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Guide to the William M. Watts Papers
MS 37  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Access Restrictions
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Separated Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: William M. Watts papers
    Dates: circa 1910s-1980
    Collection number: MS 37
    Creator: Watts, William M., Dr.
    Collection Size: .5 linear feet (2 boxes)
    Repository: African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)
    Oakland, CA 94612
    Abstract: William M. Watts (1885-1980) was born on February 15, 1885 in Lodi, Texas to Perry and Jane Watts. After earning a medical degree from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, Watts practiced medicine at hospitals in Houston, Texas and Fresno, California before opening the first hospital for African Americans in Oakland, California in 1926 at 3437 Harlan Street in North Oakland. The William M. Watts papers include photographs, patient and account ledger, license applications, newspapers clippings, funeral program, and one edition of the Jackson County Medical Journal.
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

    Access

    No access restrictions. Collection is open to the public.

    Access Restrictions

    Materials are for use in-library only, non-circulating.

    Publication Rights

    Permission to publish from the William M. Watts Papers must be obtained from the African American Museum and Library at Oakland.

    Preferred Citation

    William M. Watts papers, MS 37, African American Museum and Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library. Oakland, California.

    Acquisition Information

    Donated to the Northern California Center for Afro-American History & Life by Katie Mae Watts and Marjorie Caffee, 1992.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Sean Heyliger, 05/15/2013.

    Biography / Administrative History

    William M. Watts (1885-1980) was born on February 15, 1885 in Lodi, Texas to Perry and Jane Watts. After earning a medical degree from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, Watts practiced medicine at hospitals in Houston, Texas and Fresno, California before opening the first hospital for African Americans in Oakland, California in 1926 at 3437 Harlan Street in North Oakland. While in Oakland, Watts contributed to Western American, a local African American newspaper, the medical advice column “How to Keep Well.” The hospital closed due to financial troubles in 1927, and Watts returned to Marshall, Texas to operate the Sheppard-Watts Hospital following the death of his brother. Watts continued to practice as a physician until his retirement in the late 1960s.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The William M. Watts papers include photographs, patient ledger, license applications, newspapers clippings, funeral program, and one edition of the Jackson County Medical Journal. The bulk of the papers are 25 photographs of Dr. William M. Watts; portraits and social events of Watts' friends and family; group photographs taken of staff outside of Watts’ hospitals in Oakland, California, Houston, Texas, and Marshall, Texas in the 1910-1920s; and exterior photographs of the church in Lodi, Texas where Watts' was a pastor.
    The papers also include a 600 page patient and account ledger kept for Watts Sanitarium in Houston, Texas and Sheppards-Watts Hospital in Marhsall, Texas. The ledger includes patients' names and addresses, brief descriptions of ailments and treatments performed by Dr. Watts, and charges paid for medical services. The ledger also includes an account ledger of the sanitarium's costs for automobile maintenaince, nurses' salaries, and laundry service.

    Arrangement

    Series I. Photographs Series II. Patient and accounts ledger Series III. Assorted printed material

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Watts, William M., Dr.
    African American physicians.
    African Americans--Hospitals--History.
    Oakland (Calif.)--History--20th century.
    Lodi (Tex.)

    Separated Material

    Three medical textbooks were removed and added to the African American Museum and Library at Oakland's library collection: Bacteriology and surgical technic for nurses/Emily M A Stoney; Frederic Richardson Griffith; A manual of physical diagnosis/O'Reilly, 1911; Manual of operative surgery/John Fairbairn Binnie.