Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Booker T. Washington Collection, 1897-1915

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, May 2012

Summary Information
Title: Booker T. Washington collection
Creator: William L. Clements Library
Inclusive dates: 1897-1915
Extent: 11 items
Abstract:
This collection is comprised of 11 letters that Booker T. Washington wrote between 1897 and 1915. Five letters are addressed to William Hayes Ward, editor of the Independent, about William Hannibal Thomas's The American Negro. The remaining items pertain to his duties as principal of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1946-1991. M-616, M-763, M-1528, M-2687.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Preferred Citation:

Booker T. Washington Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Arrangement

The collection is arranged chronologically.


Biography

Booker T. Washington was born a slave on a plantation in Franklin County, Virginia, around 1856. Following the Civil War, he moved to Malden, West Virginia, with his family. He worked in nearby mines and as a household servant while teaching himself to read and attending elementary school. Washington left West Virginia for the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in Hampton, Virginia, in 1872. He graduated in 1875, and then returned to Malden to teach, before returning to Hampton to work as the director of its night school. In 1881, Washington became the first principal of the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama, which he ran for the remainder of his life. Washington was an outspoken advocate of education for African Americans and a controversial political figure in both African American and white communities. He died on November 14, 1915.


Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection is comprised of 11 letters that Booker T. Washington wrote between 1897 and 1915. Five letters are addressed to William Hayes Ward, editor of the Independent, about William Hannibal Thomas's The American Negro. The remaining items pertain to his duties as principal of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute.

Washington's first 2 letters, written in 1897 and 1898, respond to inquiries about the Tuskegee Institute and about its newspaper, Southern Letter. Another, responding to a request for a female housekeeper, relates Washington's thoughts on the prospects for graduates in their home communities (April 9, 1903). In two later letters Washington discussed the school's financial situation and requested donations (March 28, 1907, and May 22, 1915). On May 22, 1915, he mentioned the impact of World War I on the economic state of the South, suffering from decreased cotton exports to Europe.

Booker T. Washington corresponded with William Hayes Ward, editor of the New York Independent, in early 1901, writing 5 letters about The American Negro, recently published by William Hannibal Thomas. Washington disputed the book's factual accuracy as well as some of the author's asserted accomplishments. He also lauded the success of African American physicians in the state of Alabama (January 25, 1901).

The letters are written on Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute stationery.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • African American physicians.
    • African Americans--Education--Alabama.
    • Books--Reviews.
    • Educational fund raising--United States.
    • Thomas, William Hannibal, b. 1843.
    • Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute.
    • Ward, William Hayes, 1835-1916.
    Contributors:
    • Washington, Booker T., 1856-1915.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   3, Small Collections  
    Booker T. Washington collection [series]
    Folders   23-25  
     August 17, 1897-May 22, 1915
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The Clements Library holds a number of publications by Booker T. Washington.

    Other manuscript collections with Booker T. Washington materials include the Duane Norman Diedrich collection, the Norton Strange Townshend family papers, and the Henrietta Walker autograph album.

    Bibliography

    Mugleston, William F. "Washington, Booker T." American National Biography Online. Oxford University Press, 2000. DOI: 15-000737