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George Family Photograph Collection

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Title: George Family Photograph Collection
Inclusive Dates: 1941-1968
Quantity: 0.25 linear ft.
Abstract: A collection of candid family photographs, most from the Georges, reflecting African-American life in the mid-twentieth century. The collection includes family members, friends, and colleagues spanning several states including Texas, Georgia, Illinois, California, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Tennessee, and Kansas
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Very little information is present in the collection, but one of the postcards has a name and home address. From that, and based on extensive research in, the US census,, and information from curators of related collections (see Related Material below), the collection appears to be that of the George family. Very few of the photographs are labeled, however; while a few more were identifed through the abovementioned research, the identities of most are unknown. Dates were also inferred through research as only a portion of the photographs are dated. Copies of the familial records as uncovered through research by SCRC staff have been placed in departmental files.

The Georges were an African American family from Atlanta, Georgia. They had a tradition of scholarly achievements and community membership wherever they went. Between 1920 and 1960 the family moved several times for education, employment, and military deployment. They also had numerous friends and colleagues throughout the United States, including Texas, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Georgia, California, Tennessee, and Kansas.

Claude Clarence George Sr. was a graduate of the Tuskegee Institute (1912) who went on to become an educator and later an insurance agent. He married Claudia Johnson George in 1917. She was a graduate of Howard University and later became an educator for Howard herself. Together they had seven children: four sons (Bennie Johnson, Wilbur Green, Claude C. Jr., and John), and three daughters (Laurel, Evelyn, and Cora).

Bennie Johnson George enlisted in the army and later attended Delaware State University. After a few years he returned to Delaware State where he was Physical Education Professor and head football coach. He married Dorothy Luella Poole, with whom he had three daughters, Peggy Ann Nealy, Rosemarie Heflin, and Stacie Lynn Bratten; and a son, Theo Braunskill.

Wilbur Green George married Louise Victoria Yelverton and together they had a son, James Wendell George, and a daughter, Claudia George-Washington.

Claude C. George, Jr. became a doctor and married Gwendolyn Lampkin. They had two daughters, Yvette G. George and Colette George Scott.

John George went on to become an attorney in Oakland ,California and was the first African American elected to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.

Laurel George married Alfred Mouton and Cora George married Dr. James Greene Sr. Cora and William had two sons Michael Greene and James C. Greene Jr.

Evelyn George married William Castille. Evelyn and William had seven daughters: Valorie Jacquet, Tracey Castille, Kristy Castille, Eva Young, Dorothy Castille, Dorthea Castille, and Debra Castille-Hall.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The George Family Photograph Collection is a collection of photographs and postcards featuring members of an African-American family, their friends and relatives, including several who served in the U.S military.

Photographs contains 186 photographs, five photographic post-cards, and one funeral procession program. There are a few formal portrait photographs, but the majority are candid photos taken at home or at various events, such as graduation, school performances, teacher's dances, and community and family gatherings. There are several photographs of young children.

There are photos of several unidentified African American men in military uniform, including the Marines, Air Force, and Army. There is also a series of photographs of a U.S. Army Recruiting Officer captioned "to Pop from son Joseph". Though many of the individuals in the photographs have not been identified, a few individuals are prominently featured, one of whom is the Joseph mentioned above. He also appears in a few photographs with Japanese men and women; it is not known when or where these photos were taken. Several predominately or exclusively African American schools appear in the collection, with one labeled as a teacher's dance and another showing several graduates standing in front of a "Carver High" sign. Some of the photographs include references to, or identifable locations in, Texas, California, Georgia, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Delaware, Tennessee, and Kansas.

The photos range in size from 1" x 1" to 8" x 7.5". Many of the photographs are undated and one distinctly appears to be a copy of a 19th century photograph based on the attire the individuals are wearing. Those photographs that are dated range from 1941-1968. Some of the photographs have creases and tears but most are in good condition.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Photographs are foldered, organized by like size, and when possible recognizable or identifiable individuals appearing in several photos have been grouped together.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advance notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Related Material

See also the Dr. Claude C. George, Jr. family papers at the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History in Atlanta, Georgia, and the Delaware State College Sports Photograph collection, c. 1945-1965 at the Delaware State University Archives, William C. Jason Library, in Dover, Delaware.

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Subject Headings


George family.
George, Bennie Johnson.
George, Claudia.
Johnson, Nathaniel.
Stephens, William.

Corporate Bodies

City University of New York. -- City College.
Delaware State University.
United States. -- Air Force -- African Americans.
United States. -- Army -- African American troops.
United States. -- Marine Corps.
United States. -- Navy -- African Americans.


African Americans -- Photographs.
Graduation (School)
Japanese Americans– Photographs.
Vietnam War, 1961-1975.


Atlanta (Ga.) -- History -- 20th century.
Chattanooga (Tenn.) -- History -- 20th century.
Chicago (Ill.) -- History -- 20th century.
Fort Leavenworth (Kan.) -- History -- 20th century.
Los Angeles (Calif.) -- History -- 20th century.
New Jersey -- History -- 20th century.
New York -- History -- 20th century.
Texas -- History -- 20th century.

Genres and Forms


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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

George Family Photograph Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Purchased, 2020.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: MGC
Date: 6 Mar 2020
Revision history:

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Box 1 Miscellaneous photographs 1942, 1949-1950, 1953-1954, 1957-1961, 1968, undated
This folder includes photographs of several Japanese persons with a U.S. Army Recruiting Officer. There are two photos of African American men from Delaware State University, one identified in writing as William Stephens and another unidentified. There are four photographs with the photography studio addresses listed (MD. State College Photo Dept, Fort Valley Georgia, Chicago Illinois, and Atlanta Georgia_. There is a photograph of a young girl posing for a dance recital, identified in a caption as Marlene Baker. The folder also has two birth announcement photographs: 5-5-1957 11 days Michele Teree Poole and 10-8-1942 6 weeks (no name visible). There are also several school portraits with writing on the back. This folder also has a photo which distinctly appears to be a copy of a much older photograph, perhaps 19th century.
Box 1 Miscellaneous photographs 1945, 1953-1955, 1958-1961, undated
This folder includes a photograph of David Jackson (identified by handwritten caption) in a United States Navy uniform standing in front of a train "Los Angeles Special" with a sign that says "Goodbye Calif. 1945". There is a photograph of an unidentified African American man in U.S. Air Force uniform. There is also a series of photos of a child's birthday party and a photo of two young women sitting in front of a building with a small sign that says Suarez. There are two postcards, one with a name on the back seemingly identifying the woman as Marie E. Kelley and the other a letter addressed to a Miss Serlina Williams from her brother [J.?] B. Williams.
Box 1 Miscellaneous photographs 1941-1942, 1948, 1954, 1958, 1968, undated
This folder includes the postcard from Bennie Johnson to his mother Claudia in 1942 during his military enlistment, which was the starting point for the research mentioned above that led to the identification of the collection. There is also an advertisement for the play Deep are the Roots which premiered on Broadway in 1945. There are several portraits of African American women and two Christmas cards, one from the Grants, the other from the Bryants. There is a signed photograph of saxophone player Norman Satchell. There are three more photos of William Stephens with friends, presumably at Delaware State University. There is a photo of a young United States Marine in front of a sign that says "Maintenance Company Provisional Service Battalion 9th MAB" presumably taken in Okinawa, Japan. There is a series of photos of the United States Army Recruiting officer signed "to Pop from son Joseph".
Box 1 Miscellaneous photographs 1944, 1954-1955, 1964, undated
This folder includes a funeral program for La Nelle Cameron Salter in 1944 Chicago. US Census data indicates that Ms Salter lived with Willie Mae Williams, Claudia George's sister, as a lodger in 1940. There is a Christmas card with "Fort Leavenworth Kansas 1968" written on the back. There is a portrait of a young African American man named Ronnie with a note to his sister Peggy written on the back. There are a few photographs of a teachers' dance captioned "Scene: Wilcox Co. Teachers dance 55". There is a series of photographs of several African American students graduating. The building in front of which they are standing has a sign that reads "Carver High".

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