Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Guide to the Royal E. Towns Papers
MS 26  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (360.50 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Overview
 
Table of contents What's This?
Description
Royal E. Towns (1899-1990) was born February 10, 1899 in Oakland, California to William and Elizabeth Scott Towns. The Royal E. Towns Papers consists of photographs, correspondence, publications, financial and legal records, and ephemera that document Towns’ work as a City of Oakland firefighter, photographer, director of public relations for Free and Accepted Masons of California, and as an amateur historian.
Background
Royal E. Towns (1899-1990) was born February 10, 1899 in Oakland, California to William and Elizabeth Scott Towns. Towns was raised in West Oakland and attended West Oakland Free Kindergarten and married Lucille Dennis in 1920. He worked for a short time as dining car waiter before joining the Oakland Fire Department as a hoseman at Engine No. 22 in 1927. In 1941, Towns became the first African American to be appointed as the fire department’s chief operator, and eventually was promoted to lieutenant, a position he would hold until his retirement in 1962.
Extent
17.8 linear feet (30 boxes + 1 oversized box)
Restrictions
Permission to publish from the Royal E. Towns Papers must be obtained from the African American Museum and Library at Oakland.
Availability
No access restrictions. Collection is open to the public.