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Booker T. Washington Letters

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Washington, Booker T., 1856-1915.
Title: Booker T. Washington Letters
Inclusive Dates: 1896-1912
Quantity: 3 items (SC)
Abstract: Papers of the African-American educator.
Abstract: Three letters giving information about or requesting contributions for Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) was an African-American educator, writer and civil rights activist who was most famous for his founding of the Tuskegee Institute. He was born into slavery April 5 on the plantation of James Burroughs in Hale's Ford, Franklin County, Virginia. After the Emancipation Proclamation, Washington and his family moved to Malden, West Virginia, where he worked in a salt mine in the mornings and afternoons, attending elementary school in the interim hours. At seventeen, he was accepted into the Hampton Institute in Virginia under the caveat that he work to pay his board. He graduated in 1875 and later returned to teach night school. This eventually led to his being chosen to found the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Alabama, a teachers' college for black students.

Washington was also a prolific writer, editor and speaker. He was an advocate for cooperation and equality between races, and an opponent of racism. He worked and clashed with other prominent African American activists such as W.E.B. DuBois, and he worked with other famous personages like John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie. His autobiography, Up From Slavery, was published in 1901 and became a best seller. His tireless work for the advancement of the black community was continuous up until his death on Nov. 14, 1915, which was attributed to overwork and hypertension.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Booker T. Washington Letters consist of three outgoing items written between 1896 and 1912. The letters to Francis Wade and William Whitney are appeals for clothing and money to aid students attending the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute.

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Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is arranged alphabetically by correspondent name.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced 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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Subject Headings


Washington, Booker T., 1856-1915 -- Correspondence.

Corporate Bodies

Tuskegee Institute.


African Americans.
Educators -- United States.

Genres and Forms

Letters (correspondence)



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Booker T. Washington Letters,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Finding Aid Information

Created by: [Summit record]
Date: 2001-01-01
Revision history: 3 Apr 2009 - converted to EAD (AM)

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SC 56, Folder 1 Day, Delia P. 1 Dec 1896
SC 56, Folder 2 Wade, Francis R. 25 Oct 1911
SC 56, Folder 3 Whitney, William B. 18 Mar 1912

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