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MC 268; M-136

Surles, Flora Belle, 1887-1971?. Papers of Flora Belle Surles, 1917-1973. A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: MC 268; M-136
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Flora Belle Surles, 1887-1971?
Title: Papers of Flora Belle Surles, 1917-1973
Date(s): 1917-1973
Quantity: .21 linear feet (1/2 file box)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Correspondence, photographs, etc., of Flora Belle Surles, WPA supervisor and publisher.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 78-M14, 79-M67
The papers of Flora Belle Surles were given to the Schlesinger Library in February 1978 and April 1979 by Esther (Royall) Gregorie. The collection was reprocessed and microfilmed as part of a Schlesinger Library/University Publications of America project

Processing Information:

Reprocessed: September 1992
By: Bert Hartry

Access Restrictions:

Access. Originals are closed; use microfilm M-136.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Flora Belle Surles is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Flora Belle Surles Papers, 1917-1973; item description, dates. MC 268, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


Flora Belle Surles was born on October 20, 1887, in Crenshaw County, Alabama, the daughter of Mary Ellen (King) and Robert Lewis Surles. She attended business school in Montgomery and graduated from Alabama Girls Technical College. In 1917 she went to Washington, D.C., to represent the business interests of a group of southern lumbermen. After World War I she took a secretarial post with the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, where in 1924 she met Jeannette Rankin.
Surles returned to the south in 1927 and earned an A.B. at Alabama College. She then moved to South Carolina, where from 1935 to 1941 she was supervisor of WPA historical records and research projects. In 1968 she published a biography, Anne King Gregorie, Surles and Anne King Gregorie were close friends and shared a house in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. Esther R. Gregorie, Anne King Gregorie's sister-in-law, donated Surles's papers to the Schlesinger Library.


This collection consists almost entirely of letters from Jeannette Rankin to Flora Belle Surles (#1-6); some are addressed to Surles and Anne King Gregorie. They contain little of political interest, but are mainly about the weather, friends and family, health, gardening, Rankin's house in Watkinsville, Georgia, and comments on her travels. There are several letters from Rankin to Esther R. Gregorie and to Surles from others and some miscellaneous items, clippings, and photographs.
These papers provide little information about Surles. Letters from Surles to Rankin appear in the Jeannette Rankin papers; see MC 246 in the Schlesinger Library and elsewhere on this microfilm.
Most clippings were discarded after microfilming.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

India--Description and travel
Pacifists--United States
Small houses--Georgia
Women--Political activity--United States
National Council for Prevention of War
Rankin, Jeannette, 1880-1973