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Haverford College
Quaker and Special Collections
L. Hollingsworth Wood Papers, 1903-1953

Ms. Coll. 1175
(81 boxes)

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  • FISK UNIVERSITY (NASHVILLE, TN)

FISK UNIVERSITY (NASHVILLE, TN) (Boxes 18-27)

Background: Wood joined the Board of Trustees of Fisk University in 1917.

I. FISK UNIVERSITY - "Miscellaneous correspondence," 1917-1921. [13 folders in Boxes 18-19]

Notes on contents: letters, minutes, pamphlets (Wilberforce U.), notes, clippings, "The Economic Value of Negro Education" March 25, 1918 Special Bulletin of Chamber of Commerce of the U.S.A., map. [these folders from Wood's accordion folder labeled "Fisk University - Miscellaneous correspondence (prior to 1922)" ]

The folders of miscellaneous correspondence include many letters from the President of Fisk, Dr. Fayette A. McKenzie.

McKenzie's letters are full of day-to-day concerns of Fisk (such as replacing boilers) with emphasis on the constant financial problems of the school and the never ending search for funding. He alludes to the stress he is under.

Topics include board meetings, names of potential trustees (Dr. Robert R. Moton of Tuskegee), military stationed at Fisk (1918), Jubilee Singers, arrangements for joint meeting of Fisk and Armstrong Association at Phila. Academy of Music on March 28, 1919, plans to launch Fisk fund-raising campaign (1919), gift of $500,000 from John D. Rockefeller's General Education Board (for teacher's salaries), McKenzie's removal of the Dean of the University and the Dean of Women (1920), rumors of a secret fraternity at Fisk (1921), hiring a professional fund-raiser, plans for "Jubilee of Jubilees" (50th anniversary of Jubilee Singers), letters from various architects.

Other notable correspondents are Paul D. Cravath, Thomas Jesse Jones, Margaret Washington (Mrs. Booker T. Washington).

Folders 1-11 (Box 18), folders 12-13 (Box 19).

  1. Misc. correspondence, 1917 (January - June).
  2. Misc. correspondence, 1917 (July - August).
  3. Misc. correspondence, 1917 (September - December).
  4. Misc. correspondence, 1918 (January - February).
  5. Misc. correspondence, 1918 (March - June).
  6. Misc. correspondence, 1918 (July - October).
  7. Misc. correspondence, 1918 (November - December).
  8. Misc. correspondence, 1919 (January - March).
  9. Misc. correspondence, 1919 (April - June).
  10. Misc. correspondence, 1919 (July - September).
  11. Misc. correspondence, 1919 (October - December).
  12. Misc. correspondence, 1920.
  13. Misc. correspondence, 1921.

II. FISK UNIVERSITY - "Trustees' correspondence," 1917-1921. [5 folders in Box 19]

Notes on contents: letters, notes, memoranda, lists, photographs, clippings. [These folders from file labeled by Wood "Fisk University - Trustees correspondence (prior to 1922)" ]

General topics include meetings, possible candidates for Trustees (including Robert R. Moton of Tuskegee), fund-raising, gift of $500,000 from John D. Rockefeller's General Education Board, Jubilee Singers' 50th anniversary.

Correspondents include Paul D. Cravath, Thomas Jesse Jones, President McKenzie, George Foster Peabody and others.

  1. Trustees correspondence, 1917.
  2. Trustees correspondence, 1918.
  3. Trustees correspondence, 1919.
  4. Trustees correspondence, 1920.
  5. Trustees correspondence, 1921.

III. FISK UNIVERSITY - "Fisk campaign" correspondence, 1919-1920. [3 folders in Box 20]

Notes on contents: letters, memoranda (including "Memorandum of ways and means of directing publicity campaign"), notes, Fisk brochures, lists, menu, cards.

Correspondence on the Fisk publicity and fund-raising campaign of 1919-1920. Topics include hiring a professional to run campaign, strategy and launching the campaign, applying to John D. Rockefeller's General Board of Education (includes draft of petition of Nashville residents).

Correspondents include H. Huber Clark, Paul D. Cravath, Jerome F. Kidder, President McKenzie, George Foster Peabody and others.

  1. Fisk campaign correspondence, August 15, 1919 - January 15, 1920 (this group of letters put together by Wood).
  2. Fisk campaign correspondence, October 1919 - March 1920.
  3. Fisk campaign correspondence, April - July 1920.

IV. FISK UNIVERSITY - "Correspondence with Dr. Lyman Powell," 1920-1922. [1 folder in Box 20]

Notes on contents: letters, report of Powell "Fisk University - a Survey and a Plan." [Wood folder label "Fisk - Dr. Powell"].

Almost all letter are from Dr. Lyman P. Powell, a professional public relations man. Topics include the Fisk publicity campaign, Jubilee Singers.

V. FISK UNIVERSITY - "Publicity campaign" correspondence, 1921-1922. [3 folders in Box 20]

Notes on contents: letters, press releases, clippings, Fisk pamphlets.

Much of this material deals with the Jubilee Singers and what their role should be in the publicity and fund-raising campaign for Fisk. Most of the letters are from professional fund-raiser, Carl H. Getz and discuss plans for benefit concerts, travel abroad. Includes letters from President McKenzie and others.

  1. Publicity campaign correspondence, 1921 (December).
  2. Publicity campaign correspondence, 1922 (January - February).
  3. Publicity campaign correspondence, 1922 (March - October).

VI. FISK UNIVERSITY - "Alumni - lists, meetings, etc. - Fisk Club, N.Y." [1 folder in Box 20]

Notes on contents: letters, lists, notes.

Discusses meetings of Fisk Alumni and New York Fisk Club (1919). Correspondents include Robert J. Elzy (Brooklyn Urban League) and others.

VII. FISK UNIVERSITY - Correspondence re: "Jubilee Singers," 1919-1921. [1 folder in Box 20]

Notes on contents: letters (10).

Letters discuss tour dates, recording contract with Columbia for Fisk Jubilee Singers. Correspondents include President McKenzie and others.

VIII. FISK UNIVERSITY - Correspondence with black donors, 1921. [1 folder in Box 20]

Notes on contents: letters, lists.

Letters are from black professionals (lawyers, doctors, bank presidents, etc.) in response to letters from Wood asking for financial help for Fisk. Includes a list (95 names) of "outstanding colored men" sent to Wood from Robert R. Moton, Principal of Tuskegee. [Wood label "Re: Negro donors - Fisk"].

IX. FISK UNIVERSITY - "Re: Martin - Physical Training" [1 folder in Box 20]

Notes on contents: These 2 letters (one from E. S. Martin) are related to hiring Martin to teach physical training at Fisk. At this time Martin was with the Boy Scouts of America.

X. FISK UNIVERSITY - "Letter re: statement of General Jan Christian Smuts," 1920. [1 folder in Box 21]

Notes on contents: letter and draft of letter.

Wood's rebuttal to a remark made by the Prime Minister of South Africa, General Jan Christian Smuts, deprecating black intelligence. Wood's letter intended for publication. [Wood label "Letter re: statement by Gen. Johann C. Schmutz" (sic)].

XI. FISK UNIVERSITY - "Meetings and minutes," 1918-1922. [1 folder in Box 21]

Notes on contents: minutes (1919, 1921, 1922) and excerpts of minutes (1898, 1899), memoranda, letters, report. Primarily minutes, etc. of the Board of Trustees. Includes letters of President McKenzie.

XII. FISK UNIVERSITY - "Pamphlets," etc., 1910, 1919-1921. [1 folder in Box 21]

Notes on contents: pamphlets of Fisk and other institutions (8 items). Fisk promotional pamphlet "The Fisk of Today" (1920) which uses photographs in following folder.

XIII. FISK UNIVERSITY - "Photographs," ca. 1920. [1 folder in Box 21]

Notes on contents: 23 photographs of Fisk students in laboratories and class rooms, as well as campus buildings and grounds.

Many of these were used in a promotional pamphlet for Fisk ("The Fisk of Today" ca. 1920, filed in "Fisk University - Pamphlets, etc.")

XIV. FISK UNIVERSITY - "Finances - Re: Fisk Treasurer Statement" 1917-1920 [2 folders in Box 21]

Notes on contents: treasurer's statements, letters, auditor's reports.

Primarily financial in nature, includes letter of President McKenzie suggesting that Fisk be a receiving station for black troops during period of troop mobilization (WWI) as this would be financially beneficial.

  1. Treasurer's statement, correspondence, 1918-1920.
  2. Auditor's reports, 1917-1919 [3 items].

XV. FISK UNIVERSITY - "Insurance" correspondence, 1917-1921. [3 folders in Box 22]

Notes on contents: letters, notes, legal and financial papers.

Most of this correspondence is with Wilcox Peck Brown & Crosby regarding an insurance policy for Fisk; Wood is handling the details of getting the policy. Other correspondents include President McKenzie.

  1. Insurance related correspondence, 1917 (August - December).
  2. Insurance related correspondence, 1918.
  3. Insurance related correspondence, 1919-1921.

XVI. FISK UNIVERSITY - "Elizabeth Milbank Anderson" estate, 1921-1922. [1 folder in Box 22]

Notes on contents: letters, printed copy of will, estate and legal papers.

Elizabeth Milbank Anderson left $50,000 to Fisk when she died in 1921.

XVII. FISK UNIVERSITY - "Matter of DuBois address," 1924-1925. [4 folders in Box 22]

Notes on contents: letters (including 13 TLS of W. E. B. DuBois; 6 p. typed letter giving account of speech and events by McKenzie; 3 p. TLS of Margaret Washington re DuBois), "The Fisk Herald" (vol. 33, no. 1, 1924) with text of DuBois's speech "Diuturni Silenti," 3 p. typed "A Statement of Grievances against Fayette A. McKenzie as President of Fisk University," clippings (includes editorial from "The Crisis").

On June 2, 1924 W. E. B. DuBois gave an address before the alumni, students, faculty and administration of Fisk at the Alumni Association meeting. In his speech, DuBois was highly critical of Fisk under President McKenzie. This speech, which received national attention, contributed to a student disturbance, McKenzie's resignation (1925) and a general crisis at Fisk. Correspondence includes letters between Wood and DuBois in an attempt to solve the problems at Fisk.

Correspondents include Paul D. Cravath, DuBois,, John Hope (President, Morehouse College), President McKenzie, Oswald Garrison Villard, Margaret Washington (Mrs. Booker T. Washington) and others.

  1. Correspondence with W. E. B. DuBois, June - July 1924.
  2. Correspondence with W. E. B. DuBois, September 1924. (see image below)
  3. Correspondence with W. E. B. DuBois, October 1924.
  4. Correspondence with W. E. B. DuBois, November - December 1924, March 1925.

Scanned Image Page 1 of TLS of W. E. B. DuBois, Sept. 23, 1924, to L. Hollingsworth Wood. DuBois is writing in reply to a letter of Wood's re a meeting of Fisk students and graduates in the aftermath of DuBois's speech at Fisk on June 2. Page 2 (from Fisk University papers, box 22) (each approx. 88k)

XVIII. FISK UNIVERSITY - "Students' grievances" 1924-1925. [1 folder in Box 23]

Notes on contents: copies of letters, list, "The Fisk Herald" (vol. 33, no. 2, 1925) with articles on conditions at Fisk, "A Statement of Grievances ..." with drafts of reply of President McKenzie to same, text of "Diuturni Silenti" of DuBois (typed carbon).

Papers are related to student unrest at Fisk after speech of DuBois in June 1924.

XIX. FISK UNIVERSITY - "(Re: strike) - Letters from faculty, etc. for trustees," 1925. [3 folders in Box 23]

Notes on contents: letters, lists.

These folders contain letters to the trustees, chiefly from faculty and largely in support of McKenzie, in the aftermath of the speech by DuBois.

  1. Correspondence from faculty, etc. for trustees, February 1925.
  2. Correspondence from faculty, etc. for trustees, March 1925.
  3. Correspondence from faculty, etc. for trustees, April 1925.

XX. FISK UNIVERSITY - (Re: strike) - Re: Howard Admissions," correspondence, 1925. [1 folder in Box 23]

Notes on contents: letters.

Chiefly correspondence related to former Fisk student Robert Anderson (son of alumni F. J. Anderson) who was suspended as a result of the student strike/disturbance and his attempts to enroll at Columbia University. Also letters related to other students desiring to transfer to Howard University. Correspondents include F. J. Anderson, Paul D. Cravath, President McKenzie.

XXI. FISK UNIVERSITY - "Re: Strike, etc.," 1925. [1 folder in Box 23]

Notes on contents: letters, clippings related to the student strike/disturbance at Fisk in 1925.

XXII. FISK UNIVERSITY - "Re: Leonard report" 1925. [1 folder in Box 23]

Notes on contents: letters, 34 p. typed carbon of "Comments on Report by Robert J. Leonard by President McKenzie" (1925).

McKenzie's comments on Leonard's unflattering report on Fisk University. The actual report by Robert Josselyn Leonard is not in this collection. McKenzie's comments imply that he is no longer President of Fisk.

XXIII. FISK UNIVERSITY - "Alumni Committee," correspondence, 1924-1926. [4 folders in Box 24]

Notes on contents: letters, lists, memoranda (includes "Memorandum of findings of the Greater Fisk Committee ... April 20, 1925"), minutes (37 pp. "Minutes of Meeting of Greater Fisk Committee held at the Office of the President of Fisk University, Monday, February 16th, 1925"), pamphlets, clippings.

At the November 16-17, 1924 meeting of the Board of Trustees, the trustees appointed six alumni to serve on the Greater Fisk Committee as members of a committee of alumni, the development of Fisk requiring a close and more constructive use of advice and counsel of the alumni at this stage of its growth. The initial six included: Rev. H. H. Proctor, Miss Sophie Boaz, Dr. F. A. Stewart, Mrs. Booker T. Washington, John M. Gandy and Dr. Thomas S. Inborden. The Greater Fisk Committee was discharged of its duties on December 6, 1926 with the inauguration of Thomas Elsa Jones as President of Fisk on Dec. 7th.

In addition to the above, correspondents include Paul D. Cravath, Dean James L. Graham (resigning), Mary E. Spence (chairman of Fisk alumni).

  1. Alumni Committee correspondence, December 1924 - March 1925.
  2. Alumni Committee correspondence, April - May 1925.
  3. Alumni Committee correspondence, June - July 1925, December 1926.
  4. Alumni Committee minutes, misc. papers, 1925 and n.d.

XXIV. FISK UNIVERSITY - "Re: Business Manager," correspondence, 1925-1926. [3 folders in Box 24]

Notes on contents: letters, memoranda, service request forms.

Chiefly correspondence, 1925-1926, with H. C. Sherer, business manager of Fisk University. The first folder consists of a packet of papers submitted by Sherer to the Trustees, documenting Sherer's problems and experiences with President McKenzie. The packet includes actual samples of McKenzie's orders and letters to Sherer produced as "evidence" of McKenzie's "interference" [quotes mine]. The other folders deal chiefly with various maintenance problems at Fisk.

  1. Papers submitted to Trustees by Sherer, 3/23/1925.
  2. Correspondence re: Fisk business manager, 1925.
  3. Correspondence re: Fisk business manager, 1926.

XXV. FISK UNIVERSITY - "Personnel - Re: President - Re: Dean of Women," correspondence, 1923-1927. [24 folders in Boxes 25-26]

Notes on contents: letters, pamphlet, notes, clippings, school newspaper, photograph (Ortman folder).

These folders contain correspondence resulting from the search for a replacement for President Fayette A. McKenzie. Two "General correspondence" folders include letters of Wood to various heads of colleges, etc. asking for suggestions as to possible candidates for Fisk President and Dean of Women. These folders are followed by folders of correspondence with and about the candidates for the two positions. The last folder "Personnel" includes letters from persons seeking employment at Fisk, letters of recommendation and letters of new employees.

Additional correspondents include Paul D. Cravath, Rufus M. Jones (in Warren folder), Robert R. Moton, Horace D. and Henry W. Taft (in Howe folder), Wilbur K. Thomas, and others.

Folders 1-15 (Box 25), folders 16-24 (Box 26).

  1. General correspondence re: Presidency, 1925.
  2. Correspondence, 1925 with and re: Ernest D. Daniels.
  3. Correspondence, 1925 with and re: Henry J. Doermann.
  4. Correspondence, 1925 with and re: Samuel Ely Eliot.
  5. Correspondence, 1925 re: Rev. Laurence Fenniger [Hampton Institute].
  6. Correspondence, 1925 with and re: Ernest S. Griffith.
  7. Correspondence, 1925 with and re: Arthur Howe [The Taft School].
  8. Correspondence, 1925 with and re: Robert F. Leavens.
  9. Correspondence, 1925 with Alaine R. Locke.
  10. Correspondence, 1925 re: Joseph Odell's suggestions for President.
  11. Correspondence, 1923-1925 with and re: Dr. Elmer J. Ortman.
  12. Correspondence, 1925 re: Graham R. Taylor.
  13. Correspondence, 1925 re: Professor Upton.
  14. Correspondence, 1925 with and re: Luther Warren.
  15. Correspondence, 1925 with and re: D. Robert Yarnall.
  16. General correspondence and notes, 1925 re: candidates for Dean of Women.
  17. Correspondence, 1925 re: Miss Mabel Bickford.
  18. Correspondence, 1925 with and re: Miss Frances Grant.
  19. Correspondence, 1925-1926 with and re: Miss Mae Hawes.
  20. Correspondence, 1925 re: Miss Jean Paxton.
  21. Correspondence, 1925 with Miss Evelyn Sexton.
  22. Correspondence, 1925 re: Miss Geogianna Simpson.
  23. Correspondence, 1925 re: Miss Mamie L. Strong.
  24. Correspondence, 1925-1927 re: personnel of Fisk University.

XXVI. FISK UNIVERSITY - "Correspondence with Mrs. Ethel Bedient Gilbert," 1932. [1 folder in Box 26]

Notes on contents: letters.

Correspondence with Ethel B. Gilbert, Director of Publicity for Fisk University. Topics include Fisk's financial problems, the Jubilee Singers (their management, reorganization and/or possible disbandment, tour dates for the singers as a group and for individual singers, possible appearance on Maxwell House radio show) and general news of students and happenings at Fisk. Gilbert's letters to Wood are often long, personal and informative about doings at Fisk.

XXVII. FISK UNIVERSITY - "Correspondence with Dr. Thomas Elsa Jones," 1938-1939. [9 folders in Boxes 26-27]

Notes on contents: letters, reports ("The Friends South African Deputation," and a 19 p. copy of a report on trip given to Clarence Pickett), speech (Fisk Convocation address, Sept. 23, 1938 touching on South African trip).

Dr. Thomas Elsa Jones (1888-1973), Friend, was inaugurated as President of Fisk University on December 7, 1926. He remained President of Fisk until 1945, when he left to become President of Earlham College. Topics discussed in the correspondence include fund-raising campaign and finding money for student scholarships, Jones's plans for and trip to South Africa as part of a Quaker deputation, commencement (DuBois given honorary degree in 1938), Jubilee Singers. Other correspondents include Luanna J. Bowles (Fisk Director of Publicity).

Folders 1-5 (Box 26), folders 6-9 (Box 27).

  1. Correspondence with Dr. Thomas E. Jones, January - March 1938.
  2. Correspondence with Dr. Thomas E. Jones, April - May 1938.
  3. Correspondence with Dr. Thomas E. Jones, June - September 1938.
  4. Correspondence with Dr. Thomas E. Jones, October 1938.
  5. Correspondence with Dr. Thomas E. Jones, November - December 1938.
  6. Correspondence with Dr. Thomas E. Jones, January - April 1939.
  7. Correspondence with Dr. Thomas E. Jones, May - August 1939.
  8. Correspondence with Dr. Thomas E. Jones, September - October 1939.
  9. Correspondence with Dr. Thomas E. Jones, November - December 1939.

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