Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Search Results

Collections Search Center
10 documents - page 1 of 1

Charlene Hodges Byrd collection

Creator:
Byrd, Charlene Hodges, 1929-2009  Search this
Names:
Morgan State College  Search this
Bearden, Romare, 1911-1988  Search this
Cummings, Ida R. (Ida Rebecca), 1868-1958  Search this
Douglass, Frederick, 1817?-1895  Search this
Grimke, Francis J. (Francis James), 1850-1937  Search this
Hodges, Joyce Ethel Cummings, 1903-1971  Search this
Shimm, Erminie F. (Erminie Florence), 1867-1936  Search this
Shimm, Sarah A., 1843-1885  Search this
Thomas, Elizabeth N. (Elizabeth Nelson), d. 1932  Search this
Washington, Booker T., 1856-1915  Search this
Extent:
43 Linear feet (35 document boxes and 39 oversize boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Place:
Washington (D.C.)
Date:
circa 1750-2009
bulk 1880-1960
Summary:
The Charlene Hodges Byrd collection measures 43 linear feet, and dates from circa 1750-2009, with the bulk of the material dating from 1880-1960. The collection documents the personal life and professional career of Charlene Hodges Byrd, an African American teacher from Washington, D.C., along with material for several related families from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Family members prominently represented include Sarah A. Shimm, teacher and essayist under the name Faith Lichen; her daughters Erminie F. Shimm and Grace E. Shimm Cummings, both teachers; and Byrd's mother, Joyce Ethel Cummings Hodges, also a teacher. Correspondence and writings chiefly discuss family life, religion, race, education, and the relationship with Frederick Douglass and his family. The collection is arranged in 10 series: Biographical Material, Correspondence, Writings, Subject Files, Financial and Legal Records, Printed Material, Volumes, Memorabilia, Textiles, and Photographs.
Scope and Contents:
Series 1. Papers related to biographical and family histories of the Byrd, Cummings, Davage, Dews, Hodges, Shimm, Spruill, and Thomas families. Material includes family trees; school diplomas and certificates; programs; awards; marriage and divorce papers; funeral documents; and obituaries.

Series 2: Chiefly letters from family and friends regarding family news, financial matters, school, work, neighborhood affairs, church events, travel and the weather. The majority of the letters are addressed to Charlene Hodges Byrd, Grace E. Shimm Cummings, Ida R. Cummings, Elizabeth Dews Hodges, Joyce Ethel Cummings Hodges, Erminie F. Shimm, Sarah A. Shimm, and Elizabeth N. Thomas. Other correspondence includes letters from Booker T. Washington, Bessye Beardon, Charlotte Davage, Amelia Douglass, and Harrell S. Spruill. There are also a number of greeting cards, postcards, and empty envelopes.

Series 3. Writings include essays, speeches, papers written for school, teacher's notebooks, and a diary of Erminie F. Shimm, 1903. Topics include education, Frederick Douglass, religion, race, Africa, and the temperance movement.

Series 4. Subject files on Charlene Hodges Byrd's involvement with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority; Book Lovers of Charleston, West Virginia, a women's book club organized in 1923; Church Women United radio program; and The Links, Inc., a volunteer service organization. The papers on Liberia relate to missionary work, and were probably gathered by Erminie F. Shimm; and the Shimm-Thomas Collection are papers related to the deposit and later return of family items housed as a collection at Morgan State College.

Series 5. The financial and legal records include invoices and receipts, bank books, real estate tax assessments, deeds, and wills. There is also material related to the estate of Erminie F. Shimm.

Series 6. Printed materials includes books, pamphlets, newspapers, newsletters, clippings, invitations and programs. The books and pamphlets are chiefly school yearbooks and newspapers and other texts related to religion, politics, music, and poetry. Also included is a copy of Frederick Douglass's autobiography and a printed copy of his speech "The Race Problem." The clippings include obituaries, articles about Charlene Hodges Byrd and her husband Charles R. Byrd, essays by Sarah A. Shimm under the name Faith Lichen, and articles on the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. The invitations and programs are primarily for school graduations, weddings, social events, and funerals. Other printed material includes newsletters; business cards; calling cards; postage stamps, chiefly from Liberia; and blank postcards. The binder on Frederick Douglass was prepared by Byrd and her goddaughter for the West Virginia School Studies Fair, and includes copies of Byrd family artifacts.

Series 7. Autograph books, guest books, and scrapbooks. The autograph book of Grace E. Shimm Cummings includes autographs from Amelia Douglass, Lewis B. Douglass, Charles R. Douglass, W. H. Clair, and Francis J. Grimke. The scrapbook of Grace E. Shimm Cummings and Erminie F. Shimm consists primarily of clippings, and was assembled from an old teacher's book with a student registration and punishment pages still intact at the back.

Series 8. Miscellaneous items in the collection including artwork, a coin purse, a piece of handwoven cloth belonging to Catherine Nelson's great grandmother, and leather hair curlers.

Series 9: The textiles are chiefly christening gowns, children's garments, and an apron. Several garments belonged to Joyce Ethel Cummings Hodges, Charlene Hodges Byrd, and Elizabeth N. Thomas. There is also a doll that belonged to Amelia Douglass's niece, Kitty Cromwell.

Series 10. Photographs include pictures of Charlene Hodges Byrd, Joyce Ethel Hodges Cummings, Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Dews Hodges, Charles Gilmor Cummings, Grace E. Shimm Cummings, Erminie F. Shimm, and other friends and relatives of the Byrd, Hodges, Cummings, Douglass, and Shimm families. Subjects are primarily portraits and candids, along with some wedding, baby, and school pictures. While some of the photographs are annotated, many of the individuals are unidentified. Included are vintage photographs, cabinet cards, cartes-de-visites, tintypes, daguerreotypes, and negatives.
Biographical / Historical:
The Shimm, Thomas, Cummings, Hodges, Davage, and related African American families chiefly lived in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Numerous family members worked as teachers, barbers, or in the service industry. They were active in local churches and service organizations, and had established friendships with local church leaders as well as with Frederick Douglass and his family.

The Shimm and Thomas families were located in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. The Thomas family can be traced back to Philip Nelson, who owned property in Leesburg, Virginia and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Family genealogical papers list Nelson as a descendent of British Admiral Horatio Nelson. This lineage, however, is not supported in publically available family histories of Horatio Nelson. Philip Nelson and his wife Araminta had five children: Catherine (b. 1805?), William, Levi (b. 1820?), Henrietta, and Grayson.

Catherine Nelson married Elias E. Thomas (b. 1816?) of Virginia in 1840. They wed in Philadelphia and had five children: Levi Nelson (b. 1841), Sarah (1843-1885), Edward (b. 1844), Elizabeth (1848-1932), and Charles (b. 1851).

Sarah Thomas married William Y. Shimm (b. 1841), a barber in Reading, Pennsylvania, on July 26, 1863. They had 2 daughters, Erminie (1867-1936) and Grace (1865-1910). The Shimms lived in Pennsylvania and Ohio, but had moved to Washington, D.C., around 1871. Sarah was a teacher and a writer who published under the name "Faith Lichen." Her writings, primarily essays and commentaries about race and politics, were printed in several newspapers including The National Republican, The Celtic Weekly, The People's Advocate, and The Sunday Morning Gazette.

Sarah's sister Elizabeth was also a teacher in Maryland. Her brother Charles was a lawyer in Washington, D.C., and a graduate of the first class at Howard University's law school.

Erminie and Grace Shimm became teachers in the Washington, D.C., public school system. Erminie was active in her church and supportive of missionary work in Liberia. Grace married Charles Gilmor Cummings, a pastor in Alexandria, Virginia, on July 9, 1902. They had one daughter, Joyce Ethel (1903-1971), and second child in 1905 who died in infancy. Grace died in 1910 of heart failure. After her death, Grace's sister Erminie and Charles's family helped raise Joyce Ethel in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland.

Joyce Ethel Cummings Hodges graduated from Morgan College in 1924, and received her master's degree from Howard University in 1931. She taught at Douglass High School in Baltimore from 1924-1964. Joyce Ethel married Charles E. Hodges (1900--975) in 1927 and they divorced in 1953. The couple had one daughter, Charlene (1929-2009).

Charlene Hodges Byrd grew up in Washington, D.C., but attended the Northfield School for Girls in East Northfield, Massachusetts, for high school, graduating in 1946. She received her bachelor's degree from Connecticut College in 1950, and her master's degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago in 1951. She married Charles R. Byrd (1919-2004) in 1952. They had one son in 1954, but he died four days after birth. Byrd soon began a career as a teacher and education administrator, eventually working for Kanawha County Schools in Charleston, West Virginia. She was also active in her local community as a member of the Book Lovers of Charleston, West Virginia; Church Women United; and The Links, Inc.

Charles E. Hodges was born Bridgewater, Virginia, where his father was a minister. He graduated from Morgan College in 1923 and received his master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1943. He was a teacher and served as principal of the North Street School in Hagerstown, Maryland. After he and Joyce Ethel divorced in 1953, he married Elizabeth Dews (1913-1999) in 1955.

Elizabeth Dews Hodges, born Elizabeth Virginia Waumbeeka, was adopted by James Edward (1889-1954) and Sarah Virginia Dews (1888?-1964) in Washington, D.C., in 1920. She graduated from Miner Teachers College in 1939, and worked as a teacher in Annapolis, Maryland, at Wiley H. Bates High School for 34 years. She was awarded a medal for her work there by the Freedom Foundation of Valley Forge in 1959. Elizabeth was active in local organizations in Maryland and Washington, D.C., including the SE/NE Friends of the Capitol View Branch Library; Eastern Star Chapter 4; Mount Ephraim Baptist Church; National Museum of Women in the Arts; National Association for the Advancement of Colored Peoples; and the Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind.

The Davage family is descended from Sidney Hall (b. 1818?) and Charles Davage (b. 1815?). Sidney was a former slave at the Perry Hall mansion in Baltimore, and was manumitted by 1840. She married Charles, a coachman, on April 12, 1842. They had five children: Eliza Jane (1843-1913), Sophia (b. 1847), Charlotte (b. 1849), Charles (b. 1854), and Hester (b. 1845). Their daughter Eliza Jane married Henry Cummings (b. 1830?). They had seven children: Harry Sythe (1866-1917), Charles Gilmor (1870-1924), William (b. 1882), Ida R. (1868-1958), Estelle (1874-1944), Carroll (b. 1875), Francis (b. 1872), and Aaron (1864?-1932).

Harry Sythe Cummings, a lawyer in Baltimore, became the city's first African American City Council member. He was first elected in 1890 and served intermittently until his death in 1917, often working on issues related to education. Cummings also delivered a speech at the Republican National Convention in 1904 seconding the presidential nomination of Theodore Roosevelt. He married Blanche Conklin in 1899, and they had three children: Harry S. Jr. (b. 1905), Lucille (d. 1906), and Louise.

Charles Gilmor Cummings graduated from Drew Theological Seminary in 1898, and was a pastor in Alexandria, Virginia and elsewhere. After the death of his wife Grace in 1910, he married Rosa Catherine Bearden, grandmother of artist Romare Bearden, in 1912.

Ida R. Cummings graduated from Morgan College in 1922, and was the first African American kindergarten teacher in Baltimore. She was also active in local organizations, and was president of the Colored Fresh Air and Empty Stocking Circle; chairman of the Woman's Section Council of Defense in Baltimore during the World War, 1914-1918; and president of the Woman's Campaign Bureau of the Colored Republican Voters' League of Maryland.
Provenance:
The Charlene Hodges Byrd collection was donated to the National Museum of African American History and Culture by Herbert S. Garten, co-personal representative of the Estate of Charlene H. Byrd, in 2010.
Restrictions:
Access to collection requires appointment.
Rights:
This collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Topic:
African Americans -- Maryland  Search this
African Americans -- Photographs  Search this
African American families  Search this
African Americans -- Pennsylvania  Search this
African American newspapers  Search this
African American -- Social life and customs  Search this
African American women journalists  Search this
African Americans -- Education  Search this
African American churches  Search this
African American educators  Search this
African Americans -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Citation:
Charlene Hodges Byrd collection, circa 1750-2009. National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
NMAAHC.2010.26
See more items in:
Charlene Hodges Byrd collection
Archival Repository:
National Museum of African American History and Culture
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmaahc-2010-26
Online Media:

Catherine Burt vertical file on black women

Creator:
Burt, Catherine  Search this
Names:
Alexander, Sadie Tanner Mossell, 1898-1989  Search this
Bethune, Mary McLeod, 1875-1955  Search this
Brooks, Gwendolyn, 1917-2000  Search this
Cobb, Jewel Plummer, 1924-  Search this
Coppin, Fanny Jackson  Search this
Davis, Angela Y. (Angela Yvonne), 1944-  Search this
Dunham, Katherine  Search this
Harper, Frances Ellen Watkins, 1825-1911  Search this
Lee, Jarena, b. 1783  Search this
Parks, Rosa, 1913-2005  Search this
Parsons, Lucy E. (Lucy Eldine), 1853-1942  Search this
Powers, Harriet, 1837-1911  Search this
Rudolph, Wilma, 1940-  Search this
Smith, Bessie, 1894-1937  Search this
Truth, Sojourner, d. 1883  Search this
Tubman, Harriet, 1820?-1913  Search this
Walker, Alice, 1944-  Search this
Walker, Maggie  Search this
Wells-Barnett, Ida B., 1862-1931  Search this
Wright, Jane Cooke., Dr., 1919-  Search this
Extent:
1.42 Linear feet ((2 boxes))
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Articles
Photocopies
Correspondence
Pamphlets
Brochures
Clippings
Date:
circa 1980s
Summary:
The collection, which dates from the 1980s and measures 1.42 linear feet, was compiled in the course of preparations for the "Black Women: Achievements Against the Odds" exhibit, which was staged at the Anacostia Museum from February 1976 to December 1976. This collection documents the lives and achievements of African American women in a variety of fields, including law, medicine, education, politics, science and the arts. The collection is comprised of documents, magazine and newspaper clippings, correspondence, photocopies, brochures and pamphlets.
Restrictions:
Use of the materials requires an appointment. Please contact the archivist to make an appointment: ACMarchives@si.edu.
Topic:
African American women educators  Search this
African American women jazz singers  Search this
African American women executives  Search this
African American women journalists  Search this
African American clergy  Search this
African American abolitionists  Search this
African American women artists  Search this
African American women athletes  Search this
African American women authors  Search this
African American women civil rights workers  Search this
African American women scientists  Search this
African American women political activists  Search this
African American women poets  Search this
African American women physicians  Search this
African American women librarians  Search this
African American women legislators  Search this
African American women lawyers  Search this
African American women judges  Search this
African American women singers  Search this
African American women social reformers  Search this
Women clergy  Search this
African American soldiers  Search this
African American women  Search this
African American women entertainers  Search this
Genre/Form:
Articles
Photocopies
Correspondence
Pamphlets
Brochures
Clippings
Citation:
Catherine Burt vertical file on Black women, circa 1980s, Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution, gift of Catherine Burt.
Identifier:
ACMA.06-065
Archival Repository:
Anacostia Community Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-acma-06-065

The golden road : notes on my gentrification / Caille Millner

Author:
Millner, Caille  Search this
Subject:
Millner, Caille Childhood and youth  Search this
Millner, Caille Family  Search this
Millner, Caille Homes and haunts  Search this
Physical description:
248 p. ; 22 cm
Type:
Biography
Case studies
Place:
California
United States
San Jose
San Jose (Calif.)
Date:
2007
Topic:
African Americans  Search this
Racially mixed people  Search this
African Americans--Race identity  Search this
African American women journalists  Search this
Race relations  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_820024

Ida B. Wells-Barnett and American reform, 1880-1930 / Patricia A. Schechter

Author:
Schechter, Patricia Ann 1964-  Search this
Subject:
Wells-Barnett, Ida B. 1862-1931  Search this
Physical description:
xviii, 386 p. : ill. ; 25 cm
Type:
Biography
Place:
United States
Date:
2001
C2001
Topic:
African American women civil rights workers  Search this
Civil rights workers  Search this
African American women social reformers  Search this
African American women political activists  Search this
African American women journalists  Search this
Lynching--History  Search this
African Americans--Politics and government  Search this
Women's rights--History  Search this
Race relations  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_616529

Raising her voice : African-American women journalists who changed history / Rodger Streitmatter

Author:
Streitmatter, Rodger  Search this
Physical description:
viii, 208 p. : ports. ; 23 cm
Type:
Biography
Place:
United States
Date:
1994
19th century
20th century
Topic:
African American journalists  Search this
African American women  Search this
Journalism--History  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_473521

Beatrice Morrow Cannady and The Advocate : building and defending Oregon's African American community, 1912--1933 / by Kimberley Ann Mangun

Author:
Mangun, Kimberley Ann  Search this
Subject:
Cannady, Beatrice  Search this
Physical description:
xiv, 511 leaves
Type:
Biography
Place:
Oregon
Portland
Date:
2005
20th century
Topic:
African American women journalists  Search this
African American newspapers  Search this
African Americans--History  Search this
Race relations  Search this
History  Search this
Call number:
PN4874.C37 M36 2005
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1012541

Eye on the struggle : Ethel Payne, the first lady of the Black Press / James McGrath Morris

Author:
Morris, James McGrath  Search this
Subject:
Payne, Ethel L  Search this
Physical description:
x, 466 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Type:
Biography
History
Place:
Illinois
Chicago
Date:
2015
20th century
Topic:
African American women journalists  Search this
African American women  Search this
Civil rights--History  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1047197

Never in my wildest dreams : a black woman's life in journalism / Belva Davis ; with Vicki Haddock ; foreword by Bill Cosby

Author:
Davis, Belva 1932-  Search this
Haddock, Vicki  Search this
Subject:
Davis, Belva 1932-  Search this
Physical description:
x, 238 pages, [16] pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Type:
Biography
Place:
United States
Date:
2010
©2010
Topic:
Journalists  Search this
Television journalists  Search this
African American women journalists  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1075419

To tell the truth freely : the life of Ida B. Wells / Mia Bay

Author:
Bay, Mia  Search this
Subject:
Wells-Barnett, Ida B. 1862-1931  Search this
Physical description:
viii, 374 p. : ill ; 24 cm
Type:
Biography
Place:
United States
Date:
2009
To 1964
Topic:
African American women civil rights workers  Search this
Civil rights workers  Search this
African American women educators  Search this
African American women journalists  Search this
African Americans--Civil rights--History  Search this
African Americans--Social conditions  Search this
Lynching--History  Search this
Race relations  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_925795

Thyra J. Edwards : Black activist in the global freedom struggle / Gregg Andrews

Author:
Andrews, Gregg  Search this
Subject:
Edwards, Thyra J. 1897-1953  Search this
Physical description:
ix, 243 p. : ill. ; 25 cm
Type:
Biography
Place:
Spain
Date:
2011
C2011
20th century
Civil War, 1936-1939
Topic:
African American women  Search this
African American women journalists  Search this
African American women civil rights workers  Search this
African American social workers  Search this
Civil rights--History  Search this
Employee rights--History  Search this
History  Search this
Participation, American  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_986172

Modify Your Search







or


Narrow By
  • African Americans