Women Leaders & Women's Organizations

National Housewives League

National Housewives League meeting Detroit, ca. 1945.
From Box 4 of the National Housewives League of
America records, 1931-1996.

Brown, Gloria

Chairwoman of the Detroit, Michigan, chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality.

Correspondence, news releases, and printed material relating to the activities of the Detroit
C. O. R. E.

MIRLYN entry

Byrd, Letitia J.

African American educator and community leader in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Correspondence and subject files relating to her career with the Ann Arbor public school system and to her involvement in various other community and social service organizations.

Finding aid available online.

Claytor, Helen Jackson

Grand Rapids, Michigan, club woman, officer in the Grand Rapids chapter of the Young Women's Christian Association, president of the national YWCA, 1967-1973.

Biographical files include clippings and award materials; files relating to her work with the Young Women's Christian Association, both national organization and Grand Rapids branch.

Files relating to her community work in Grand Rapids and her participation in national conferences/committees. The Grand Rapids files relate to education, housing, issues of urban renewal, and other topics. Speeches delivered on topics relating to the YWCA, civil rights, citizenship, and the family; speeches reflect in part her thoughts as a black woman on questions of school and housing segregation.

Finding aid available online.

DeLeon, Linda.

President of the Christians for Decency Anti-Pornography Information Center in Wayne County, Michigan.

Anti-pornography and anti-abortion campaigns correspondence, publications, mailing, petitions, and other material produced by the Christians for Decency, American Family Association of Michigan, American Decency Association of Michigan, National Federation for Decency Greater Detroit Chapter, Focus on the Family, and other Michian and national organizations. Majority of the Christians for Decency material relates to Inkster, Mich. anti-pornography and anti-abortion campaigns.

Finding aid available online.

Dessaw, Marie

Detroit, Michigan civic leader, member and officer of the National Housewives League of America.

Correspondence, reports, minutes, and other materials relating to her participation and leadership of the National Housewives League.

MIRLYN entry

Ruth Ellis

Ruth Ellis at the printing press, ca. 1940.
From the Ruth Ellis papers.

Duffy, Yvonne

Michigan freelance writer and disability rights advocate.

Biographical information, research files, published articles, unpublished writings, and audiocassettes of interviews conducted by Duffy in her research. Included is a research file on, and correspondence of, African American aviatrix, Earsley Taylor.

Finding aid available online.

Ellis, Ruth

African American lesbian.

Biographical information, awards and citations, articles and clippings about her, and photographs.

Finding aid available online.

Gill, Lillian

African American businesswoman from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Lillian Gill was active in the Order of the Eastern Star and in African American Baptist Church organizations, particularly New Hope Baptist Church of Grand Rapids.

The Lillian Gill collections is comprised of the following series: Biographical and personal; Business career; Political and community interests; Order of Eastern Star, Free and Accepted Masons; New Hope Baptist Church and other Baptist organizations; and Photographs. The great bulk of the collection details her Masonic responsibilities and her activities with her church and with her denomination's regional bulletins, brochures, programs, announcements, and the like. A smaller portion of the collection relates to her varied business endeavors as an insurance underwriter and as a salesperson with Amway.

Finding aid available online.

Hall, Gwendolyn Midlo

Professor of history, civil rights activist, scholar of African American history.

Family and professional correspondence, newspaper clippings, articles, reviews, and printed material reflecting her interest in black history, the case of Robert Williams, and her scholarly interests.

Finding aid available online.

Hunter, Sara E.

African American member of St. Matthew's and St. Joseph's Episcopal Church, Detroit, Mich.; historian of her family.

Family and genealogical materials, accumulated relating to different family lines, notably O'Neal, Jones, King, Garlington, and Johnson families.

MIRLYN entry

Jessye, Eva

A prominent choral director, composer, arranger, writer, poet, actress and African American music historian. Jessye was conductor for the Original Dixie Jubilee Singers and choral director for the opera Four Saints in Three Acts, and was choral director for the original production of Porgy and Bess, and toured extensively in later performances of Porgy and Bess. Jessye came to the University of Michigan in 1974 and established the Eva Jessye Afro-American Music Collection.

Personal papers and collected material of Eva Jessye including material from her personal and professional life as well as material documenting prominent African-Americans. Material includes original program from the 1963 March on Washington (where Eva Jessye Choir performed), Porgy and Bess programs, clippings and photographs

Finding aid available online.


Program from the National Negro Business
Leagues' Annual Conference in Detroit,
ca. 1940. From Box 1 of the National
Housewives' League of America records.

National Housewives League of America

Organization established in 1933 to encourage African American housewives to patronize African American-owned businesses. The national organization was comprised of local groups, the most important of these being the Housewives League of Detroit, which was founded in 1930 under the leadership of Fannie B. Peck.

The Detroit League worked in conjunction with the Booker T. Washington Trade Association whose organization was headed by the Rev. William H. Peck, and the National Negro Business League.

The records, accumulated by Fannie B. Peck and subsequent officers of the organization, Christina Fuqua and Lydia Hibbert, include minutes, correspondence, publications, and activity files of both the national organization and the Detroit league. The records were maintained by the same individuals. The series in the record group are History and Organization; Core Records; Correspondence; Programs and Events; Media Coverage; Publications; Chapters; Related Organizations; and Other Materials.

The largest portion of the Chapters series consists of records of the Detroit league and include history, publications, and other organizational materials.

Finding aid available online.

Robbins, Mary Ellen Thomas

Resident of Battle Creek, Michigan.

Description of life in Canada, discovery that she was a mulatto, and her subsequent migration to and life in Battle Creek.

MIRLYN entry

Ross, Mildred

Secretary of the Willow Run Black History Organization.

Summary Constitution, questionnaires, tapes of interviews, newspaper articles, and other materials relating to the history of African Americans in Willow Run, Michigan.

MIRLYN entry

Tibbs, Chrystal G.

Michigan educator, graduate of Wayne State University and the University of Michigan, active member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha (A.K.A.) sorority. Tibbs is A.K.A. Golder Soror (50-year member) and has held a number of administrative posts within the sorority, most notably the Great Lakes Regional Representative to the International Archives Committee of A.K.A. Tibbs served in administrative capacities at various Detroit elementary schools and as a Principal of Hampton Elementary School.

The collection includes materials accumulated through Tibbs's participation in A.K.A. conferences, chapter meetings, and special interest groups at the local, state, regional, and national level over a span of 50 years. The activities of Michigan-based chapters are particularly well represented. Material includes policy documents, programs of events, meeting proceedings, reports, scrapbooks, photographs. Also personal material related to Tibbs and her mother Maggie Powell, and Tibbs's church, the Grace Episcopal Church in Detroit.

Finding aid available online.

Top Ladies of Distinction, Ann Arbor Chapter

Ann Arbor, Michigan chapter of an African American women's organization.

Minutes, correspondence, and subject files; also minutes and newsletters of Detroit area district of the organization.

Finding aid available online.

Waddles, Charleszetta

Pentecostal minister and founder of the Perpetual Mission for Saving Souls of All Nations in Detroit, Michigan.

Describes her mission work and other aspects of her life.

MIRLYN entry

Wheeler, Emma

Albert and Emma Wheeler were community and civil rights leaders from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Albert Wheeler was also professor of microbiology and dermatology at the University of Michigan. In addition, he and his wife helped to establish the local chapter of the NAACP. Albert Wheeler was elected to the office of mayor of Ann Arbor and served from 1975 to 1978.

Summary The series in the collection are Personal/Biographical; NAACP/Civil Rights Activities; Mayoralty Files; University of Michigan; and Photographs. The collection documents the Wheelers' devotion to the cause of civil rights and their involvement with numerous civil rights and community organizations. The collection also includes Albert Wheeler's mayoralty files.

Finding aid available online.

Wickliffe, Letty M.

Teacher; Ann Arbor, Michigan, community activist; member of the North Central Property Owners Association in Ann Arbor.

Articles written for the local newspaper, awards, scattered correspondence, biographical information, and photographs.

Finding aid available online.

Mattie Willis

Mattie Willis, ca. 1945. From
Box 1 of the Mattie Azalia
Willis papers.

Willis, Mattie Azalia

Battle Creek, Michigan singer and music teacher, member of the Battle Creek chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The collection includes correspondence, newspaper clippings, and other material relating to her professional career, and diaries recording daily activities and personal thoughts; also photographs.

Portraits and informal photographs of Willis, alone and with friends and associates; photographs of theatrical productions in which Willis performed; and photographs of Willis.

Finding aid available online.

Women of Color Task Force, University of Michigan

Support group founded at the University of Michigan to aid minority women employed as office and professional staff members in combatting racial and sexist stereotypes and in providing counsel on matters of career planning, job hunting, and development of communication skills.

Subject files detailing activities of the Task Force, especially to those conferences it sponsored; also history, minutes, correspondence, photographs, publicity, publications, and videotapes.

Finding aid available online.