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Doris Bullock collection


Held at: African American Museum in Philadelphia [Contact Us]701 Arch St., Philadelphia, PA, 19106

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the African American Museum in Philadelphia. 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

Doris Virginia Powers Bullock, born on October 24, 1924, was a school teacher and counselor in the School District of Philadelphia. She received a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master of Education from Temple University in 1950 and 1953, respectively. She taught at several junior high schools in the Philadelphia school district before becoming a counselor. In the mid 1960s, Doris joined the staff at Strawberry Mansion Junior High School and remained there until retirement in the early 1980s. During her work as a teacher and counselor, Doris also wrote a weekly column for the Philadelphia Afro-American, worked as an associate editor for both the student newspaper at Temple and About Education, and contributed to other periodicals.

While she was a teenager, Doris was part of a social club called "The Gay Charmers." She met Leon Bullock at a dance sponsored by The Gay Charmers, and they later married in 1952. The club's activities exposed Doris to various facets of African American culture, particularly art and music. She found she had a passion for both art and music, but especially opera. She and Leon, who worked as a claims adjuster for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA), became very involved in promoting and supporting African American artists and classical singers. They became friends with many artists and owned an extensive amount of artwork by African American artists, which they exhibited at the African American Museum in Philadelphia. Doris and Leon also hosted an opera singer during the Opera Company of Philadelphia International Vocal Competition. Doris served on the board of directors as Board Member Emeritus for the African American Museum in Philadelphia, helped establish Philadelphia Opera Ebony (now Opera North, Inc.), and served on the Board of Directors of the Dr. Ruth Wright Hayre Scholarship Fund. After many years of supporting the arts in Philadelphia, Doris Bullock passed away in 2000.

This collection contains a large amount of material relating to African American culture with an emphasis on theater, opera, visual arts, and politicians. There are clippings, full issues of periodicals, flyers, and other ephemera and printed materials. There is an alphabetical file of theaters, as well as a roughly alphabetical file of actors, including a file of autographs from both local and national stars. There are also some materials on the African American Museum in Philadelphia.

The collection features a small amount of personal and primary materials, including: notes and correspondence; several photograph albums depicting family and events, circa 1890-1990; and two autograph albums with photos, circa 1920s-1940s.

Various types of audio visual materials are in the collection, including 22 VHS and 5 reel-to-reel tapes, several audiocassettes, a film negative, and five LP records. There are also a few works of art, namely a pen and ink drawing, two etchings, and two paintings (possibly acrylic on paper). Finally, the collection includes a box of plaques/certificates, dozens of buttons (both political and non-political), and a cotton bud.

An inventory that covers part of the collection is available on-site.

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2012-2014 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.

In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact African American Museum in Philadelphia directly for more information.

African American Museum in Philadelphia
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Sarah Leu through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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