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HUM 2

Simmons, Roscoe Conkling, 1881-1951. Papers of Roscoe Conkling Simmons, 1904-1951: an inventory

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Descriptive Summary

Call No.: HUM 2
Repository: Harvard University Archives
Creator: Simmons, Roscoe Conkling, 1881-1951
Title: Papers of Roscoe Conkling Simmons, 1875-1951
Date(s): 1875-1951
Quantity: 35 cubic feet
Abstract: Roscoe Conkling Simmons (born 1878 or 1881, died 1951) was an African-American orator, civic leader, journalist, and politician. He was an active member of the Republican party, a much sought-after public speaker, an advisor to three American presidents, and a journalist in Chicago during the first half of the 20th century. The Papers of Roscoe Conkling Simmons are a rich source for historical information not only on Roscoe Conkling Simmons' public role and life, but on American politics and life of during the first half of the 20th century, particularly regarding politicial activism and social networks of African-Americans.

Acquisition information:

Accession number: 12801; received 1993 December 2 from the Harvard College Library.

Processing Information:

The collection was organized, re-housed, and listed in the early- to mid-1990s.
In 2014, the inventory was converted to electronic text by Kate Bowers.

Researcher Access:

Permission is required for access to this collection. Contact the Harvard University Archives for details. http://askarc.hul.harvard.edu/

Preferred Citation:

Simmons, Roscoe Conkling, 1878-1951. Papers of Roscoe Conkling Simmons, 1904-1951. HUM 2, Harvard University Archives.

Related Materials

Biographical Note

Roscoe Conkling Simmons (born 1878 or 1881, died 1951) was an African-American orator, civic leader, journalist and politician. He graduated from Tuskegee Institute in 1899. He served as head of the Colored Division of the Speakers' Bureau of the Republican National Committee in 1920, 1924, and 1928. He was an advisor to three American presidents. He worked for the Chicago Defender from 1916 through the mid-1930s, and for the Chicago Tribune from the late 1940's until his death in 1951.
The date of his birth is uncertain. Obituaries state his age in 1951 as anywhere between Simmons' own assertion that he was sixty-three and his oldest friends' statements that place his age nearer to seventy-five. A birth date of June 20,1878 in Greenview Mississippi is listed in the earliest inventories of his papers produced by the Harvard University Archives. A passport appliction holds a 1918 certification of birth signed by his parents that state the year and place of his birth as 1881 in Macon, Mississippi. See Kaye, Andrew M. Roscoe Conkling Simmons and the Mechanics of Black Leaderhisp, 1899-1951 (Thesis, doctoral--University of Newcastle upon Tyne, 2002), p. 23 for information on the evidence for various dates and places of birth.

Roscoe Conkling Simmons Chronology

Chronology

Chronology

Arrangement

The collection is arranged into fourteen groups:

Scope and Content

The Papers of Roscoe Conkling Simmons are a rich source for historical information not only on Roscoe Conkling Simmons' public role and life, but a source for American politics and life of during the first half of the 20th century, particularly the politicial activism and social networks of African-Americans.
The collection includes correspondence, manuscripts of speeches and writings, personal and financial papers, photographs, news clippings of stories and columns by and about Simmons, as well as public announcements and event programs for Simmons' speeches. The correspondence includes communications with individuals, organizations, and family members as well as correspondence relating to Simmons' work for the Republican National Committee.
Also included are various publications and printed materials collected by Simmons, personal memorabilia, and sound recordings.

Inventory update

This document last updated 2016 October 12.

Container List