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Magarie Andrews Smith family papers


Held at: Historical Society of Frankford [Contact Us]1507 Orthodox St., Philadelphia, PA, 19124

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Society of Frankford. 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

Magarie Edna Green Andrews Smith was born on May 30, 1911 in Elveton, West Virginia to Leila Nuckols Green and Reerand Joseph L. Green. She attended boarding school and graduated from Simmons High School in West Virginia in 1931. Magarie was a member of the New Line Baptist Church in Louise County, Virginia.

In 1933, she moved Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and married Robert Andrews in 1934. Together, they had six children. The family resided in the Frankford section of Philadelphia. During World War II, Magarie worked at an umbrella factory that made parachutes for the war. Robert first worked at Plumb, a manufacturer of axes, hammers, and hatches on Tacony Street. He later attended the Wilmont School and a technical school to learn electrical work as a second job.

Robert passed away in 1950. In order to support her five surviving children, Magarie became a baby nurse. Magarie had attended nursing school and found work as a domestic and baby nurse for white families in the area. Magarie continued to work as a baby nurse until she retired in 1970.

Magarie was later remarried to Ralph Smith, who passed away in 1990. She became a member of the Campbell A.M.E Church and sang in the Senior Choir. She also served as a member of the Pastor's Aid Club.

Magarie passed away on February 14, 2001 in the Frankford section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

This collection consists of funeral programs, photographs, and other materials that relate to Magarie Smith, her family, and the Frankford section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The bulk of the collection consists of late twentieth-century funeral programs for members of the African American community of Frankford. The programs are generally one-sheet pages folded into small 4-page booklets. A few of the programs are larger, more elaborate books. Most of the programs include a photograph of the deceased, a one-page obituary or biography of the deceased, and information on the interment. Most of the services were held at either Second Baptist or Campbell AME churches, two of the most prominent African American churches in Frankford. Northeast Baptist and St. Thomas United Methodist also appear in some of the programs, and a few of the services took place at other Philadelphia area African American churches. The most common funeral home listed in the programs is Walton B. Brown Funeral Home in Frankford. There are an estimated 200 programs dating from 1968 to 2001, although the bulk of them date from the 1980s and 1990s. Magarie Andrews Smith's funeral program is included in the collection.

There is also a large amount of photographs in the collection, taken by Robert Andrews. The photographs depict members of the Andrews family as well as the African American community in Frankford. Some, but not all, of the photographs are labeled. Notable individuals depicted in the photographs include Dr. Clark, the first African American doctor in Frankford, and Dr. Priestly, an African American dentist who was one of the first black people to move to the west side of Frankford Avenue.

The collection also includes a small amount of other materials from the family, such as financial materials, business cards, and postcards.

Gift of Eleanor Andrews, 2007-2008.

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2014-2016 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 the Historical Society of Frankford directly for more information.

Historical Society of Frankford
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Sarah Leu and Anastasia Matijkiw 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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