marshall, was born on April 18, 1911 on the outskirts of Indianapolis. When Crispus Attucks High School was built for African-American students, she was one of many students mandated to go. She spent her last two years of high school at CAHS, graduating in 1929. Hall graduated from Butler University in 1948. She married Luther E. Hall Jr., on Dec. 28, 1941. Mildred Hall taught in the Indianapolis Public Schools system for 32 years, retiring in 1970. She spent 30 years at IPS #26 and two years at School #32. The collection contains documents pertaining to Mildred Hall and her work with the Red Cross Motor Corps, her career as a public school teacher, and her membership in the Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
HARDRICK, JOHN. Collection, 1924-1931, n.d. SC 1980. One folder. No collection guide available. This collection of several newspaper clippings, mostly from the 1920s and 1930s, reference John Hardrick’s (1891-1968) work as an artist. There is also mention of other artists of the period, including Henry O. Tanner, William E. Scott and Hale Woodruff. Some of the articles are illustrated with Hardrick’s work. Included in the clippings are pictures of a youthful and older Hardrick, along with a picture of Woodruff.
HUMMONS, HENRY LYTLE. Papers, 1902-1958. SC 2317. Four folders. Collection guide online. Henry Lytle Hummons (1873-1956) graduated from the Indianapolis Medical School in 1902. In 1919, he was instrumental in the founding of Indianapolis’s first free tuberculosis center located at Flanner House. He was an active participant in the Senate Avenue Young Men’s Christian Association, serving on its board for 45 years.
The collection contains materials related to the Hoosier State Medical Association, the Indiana State Medical Association and the Indianapolis Medical Association; a 50-year booklet from Hummons’s 1896 graduation class from Knoxville College; and newspaper clippings.
KELLEY, ELIZABETH H. Papers, 1942-1984 (bulk 1972-1980). SC 2487. Three folders. Black Women in the Middle West Project. Collection guide online. Elizabeth H. Rile Kelley was born in Union County. After graduating from Oxford High School in Oxford, Ohio, she matriculated at Miami University where she received an associate’s degree in 1933. In 1937, Rile married Harold B. Kelley. After the marriage, they made their home in Richmond. Two children, Marilyn Ann and Harold W., were born to this union. The Kelleys, along with Henry and Mary Ina Bass, were co-owners of the Specialty Record Shop Inc. The shop, which opened in 1947, operated in downtown Richmond for more than three decades. A prolific writer, Kelley has written numerous newspaper and magazine articles about different topics. In 1943, she organized the Readers Expression Guild, a local club for study, self-improvement and self-expression for black women.
The collection contains biographical information pertaining to Elizabeth Kelley; Readers Expression Guild materials; and news clippings, mostly about Richmond history.
KING, WILLIAM L. G. Memoirs, 1977. SC 2569. Five folders. Collection guide online. William Lee Grant King (1883-1979) was born in a small town near Marietta, Georgia. He married Mae Bell King and three children were born to this union. King, who received a master’s degree from Indiana University, was a graduate of Atlanta University. For two decades, he was an industrial arts teacher at Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis, retiring in 1952. He later worked in the occupational therapy department at Carter Hospital. A longtime parishioner of All Souls Unitarian Church, King was an active member of the Fall Creek Young Men’s Christian Association. King’s memoirs, a 142-page work, completed on July 27, 1977, are recollections compiled by the author over what appears to be more than a 10-year period (roughly 1965 to 1977). The volume contains King’s observations, ramblings, personal philosophies and childhood stories, many of which King attributes to his parents. He discusses his life, family and world travels. The time he spent in Indianapolis is discussed throughout the memoirs with mention of local people.
KNIGHT, ETHERIDGE JR. Papers, 1955-2000. M 0798, OM 0409. Five document cases, 23 folders of photographs, 15 oversize folders, two cassettes, eight videotapes and five artifacts. Collection guide online. Etheridge Knight Jr. (son of Etheridge Sr., and Belzora Cozart Knight) was born in Corinth, Miss., on April 19, 1931. Knight joined the U.S. Army in 1947 and saw action during the Korean Conflict. In 1960, he was arrested for armed robbery. Knight was incarcerated at the Indiana State Prison from 1960 to 1968. While in prison, Knight began to write poetry and submit his writings to publishing houses. Following numerous rejections from publishers, Knight received his first acceptance letter from Negro Digest editor Hoyt Fuller.
Knight authored five books of poetry: Poems from Prison (Broadside Press, 1968); Black Voices from Prison (Pathfinder Press, 1970); Belly Song & Other Poems (Broadside Press, 1973); Born of a Woman (Houghton Mifflin, 1981); and The Essential Etheridge Knight (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1986). He has also been published in a wide range of periodicals and anthologies including: A Comprehensive Survey of Black Writers of America, The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, New Black Voices, New Canadian-American Poetry and Black World.
LANE, RUSSELL A. Papers, 1933-1985. M 0522. One box. Collection guide online. Russell Adrian Lane (1897-1986), the son of George and Mattie Lane, was born in Baltimore, Md. Lane earned four college degrees, including a JD from Indiana University. Lane came to Indianapolis in 1927 to teach English at the newly opened Crispus Attucks High School for black students. After being appointed English department head and acting principal, Lane became principal in 1932. He remained at Attucks until 1957, when he became assistant to the superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools.
The collection includes a lengthy biographical sketch of Lane; newspaper clippings; memorabilia from Lane’s era as principal at Attucks (that coincided with Attucks as a force in high school basketball and the breaking of the color barrier of the Indiana High School Athletic Association); and Rosie Cheatham Mickey’s dissertation, Russell Adrian Lane: Biography of an Urban Negro School Administrator.
LATTIMORE, MARTHA. Papers, 1880-1907. SC 2489. Two folders. Collection guide online. Martha Mace Lattimore (ca. 1846-?), a native of Castilian Springs, Tenn., lived most of her life in Noblesville.
The collection includes correspondence, a mortgage form and one photograph. A letter from William A. Mace of Glasgow, Ky., to his sister Martha in Noblesville relates activities in Glasgow, as well as comments on family affairs, his state of mind and race relations. The 1907 photograph is of Martha Lattimore’s body in a casket in the parlor of her sister’s (Lucy Jane Mace Tyree) home located in Indianapolis.
MADDUX, WALTER H. Papers, 1915-1985 (bulk 1915-1968). M 0510. Three boxes. Collection guide online. Walter Henry Maddux (ca. 1892-1978), a native of Kansas City, Kan., was a physician who spent the last 35 years of his life in Indianapolis. A World War I army veteran, Maddux received degrees from the University of Kansas at Lawrence and the University of Chicago. While working at Flanner House, a social service agency, he helped found the Herman G. Morgan Health Center.
The collection contains personal and general correspondence; medical and lecture notes and case studies; material related to Flanner House and Morgan Health Center, as well as other organizations; and medical advertisements and publications. Personal correspondence includes letters to and from his wife, Willa Mack Maddux, and his mother, Dora Maddux Younger. There is also information about African-American nurses, including material on the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses, reflecting Willa Maddux’s training as a nurse.
MERRIFIELD, NORMAN. Oral History Interview, 1980. SC 2728, CT1514. One folder, one cassette tape. Collection guide online. Norman Merrifield (1906-1997) was a high school music teacher. He taught at Crispus Attucks High School many years, retiring in 1967. An accomplished musician, he published several musical works including arrangements of Somebody’s Knocking at Yo’ Door and Ah Done, Done.
The collection is comprised of a cassette tape and a transcript of an oral history interview of Merrifield. Interviewed by Florabelle Wilson, Merrifield discusses his family, his father’s business, the Baptist church and Crispus Attucks High School. He also talks about race relations and the negative impact that the Ku Klux Klan had on his southside Indianapolis neighborhood.
MIDDLETON, HARVEY N., M.D. Papers, 1928-1978. M 0441. Nine boxes. Collection guide online. Harvey N. Middleton (1895-1978) was a cardiologist who came to Indianapolis in the mid-1930s. During the 1940s he became the first black doctor to practice at both City (now Wishard) and St. Vincent hospitals in Indianapolis. Middleton married Easter Goodnight in 1947. Four children, Zenobia, Harvey N. Jr., Ettra Marie and Brenda Pandora, were born of this union. He was a member of several organizations, including Flanner House, the Senate Avenue Young Men’s Christian Association, United Negro College Fund and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He was active with the YMCA at the local, national and international level.
The collection includes correspondence, materials on medicines and hospitals, and information about organizations and civic groups to which Middleton was affiliated. The papers especially reflect the doctor’s involvement with the Indianapolis Metropolitan, Senate Avenue and Fall Creek Parkway YMCAs; Flanner House and the Morgan Health Center; Meharry Medical College and Middleton’s 50th class reunion; and the United Negro College Fund.
MYERS, WILLIAM M. S. Papers, 1926-1995 (bulk 1940s, 1970-1995). M 0741. Fifteen boxes. Collection guide online. William Moses Samuel “Red” Myers (1914-1995) was born in Greenville, S.C. The son of William M.S. Sr., and Laura Belle Johnson Myers, he moved to Indianapolis in 1920. He attended elementary and secondary school in Indianapolis, graduating from Crispus Attucks High School in 1932. Later Myers attended Indiana Central University (now University of Indianapolis) and the American Institute of Banking. Myers married Erma Helen Adams on Nov. 14 1935. Six children were born to this union.
From 1942 to 1968, Myers worked with the Indianapolis Fire Department. Most of his time with the Fire Department, he was an engine chauffeur, operating the fire engine and fire pumps. He was stationed at Firehouse 1 for 20 years and Firehouse 22 for six years. The American Red Cross honored him for his work during the Oct. 31, 1963 explosion disaster at the Indianapolis Coliseum. In 1968, William M.S. Myers began employment as a teller with the Indiana National Bank. Later he worked as an instructor in the Teller Training School, as a supervisor of the Mail, Messenger and Inserter Services Department, and as a property management counselor in the Real Estate Department of the Trust Division. He was a licensed real estate broker. Previously, from 1955 to 1970, he owned Myers Real Estate Company.
Myers served on the board of several organizations and institutions. His collection has materials that relate to the Civilian Conservation Corps, New Era Baptist Church, Downtown Optimist Club, Indianapolis Fire Department, Indiana Governor’s Conference on Libraries, the Indianapolis Public School Board, and the Little Red Door, an agency of the Marion County Cancer Society.
NOLCOX, DELORES. Oral History Interview, 1979. SC 2730, CT 1515. One folder, one cassette tape. Collection guide online. Lyles Station, a black farm community in Gibson County, was established by Joshua and Sanford Lyles before the Civil War. By the late 1800s, the community had a post office, school, lumber mill and church. Delores Nolcox and her family, interviewed by Jean Spears, discuss Lyles Station. The family also talks about Matthias Nolcox and other family members. Includes transcript of interview.
NOLCOX, MATTHIAS. Oral History Interview, 1979. SC 2729, CT 1515. One folder, one cassette tape. Collection guide online. Matthias Nolcox (1886-1985) was a teacher and school administrator. He completed undergraduate work at Indiana University and earned a doctorate from Harvard University. He was the first principal at Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis when it opened for black students in 1927. The collection includes one cassette tape and transcript of an oral history interview of Matthias Nolcox conducted by Jean Spears. Nolcox talks about growing up in Lyles Station, his family, educational background and his time in Europe where he studied at Oxford.
OSBORNE, BENJAMIN A. Papers, 1928-1986 (bulk 1972-1986). M 0162, OM 328. One box, two oversize folders. Collection guide online. Benjamin Augustus Osborne (1898-1986) was born in the South American nation of British Guiana (now Guyana). While a young man he moved to Indianapolis. He became a naturalized United States citizen in 1927. He graduated from the United States College of Chiropractic Medicine. From 1935 to 1943, he was a probation officer with the Marion County Criminal Court. He was elected Center Township Trustee in November 1966, a position he held until his death. As a trustee Osborne was an advocate of poor relief through public works programs.
The collection contains a small amount of correspondence, mostly related to Osborne’s tenure as Center Township Trustee. It also includes personal calendars, writings in Osborne’s hand, awards, a scrapbook and a program booklet. The 1979 scrapbook, a get-well gift from his staff, contains photographs of several workers at their stations, along with personal handwritten wishes requesting Osborne’s recovery and return to work.
PATTERSON, FRANCES O. Papers, 1862-1969. M 0470. One box. Black Women in the Middle West Project. Collection guide online. Frances O. Fowlkes Patterson’s maternal grandparents, Charles and Lucy Tyree, migrated to Indianapolis from Tennessee in the mid-1870s. Ten of the 11 Tyree children were born in Indianapolis. Charles Tyree served with the United States Colored Infantry during the Civil War.
The collection documents the life of a family during the middle third of the 20th century. It consists of letters from Frances Fowlkes Patterson (1918-) and her brothers to their mother, Jennie Tyree Fowlkes. Other family papers include birth and death records, business contracts, receipts and bills, divorce papers, and religious pamphlets. Also included are documents dating back to the Civil War and a large collection of family photographs.
REDD, GEORGE N. Collection, 1895-1950 (bulk 1915-1930). M 0070. One box. Collection guide online. The George N. Redd family, including Daisy, Dandridge, Ruth, and Georgia, lived at 836 Pratt St. (later West 9th Street) in Indianapolis. George Redd (1874-1942) was a 33rd degree Mason and operated a shoeshine parlor at 437 Indiana Ave.
Most of the identifiable items in the collection appear to relate to the Redd family. There are personal papers, including correspondence, a business card, an insurance book and school papers prepared by Dandridge and Ruth Redd. The collection contains materials relating to James E. Richardson, an African Methodist Episcopal minister in Kentucky. Also included is an 1898 pastoral certificate, a letter written by Richardson in 1917 and a small scrapbook. There are visual materials, mostly black-and-white images dating between 1895 and 1945. There are several cabinet cards, snapshots, mechanically reproduced postcards and a cartes de visite.
RICHARDSON, HENRY J. Jr. Papers, 1910-1992. M 0472, OMB 0028, BV 2627-2628. Thirty-three boxes, three oversize boxes, two bound volumes. Collection guide online. Henry J. Richardson Jr. (1902-1983), was an attorney and a leading civil rights advocate in Indiana. In 1932 he, representing Marion County, and Robert Stanton from Lake County became the first African-Americans elected to the Indiana State Legislature during the 20th century. Richardson married Roselyn V. Comer in 1938. They had two sons, Henry J. III and Rodney C. In 1949, Richardson was a leader in obtaining passage of Indiana’s school desegregation law. He was active in several organizations including, the Senate Avenue Young Men’s Christian Association, Indiana State Real Estate Commission, United Negro College Fund, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the National Urban League. He organized and helped found the Indianapolis affiliate of the Urban League in 1965.
The collection consists of correspondence with smaller amounts of printed matter, legal opinions, program booklets, scrapbooks and clippings. It gives an excellent overview of state civil rights strides through most of the 20th century. Of particular note is the amount of correspondence to and from prominent individuals.
RICHARDSON, ROSELYN. Papers, 1900-1993. M 0649, OM 131. Forty-one boxes, five oversized folders. Collection guide online. The widow of Henry J. Richardson Jr., Roselyn Comer Richardson (1913-) has been active in numerous civic, religious, educational and political organizations. Soon after arriving in Indianapolis in 1938 as Henry’s bride, she served on the board of directors of the Phyllis Wheatley’s Young Women’s Christian Association, was co-director of the Intercollegiate Co-educational Club of the Senate Avenue Young Men’s Christian Association and served as a director of the Flanner Guild. During the 1970s, Richardson directed the Career Sampling Program at Shortridge High School. Both her sons, Henry III and Rodney C., graduated from Shortridge, their father’s alma mater. They too became attorneys.
The papers reflect Roselyn Richardson’s active involvement with several institutions and organizations. Especially prevalent are materials pertaining to the Career Sampling Program, Friends of the Indianapolis Urban League, American Friends Service Committee, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Browsers Book Club, and Dialogue Today (coalition between African-American and Jewish women). The collection contains an abundance of material related to current events (1950s-1990s), with an emphasis on African-Americans in Indianapolis.
ROBERTS, ELIJAH. Papers, 1832-1972. M 0325. One box. Collection guide online. Elijah Roberts (1795-1848) migrated from Northhampton County, N.C., to western Ohio in 1825. By 1830, he and some of his relatives purchased government land and farmed a community known as Beech Settlement in Rush County. After the rapid depletion of available land in Rush County, residents of the Beech and newcomers began to seek land farther west and north. Elijah Roberts and his cousins, Willis and Hanson Roberts and Micajah Walden, ventured to Jackson Township in Hamilton County, making initial land purchases during the summer of 1835. An abundance of the settlers in the township were surnamed Roberts, and the area became known as Roberts Settlement.
The materials in the collection mostly pertain to Elijah Roberts and other family members: son Peter, daughter Martha and granddaughter Almary Roberts Wallace. There is a copy of Elijah Roberts’s 1820 certificate of freedom and his last will and testament. His many business papers spanning the middle third of the 19th century include tax receipts, land appraisals and numerous promissory notes.
SANDERS, MOZEL. Collection, 1978-1996. SC 2637. One folder. Collection guide online. Mozel Sanders (1924-1988), the son of Moses and Bertha Sanders, was born in East St. Louis, Ill., Sanders accepted the call to the ministry in 1943. During his early ministry, he was a vocalist and recording artist who toured the country and preached revivals. In 1959, he became the pastor of Mount Vernon Missionary Baptist Church in Indianapolis.
Sanders was best known for the founding of an annual citywide Thanksgiving dinner. The dinner started in 1974 when Sanders and a few volunteers served a small group of people a traditional Thanksgiving dinner at the Mount Vernon Missionary Baptist Church. By the late 1970s, the dinner activities moved to the Foster Motor Lodge (formerly located at 2154 N. Illinois St.). Outgrowing the lodge, the Thanksgiving dinner moved to Arsenal Technical High School. It has been estimated that in 1987, the last Thanksgiving before Sanders’s death, more than 16,000 people were fed with the help of 200 volunteers.
The one-folder collection contains several items pertaining to Mozel Sanders. There are program booklets that commemorate Sander’s 20th and 21st pastoral anniversaries; a 1978 church yearbook; and an obituary program and articles pertaining to Sanders being named the Indianapolis Star’s Man of the Year for 1988.
SPEARS Family Papers, 1930-1986. M 0488, OM 118. Three boxes, three oversized folders. Black Women in the Middle West Project. Collection guide online. Jean Douglas Spears (1925-) was born in Indianapolis. Her parents were Louis Joseph Douglas and Marion Elizabeth Brabham Douglas Burch. In 1946, Jean Douglas married Sherman Polley. They had three children, one who died in infancy. The surviving children were Claudia Anne and John Evan. After their divorce, she married John Holliday Spears. From this union one daughter, Lucia Marion, was born. Jean Spears graduated from Crispus Attucks High School and Purdue University. A retired schoolteacher, she has been involved with many community projects. She recently founded Ransom Place Historic District and the Heritage Learning Center in Indianapolis. The latter uses artifacts to showcase the history and heritage of Indianapolis African-Americans. The collection contains Jean Spears’s family papers, including materials relating to her parents, husband, children and herself. There are ownership lists, newsletters and other items pertaining to Fox Lake Resort located in Steuben County. The resort was managed for several years by Spears’s mother. There are also materials relating to the National Council of Negro Women, Witherspoon United Presbyterian Church and Allen Chapel Missionary Baptist Church.
STARKS, DEBORAH. Papers, 1948-1986. M 0497. One box. Black Women in the Middle West Project. Collection guide online. Deborah Starks (1950-) was born in Birmingham, Ala. Her parents were Beatrice and Jennie Godwin. In 1972, she moved to Fort Wayne. She married John Wesley Starks, and the couple moved to Churubusco in 1977. While in Fort Wayne, Starks worked as a school/community liaison for the Fort Wayne community schools.
The collection contains materials from six women, collected in the Fort Wayne area during the Black Women in the Middle West Project. The material was collected by Starks. In addition to Starks, there are materials pertaining to Corrine Brooks, Maddy Bruce, Maxine C. Hall, Marjorie Wickliffe and Genois Wilson.
STEWART, GEORGE P. Papers, 1894-1924. M 0556. Eleven boxes. Collection guide online. George Pheldon Stewart (1874-1924) was born in Vincennes. He married Louisville native Fannie Belle Caldwell in 1898. Six children were born to this union. Stewart co-founded the Indianapolis Recorder with Will Porter. In 1899, Porter sold his share of the newspaper to Stewart. The Stewart family owned the controlling interest until Eunice Trotter bought the newspaper in 1988. George Stewart was active in several business, political and fraternal organizations. They included the Knights of Pythias, Negro Business League, Colored Republican Committee and the Indiana Negro Welfare League. The collection comprises 11 boxes divided into two parts. The first part contains personal papers pertaining to Stewart. It consists of general and political correspondence, legal papers, newspaper clippings and information about Stewart’s organizational affiliations. Records related to the Indianapolis Recorder, a newspaper that catered to a statewide black community, make up the majority of the collection. These materials include correspondence, advertisements, files regarding sales agents and receipts from companies with which the Indianapolis Recorder did business. The six boxes of receipts provide a view of the business workings of the newspaper.
TANDY, OPAL L. Papers, 1951-1983. SC 2485. Four folders. Collection guide online. At an early age Opal Tandy (1917-1983), a Hopkinsville, Ky., native moved to Indianapolis. A Crispus Attucks High School graduate and a World War II veteran, he served as a Marion County deputy coroner for two years. In 1956, he unsuccessfully sought election to the Indiana House of Representatives. Tandy started his newspaper career during the 1930s. He wrote editorials and crime stories for the Indianapolis Recorder. In the 1950s, he wrote for the Hoosier Herald. Gaining control of the newspaper in 1960, he changed its name to the Indiana Herald. Tandy’s widow, Mary Bryant Tandy, has published the weekly newspaper since her husband’s death.
The collection includes correspondence, certificates and news clippings. Two 1971 letters to and from personnel at the United States Army War College at Carlisle, Pa., pertaining to Tandy’s participation in an annual National Strategy Seminar are of special interest.
TEMONEY, RUTH MARIE. Collection, 1891-1985 (bulk 1958-1984). M 0604. One box. Black Women in the Middle West Project. Collection guide online. Ruth Marie Temoney (1947-) was the Kokomo coordinator for the Black Women in the Middle West Project, a collecting effort to gather primary source materials of African-American Women in Illinois and Indiana. She worked as a teacher with the Kokomo Center Schools and joined the Mt. Pisgah Missionary Baptist Church. There are materials pertaining to the Siete Amigas, Mt. Pisgah Missionary Baptist Church and the Order of Eastern Star.
The collection is comprised of the materials gathered by Temoney for the BWMW Project. It contains biographical information related to African-American women activists, as well as materials pertaining to clubs, churches and other organizations in Kokomo.
TINSLEY, ALICE D. Papers, 1962-1985. M 0537, OM 334. One box, one oversize folder. Black Women in the Middle West Project. Collection guide online. Alice D. Coleman Tinsley (1927-), the daughter of Rev. and Mrs. George Coleman Sr., was reared in New Orleans. In 1946, she married Charles H. Tinsley of Indianapolis. They had five children: Charles Jr., Donald, Alan, Tyrone and Eula. For most of her adult life, Tinsley has served as an advocate for the multiply handicapped. In 1965, she was instrumental in the formation of the Indiana Association for the Multiply Handicapped Deaf, a parent advocacy group. (The name changed to the Indiana State Association for the Multiple Handicapped and Sensory Impaired in 1985.)
The collection contains material related to Tinsley’s advocacy work for the multiple-handicapped in Indiana. It includes her correspondence dated from 1962 to 1985, a significant amount to and from Indiana legislators and Gov. Roger D. Branigin. There is also a report about Operation Tripod (Toward Rehabilitation Involvement by Parents of the Deaf), a national organization in which Tinsley served as the Indiana representative.
WALKER, BERNICE. Collection, 1931-1984. M 0541. Six boxes. Black Women in the Middle West Project. Collection guide in library. Bernice Walker (1905-) was born in Anderson. She attended Bookwood College in New York, majoring in industrial relations and psychology. Walker worked for Wainwright Music Camp, the Fort Benjamin Harrison Army Finance Center and the Internal Revenue Service.
The collection contains biographical material; correspondence; and materials related to the Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Indianapolis, women’s missionary societies, Alpha Pi Chi sorority (a national service organization), Phyllis Wheatley YWCA and other organizations.
WALKER, MADAM C.J. Papers, 1910-1980. M 0399, OMB 0022, BV 2667-2678. One hundred one manuscript boxes, three oversize manuscript boxes, five photograph boxes, two oversize photograph boxes, 12 bound volume and two artifacts. Collection guide online. Collection on deposit. Sarah Breedlove (1867-1919) was born in Delta, La. Orphaned at an early age, she moved to Vicksburg, Miss., to live with her sister. She married Moses McWilliams, and to this union one daughter, A’Lelia, was born. McWilliams died in 1887. Sarah Breedlove and her daughter moved to St. Louis, where she worked as a laundress and improved her education by attending night school. She experimented with different mixtures and developed a formula that stimulated hair growth. She developed a business and began selling her hair products door-to-door in St. Louis. She later moved to Denver, and in 1906, she married newspaperman Charles Walker, divorcing him in 1912. In 1910, she moved to Indianapolis. She incorporated her business as the Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company the following year. Her business developed and sold a full line of products for growing and beautifying hair. She established beauty schools and parlors in several cities. She provided two ways for black women to make money: as beauty culturists and sales agents. She had several agents around the U.S. and as far away as Barbados. The collection is divided into three major divisions: the records and correspondence of the company’s principal officers, the company’s business records, and the records of the businesses associated with the company. More specifically, the collection includes attorney Freeman B. Ransom’s correspondence with Madam Walker and her daughter, A’Lelia Walker Robinson Kennedy, and others in his capacity as business manager of the Walker Company; business and personal papers of Madam Walker and A’Lelia Kennedy; and correspondence of other company officers. The bulk of the material spans from 1911 to 1950. Company documents include correspondence, financial records, advertisements, press releases and convention materials. There are also records pertaining to the Walker beauty schools and the Walker Company Benevolent Association, as well as materials relating to the businesses that were located in the Walker building, including the Walker Theatre, Walker Casino, Walker Realty Company and the Coffee Pot. The Walker Manufacturing Company records are most abundant for the period from 1950 to 1970.
WARREN, STANLEY Papers, ca. 1938-1995. M 0708. Two boxes. Collection guide online. Stanley Warren (1932-), son of Stanley and Rachel Johnson Warren, was born in Indianapolis. He attended local schools, graduating from Crispus Attucks in 1951. He joined the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict. He returned to Indianapolis where he matriculated at Indiana Central College (now University of Indianapolis), graduating in 1959. He continued his education at Indiana University, receiving a masters degree in teacher education with a concentration in anthropology in 1964, a specialist degree in secondary education and administration in 1971, and a doctorate in higher education in 1973. After working with Project Upward Bound for a couple of years, Warren became director of Black Studies at DePauw University. Concurrently, he taught in the Education Department, receiving tenure and a full professorship in 1985. He retired from DePauw in 1992, working as Dean of Academic Affairs during his last year.
The collection contains correspondence, programs and news clippings. There are copies of articles and several unpublished manuscripts written by Warren. Most of the manuscripts pertain to educational topics including student rights, higher education, teacher education and public schools.
WATERS, PHYLLIS WHEATLEY. Papers, 1910-1971. M 0589. Two boxes. Collection guide online. Phyllis Wheatley Waters (ca. 1898-1973), a native of West Virginia, lived most of her life in Indiana. She received a bachelor’s degree in French from the University of Michigan in 1917. Later she earned a master’s degree at Butler University. Following graduation from Michigan, she headed up the Language Department at West Virginia State University. She relocated to Indianapolis, where she worked nearly 50 years as a teacher with the public school system. During her last three years with Indianapolis Public Schools, she served as a psychological consultant to 15 grade schools.
The collection contains correspondence dating from 1910 to 1971. Much of the correspondence is written between Waters and family members, most notably Phil Waters, her father. There are about a dozen letters (dated from 1910 to 1922) addressed to Phyllis W. Waters from journalist T. Thomas Fortune. Signing his letters “Uncle Tim,” Fortune offers advice to Waters, often writing from the offices of the Washington Eagle and Norfolk Journal and Guide. In addition to the correspondence, there are materials in the collection that document Waters’s property ownership, philanthropy and her organizational affiliations.
WATTS, ROBERT AUSTIN. Court Transcripts, 1948. M 0621. Two boxes. Collection guide online. Robert Austin Watts (1922-1951) was indicted for first-degree murder in the shotgun slaying of Mary Lois Burney by the Marion County grand jury on Nov. 19, 1947. Watts was first tried for the Burney murder in Shelby County in January 1948 after a change of venue. He was found guilty and was sentenced to die by electrocution on May 10, 1948. After the defense filed a new trial motion, the Indiana Supreme Court postponed the date of execution twice. In June 1949, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a new trial for Watts after reversing the decision of the state Supreme Court. The trial was ordered on the grounds that blacks had been systematically excluded from the grand jury and that Watts had been coerced into making a confession under illegal conditions. Watts was again found guilty of murder in Bartholomew County. After another execution date was set and postponed, a final execution date was set. Watts was executed at Michigan City on Jan. 16, 1951. The collection consists of court transcripts pertaining to the 1948 State of Indiana vs. Robert Austin Watts murder case. The murder case (#4723) was tried in the Shelby Circuit Court before Judge Harold G. Barger. The transcripts were originally bound in four volumes; their original order has been retained. There is a chronological and alphabetical index to the 1,715 pages of court transcripts. The last folder in the collection contains a Supreme Court brief dated October 1948.
WHITESIDE, BIRDIE L. Papers, 1944-1986 (bulk 1980-1986). M 0658. Four boxes. Black Women in the Middle West Project. Collection guide online. Birdie Mary Lee Whiteside (1911-) was born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. After receiving a bachelor of missions degree from Simmons University in Louisville in 1949, she moved to Indianapolis. In 1953, Whiteside founded the Guiding Light Christian Service, a tape ministry designed to take recorded religious sermons to the sick and shut-in. The organization was incorporated in Indianapolis in 1958. During the 1950s, Whiteside began preparing and delivering Easter baskets and Christmas socks/stockings to shut-ins, as part of the organization’s service. The collection includes nine scrapbooks and 16 folders that contain correspondence, photographs, program booklets, certificates of appreciation and news clippings, mostly pertaining to Birdie L. Whiteside and her work with the tape ministry.
WILLIAMS, LUCILLE LUCAS. Collection, 1915-1982. M 0449. Nine boxes. Black Women in the Middle West Project. Collection guide in library. Lucille Lucas Williams (1897-1982), the daughter of Lemuel and Anna Lucas, was born in Ghent, Ky., and spent most of her life in Muncie. Williams worked as a day nursery director, operated a grocery store and spent time as a social services director. She was affiliated with several religious, civic and social organizations.
The collection contains personal and organizational materials related to Lucille Lucas Williams and her many activities. Family correspondence includes letters from Williams’s first husband, James V. Johnson, to his mother, Capitola Johnson. The collection is arranged topically and chronologically within subject areas. The general topics include religious institutions, clubs, social services and organizations. There are materials related to the Shafer African Methodist Episcopal Church, Church Women United, National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, Order of Eastern Star, Munsyana Day Nursery and Action Inc.
WILLIS, CASSIUS M.C. Papers, 1895-1956. M 0630, OM 291. One box, three oversize folders. Collection guide online. Cassius M. Clay Willis (1851-1920) was born in Kirkwood, Mo., in 1851. While a young man, he moved to Indianapolis. He and his wife, Kate Barnes Willis (1859-1940), had several children. They included Estella (1880), Beulah (1882), Jessie (1884), Adele (1888), twins Arthur and Ada (1893), and Herbert (1894). Willis founded the C.M.C. Willis Mortuary in 1890. His daughter Beulah and his son Herbert assisted Willis with the business. Though no longer in the Willis family, the mortuary continues to operate at its longtime location, 632 N. West St. in Indianapolis.
The collection contains biographical notes from family genealogical research, information about the Afro-American Realty Company, newspaper advertisements for the Willis Mortuary and photographs related to the Cassius M. Clay Willis family and mortuary. Also included are Willis’s 1895 diploma from the Massachusetts School of Embalming, a 1931 Indiana embalmer’s license and a biographical pictorial of Herbert Willis.
WILSON, FLORABELLE WILLIAMS. Collection, 1910-1995 (bulk 1980s). M 0731. Two boxes. Collection guide online. Florabelle Williams Wilson (1927-), daughter of James S. and Hattie Virginia Hollis Williams, was born in Indianapolis. She attended the local public schools, graduating from Crispus Attucks High School in 1944. She received a bachelor’s degree in education from Indiana Central University (now University of Indianapolis) in 1949. She taught at Indianapolis Public School #23 for eight years, later returning to school to work on a graduate degree in library science. In 1961, Wilson received an MLS from Indiana University. She married John A. Wilson (Aug. 27, 1920-June 22, 1990) in 1964. From 1957 to 1971, Wilson worked as an assistant librarian at Indiana Central University. She was director of the library from 1971 until her retirement in 1982. The first full-time African-American faculty member at Indiana Central University, she was also the first black director of an academic library in Indiana.
Much of the collection pertains to Indianapolis individuals and families, churches and organizations. It is especially useful for researchers seeking information on the history of African-Americans on the south side of Indianapolis.
WOLFOLK, LAURA J. Collection, 1918-1981. M 0535. One box. Collection guide online. Laura J. Wolfolk (1882-1977) was born in Greencastle, Putnam County, the daughter of Private Taylor and Rhoda Wolfolk. An educator, Wolfolk taught for 40 years in the Indianapolis Public School system. This collection contains materials relating to Wolfolk’s career and social activities.
YORE, MARY D. Papers, 1918-1985. M 0542. One box. Black Women in the Middle West Project. Collection guide online. Mary Donna Baker Blake Yore (1931-) was born at Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie. The daughter of Franklin L. Baker Sr. (1891-1973) and Nellie Cook Baker (ca. 1900-34), she grew up in Muncie. Her grandfather, Rev. Franklin Pierce Baker (1860-1928), moved to Evansville in 1880. Rev. Baker pastored numerous African Methodist Episcopal churches in Illinois and Indiana, including the Bethel AME Church in Muncie. Yore has been active in gathering her family’s history, having served as editor of the Baker-Cook families’ newsletter, Family Lines.
Most of the materials in the collection pertain to the Franklin L. Baker Sr., family. There are documents, correspondence, compiled genealogies, newsletters, and photographs.
ZEIGLER, SARAH P. Scrapbook, ca. 1880-1996. M 0683. One box. Collection guide online. Sarah Parham Zeigler (1902-1996), the daughter of Charles and Lillie Alexander Parham, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Zeigler completed her early education in Ohio. She received bachelor of arts and masters of science degrees from Butler University. In 1938, she married P. Hobson Zeigler, who preceded her in death. Zeigler was a teacher and administrator in the Indianapolis Public Schools. The collection consists of material, mostly pertaining to Sarah P. Zeigler, her life and activities. There is a small amount of correspondence, photographs and news clippings. Most of the collection pertains to Zeigler’s association with the Senate Avenue Young Men’s Christian Association, and the Indianapolis Public Schools. Eleanor Roosevelt visited Indianapolis in December 1953, under the auspices of the Senate Avenue Young Men’s Christian Association Monster Meetings. Delivering a message, “The United Nations and You,” she spoke at the Murat Temple. A program, photographs (including Roosevelt, Zeigler, et al.) and news clippings surrounding the event are in the collection.