This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.
Portions of this collection have been digitized as part of "Content, Context, and Capacity: A Collaborative Large-Scale Digitization Project on the Long Civil Rights Movement in North Carolina." The project was made possible by funding from the federal Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources. This collection was rehoused and a summary created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The finding aid was created with support from NC ECHO.
|Size||7.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 3,600 items)|
|Abstract||Jessie Daniel Ames was a civil rights worker of Atlanta, Ga., Georgetown, Tex., and Tryon, N.C. Beginning in 1922, Ames served separate roles as secretary and vice-president of the Texas Committee on Interracial Cooperation. By 1929, she had moved to Atlanta, where she was director of Women's Work for the Commission on Interracial Cooperation. During this time, Ames established the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching, which functioned as a volunteer component within the Commission. The collection includes correspondence, speeches, reports, clippings, autobiographies, school materials, photographs, and other papers relating to the public service and private life of Jessie Daniel Ames. Organizational papers document Ames's work as officer of the Texas Interracial Commission and the Commission on Interracial Cooperation in Atlanta and as founder of the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching. Subjects include education, lynching, domestic servants, conferences, public opinion, and other dimensions of race relations. Correspondents include Howard Odum, Guy B. Johnson, Will W. Alexander, and George Washington Carver. Included is a 1930 color poster from the Soviet Union that uses lynching to denounce both Christianity and the United States. Family papers document Ames's efforts as a single parent to raise and educate three children. Letters show that Frederick (1907-1959) became a pediatrician with a private practice in Houston, Tex., and served as a Navy physician during World War II; Mary became a pediatrician in Harrisburg, Pa., and a professor at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia; and Lulu, crippled by polio as a child, became a successful editor.|
|Creator||Ames, Jessie Daniel, 1883-1972.|
The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.
Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.
Jessie Daniel Ames, daughter of Laura Leonard and James M. Daniel, grew up in Georgetown, Tex. She married Roger Post Ames, a United States Public Health Service doctor. While Roger Ames pursued medical research on tropical diseases in South America, Jessie lived with her sister Lulu Daniel Hardy in Columbia, Tenn. In 1914, Roger Ames died of blackwater fever, leaving Jessie a single mother with two children, Frederick and Mary, and a third, Lulu, on the way. Jessie supported the children with the assistance of her mother and became increasingly involved in issues of social justice in Texas.
In the years leading up to the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, Ames worked for women's suffrage. From the 1920s through the 1940s she held various positions within the Commission on Interracial Cooperation. Her civil rights work began in earnest in 1922, when she became vice president of the Texas Commission. In 1929, she joined the staff of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation in Atlanta as director of Women's Work. Ames organized the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching as a volunteer movement within the Commission and ultimately beyond it. She travelled extensively throughout Texas and the South, speaking and organizing support for racial justice.
In addition to her public career, Ames faced significant challenges in her family life. The family was profoundly affected when Lulu was crippled by polio in 1920. The financial struggle of single motherhood intensified when her mother's resources were wiped out in the Depression. Jessie was determined to make her children, particularly her daughters, financially independent. Mary and Frederick became pediatricians and Lulu, though crippled by polio in childhood, supported herself as an editor.
Jessie Daniel Ames retired to Tryon, N.C., in 1945 and died in 1972.
For further information see Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, Revolt Against Chivalry: Jessie Daniel Ames and the Women's Campaign Against Lynching (Columbia, 1979).Back to Top
The papers of civil rights worker Jessie Daniel Ames of Atlanta, Ga., Georgetown, Tex., and Tryon, N.C., include correspondence, speeches, reports, clippings, autobiographies, school materials, photographs, and other papers relating to her public service and private life. Organizational papers document Ames's work as officer of the Texas Interracial Commission and the Commission on Interracial Cooperation in Atlanta and as founder of the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching. Subjects include education, lynching, domestic servants, conferences, public opinion, and other dimensions of race relations. Correspondents include Howard Odum, Guy B. Johnson, Will W. Alexander, and George Washington Carver. Included is a 1930 color poster from the Soviet Union that uses lynching to denounce both Christianity and the United States. Family papers document Ames's efforts as a single parent to raise and educate three children. Letters show that Frederick (1907-1959) became a pediatrician with a private practice in Houston, Tex., and served as a Navy physician during World War II; Mary became a pediatrician in Harrisburg, Pa., and a professor at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia; and Lulu, crippled by polio as a child, became a successful editor.Back to Top
Correspondence, minutes of meetings, newspaper clippings, and related materials all concerning Jessie Daniel Ames's work for racial justice and women's rights. Included are files of the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching, the Commission on Interracial Cooperation, and the Texas Commission on Interracial Cooperation, as well as other public service files.
See also P-3686/374 showing attendees of the joint meeting of the ASWPL and African American members of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation at Tuskegee Institute (1938).
Organizational papers, case histories of lynchings investigated by the ASWPL and others, and newspaper clippings about lynching and the ASWPL. Jessie Daniel Ames organized the ASWPL as a volunteer movement within the Commission on Interracial Cooperation after 1929.
Correspondence, conference materials, scattered minutes of meetings, resolutions, progress reports, lynching statistics, and other research materials. Ames's correspondence was chiefly with women leaders in various Southern states and with other organizations interested in her goals. Also included are letters she wrote congratulating law officers in cases of lynching prevention.
|Oversize Image OP-P-3686/4|
|Oversize Image OP-P-3686/5|
News stories about lynchings and editorials from newspapers and magazines relating to the Association's work and goals, case histories of individual lynchings investigated by the ASWPL, and files on federal legislation concerning lynching.
|Oversize Volume SV-3686/1|
The Commission on Interracial Cooperation was founded in Atlanta in 1919 by John J. Eagan, Will W. Alexander, and M. Ashby Jones. The membership spanned the South and included representatives of organizations interested in eliminating racial discrimination and in achieving more equitable race relations. (Official papers of the Commission are at Atlanta University.)
In 1929, Jessie Daniel Ames joined the staff of the Commission in Atlanta as director of women's work and during the years that followed she organized the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching as a volunteer movement within the Commission and ultimately beyond it. In 1940, she started and edited The Southern Frontier , while serving as field secretary of the Commission.
Correspondence, reports, speeches by Jessie Daniel Ames and others, programs, minutes of meetings, news bulletins, committee information, and other papers. Much of this material relates to conferences held at Durham (October 1942), Atlanta (April and August 1943), and Richmond (June 1943). Results of a 1940 survey of domestic workers are included. Also included are photographs taken at the 1938 joint meeting of the ASWPL and African American members of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation at Tuskegee Institute. Papers after 1942 consist chiefly of correspondence, including letters from Guy B. Johnson and Howard Odum.
Attendees of the joint meeting of the ASWPL and African American members of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation at Tuskegee Institute, 1938 #03686, Subseries: "1.2.1. Organizational Papers, 1920-1963." P-3686/374
Captions identify the participants, who included Bertha Newell, Frances C. Williams (Fannie), Mary McLeod Bethune, and Jessie Daniel Ames.
Typescripts of news reports about race relations excerpted from newspapers across the United States. Reports include information from the African American press, particularly Black Dispatch (Okla.); St. Louis Argus ; Atlanta World ; Jackson Advocate (Miss.); Chicago Defender; and Pittsburg Courier. Press coverage documents World War II era race riots in Detroit and Harlem.
In 1940, while serving as Field Secretary of the Commission, Jessie Daniel Ames started and edited The Southern Frontier , a magazine that focused on race relations, particularly political and economic issues, education, health, and lynching.
Chiefly correspondence documenting Jessie Daniel Ames's travels, speeches, organizational efforts, and political action. Ames became vice-president of the Texas Commission on Interracial Cooperation in 1922 when a Woman's Division of the Texas Commission was organized. In 1924, she became part-time executive secretary of the Texas Commission. Letters to Ames document the work of other women in the organization and in churches and women's clubs. Letters show that these women were particularly concerned about education, health, and lynching as primary issues of race relations in Texas. Correspondents also include Will Alexander and various church leaders.
In addition to correspondence, papers include reports, minutes of meetings, rosters and committee lists, and materials related to a proposed training school for delinquent African American girls (1929). Papers document Lulu Daniel Ames's work with the Texas Commission during the 1940s.
Correspondence, a draft of a thesis, campaign materials, and related items.
Draft of Henry Paul Hauser's M.A. Thesis, "The Southern Regional Council," (University of North Carolina, Department of History, 1950). This excerpt documents Jessie Daniel Ames's role in the Southern race relations conferences held at Durham, Atlanta, and Richmond (1942-1943), from which the Southern Regional Council evolved (1943-1944).
Correspondence between Jessie Daniel Ames and Bertha Newell of North Carolina. Mrs. Newell was sometime superintendent of the Bureau of Christian Social Relations of the Woman's Missionary Council of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South; member of the Board of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation and second vice president of the Commission; and secretary of the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching. Along with her letters to Jessie Daniel Ames, there is also correspondence with Maud Palmer Henderson, who was in charge of woman's work on the Commission during the 1920s, and others.
Materials related to the congressional campaign of Harry Knox include press releases and newspaper clippings. These papers document Lulu Daniel Ames's involvement in the campaign.
Correspondence, autobiographies, school writings, pictures, and other papers related to family matters. These materials combine personal papers of Jessie Daniel and Lulu Daniel Ames.
Family correspondence relates primarily to interpersonal relationships among family members and contains only scattered references to Jessie Daniel Ames's work with ASWPL and the Commission on Interracial Cooperation.
Note: scattered handwritten notes written by Lulu Daniel Ames during the 1970s provide contextual information not always explicit in correspondence.
Chiefly letters documenting the marriage of Jessie Daniel and Roger Post Ames. The two were separated during much of their married life. While he worked as a United States Public Health Service doctor, pursuing medical research on tropical diseases in South America, she lived with her sister Lulu Daniel Hardy in Columbia, Tenn. The marriage was stormy and few personal letters remain between Jessie and Roger. Instead letters tend to be from Roger or Jessie to other family members and contain little information about their personal relationship. On 14 November 1914, the United States consular service informed Jessie's brother-in-law, James Hardy, that Roger Post Ames had died of blackwater fever.
Correspondence chiefly related to Jessie's three children, Frederick, Mary, and Lulu, from preschool through college. During this period Jessie Daniel Ames took on the daunting challenges of single motherhood and the pursuit of racial justice in Texas and beyond. She lived in Georgetown, Tex., but spent increasing time on the road engaged in work for the Texas Commission on Interracial Cooperation. The children spent their summers with relatives in Gulfport, Miss. These family separations produced much correspondence between mother and children. Mary is less represented in correspondence of this period than her two siblings.
The family faced its greatest challenge when Lulu contracted polio in 1920. (See Jessie's letter of 6 March 1966, in Subseries 2.1.5, for a synopsis of Lulu's illness and treatments). Jessie's correspondence with doctors and with Lulu documents the painful operations and treatments the child endured. By 1928, letters show that Lulu was able to attend school.
Frederick Daniel Ames wrote energetic letters from Gulfport full of news about games, sports, and interests pursued by an active boy. Several letters in the summer of 1924 document his trip West, including visits to Pikes Peak and Yellowstone. In 1925, letters show that Frederick began his college education at Southwestern College, and that summer he traveled to Guatemala.
There are some scattered references to Jessie's work with the League of Women Voters and her efforts for racial justice. She moved to Atlanta in 1929 to join the staff of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation.
Chiefly letters from Frederick, Mary, and Lulu to their mother. The family lived dispersed during this period. Jessie began her responsibilities with the Commission on Interracial Cooperation in Atlanta. Frederick and Mary attended medical school, and Lulu went to college and launched her editing career. There is no correspondence among the children, but their letters to Jessie show that despite their separations and conflicts the family remained close.
Frederick's letters document his experience at Harvard medical school, his pediatric residency at Children's Hospital in Boston, and his efforts to establish a private pediatric practice in Houston, Tex. Frederick married Hope Carl in 1933. Jessie wrote a few letters to her new daughter-in-law offering advice about men and marriage. Not long after his marriage, Frederick left Boston to begin a private pediatric practice in Houston, Tex. His letters document the challenges of setting up private medical practice, including information about his patients, fees, and making house calls.
Jessie wrote her daughters advice about men and dating, counseling them to protect their independence. Based on her own experience, Jessie wanted to be sure that both daughters would become self-supporting adults. Mary attended medical school at the University of Texas in Galveston from about 1935 to 1940. Letters show that she held various jobs to help finance her education. Lulu graduated from high school in 1932, with dreams of becoming a writer. In 1936, she graduated from Agnes Scott College and worked as editor (in 1938, for The Farmer's Banner in Waco, Tex., official publication of the Texas Agricultural Association). In 1941, Lulu was working for Capitol Report Service in Austin, Tex., with writing and editorial responsibilities. Her letters show that she shared her mother's passion for state politics.
Scattered letters from Laura Leonard Daniel contain references to her own church work, especially participation in the missionary society, and involvement in the Women's Christian Temperance Union. Family letters also contain references to recreational activities, such as reading materials and movies, along with opinions about national and international events or circumstances. For example, Mary discussed segregation as it related to the medical system. Although there is little information about Lulu's condition during this period, letters document special treatment she received during the summer of 1934. Letters show that Mary and Lulu visited Tuskegee Institute where Lulu apparently received experimental physical therapy. George Washington Carver wrote a follow-up letter to Jessie (18 August 1934) explaining the therapeutic use of peanut oil to improve Lulu's condition.
Letters documenting the family's experience of World War II and Jessie's decision to retire. In 1942, Frederick wrote his mother frequently from the United States Navy Recruiting Station at Little Rock, Ark., where he worked as a physician examining recruits. Hope accompanied him there, and they had their first child, Freddie, in February 1943. Shortly thereafter, Frederick was transferred to San Francisco. Letters he wrote to Jessie document his involvement in action in the Pacific theatre of the war. In 1945, he was wounded at Okinawa and returned to Texas in June.
Mary wrote her mother substantive letters about her work at Children's Hospital of Michigan in Detroit and at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. There is also scattered correspondence between Lulu and an editor about the book she hoped to publish. Unfortunately, in 1944 Lulu was forced to take a leave of absence from Capitol Report Services because of pain related to her paralysis.
In 1944, Jessie moved to Tryon, N.C. She wrote to her daughter-in-law Hope (29 January 1944) about her retirement from the Commission on Interracial Cooperation.
Correspondence documenting Jessie's retirement and her relationships with her adult children. Lulu, Mary, and Frederick continued to write their mother, but there are many more letters from Jessie for this period than previously. Retirement gave Jessie time to review her past. She focused almost exclusively on family circumstances rather than evaluations of her public service work. Her letters for this period in particular reveal complex family relationships as Jessie and her adult children faced accumulated resentments and continued commitment to each other. She labeled many of these diary-like epistles "wailing wall" letters, some of which she apparently never mailed.
Letters show that Jessie worked during this period to gain recognition for Roger Post Ames's research in South America. In 1958, she achieved official government recognition for her late husband's research contributions when he was posthumously awarded a Congressional Medal for his work in the Walter Reed malarial control program. Letters also show that Jessie remained politically active even after retirement: for example, on 9 March 1952 she discussed her attendance at the executive meeting of the state (N.C.) Democratic Committee. During the 1960s Jessie wrote regular "reports" to her daughters containing information about her daily routine in Tryon, her health, family reminiscences, political opinions (especially about LBJ, Nixon, and national party politics). She increasingly complained about the difficulties of aging.
After the war, Frederick returned to private practice in Houston. He and Hope had a second child, Marcia, in 1947. Frederick died of cancer in August 1959, and much of the correspondence for this year relates to his illness and death. Thereafter, Hope sent occasional letters about her struggle to support the children as a primary school teacher in Houston. The relationship between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law was difficult and unfriendly. Scattered letters survive from the Ames grandchildren during their college years in the 1960s. Freddie attended medical school at Galveston, and Marcia was an undergraduate at Rice.
In 1948, Lulu had a successful operation to relieve her pain. She recuperated from her surgery and returned as manager of Capitol Report Service in Austin, Tex. She was Jessie's most frequent correspondent during this period and her letters document her continued interest in politics and writing, and her increasing involvement in the Methodist church, teaching Sunday school and otherwise.
After the war, Mary moved from hospital practice to her own private pediatric practice in Harrisburg, Pa. In 1949, she married Dr. Edward C. Raffensperger. Letters document her pregnancy in 1950, but the child was stillborn. In 1962, Mary and Edward left their joint private practice for faculty positions at the University of Pennsylvania hospital and medical school. In 1967, they toured medical facilities and lectured in Europe, sending letters from Sweden, Poland, Greece, Turkey and elsewhere. Mary's letters contain information and opinions about Vietnam, socialism, politics of the 1960s, and school desegregation in Philadelphia (1968), and references to the assassinations of Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy.
Undated letters and letter fragments of Lulu, Frederick, Mary, and Jessie Daniel Ames, and others.
Arrangement: alphabetical by author or family member.
These materials contain powerful testimony and revealing information about family matters that are less fully developed in personal correspondence. Autobiographies and family histories consist not so much of genealogy as of personal narratives and deep reflections on complex interpersonal relationships. For example, Jessie Daniel Ames discussed and evaluated her stormy marriage to Roger Post Ames and her contradictory feelings toward her sister Lulu Daniel Hardy. Lulu Hardy's daughter, Laura Hardy Crites offers another perspective in her narrative on the sisters' relationship. Lulu Daniel Ames described her personal struggle against polio in a voluminous autobiographical story about a girl named Jane. This material is presented almost exclusively from the perspective of Ames family women and other female relatives.
Arrangement: by family member.
The bulk of this material consists of essays written chiefly by Jessie and Lulu Daniel Ames. Mother and daughter both had a lifelong interest in writing and worked to improve their skills beyond the formal classroom setting. In 1940, Jessie enrolled in an advanced composition class offered through the Home Study Department of the University of Chicago. Correspondence and corrected essays document her performance. She chose to write several essays about Southern race relations. Other school materials include grade reports of Frederick Daniel Ames at Southwestern University, Lulu Daniel Ames at Decatur High School, and other items.
Two commonplace books compiled by Jessie Daniel Ames; a list of books Ames kept in her personal library; editorials and other professional writings of Lulu Daniel Ames; scattered bills and receipts; and other materials.
Pictures from four family photo albums and loose pictures. The albums have been dismantled for conservation purposes. Photocopies of the original album pages are filed together with detached pictures.
Pictures originally contained in an album showing Jessie Daniel Ames at various ages.
"Frank King and Jessie Daniel Ames, Congress Ave., Austin, 1939." #03686, Subseries: "2.5.1. Jesse Daniel Ames Photograph Album, 1902-1965 and undated." P-3686/22
According to a handwritten note by Lulu Daniel Ames, the photograph must have been taken in the 1940s just before King died.
"From left to right: Dean Ruth Ferguson, Miss Mattie Loventhall, Mrs. Jessie Daniel Ames, Miss Velma Tisdale, Mrs. E. P. Miles--Charter Members of the Georgetown Branch of AAUW," 23 May 1965 #03686, Subseries: "2.5.1. Jesse Daniel Ames Photograph Album, 1902-1965 and undated." P-3686/29
According to a handwritten note: "Mattie taught all 3 Ames children in public school Georgetown."
"From left to right: Mrs. Mildred Gervasi--Head librarian at SU and past president of Georgetown AAUW. Miss Mary Elizabeth Fox--SU Director of Publicity and President of AAUW. Miss Lulu Daniel Ames, of Austin. Mrs. Jessie Daniel Ames, of Tryon, N.C. Mrs. Durwood Fleming--wife of President, SU," 23 May 1965 #03686, Subseries: "2.5.1. Jesse Daniel Ames Photograph Album, 1902-1965 and undated." P-3686/30
Pictures originally contained in an Ames Family photo album documenting the family life of Jessie, Frederick, Mary, and Lulu Daniel Ames. Images show family trips, various residences, pets, toys, cars, friends, and relatives.
Cousin John Kerlin "among the flowers with his wife Cousin Stella," 1941, Rockfield, Ind. #03686, Subseries: "2.5.2. Ames Family Photograph Album, 1924-1941 and undated." P-3686/87
Stella seated beside open casket containing Cousin Kerlin.
Jessie Daniel Ames, Frederick Daniel Ames, and Max (dog), Georgetown, 1911 #03686, Subseries: "2.5.2. Ames Family Photograph Album, 1924-1941 and undated." P-3686/99
Frederick riding a four-wheeled cart.
Mortar Board, Agnes Scott College, Decatur, Ga., 1935-1936 #03686, Subseries: "2.5.2. Ames Family Photograph Album, 1924-1941 and undated." P-3686/104
Lulu Daniel Ames pictured.
Pictures originally contained in an album created by Lulu Daniel Ames documenting her residences, friends, and activities.
"The Deacon and Grandson" #03686, Subseries: "2.5.3. Lulu Daniel Ames Photograph Album, 1898-1956 and undated." P-3686/142
African American man in shirt and tie knealing behind child
"Williamson County (Texas) Cotton Field--1899," #03686, Subseries: "2.5.3. Lulu Daniel Ames Photograph Album, 1898-1956 and undated." P-3686/226
Shows African American workers--men, women, and children--and two white men, one driving wagon, one weighing cotton
Pictures apparently compiled by Jessie Daniel Ames into an album showing Daniel and Ames family ancestors, many dating from the nineteenth century.
|Image Folder PF-3686/54|
|Image Folder PF-3686/55||
Marriage license of James M. Daniel and Laura M. Leonard, 6 January 1877, Carroll County, Ind. #03686, Subseries: "2.5.4. Ames and Daniel Family Photograph Album, 1860s-1942 and undated." PF-3686/55
Originally contained in photo album.
|Special Format Image SF-3686/1|
|Special Format Image SF-3686/2|
Laura Leonard Daniel, Jessie's mother #03686, Subseries: "2.5.4. Ames and Daniel Family Photograph Album, 1860s-1942 and undated." P-3686/252-256
At various ages including 1933, age 79, "last picture of mamma."
|Special Format Image SF-3686/3|
|Oversize Image OP-P-3686/3|
|Image P-3686/265a-b, 266a-b|
Frederick William Ames as an old man #03686, Subseries: "2.5.4. Ames and Daniel Family Photograph Album, 1860s-1942 and undated." P-3686/275
According to inscription, he was "born 1 September 1839."
Loose family pictures. Many of these carry the handwritten identifications of Lulu Daniel Ames.
"Uncle John Ames" #03686, Subseries: "2.5.5. Loose Family Pictures, 1909-1968 and undated." P-3686/323
Man seated in sailor uniform; picture taken in Hong Kong studio.
Frederick, Lulu, and Mary Daniel Ames with Laura, Jessie, and Verona Hardy, Gulfport, Summer 1920 #03686, Subseries: "2.5.5. Loose Family Pictures, 1909-1968 and undated." P-3686/357
Children gathered at swing.
Processed by: Lisa C. Tolbert, February 1994
Encoded by: Roslyn Holdzkom, November 2006Back to Top