Guide to the Bernice Middleton Papers

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 Bernice Middleton Papers

Collection number: MS 55

African American Museum & Library at Oakland

Oakland, California
Processed by:
Sean Heyliger
Date Completed:
09/07/2013
Encoded by:
Sean Heyliger
© 2013 African American Museum & Library at Oakland. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Bernice Middleton papers
Dates: 1938-1994
Collection number: MS 55
Creator: Middleton, Bernice.
Collection Size: .5 linear feet (1 box)
Repository: African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)
Oakland, CA 94612
Abstract: The Bernice Middleton papers include certificates, correspondence, photographs, meeting minutes, funeral programs, newspaper clippings, and a handwritten autobiography documenting the life and career of Bernice Middleton.
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 Bernice Middleton Papers must be obtained from the African American Museum & Library at Oakland.

Preferred Citation

Bernice Middleton papers, MS 55, African American Museum & Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library. Oakland, California.

Processing Information

Processed by Sean Heyliger, 09/07/2013.

Biography / Administrative History

Bernice Middleton (1915-2002) was born in 1915 in Arkansas to Rev. T.J. and Pearline Middleton. The family moved to Idabel, Oklahoma, where T.J. Middleton was a pastor of the A.M.E. church until 1929, when the family moved to Rosston, Arkansas to live with members of Pearline Middleton’s family after the death of her father. Though the family was of limited means, Bernice Middleton was able to graduate high school as class valedictorian and earned a scholarship to attend nursing school at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. She eventually graduated with an R.N. license from the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps and moved to California where she worked as a nurse in the armed forces. Following the outbreak of World War II, she moved to San Francisco to work at a veterans’ hospital in 1943.
After working as a nurse at various hospitals and private practices in San Francisco in the 1940s, she returned to school at Wilberforce University in Ohio, graduating with a B.S. in 1952 and a B.D. in Divinity from Payne Theological Seminary. While at Wilberforce University, she earned a certificate in teaching and after graduation took a position as Assistant Dean of Women at Morris Brown University in Atlanta, Georgia in 1953. Returning to California, she was appointed Dean of Girls at the California School for the Deaf in Berkeley, where she taught for the next seven years, before teaching at Ceres Unified School District (1960-1967) and Modesto Junior College.

Scope and Content of Collection

The Bernice Middleton papers include certificates, correspondence, photographs, meeting minutes, funeral programs, newspaper clippings, and a handwritten autobiography documenting the life and career of Bernice Middleton. The papers are organized into six series: teaching, religious activities, civic organizations, autobiography, photographs, and assorted printed materials. Teaching material includes Middleton’s resume, diplomas, certificates, her performance evaluation at the California Institution for the Deaf and the Blind, and correspondence related to various teaching positions and letters of congratulations for teaching awards received by Middleton. Religious material includes meeting minutes, programs, and certificates related to her involvement in the African Methodist Episcopal church. The civic organizations series includes programs, membership rosters, correspondence, and certificates related to her participation in the Over 60 Health Center, National Council of Negro Woman, Inc., and masonic organizations.
The papers also include Bernice Middleton’s 94 pp. handwritten autobiography describing her experiences as child growing up in Rosston, Arkansas from 1929-1937. In the autobiography, she describes her family's move from Idabel, Oklahoma to Rosston, Arkansas following her father's stroke and subsequent death, their financial struggles in Arkansas, her intermittent schooling and work picking cotton and as a domestic in a boardinghouse, and her later academic success in high school. Photographs in the collection are mostly portraits of Bernice Middleton and photographs of students at the California Institution for the Deaf and the Blind. Assorted printed material includes funeral programs of Bernice Middleton’s mother and brother, 1953 college yearbook at Morris Brown College, and an eleven page essay written on her life and career by Francine Elane Marsh.

Arrangement

Series I. Teaching Series II. Religious activities Series III. Civic organizations Series IV. Autobiography Series V. Photographs Series VI. Printed materials

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Middleton, Bernice.
Autobiography--African American authors.
African Americans--Arkansas--History.
African Americans--Arkansas--Social conditions.
African Americans--Arkansas--History--Sources.


Collection Contents

 

Teaching

Physical Description: 5 folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

Includes Bernice Middleton's diplomas, teaching resume, correspondence related to teaching positions and awards, her performance evaluation as a teacher at the California Institution for the Deaf and the Blind, assorted teaching awards and certificates.

Arrangement

Arranged by format.
Box 1:1

Résumé undated

Box 1:2

Diplomas 1952

Box 1:3

Correspondence 1960-1988

Box 1:4

Performance evaluation 1982

Box 1:5

Certificates 1952-1986

 

Religious activities

Physical Description: 4 folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

Includes programs, meeting minutes, and financial records documenting Middleton's involvement in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and assorted church certificates.

Arrangement

Arranged by format.
 

African Methodist Episcopal Church

Box 1:6-7

Programs 1976-1994

Box 1:8

Meeting minutes 1990-1991

Box 1:9

Certificates 1954-1990

 

Civic organizations

Physical Description: 4 folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

Includes Bernice Middleton's certificates and programs, meeting minutes, and membership rosters of various civic organizations.

Arrangement

Arranged by organization.
Box 1:10

Over 60 Health Center 1983-1991

Box 1:11

Masons 1981-1991

Box 1:12

Certificates 1972-1986

Box 1:13

National Council of Negro Woman, Inc. 1978-1991

Box 1:14

Autobiography, handwritten manuscript, 94 pp. undated

Physical Description: 1 folder

Series Scope and Content Summary

Includes a 94 pp. handwritten manuscript describing her life in Rosston, Arkansas between 1929-1937. She describes her family's move from Idabel, Oklahoma to Rosston, Arkansas following her father's stroke and subsequent death, their financial struggles in Arkansas, her intermittent schooling and work picking cotton and as a domestic in a boardinghouse, and her later academic success in high school.
 

Photographs

Physical Description: 30 photographs

Series Scope and Content Summary

Includes portraits of Bernice Middleton and photographs of students at the California Institution for the Deaf and the Blind.

Arrangement

Arranged by photograph identification number.
Box 1:1

Bernice Middleton with students in living room [001] circa 1960s

Box 1:1

Group photograph of Bernice Middle and students in auditorium [002] circa 1980s

Box 1:1

David, Kathie, and Frankie Walker Christmas card with portrait of baby [003] circa 1960s

Box 1:1

Student David Peterson on the California School for the Blind campus [004] 1980

Box 1:1

Portrait of unidentified couple [005] circa 1980s

Box 1:1

Boy and girl wearing royalty costumes [006] circa 1970s

Box 1:1

Boy wearing bow tie holding a cane and smoking corn pipe [007] circa 1970s

Box 1:1

Bernice Middleton standing with group of men and women, reverse: 'Best wishes always Bernice- Christine Sipherd' [008] 1963

Box 1:1

Portrait of Bernice Middleton [009] circa 1940s

Box 1:1

Portrait of Bernice Middleton [010] circa 1950s

Box 1:1

Portrait of Bernice Middleton [011] circa 1940s

Box 1:1

Portrait of Bernice Middleton [012] circa 1970s

Box 1:1

Portrait of Bernice Middleton [013] circa 1930s

Box 1:1

Portrait of Bernice Middleton and young woman [014] circa 1930s

Box 1:1

Bernice Middleton and Leroy [-] in Waldo, Arkansas [015] 1937

Box 1:1

Portrait of Bernice Middleton [016] circa 1980s

Box 1:2

Bernice Middleton standing on sidewalk in San Francisco, California [017] 1947

Box 1:2

Group photograph of men and women [018] circa 1950s

Box 1:2

Portrait of Bernice Middleton [019] circa 1980s

Box 1:2

Portrait of Bernice Middleton [020] circa 1970s

Box 1:2

Portrait of Bernice Middleton and girl [021] circa 1930s

Box 1:2

Portrait of Bernice Middleton [022] 1938

Box 1:2

Portrait of Bernice Middleton [023] circa 1930s

Box 1:2

Portrait of Bernice Middleton [024] 1938

Box 1:2

Portrait of Bernice Middleton [025] 1942

Box 1:2

Portrait of Bernice Middleton [026] circa 1940s

Box 1:2

Portrait of Bernice Middleton [027] circa 1950s

Box 1:2

Portrait of Bernice Middleton [028] circa 1970s

Box 1:2

Portrait of a woman [029] undated

Box 1:2

Portrait of a man [030] undated

 

Assorted printed material

Physical Description: 4 folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

Includes funeral programs of Bernice Middleton's mother and brother, Pearline and William Grant Middleton, assorted newspaper clippings documenting her career as a teacher, Morris Brown College yearbook, The Brownite, from 1953, and an essay written on Bernice Middleton's life and career, The life of a truly extraordinary women: Bernice Middleton.

Arrangement

Arranged by format.
Box 1:17

Funeral programs 1964-1985

Box 1:18

Newspaper clippings 1970-1992

Box 1:19

Morris Brown College yearbook, The Brownite 1953

Box 1:20

The fife of a truly extraordinary woman: Bernice Middleton / Francine Elane Marsh 1993