Series 2. General Correspondence, 1926-1972

MS 411

9 boxes (4.25 linear feet)

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Series Overview

Series 2 is a miscellany of incoming and outgoing letters for which no specific files appear elsewhere in the Papers. The general correspondence provides information about Bond's major interests, and includes letters of courtesy, as thank-you notes and compliments on speeches; personal business; inquiries and responses about housing, academic invitations to speak and consult; friendly correspondence; and intellectual discourse. Correspondence spans over 40 years of Bond's exchanges, with the most continuous record of correspondence occurring between 1940 and 1960.

Personal correspondence in the Series includes long-term communication with former classmates and professional associates. These include publisher Wendell Dabney, educators Roy Davenport and Cecil Halliburton, race relations advocate T. Edward Davis, PanAfricanist J. G. St. Clair Drake, and educator and publisher I. J. K. Wells.

Long-term but more formal correspondence occurs with West Virginia State College president John W. Davis, Bond's University of Chicago graduate associate Clark Foreman, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College president William H. Gray, childhood acquaintance and educator Eugene D. Raines, Journal of Negro Education editor Charles H. Thompson, Alabama State Teachers College president H. Councill Trenholm, and southern educator John T. Williams.

1926-1935 Correspondence from 1926 through 1935 is relatively sparse but gives a fair representation of Bond's work during these years with the American Social Hygiene Association, Langston University, the State Teachers College at Montgomery, Alabama and other institutions and organizations. Most of Bond's communication with sociologist Robert Ezra Park, black education specialist Ambrose Caliver, and Rosenwald Fund Explorer Allison Davis took place in this period.

1936-1940 The correspondence generated in these years deals increasingly with research and publication projects, as in correspondence with A. A. Schomburg at the New York Public Library and editors of publications such as the Journal of Negro Education and the National Urban League's Opportunity. Significant correspondence includes that with E. Franklin Frazier at Howard University and with writer Donald F. Jones. Of special interest are a 28 May 1937 critical response by Bond regarding a book about slavery, and correspondence with the Board of Home Missions. A letter to I. J. K. Wells in May of 1936 provides a fairly detailed description of Bond's educational and professional activities up to that time.

1941-1945 Correspondence during the World War 2 years includes miscellaneous items reflecting wartime domestic and travel inconveniences. Correspondence, especially that with Joseph V. Baker, pertains to Bond's association with the development of vocational education, the education and reeducation of military veterans, and efforts to increase black employment in industry. Information about the general conditions of black higher education in the South is contained in correspondence with J. W. Holley and in 9 July 1945 correspondence with Rufus Clement.

Significant personal correspondence beginning during this period occurs with Kenneth Bright, Thelma Clement-Boozer and Lewis Wade Jones. Subjects discussed range from music to the frustrations of military life. Correspondence on 8 May 1942 with E. Washington Rhodes, one-time editor of the Washington Post, recounts an episode in 1924 when Rhodes told Bond that he would "never be worth a damn."

1946-1956 General correspondence during Bond's tenure as president of Lincoln University emphasizes Bond's public life. Much of the correspondence consists of invitations to speak and to serve on various educational, civic and race relations committees, and of letters to and from Bond responding to various publications and speeches. Significant correspondence relating to black rights and PanAfricanism occurs with Edgar T. Thompson, professor of sociology and anthropology at Duke University, in March 1950; with Samuel E. Morison on 26 February 1951; and with J. G. St. Clair Drake and Marguerite Cartwright.

Other correspondence during this period includes brief, critical comments by Bond on the historical handling of education by colonialists in Indonesia (Mar 1949 and 12 Apr 1952); and a 3 Jan 1956 statement regarding the concept of equality. Correspondence with Robert C. Weaver describes some of the political difficulties associated with Bond's Lincoln University presidency, on 29 Mar 1956.

Correspondence of personal interest includes exchanges with writer and former classmate Melvin B. "Cap" Tolson and with former student Martin Kilson; as well as with such long-term correspondents as T. Edward Davis.

1957-1962 Correspondence of the late 1950s and early 1960s reflects the desegregation and civil rights activities of the period. Inquiries from and responses to college African studies departments and references to student demonstrations are frequent. Bond's support of the students is made clear in his letter of 15 Apr 1960 to former president Harry S. Truman. The attitudes of some black administrators concerning the demonstrations are described in letters of 27 Apr and 5 May 1960.

Academic inquiries about Africa and about the history and sociology of the South and Pennsylvania are also frequent; questions came from research groups, professors, teachers and students of all ages. Bond's responses were usually generous. Federal government offices also sought Bond's advice, as in correspondence with James C. Evans of the office of the Secretary of Defense (13 May 1960) and with William Weathersby of the United States Information Agency (17 May and 19 June 1961).

Additional special interest correspondence during this period includes a 10 Sept 1958 letter to Stuart Innerst in which Bond discusses the history of black jail and prison populations, an extensive 5 April 1960 response to Max Lerner's reference to "physic disabilities" in which Bond discusses black achievement, and Bond's responses to Carleton Putnam's Race and Reason (15 and 20 July 1962).

Also from this period is Bond's brief note of praise to E. Franklin Frazier on 28 Mar 1962, and correspondence with former student Virginia Durr dealing with a public service television show which had depicted Africans as unfit for freedom (13 June, 1 July and 3 July 1962).

1963-1967 Several inquiries during this period refer to Bond's study of the origins of black doctorates; detailed responses appear on 25 Oct 1963 and 12 Mar 1964, the latter containing ideas for further research. A 15 Nov 1963 letter responds to a question about federal aid to black education in terms of the doctorates study. Other significant correspondence includes a 10 Dec 1963 interview in which Bond describes the "man-made caste" system in the United States, and a circa April 1964 statement by Bond on the effects of racial imbalance on children.

1968-1972 General correspondence towards the end of Bond's life is increasingly miscellaneous and incomplete. Of special interest are letters of 27 Sept 1968 and 1 Oct 1968 which discuss Bond's son Horace Julian, and Nigerian affairs; and Bond's 26 Oct 1968 response to an inquiry about the advisability of removing Little Black Sambo from circulation at the Toledo Public Library.

Collection Details




Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries