Clarke Historical Library
Central Michigan University

Finding aid for
Lawrence R. Dawson, Jr. Papers

Finding aid created by
Marian Matyn

Summary Information
Title: Lawrence R. Dawson, Jr. Papers,
Creator: Dawson, Lawrence R., Jr.
Inclusive dates: 1970-1999, and undated
Extent: .5 cubic foot (in 1 box)
Papers include Dawson's research, writing and related correspondence mostly about his research and manuscript drafts for materials on Della T. Lutes and minstrel / vaudeville performer Billy Clark..

Call number: MSS.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University
250 East Preston Street
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
Phone: 989-774-3352
Fax: 989-774-2160

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

Acc# 54073, 3199

Access Restrictions:

Lawrence R. Dawson, Jr. Papers are open for research.


Copyright is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

Lawrence R. Dawson, Jr. Papers, Folder # , Box #, Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University


Arrangement is alphabetical and chronological.



Professor Lawrence R. Dawson, Jr., was a Professor of English at Central Michigan University. He retired in 1988, receiving the status of Professor Emeritus of English. He lived in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, and currently resides in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Della T. Lutes (1872-1942) was a popular Michigan author of several books and numerous magazine articles. (For further information, see the finding aid for her papers, which are housed at the Clarke Historical Library.)

Billy Clark (died 1939) was a Grand Rapids, Michigan, resident and a minstrel performer of blackface comedy routines. He worked with Primrose and West and Hammer and Fields minstrel companies, and was a featured vaudeville performer on the Keith and Orpheum circuits. Mr. Clark was a an unusual performer in that he wrote his own music, painted his owned scenery, and wrote his own comedy sketches. Following the San Francisco Earthquake in 1906, Clark, Al Jolson, and other comedians of the day were noted as having helped the citizens recover their morale. Clark died in 1939 at age 64 in Grand Rapids. He was survived by his sister, Mrs. Edgar B. Delano. (This information is from his obituary in the Grand Rapids Herald, December 2, 1939.)

Collection Scope and Content Note

Papers, 1970-1999 and undated, include Dawson’s research, writing, and related correspondence. Most of the collection consists of Dawson’s research, photographs, drafts of manuscripts, and correspondence about republishing Della T. Lutes’ Country Kitchen cookbook. The same types of materials exist from his efforts to publish an article about Billy Clark, a Michigan minstrel. There is also a typed, 45-page paper with a variety of U. S. Centennial poetry from Michigan newspapers, compiled by Dawson. The Clarke Historical Library also houses the Lutes papers and three scrapbooks about Clark and minstrel shows.

Subject Terms

    • Dawson, Lawrence R., Jr.
    • Lutes, Della T. (Della Thompson), b. 1872
    • Clark, William D., 1846-1909.
    • Central Michigan University--Faculty.
    • Poetry--Michigan.
    • Minstrel shows--United States.
    • Minstrel shows--History.
    • Michigan authors.
    • United States--Centennial celebrations, etc.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Lawrence R. Dawson, Jr. Papers are open for research.. [series]:
    Box   1 F   1
    “Bicentennial Look at the Centennial: Michigan Commemorative Verse, July 4, 1876”, 1977
    Box   1 F   2
    Correspondence and Manuscript Drafts Regarding Della T. Lutes, 1992-1999
    Box   1 F   3
    Correspondence and Manuscript Drafts Regarding Della T. Lutes, 1990-1991
    Box   1 F   4
    Correspondence and Manuscript Drafts Regarding Della T. Lutes, 1985-1989
    Box   1 F   5
    Research and Photographs, circa 1980s
    Box   1 F   4
    Minstrelsy Correspondence and Manuscript Drafts (Some About Billy Clark), 1981-1989, 1996
    Box   1 F   5
    Minstrelsy Photographs (Copies) of Billy Clark, undated
    Box   1 F   6
    Minstrelsy Research (Mostly Copies) on Billy Clark, circa 1970s-1980s
    Box   1 F   7
    Minstrelsy Research, General, circa 1980s