Pauline A. Young collection
Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library 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
Pauline Alice Young was born on August 17, 1900, in West Medford, Massachusetts, to Mary Leila and James Ross Young. She grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, where she attended Howard High School from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Her aunt was the poet, educator, and activist Alice Dunbar-Nelson (1875-1935), who was briefly married to the poet Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906).
Young received her bachelor's degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania in 1921, where she was also one of the charter members of the Gamma chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority. She went on to earn a degree in library science at Columbia University in the summer of 1935. She worked on the press staff of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama in the early 1920s. From 1924-1955, she worked at Howard High School as a teacher and then as a librarian, also teaching for a time within that period at the University of Southern California. After she retired, she served in the Peace Corps, training librarians and cataloging books in Jamaica from 1962-1964. Young remained active upon her return from the Peace Corps, continuing to substitute teach and lecture, as well as participate in the many organizations with which she was affiliated. She was a lifetime member of the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History. She was active in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from childhood, and as an adult served for a time as president of the Delaware State Conference of Branches as well as chair of the state education committee. She was involved in the League of Women Voters and the American Federation of Teachers, and she received numerous awards throughout her lifetime for her work in education and Black history.
Pauline Young grew up in a household that was deeply involved in the civil rights and suffragist movements, which influenced her own activist tendencies. She was extremely interested in African American history, especially that of Delaware, as she felt that this historical perspective had been sorely neglected in local schools. In response to the need for more awareness of African American history, Young contributed to Henry Clay Reed's three-volumeDelaware: A History of the First State (1947), with a piece entitled "The Negro in Delaware: Past and Present." She was an avid collector of African Americana, intending for the items she saved to serve as a springboard for serious research into Black history and culture. Her collections served as the basis of the memorabilia room established at Howard High School after she donated several materials in 1976. Pauline Young died on June 26, 1991.
Campbell, Roy H. "Archives of Achievement." Philadelphia Inquirer, February 27, 1991. Newspapers.com.Canavan, Kathy. "At 90, George Johnson Is Still Ahead of His Time." Evening Journal (Wilmington, DE), April 24, 1979. Newspapers.com."Howard School Affairs." News Journal (Wilmington, DE), September 11, 1935. Newspapers.com.Johnson, Allen, and Dumas Malone, ed. Dictionary of American Biography. vol III. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1958.Lyon, Marvin P., Jr. "Blacks at Penn, then and now." In A Pennsylvania Album: Undergraduate Essays on the 250th Anniversary, edited by Richard Slator Dunn and Mark Frazier Lloyd, 43-47. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1990.Massachusetts Vital Records, 1840–1911. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts. Ancestry.com."Miss Pauline Young retired in '55, hasn't rested since." Afro-American (Baltimore, MD), February 23, 1963. ProQuest Historical Newspapers.Young, Pauline A. oral history. MSS 0179, Robert H. Richards, Jr., Delaware Oral History collection, Special Collections, University of Delaware Library.Other biographical material derived from the collection.
The Pauline A. Young collection largely contains material either gathered or written by Pauline Young, much of which relates to Alice Dunbar-Nelson and Paul Laurence Dunbar. The collection itself consists of correspondence, periodical clippings and photocopies, photographs, brochures, programs, and ephemera. The collection is divided into four series: I. Correspondence, II. Articles and publications, III. Biography, and IV. Ephemera.
The first series spans the period 1924-1985 and primarily contains Pauline A. Young's correspondence with publishing companies regarding works by Alice Dunbar-Nelson and Paul Laurence Dunbar.
The second series spans the period 1925-1988 and contains several complete journals, numerous clippings, and photocopies of articles, brochures, and programs for symposia and performances.
The third series spans the period 1971-1980 and contains biographical works about Alice Dunbar-Nelson, an autobiographical sketch by Pauline A. Young, and material concerning biographical stage performances of the life and work of Paul Laurence Dunbar.
The fourth series spans the period 1935-1983 and contains miscellaneous items pertaining to Pauline A. Young, such as personal notes, photographs, royalty statements, and material from Howard High School. Also included are items pertaining to Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Dunbar-Nelson, such as material from the Dunbar School in Washington, D.C., and the Pierians in Wilmington.
Much of the material in the collection pertains to Pauline Young, including a large body of correspondence that she maintained with various publishing companies, particularly with Dodd, Mead & Company. She waged a tireless campaign throughout much of her life to get works of both Alice Dunbar-Nelson and Paul Laurence Dunbar published, and this effort is reflected in these letters. In 1965, Pauline Young was embroiled in a copyright conflict overThe Complete Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Little Brown Baby, which had been published by Dodd, Mead & Company. The copyright had expired, and Dodd, Mead & Company was no longer under any obligation to pay royalties to Pauline Young, which they subsequently stopped doing once they realized that the poems were being published elsewhere without permission. A disbelieving Young filed a request at the Library of Congress to search the copyright registry for Dunbar's works, and to get information regarding copyright law. The letters from this period primarily concern this conflict, as well as Young's correspondence with the U.S. Copyright Office. In addition, the correspondence, particularly that of her later years, reflects Young's varied political and social interests, and several letters are from researchers requesting historical information regarding the lives of both her aunt and Paul Laurence Dunbar.
Much of the remaining material consists of clippings and photocopies of articles pertaining to Young, Dunbar-Nelson, and Dunbar, as well as institutions with which they had been associated. Several of the articles were written by Pauline Young herself. Articles dealing with issues of African American culture and history comprise a small but significant component of the collection, significant in that an understanding and appreciation of African American culture and history was the life's work of Pauline Young. Of interest are some of the complete publications of African American periodicals which are included in the collection, includingFreedomways, Negro Digest, and The Crisis. In addition, the collection includes a 1935 issue of the Pittsburgh Courier, the most renowned African American newspaper of its time. As African Americans were excluded from working in the white press, newspapers like the Courier were important in training Black journalists, in focusing on affairs of the African American community that were largely ignored in the mainstream papers, and in advocating civil rights. The collection also contains a large number of programs, from symposia on the life and works of Paul Laurence Dunbar to a 1973 graduation ceremony at Howard High School and performances by Joseph Mydell, who portrayed Dunbar on stage in "Lyrics of the Hearthside." The brochures generally concern institutions or events dealing with African American culture and history, such as a catalogue of works from an African American art exhibition, or the Black Press Archives of Howard University. Moreover, Alice Dunbar-Nelson's life is minutely detailed in a biographical narrative, written as a master's thesis in 1977 for Lincoln University by Anita L. McGruder.
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Box 1: Shelved in SPEC MSS record center cartons
Gift of Pauline A. Young, 1991.
Processed by Arthur Siegel, February 1999. Updated and encoded by Shelby Daniels-Young, July-August 2021.
- University of Delaware Library Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
- Finding Aid Date
- 2021 August 17
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research.
- Use Restrictions
Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library, https://library.udel.edu/static/purl.php?askspec
Many of the letters from 1935-1958 concern Pauline Young's futile attempts to getThe Lofty Oak, a novel written by Alice Dunbar-Nelson, published. The manuscript of The Lofty Oak is available in the Alice Dunbar-Nelson papers (MSS 0113). Young corresponded for many years with Dodd, Mead & Company, which published a number of works by both Alice Dunbar-Nelson and Paul Laurence Dunbar. A number of the letters from the 1960s also concern a conflict between Young and Dodd, Mead & Company over the issue of copyrights and the payment of royalties.
Personal correspondence and correspondence with various publishing companies. Many are letters of sympathy concerning the death of Alice Dunbar-Nelson.Physical Description
Correspondence with publishing companies, including Dodd, Mead & Company; Bobbs-Merrill; the Frederick A. Stokes Company; The Associated Publishers, Inc.; Atlantic Monthly Press; Dorrance & Company; and Viking Press. Also included is a railway receipt and a postcard with an ad for a play entitled "Loyalties."Physical Description
Includes correspondence from Pauline's uncle Bob [Nelson, who was Alice Dunbar-Nelson's third husband], Herbert R. Cain, Jr., and publishing companies Dodd, Mead & Company and Paul R. Reynolds & Son. Also included is a letter regarding the Nelson estate.Physical Description
Much of the correspondence is with Winifred M. Jones, but also includes letters from Dodd, Mead & Company, as well as a one-page typed introduction to "Paul Laurence Dunbar: A Portrait with Letters."Physical Description
Includes personal correspondence regarding forthcoming publications, letters from Dodd, Mead & Company, the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress, and the Fidelity Bank of Philadelphia, as well as a two-page letter regarding Paul Laurence Dunbar from Marion M. Gray and Carolyn Acker Ball of SUNY Buffalo, dated 19 Mar 1969.Physical Description
Includes personal correspondence; several lists of poems; and letters from the Greater Los Angeles Urban Coalition,Ebony magazine, Morgan State College, and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, Inc. Physical Description
Most of the personal correspondence concerns publication of the letters written between Alice Dunbar-Nelson and Paul Laurence Dunbar. Also included are letters from the Library of Congress; the Fidelity Bank of Philadelphia; the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History, Inc. (formerly the ASNLH); and information regarding the Paul Laurence Dunbar - Langston Hughes Celebration (2 Apr 1973).Physical Description
Includes personal correspondence and letters from publishing companies, as well as letters from the ASALH; two copies of a movie review in "The Booklist"; and two letters to Pauline Young from the Amistad Research Center of New Orleans. Attached to one of the letters from the Amistad Research Center are photocopied letters, one written to Alice Dunbar-Nelson in 1922 and one written by her in 1935.Physical Description
Personal correspondence, as well as a letter of inquiry from a graduate student at Pennsylvania State University regarding a 1901 letter written by Paul Laurence Dunbar; correspondence with Trazok Publishing, Inc.; business and advertising cards of Trazok Publishing; and a letter from Walter L. Moody to James H. Sills, Jr. regarding the appointment of Pauline Young to the Forum Planning group of the NAACP, Wilmington branch.Physical Description
Includes personal correspondence, as well as correspondence with Bernice Cosey Pulley, the founder of Trazok Publishing; a Christmas card from the Pulley family; an advertisement card of Trazok Publishing; a letter from the New OrleansTimes-Picayune. Physical Description
Personal and miscellaneous correspondence. Also included are several letters from artist Charles L. Haywood, written on letterhead of the Dunbar Museum, Inc., in Los Angeles, and a letter from the Amistad Research Center.Physical Description
Typed transcriptions of letters written to Dunbar by Rebekah Baldwin from 23 Sep 1893 to 30 Jul 1895. Transcription date not specified.Physical Description
Includes photocopies and clippings from various periodicals. These articles concern mainly the lives and works of Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Pauline Young, as well as Black history and culture. Separate folders are maintained for brochures and programs. Also included are several complete issues of journals.
Includes the June 1968 and Sept/Oct 1968 issues.Physical Description
Includes the entire March 1969 issue; a photocopy of the cover of the Aug/Sep 1974 issue as well as a four-page article entitled "Women, Too, in American History"; clippings of the four-page article "Believable Black History," from the February 1977 issue; and a photocopy of an advertisement from the magazine.Physical Description
Volume 12, no. 4, 1972 (Fourth Quarter). Includes a special section on Paul Laurence Dunbar and an article written by Pauline Young.Physical Description
"Report on the Project: A Symposium on the Life and Works of Paul Laurence Dunbar," February 9, 1978. Compiled by Dr. Gossie Harold Hudson, Professor of History and Program Director at Morgan State University.Physical Description
Includes numerous photocopies and clippings about Dunbar from newspapers and magazines. Also included are several news releases by City College in New York regarding a celebration of the works of Dunbar and Langston Hughes, and several transcriptions of Dunbar's "Black Samson of Brandywine."Physical Description
Includes photocopies and clippings about Dunbar-Nelson from newspapers and magazines, as well as a paper cover from "Romances of the Negro in American History / Dramatic Episodes in Our History / Told by / Aliceruth Dunbar Nelson." (n.d.)Physical Description
Includes photocopies and clippings regarding Young from newspapers and magazines. Also included is an issue ofTaproot (November 1985). Physical Description
Various photocopies and clippings of articles concerning African American history and culture, including a page from thePittsburgh Courier (2 Nov 1935); several New Yorker articles; a two-page transcript of the views of Senator Bill Roth regarding court-ordered busing, from the Congressional Record; and excerpts from the "Forbidden Diary," by Natalie Crouter. Also included is a photocopy of a letter from the National Urban League, dated 1 Mar 1925. Physical Description
Includes a brochure for "The Centenary Celebration of the Life and Work of Paul Laurence Dunbar" (2-6 Nov 1972); two brochures of the Washington Flower Garden Guild, Inc., in honor of Dunbar; a brochure of the Ohio Historical Society (which makes reference to the Dunbar House); a reminder ticket for a performance of "Remembrance," at the Tenth Street Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. (14 Jul 1978); an invitation to a symposium on the life and works of Dunbar at Morgan State University (9 Feb 1978); a seminar program (n.d.); two copies of a program for "A Dunbar Recital: An Evening with Negro Poets" (n.d.); and three copies of a pamphlet for "Life and Works of Paul Laurence Dunbar," hosted by the Friends of the Wilmington Library (n.d.).Physical Description
Includes two programs from Afro-American History Week at the Pierre S. DuPont High School (1974); and a program from the Christiana Cultural Arts Center's celebration of Black History Month (February 1984). This latter program includes references to Pauline Young.Physical Description
Includes biographical works about Alice Dunbar-Nelson, as well as a short autobiographical draft written by Pauline Young. Also included are several items regarding Joseph Mydell, who portrayed Paul Laurence Dunbar in his stage performance "Lyrics of the Hearthside."
Photocopies of articles and programs concerning Mydell and his performances. Programs include performances presented by the Directional Concepts Dance Theatre Foundation, Inc. (1977); the Jersey City Public Library and the Hudson County Division of Cultural and Heritage Affairs (n.d.); Prima Mobile, the Ph.D. Program in Theatre at the Graduate School [university unidentified] (n.d.); and the Edinburgh Festival (1980). Also included is a set of publicity photographs of Mydell.Physical Description
Includes a thirty-three page typed draft of "Alice Dunbar-Nelson: Delaware Writer and Woman of Affairs," written by Gloria T. Hull, visiting professor at the University of Delaware, and several typed copies of biographical information relating to Dunbar-Nelson.Physical Description
A ninety-three page photocopy of a master's thesis, written by Anita McGruder at Lincoln University, entitled "Alice Dunbar-Nelson: A Biography." This work provides a very detailed history of her life.Physical Description
A typed autobiography entitled "A Confession." Corrections in pencil.Physical Description
This series includes many items pertaining to Pauline Young, such as personal notes, royalty statements, photographs, material from Howard High School, and organizations to which she belonged. Other items pertain to Alice Dunbar-Nelson (who was made an honorary member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority in 1918) and Paul Laurence Dunbar (after whom a high school in Washington, D.C., was named).
Includes a Founder's Day Ceremonies program (22 Jan 1967); a program for a Social Action Luncheon, held at the Sheraton-Charles Hotel in New Orleans, with Vernon E. Jordan as a speaker (4 Jun 1968); a program for the 60th National Founder's Day, Delaware Alumnae Chapters (1973); a copy of theDelta Small Talk newsletter (February 1981); a one-page letter to Pauline Young regarding the sorority; and photocopies of several journal articles. Physical Description
The school opened in Washington, D.C., on April 12, 1977. Included in this folder is a twelve-page article in theNew Yorker (20 Mar 1978); a one-page letter by Pauline Young to the students, faculty, and staff of the new school (5 Apr 1979); a booklet for the Dunbar High School Open House (22 Apr 1979) and five copies of the program; four mimeographed copies of invitations to the open house; an issue of the high school newspaper Newsreel (18 Apr 1979); a greeting card to Pauline Young from the "high school students of yesteryears" (22 Apr 1979); a business card of Victoria T. Street, member of the Board of Education in Washington, D.C.; a postcard; and photocopies of articles. Physical Description
Includes a photocopy of the program from the Dunbar Historical Museum, Inc. (located in Los Angeles) Garden Tea, as well as an invitation (29 Jul 1979). Also included is a seven-page informational booklet describing the Dunbar Museum (n.d.).Physical Description
These items pertain to a luncheon held in the Crystal Room of Strawbridge and Clothier in Philadelphia to honor the memory of Alice Dunbar-Nelson (23 Jan 1954). Included are two newspaper clippings, a typed poem entitled "This Lofty Oak," and a guest book partially filled with the signatures and addresses of the attendees. The book is red, hard-cover, with ribbon along the spine.Physical Description
Includes a photocopy of theWilmington Morning News article "Hardest Battle was Fight for Education Rights" (20 Feb 1971); an issue of the school newspaper, Howard Highlights (June 1973); seven copies of the Senior Class Night program (8 Jun 1973); two copies of the graduation program (10 June 1973); an announcement card; and a two-page news release regarding money given to the school heritage project. Physical Description
Various photocopies and clippings of articles relating to New Orleans, including a seventy-nine pageNew Yorker article entitled "The Zulus" (20 Jun 1964), and a six-page Travel article entitled "New Orleans: Step by Step through the Crescent City" (February 1971). Physical Description
Includes twelve photographs and fifteen negatives of Pauline Young. Also included is an invoice for developing the photographs, dated 2 Aug 1982.Physical Description
Founded by Alice Dunbar-Nelson in 1932, the Pierians were a Wilmington social club dedicated to the discussion and proliferation of the arts. Pauline Young was also a member. Included is a one-page list of hostesses and activities planned for 1951-1952, a program and invitation to a luncheon given in honor of Alice Dunbar-Nelson (23 Jan 1954), an invitation and catalogue for an exhibition on Black Matri-Images (presented by the Pierians and the Morgan State College Gallery of Art on 3 Dec 1972), and two Pierians information booklets.Physical Description
A large collection of typed and hand-written notes, mostly scrawled on scrap paper, and all of which are undated. Included are also three pages of photocopied notes, and a small spiral notebook.Physical Description
approximately 100 items
A miscellaneous collection of hand-written notes.Physical Description
All are from M. Whitmark & Sons of New York City to Pauline Young for "Who Knows." Royalties were collected over the period 25 Nov 1944 to 28 Nov 1953.Physical Description
Includes two bookmarks; an informational pamphlet on the Detroit Public Library's "E. Azalia Hackley Memorial Collection of Negro Music, Dance, and Drama" (1955); a brochure from the Black Press Archives of Howard University (1978); a photocopy of an article entitled "Howard University has Hope of New Law Building" (n.d.); a "Certificate of Honorary Membership" given to Dunbar-Nelson from Delaware State College's Black Studies Program (28 Feb 1983); an invitation to a National Parade, Flag-Raising Ceremony, and Fireworks Display (5 Aug 1962); a United States Post Office poster bearing a verse of Paul Laurence Dunbar; and two portraits of Dunbar.Physical Description