Main content

Booker T. Washington letters to Henry Pleasants Jr.


Held at: Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections [Contact Us]370 Lancaster Ave, Haverford, PA 19041

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) was a Black American educator and orator who led the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama, from 1881 until his death in 1915. Washington gave a lecture at Haverford College in Roberts Hall on December 6, 1905 entitled "Some Phases of the Negro Problem." The lecture was delivered under the auspices of the Civics Department of the Loganian Society, later known as the Civics Club, chaired at the time by Henry Pleasants Jr., Haverford Class of 1906. Washington was introduced by President Isaac Sharpless. According to the January 1906 issue of

The Haverfordian, Washington "dealt with the negro and industrial education in his logical, common-sense way, now and then adding a bit of humor to drive home a point." Washington "laid emphasis upon the fact that the negro would have to become of social value before he could attain social recognition." The Haverfordian article notes that Washington "said to the colored people in the audience: 'Get a bit of property. Get a bank account. No one will have any use or respect for you until you get something that they want. When you get it they will have use for you; when you show them that you can hold your own against them, when they try to get it away from you, they will have respect for you.'" Washington went on to discuss "the efficiency of industrial education" and the Tuskegee Institute.

In his second letter to Pleasants in March 1906, Washington thanked him for the Civics Club's donation of seventy-one dollars to the Tuskegee Institute. This donation coincides with a capital campaign that Washington launched in January 1906 to raise money for the school.

After graduating from Haverford, Henry Pleasants Jr. (1884-1963) received an M.D. from University of Pennsylvania in 1910 and went on to practice medicine in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

This collection consists of two letters written by Booker T. Washington to Henry Pleasants Jr. in December 1905 and March 1906. Each letter is accompanied by its corresponding envelope. In the December 16, 1905 letter, Washington acknowledges his receipt of a letter from Pleasants, presumably thanking him for his lecture at Haverford on December 6th. In the March 16, 1906 letter, Washington expresses his gratitude to the "Civics Club of Haverford" for their donation of seventy-one dollars to the Tuskegee Institute and tells Pleasants that he enjoyed his stay at Haverford. Washington concludes the letter by noting that a receipt from the Institute's treasurer is enclosed, but this receipt is not included in this collection.

Arranged chronologically

Purchase, March 2024

Processed by Elizabeth Jones-Minsinger, completed April 2024.

Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
Elizabeth Jones-Minsinger
Finding Aid Date
April, 2024
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Law Applies (U.S. Title 17)

Collection Inventory

Booker T. Washington letters to Henry Pleasants Jr., 1905 December 16 - 1906 March 16.
Box 1

Print, Suggest