Guide to the Home for Aged and Infirm Colored People of California Records

Sean Heyliger
African American Museum & Library at Oakland
659 14th Street
Oakland, California 94612
Phone: (510) 637-0198
Fax: (510) 637-0204
Email: aamlo@oaklandlibrary.org
URL: http://www.oaklandlibrary.org/locations/african-american-museum-library-oakland
© 2013
African American Museum & Library at Oakland. All rights reserved.

Guide to the Home for Aged and Infirm Colored People of California Records

Collection number: MS 122

African American Museum & Library at Oakland

Oakland, California
Processed by:
Sean Heyliger
Date Completed:
01/29/2014
Encoded by:
Sean Heyliger
© 2013 African American Museum & Library at Oakland. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Home for Aged and Infirm Colored People of California records
Dates: 1892-1940
Collection number: MS 122
Creator: Home for Aged and Infirm Colored People of California (Oakland, Calif.).
Collection Size: 1.25 linear feet (2 boxes)
Repository: African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)
Oakland, CA 94612
Abstract: The Home for Aged and Infirm Colored People of California was established on September 26, 1892 in Oakland, California and was the first institution to provide elderly care and housing for African Americans in California. The organization was created by Mary E.A. Cole, Ann S. Purnell, Elenora Amos, Areminto Stanford, Mary Goodman, Rosa H. Lockett, Mary C. Washington, Ellen Whiting, Harriet E. Smith, Mary J. Humphrey, and Anna Williams to “sustain a home for the aged and infirm who may be from any cause, incapacitated from taking care of themselves, and such others as the Board of Directors or trustees may think entitled to its benefits.” The Home for the Aged and Infirm Colored People of California Records consists of articles of incorporation, constitution and by-laws, correspondence, meeting minutes, reports, programs, and newspaper clippings documenting the history of the home from its creation in 1892 through its dissolution in 1940.
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 Home for Aged and Infirm Colored People of California Records from the must be obtained from the African American Museum & Library at Oakland.

Preferred Citation

Home for Aged and Infirm Colored People of California records, MS 122, African American Museum & Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library. Oakland, California.

Processing Information

Processed by Sean Heyliger, 01/29/2014.

Biography / Administrative History

The Home for Aged and Infirm Colored People of California was established on September 26, 1892 in Oakland, California and was the first institution to provide elderly care and housing for African Americans in California. The organization was created by Mary E.A. Cole, Ann S. Purnell, Elenora Amos, Areminto Stanford, Mary Goodman, Rosa H. Lockett, Mary C. Washington, Ellen Whiting, Harriet E. Smith, Mary J. Humphrey, and Anna Williams to “sustain a home for the aged and infirm who may be from any cause, incapacitated from taking care of themselves, and such others as the Board of Directors or trustees may think entitled to its benefits.” The association was directed by a Board of Directors consisting of thirty women and advisory board of ten men, and the home was managed by a matron, nursing assistants, and a resident physician.
On August 22, 1897, five years after the association was established, a 16 room home was erected on Underwood Ave. in Beulah Heights on what is now the campus of Mills College. The association raised $4,000 for the building’s construction while Oakland philanthropists George and Carrie Montgomery donated a plot of land. An eight room annex was added to the building in 1905 allowing the home to accommodate a total of 19 residents. The home’s first resident was California pioneer Alvin A. Coffee and charged residents a $500 lifetime membership fee, prohibited the use of alcohol and opiates, and maintained separate living quarters for male and female residents. The association maintained a steady stream of private donations and residents until the 1930s, when the Depression prevented many from donating to charitable organizations. The home’s declining revenues combined with the passage of the Social Security Act in 1935 that provided a stipend for the elderly to seek housing elsewhere led to the home’s decline and eventual close in December 1938. Mills College purchased the home on June 15, 1938 and razed the building in January 1939.

Scope and Content of Collection

The Home for Aged and Infirm Colored People of California Records consists of articles of incorporation, constitution and by-laws, correspondence, meeting minutes, reports, programs, and newspaper clippings documenting the history of the home from its creation in 1892 through its dissolution in 1940. The records are organized into three series: administrative records, programs, and newspaper clippings. The bulk of the records are meeting minutes of the home and includes a 296 pp. ledger of meeting minutes of the home’s board of directors and committees between 1925-1938. The minutes include reports from various committees discussing the home’s financial, legal, and day-to-day operations. Reports include annual reports of the president and board of directors, Elizabeth Brown, ‘Materon’ monthly reports documenting the home’s day-to-day operations, and reports of the budget committee. Correspondence includes letters with the Community Chest of Oakland, California regarding the home’s financial difficulties, solicitation letters to members asking for financial contributions, and the renewal of the home’s license with the California Department of Social Welfare. The program series consists of two photocopied programs of Florence Cole-Talbert's grand recital at the Civic Auditorium Opera House and a turkey dinner fundraiser for the home held at Foresters' Hall.

Arrangement

Series I. Administrative records Series II. Programs Series III. Newspaper clippings

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Home for Aged and Infirm Colored People of California (Oakland, Calif.).
Oakland (Calif.)--History.
Older people--Institutional care--California.
Older people--California--San Francisco Bay Area.
Older African Americans--History.

Bibliography

"Old folks' home Oakland Heritage Alliance News vol. 5 no. 2, Spring 1985.

Collection Contents

 

Administrative records

Physical Description: 14 folders + 1 ledger

Series Scope and Content Summary

Includes the Home for Aged and Infirm Colored People of California's article of incorporation, constitution and by-laws, officer rosters, meeting minutes, reports, and correspondence. Meeting minute ledger also includes transcripts of reports submitted during meetings and membership rosters.
Box 1:1

Articles of incorporation [reproduction] 1892

Box 1:2

Constitution and by-laws circa 1890s, 1934

 

Meeting minutes

Box 1:3

Box 2

Ledger [296 pp.] 1925-1948

Box 1:3

1931, 1933

Box 1:4

1936-1937

Box 1:5

1938

Box 1:6

1938

Box 1:7

1939

Box 1:8

1940

Box 1:9

Reports 1935-1940

Box 1:10

Officer and committee rosters 1924, circa 1930s

Box 1:11

Correspondence 1916, 1935-1940

Box 1:12

Legal agreements circa 1910s, 1940

Box 1:13

Financial records 1938

Box 1:14

Letterhead [blank] circa 1930s

 

Programs

Physical Description: 1 folder

Series Scope and Content Summary

Includes two photocopied programs of Florence Cole-Talbert's grand recital at the Civic Auditorium Opera House and a turkey dinner at Foresters' Hall.

Arrangement

Arranged by date.
Box 1:15

Home for Aged and Infirm Colored People will give a grand promenade on Wednesday Nov. 24, 1915 at Foresters' Hall [reproduction] 1915

Box 1:15

Florence Cole-Talbert grand recital auspices Home for Aged & Infirm Colored People, Civic Auditorium Opera House [reproduction] 1920

Box 1:16

Newspaper clippings 1892-1930

Physical Description: 1 folder

Series Scope and Content Summary

Includes newspaper clippings from Bay Area newspapers related to activities at the Home for Aged and Infirm Colored People of California. Also included is a reproduction of the 1930 East Bay Colored Business Directory.

Arrangement

Arranged by date.