Archives & Special Collections
Lit-Mus Study Club (of Buffalo) Papers


Donor: The Lit-Mus Study Club
Date of Acquisition: 22 Feb. 1995; additional material acquired 1997-2003.
Processed: 1995; reprocessed: 2006.
3 boxes; 3 linear ft.; contents, 1920s-1990s.

Historical Background

The Lit-Mus - short for "Literary" and "Music" -- Study Club is an on-going African American women's study group that originated in Buffalo in 1922. It was founded by Florence Jackson Lee, Amelia Anderson and Ora Lewis Anderson in the hopes of fulfilling its mission to study topics in the arts, humanities and social sciences that would enable the club's women to improve their community. It became part of the Empire State Federation of Women's Clubs as well as an affiliate of the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs. In 1928, the Study Club introduced Negro History Week to Buffalo. The Club maintains a scholarship fund that has assisted many local students with their education and supports many local charities. It has also enabled the community to have greater access to African American literature and has donated books to libraries and schools. In order to preserve the records of the Club, it was deemed advisable to house them in the Special Collections area of the Buffalo State College's E.H. Butler Library.

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Contents and Inventory

The Lit-Mus Study Club collection houses historical information, activities, correspondence, ephemera, printed material, subject files, and records of the organization from its founding in the 1920s (bulk, 1930s-1980s). There is significant ancillary material which highlights the activities and functions of the Empire State Federation of Women's Clubs, Inc., and other similar state- and nationwide (primarily women's) clubs and organizations. Note: Due to the on-going nature of donations to the collection, some material may be filed in supplementary series based on accession dates.

BOX 1:

I. Subject Files.

1-1. Anniversary Celebrations. Programs from the 50th (1972; 4 copies) and 70th (1992) anniversaries.
1-2. Biographical Sketches. Information, programs and clippings regarding Carol Brice, Hallie Q. Brown, Tony Brown, James Weldon Johnson (n.d.).
1-3. Calendar. "Afro-American Historical Calendar" (from Jefferson Auto Parts, Buffalo, NY), 1980.
1-4. Correspondence. Miscellaneous, ca. 1982-ca. 1993.
1-5. Letter from Mario Cuomo, 1992.
1-6. Empire State Federation of Women's Clubs, Inc. Convention information, programs, songbooks, ca 1938-ca. 1985.
1-7. Family Histories. Recollections by Callie Dora, Bruce Lee, Florence Randolph Jackson Lee, ca. 1992(?).
1-8. Fortieth Anniversary program (2 copies), 1962.
1-9. History, Constitution, By-Laws. Photocopied history of women's club movement, Aframerican's Women's Journal, 1940, with photocopied captioned image of Florence Jackson Lee.
1-10. History of Buffalo. Handwritten, n.a, n.d.
1-11. Life Sketch. Four handwritten accounts, miscellaneous recollections by various authors(?); author(s) unknown, n.d.
1-12. Meeting Booklets, 1936, 1958/1959, 1959-1960, 1962/1963, 1963/1964, 1974-1975, 1987-1988.
1-13. Minutes of Various Meetings, 1980s.
1-14. "(New York State Chapter of the) National Association of Colored Girls" circular, 1937; "(Report on…) The Status of the American Negro Women of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (for the 50th anniversary of International Women's Day)" booklet, 1960.
1-15. "National Notes Bulletin," November 1955, Spring and December 1956.
1-16. Newspaper Articles. Originals and copies, 1937-1978.
1-17. Patron List for the 65th Anniversary Party with receipts, 1988.
1-18. Playmakers: 1930. Photograph of Mabel Johnson, author; programs of three plays, 1930.
1-19. Plays. "Bargains in Cathay," n.a., n.d.; "Not a Man in the House," n.a., n.d.
1-20. Presentations/Programs, 1930s-1991 (bulk, 1970s-1980s).
1-21. Preservation in Buffalo. Petitions and flyers (from the Landmark and Preservation Board?), n.d.
1-22. "UNESCO Courier," February 1962.
1-23. "Book of Black Heroes: Great Women in the Struggle," volume 2. Photocopy, part 1, ca. 1980(?).
1-24. "Book of Black Heroes: Great Women in the Struggle," volume 2. Photocopy, part 2, ca. 1980(?).
1-25. "The Women's Press." Original magazine, June 1929. (Note: Includes article on the Buffalo Playmakers.)

BOX 2:

II. Awards (from July 2003 donation).

2-1. 60th Anniversary Award to Mabel Johnson. Unframed, 1982.
2-2. 70 Years of Service Award (to Lit-Mus Study Club) from (County Executive) Dennis T. Gorski. Unframed, 19 December 1992.
2-3. 50 Years of Service Award to Mabel Johnson. Unframed, 19 November 1982.
2-4. 25 Years of Service Award to Mary Crosby Chappelle from the Headstart Program. Unframed, 18 May 1990.
2-5. Lit-Mus Study Club Day proclamation by Mayor James D. Griffin. Unframed, 18 December 1992.
2-6. William Wells Brown Award. Framed, 7 May 1982.
2-7. Lit-Mus Study Club Day Award. Framed, 18 December 1992.
2-8. Community Action Lifetime Achievement Award to Mary Crosby Chappelle. Framed, 26 August 1994.

BOX 3:

III. Miscellaneous Materials

Supplement #1 (from August 2003 donation):

3-1. Award. Presented by Assemblyperson Arthur Eve (Assembly of the State of New York citation), 18 December 1992.
3-2. Biographical Sketches. Carolyn Thomas, n.d.; Martha Elizabeth (Millar) Rainey, n.d.
3-3. Buffalo City Federation of Women's Clubs. Program, 1954-1955.
3-4. Certificate of Merit. From the Empire State Federation of Women's Clubs, 12 July 1997.
3-5. Chappelle, Mary Crosby. Testimonial and foundation fundraising dinner program, 1987.
3-6. "Children Having Children: The Role of the Church." Presentation by P. Richardson, 17 May 1986.
3-7. "Children in Crisis." Transcript, proceedings of Buffalo City Assembly(?); chairperson Arthur Eve, testimony by Anthony Alvarado and Dr. Kenneth Clark, 20 March 1986.
3-8. Empire State Federation of Women's Clubs, Inc., and Empire State Federation of Youth Clubs. Members notices, ca. 1992.
3-9. Empire State Federation of Women's Clubs, Inc. Programs and directories, 1938 (2 photocopies), 1978, 1999 (program and directory).
3-10. Programs and Rosters, 1938-1999.
3-11. Memorial Programs. Raymond E. DuBard, 1996; Daniel A. Holley, 1996; Albert Thomson (with retirement dinner program [1996]), 1997.
3-12. National Association of Colored Women's Clubs. "Pre-Centennial Renaissance Project" newsletter, 1995; "National Notes" journal, 1995-1996, Winter/Spring 1999; NACWC newsletter, March 1995.
3-13. News Clippings. Lit-Mus Study Club-related, 1970s(?).
3-14. News Clippings. Miscellaneous topics, 1980-1995.
3-15. Obituaries and memorial information, 1975-1995.
3-16. Photographs. Two frames, two unframed photos: labeled "Leroy, Eva Belle, Mrs. Leroy Coles, "Brotherhood Award," n.d.; untitled, n.d.
3-17. Photographs. Lit-Mus Study Club 1985 Citizen Honoree Night; Criterion(?) photo, 1977; NACWC photo, 1976; Lit-Mus(?) photo, n.d.
3-18. Photos and notecard from Ann Darnell to Naomi Caver, 1998.
3-19. Programs. Lit-Mus Study Club activities program, 1938/1939; Spring Fashion Show notice, 1990; Silent Auction notice, 1994.
3-20. Mary B. Talbert Civic and Cultural Club. Annual Dinner program, 1996; 25th Silver Aniversary program, 1999; 26th Anniversary Dinner program, 2000.
3-21. "Technology Grant News," Fall/Winter 2000 issue, with notations.
3-22. Western New York Women's Hall of Fame. Newspaper article and brochure on the induction of Carolyn Thomas, 1999.
3-23. Miscellaneous Information, 1980s(?).
3-24. Miscellaneous Newspaper Clippings, 1985-2000.
3-25. Miscellaneous Salutes. Information on Chappelle, Crawford, Van Vraken, past presidents, ca. 1992.

Supplement #2:
Folder 3-26:

  • Award. Presented by the Empire State Federation of Women's Clubs, Inc., 12 July 1993.
  • (The Buffalo) Criterion. Volume 70, number 23, 3-9 June 1995.
  • Empire State Federation of Women's Clubs, Buffalo Region. Program dedication to Mrs. A.H. Brandon, 16 November 1958.
  • Speech. Handwritten, with associated clippings and historical information, 1993(?).
Supplement #3:
Folder 3-27:
  • Albert Thomson, "Our Educational Enterprise for the 21st Century…: A Message to Buffalo from the Superintendent of Schools." Photocopy, n.d.
  • Installation Luncheon at the Spaghetti House. Programs, clippings, 17 June 1995. Includes Ruthetta Scott Smikle biographical information.
  • Retirement Celebration for Ruthetta Scott Smikle. 2 photos, 17 November 1995.
  • Eulogistic Services for Voyle Lee, 4 December 1995.
  • Lit-Mus Christmas Party. Announcements and photographs, 15 December 1995.
  • Obituary. Raymond Edward DuBard, 17 January 1996.
  • Obituary. Daniel Alexander Holley. Includes clippings (2 copies), 14 February 1996.
  • Club Meeting. 2 photographs, January 1996.
Supplement #4 (received 25 August 1997): Folder 3-28:
  • Newspaper article. Syracuse Post-Standard, "Federation Leaders at Convention," 2 July 1930.
  • Empire Federation of Women's Clubs, 1939. 31st Annual Convention program; program honoring Mrs. Freddie M. Thompson, 1991.
Folder 3-29: Plays. Typescripts. (All ca. 1930[?]; see folder 1-18.)
  • "Bargains in Cathay." (Poor condition), n.a., n.d.
  • "The Sun," n.a., n.d.
  • "Thursday Evening," n.a., n.d.
  • [No title.] Page one missing; dialogue between characters "Emily" and "Jerry," n.a., n.d.
Supplement #5 (received 3 March 1998):
Folder 3-30:

  • Lit-Mus Study Club Black History program, 15 February 1998.
  • "One in a Million." Martin Luther King Celebration Committee; MLK birthday celebration program, 18 January 1998.
  • Journal. "Northeastern Federation of Women's Clubs," Fall/Winter 1997-1998.
  • Program. Lit-Mus Study Club 75th Anniversary Banquet, 14 November 1997.
  • "Day at the Races." Program, memo, 17 May 1997.
  • 75th Anniversary Celebration. Flyer, 14 November 1997.
  • Celebration of Life for Albert Thompson. Obituary and service program, 1 November 1997.
  • Lit-Mus Study Club Month Meeting. Program, 1996-1997.
  • Loving Memory: James Crawford. Obituary and service program, 2 August 1996.
  • Going Home Service: Ernest H. Cunningham. Obituary and service program, 27 January 1997.
  • NACWC, Inc. Information pamphlet, ca. 1994; miscellaneous clippings and program: James Crawford, Citizens' award, n.d.
  • Retirement dinner for Albert Thompson. Program, 6 June 1996.
  • 55th Annual Celebration. Ephemera and clippings (Criterion article), May 1978.
  • Empire State Federation, Buffalo Region at Bethel. Photocopy and newspaper article, 30 October 1937.
  • 50th Anniversary Luncheon: "50 Years of Fashion; 50 Years of Music." 3 programs, 1972.
  • Handwritten biography of Mary Burnett Talbert, n.a., n.d.
  • Partial (?) letter regarding co-sponsorship with Phyllis Wheatley Club, n.d.

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