Recent Accessions in African American History in the DeGolyer Library

The DeGolyer Library has accessioned many exciting items over the last six months.  Below are some of the highlights

Six pamphlets laid out in a gridHeroines of Jericho. Texas. Proceedings … 1936, 1942, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1963, 1973

The Heroines of Jericho, a female Masonic organization, had its first chapters in Texas founded around 1884. The organization is still going strong and according to its website, “The Heroines of Jericho was the first female house adopted under the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas and has continued to serve directly under the Master Masons since organized.”

Each volume provides a recap of the proceedings of the group’s annual meeting, a full list of delegates, chapter reports, financial reports, a memorial section, and more. The lion’s share of each work is composed of a “Roster of Heroines Courts,” which provides the officers and membership names for every local chapter around Texas. Most of the volumes also contain at least two portraits of officers and other notable women within the organization. And six of the volumes emanate from the 1940s, during a time when Jim Crow was very much alive and well in Texas. Overall, the annuals provide a wealth of data for over thirty years.

The current group of the Heroines’ annual proceedings is truly an unprecedented run, with OCLC reporting just a single issue of any year, at Emory, which holds the 1952 edition.

The works of Ellen Tarry

Ellen Tarry (1906-2008) was a pioneering African American author of children’s books. Born in Alabama, she was educated in Virginia and moved to New York in 1929. There she befriended such Harlem Renaissance literary figures as Langston Hughes, Claude McKay and Countee Cullen. A devout Roman Catholic, she wrote several biographies: Katherine Drexel: Friend of the Neglected, Pierre Toussaint: Apostle of Old New York, The Other Toussaint: A Post-Revolutionary Black, and Martin de Porres, Saint of the New World.  Recent accessions include biographies The Third Door and Katharine Drexel, and  the children’s books Hezekiah Horton, Janie Belle, My Dog Rinty, and Young Jim; the early years of James Weldon Johnson.

Five African American men standing in a chemistry laboratory in the early 20th centurySamuel Levi Sadler scrapbooks. [Oklahoma] approximately 1910-1967.

This collection contains a scrapbook and photograph album of the Samuel Levi Sadler family. The photograph album includes family photographs, scenes from Langston University circa 1920-1923, a larger photograph of a chemistry lab likely at Langston University, and 25 mounted photographic portraits of young African American college graduates in cap and gown, circa 1920s. The includes an autographed poem by Sadler, a letter from Eva Jessye, correspondence, programs, and photographs. Samuel Levi Sadler was an African American educator born in Denison, Texas, and raised in Muskogee, Oklahoma. He graduated from Langston University, where he taught English and composed the school song. Sadler was also a principal at several high schools. Langston University was established as a land grant college in 1897 and is the only historically black college or university in the state of Oklahoma.

The Union Aid Society (Kildare, Tex.) ledger, 1959-1972

This ledger contains manuscript meeting minutes, membership rosters, expenditures, disbursements, and dues collected. Laid in the ledger is a pamphlet of the constitution and by-laws of the society which includes a history of the organization in Kildare, Texas, organized by African American men and women circa 1898.

The open page of a brochureSouvenir and Official Program of the Bishops’ Council and Connectional Council of the African Methodist Episcopal Church Wednesday, June 26, through Sunday, June 30 at Shorter’s Community A.M.E Church … Denver, Colorado. Denver: Wahlgreen Publishing Co., 1929.

An apparently unrecorded souvenir program devoted to the annual meeting of the Bishops of the A.M.E. Church in Denver in 1929. The event was held at Shorter Community A.M.E. Church, June 26-30. The work contains numerous portrait photographs of the participants in the session, including bishops, local ministers, and ads from individuals and businesses in the Denver area. The text also includes a schedule of the week’s events, committee lists, and campaign advertisements for various ministers seeking offices within the church and a brief history of Shorter’s Church.


For more information, or to view these items in person, email