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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the James E. Shepard Memorial Library at North Carolina Central University. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web.
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||13.5 feet of linear shelf space|
|Abstract||Historian and civic leader Helen Grey Edmonds was born in Lawrenceville, Va., on 3 December 1911 to John and Ann Edmonds. From 1941 until her retirement in 1977, she held faculty and administrative positions at the North Carolina College for Negroes (later, North Carolina College at Durham, and then, North Carolina Central University) including dean of the graduate school and chair of the History Department. Edmonds was the first African American woman to receive a Ph.D. at Ohio State University and the first African American woman to become a graduate school dean in the United States. Correspondence, speeches, notes, reports, newspaper clippings, programs, and other files document Helen G. Edmond's involvement in civic, political, and social organizations including Links, Inc.; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority; 100 Black Women; National Council of Negro Women, Inc.; NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; North Carolina College for Negroes; the National Coalition of Black Women; the National Humanities Center; the Association for Women in Math; and the United Negro College Fund. Notable correspondents include Julius L. Chambers, Elaine R. Jones, and Earl Warren. Materials also document Edmonds's influence on local, national, and international political and civic affairs of African Americans and reflect her commitment to higher education and race relations. Also included are some materials relating to the Edmonds family.|
|Creator||Edmonds, Helen G. (Helen Grey), 1911-1995.|
|Curatorial Unit||North Carolina Central University. James E. Shepard Memorial Library.|
Processed by: Andre D. Vann, Shanee Yvette Murrain, Clyde Wilson, Charlene Bumphus, Sashir Moore, and Youssef J. Carter
Finding aid authored by: Shanee Yvette Murrain, Clyde Wilson, and Youssef J. Carter
Encoded by: Joyce Chapman, 2012.
Updated: February 2020Back to Top
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.
Helen Grey Edmonds was born in Lawrenceville, Va., on 3 December 1911 to John and Ann Edmonds. She attended Saint Paul's High School and Junior College. In 1933, Edmonds received a B.A. in history from Morgan State College in Baltimore, Md. In 1938, she received an M.A. in History at Ohio State University, and, in 1946, she became the first black woman to receive a Ph.D. from Ohio State University. Edmonds conducted postdoctoral research and studied at the University of Heidelberg in West Germany from 1954 to 1955.
Edmonds began her teaching career at Virginia Theological Seminary and College in Lynchburg, Va., in 1934, after receiving her bachelor's degree. One year later, she became the Dean of Women at Saint Paul's College, her alma mater. In the spring of 1941, James E. Shepard, president of North Carolina College for Negroes (later, North Carolina College at Durham, and then, North Carolina Central University), recruited her for the faculty at the College. From that time until her retirement in 1977, Edmonds served the College in many capacities: as a professor of history, chair of the Department of History, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, member of the Interim Committee for the Administration of the University, and advisor to the Drama Club. After retiring, Edmonds served on the Board of Trustees at North Carolina Central University (NCCU), mentored chancellors who were appointed after her retirement, and participated in educational and cultural activities at NCCU until her death in 1995.
Over the course of her career, Edmonds served as visiting professor or lecturer at more than 100 institutions of higher learning in the United States and abroad, including Portland State University, Rochester University, Virginia State University, Ohio State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Radcliffe College, University of Stockholm, Free University of Berlin, University of Liberia, and the University of Monrovia. In recognition of her accomplishments in higher education, she received numerous honors and awards including the O. Max Gardner Award from UNC System of Higher Education and the William Hugh McEniry Award from Stetson University. In addition, she served on the Board of Trustees at Saint Paul's College, Voorhees College, Washington Technical Institute, and NCCU. She received eight honorary degrees in her lifetime from Morgan State, Shaw College at Detroit, Saint Paul's College, NCCU, Ohio State University, Duke University, Virginia Union, and MacMurray College.
Edmonds was involved at the local, national, and international levels in civic, government, and social organizations. She was active in the United States Republican Party, served as an alternate delegate to the General Assembly of the United Nations, and was a member of the Defense Advisory Council on Women in the United States Armed Services. In 1956, she seconded the presidential nomination of General Dwight D. Eisenhower at the Republican National Convention. She chaired the United States delegation to the Third Committee of the United Nations in 1970 and was appointed by President Nixon to serve on the National Advisory Council of the Peace Corps. She held appointments in the Department of State and Department of Defense and served on the Board of Directors for the International Women's Year Conference in Mexico City. She received three citations from President Nixon in recognition of her service.
Edmonds was a member of the Links, Inc. (a women's service organization with a predominantly African American membership), Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, 100 Black Women, National Council of Negro Women, Inc., and National Council of Negro Women of the U.S.A. She served on the board of directors of the Southern Fellowship Fund, Inc., United Negro College Fund, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Robert Moton Memorial Institute, and United Research and Development Corporation. Edmonds was the Fifth National President of Links, Inc., from 1970 to 1974, and while in office, she launched the Grants-In-Aid program.
Edmonds died in 1995 in Durham, N.C.Back to Top
Correspondence, speeches, notes, reports, newspaper clippings, programs, and other files document Helen G. Edmond's involvement in civic, political, and social organizations including the Links, Inc.; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority; 100 Black Women; National Council of Negro Women, Inc.; NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; North Carolina College for Negroes; the National Coalition of Black Women; the National Humanities Center; the Association for Women in Math; and the United Negro College Fund. Notable correspondents include Julius L. Chambers, Elaine R. Jones, and Earl Warren. Materials also document Edmonds's influence on local, national, and international political and civic affairs of African Americans and reflect her commitment to higher education and race relations.Back to Top
Included in this series are program bulletins, correspondence, meeting minutes, organizational files, committee reports, agendas, and invitations documenting Edmond's involvement with organizations including--but not limited to--Delta Sigma Theta, Grannies, International Women, Who's Who in the World, Southern Fellowship Fund, Inc., Black Women's Agenda, and National Council of Negro Women, Inc.
Subject files contain materials such as correspondence, programs, newspaper clippings, and research project proposals related to Edmond's involvement with a number of organizations and individuals, including the National Coalition of Black Women, the National Humanities Center, Saint Titus Episcopal Church (Durham, N.C.), the Association for Women in Math, the White House Points of Lights Program, and the United Negro College Fund. Notable communications include those with Etta Motten Barnet, American actress and vocalist.
This series contains correspondence, meeting minutes, newspaper clippings, organizational files, and committee reports related to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, a United States civil rights organization and law firm for which Edmonds sat on the board of directors. Materials relate to the educational program, corporate fundraising initiatives, United States Supreme Court memoranda and appeals. Notable correspondents include Julius Chambers, Elaine R. Jones, and Earl Warren.
Folders 46-48 and 49-51 contain duplicate materials.
Folders 129 and 130 contain duplicate content.
Folders 131 and 132 contain duplicate content.
This series contains course syllabi, lecture notes, exam questions, and other materials related to Edmond's tenure as a distinguished professor of history and chair of the History Department at NCCU. Other materials include reports on academic affairs, faculty handbooks, newspaper clippings, University Board of Trustees memos and bylaws, and correspondence related to the 1978 NCCU Founder's Day Celebration.
This series contains correspondence with local and national educators, political figures, and others concerning conferences and lecture occasions, African American community development, and national university leadership institutes. Correspondence is chiefly between Edmonds and national academic institutions. Included are letters of support requests from colleagues and former students. Programs, bulletins, faculty publications, resumes, and student records are interfiled with associated correspondence.
This series contains the text of speeches, notes for speeches, and programs for occasions at which Edmonds spoke. Speeches and writings address a variety of topics including African American leadership, civic engagement, civil rights, and education. Edmond's speeches were delivered at annual meetings, churches, and colleges and universities across the United States and the world. She also addressed professional educational organizations including the Bicentennial Conference of the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History. Prominent speeches include "Black Women and the Professionals: Looking Toward the Twenty-First Century" (1987), "Come Down to Kew in Lilac Time" (1974), and "The Missing Pages in American History and Attempts to Find Them" (1979). The speeches are arranged chronologically and listed by title. Undated speeches are filed together at the end of the series.
Correspondence with three organizational presidents, constitutions and bylaws, charters for new chapters, convention planning notes, agendas, and meeting notes provide extensive documentation of Edmond's contributions to the nonprofit organization the Links, Inc. Edmonds participated in the Links as a mentor and consultant, and she served as the fifth national president (1970-1974).
This series contains letters from Edmond's niece and letters to Edmond's brother John H. Edmonds. Also included are Edmond's consulting requests, memoirs, curriculum vitae, family tree, and family funeral programs.
Clippings represent a variety of publications and a broad range of perspectives on contemporary issues including, but not limited to, administration at NCCU, race relations, Martin Luther King Jr., African Americans in higher education, civil rights, Edmond's speaking engagements, and receipt of awards of distinction.