Ruth Wright Hayre papers
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
Dr. Ruth Wright Hayre (1910-1998) was a distinguished educator and administrator in Philadelphia's public school system, as well as a philanthropist. Dr. Hayre was the first African American high school teacher in the School District of Philadelphia (William Penn High School, 1946), the first African American high school principal in Philadelphia (William Penn High School, 1955), the first African American public school superintendent (District Four, 1963), and the first female president of Philadelphia's Board of Education (1990).
Ruth Wright Hayre graduated from high school at age 15 and received a scholarship to attend the University of Pennsylvania. Three and a half years later, Hayre graduated with a bachelor's degree in education. By 1930 she had a master's degree in English literature, also from the University of Pennsylvania. After receiving her degrees, Hayre worked as a teacher, and later, as a principal in Arkansas before moving on to teach in both Dayton, Ohio and Washington, D.C. She married Talmadge Hayre in 1937 and returned to Philadelphia in 1939, when he accepted a position at Cheyney State College. In 1942 Hayre started working as a junior high school teacher in Philadelphia, until she became the first African American high school teacher in Philadelphia at William Penn High School in 1946. This set her on the path to the distinguished positions listed above: high school principal, public school superintendant, and Board of Education president.
Ruth Hayre came from a line of prominent African Americans in the Philadelphia area. Her father, Bishop Richard R. Wright, Jr., was the first African American to receive a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, served as President of Wilberforce University, and was appointed a bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Her grandfather, Richard Robert Wright, Sr., was the first African American paymaster for the United Stated Army (1898), served as President of Georgia State Industrial College for Colored Youth (1891-1921), now Savannah State University, and founded Citizens and Southern Bank of Philadelphia.
Ruth Wright Hayre resume and autobiography. Items found in collection.
"Wright-Hayre Fund." The Philadelphia Foundation. 2014. Accessed January 8, 2014. https://www.philafound.org/Giving/DonorStories/WrightHayreFund/tabid/673/Default.aspx.
Dean, Mensah M. "Educator Ruth Hayre Dies; Set Many Firsts for Philly Schools in Stellar Career." Philadelphia Daily News, January 31, 1998. Accessed January 8, 2014. http://articles.philly.com/1998-01-31/news/25748617_1_board-member-black-teachers-school-board.
This collection documents the education and professional career of Dr. Hayre thoroughly, and also contains material about her family and the associations and organizations to which she belonged.
The collection is organized into series, and then folders sorted alphabetically: Series I. Personal (includes diary from a 1930s trip to Europe, academic records, personal correspondence, resume/biography, professional development, wedding announcement, daughter's school reports); Series II. School District (includes William Penn High School for Girls plans and reports); Series III. Scholarship Fund (applications and administrative files); Series IV. Subject Files (includes materials on organizations for which she served on the board or of which she was a member, such as the African American Museum in Philadelphia, Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, and numerous other organizations); Series V. Speeches and Notes (from lectures and events); Series VI. Clippings (photocopies); Series VII. Photographs (mostly dating from 1930s-1990; includes several scrapbooks with clippings and letters, and one scrapbook compiled by a school upon Hayre's appointment to the school board).
Most of the boxes have inventories.
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.
- School District of Philadelphia, Pa.
- University of Pennsylvania
- William Penn High School (Philadelphia, Pa.)
- African American educators
- African American school superintendents
- African American women educators
- African American women school principals
- 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.
- Access Restrictions
Contact African American Museum in Philadelphia for information about accessing this collection.