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Guide to the Alice Martin Papers
MS 122  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Provenance
  • Restrictions on Access
  • Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content Note
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Alice Martin Papers
    Date (inclusive): 1937-2004
    Date (bulk): (bulk 1943-1993)
    Collection number: MS 122
    Creator: Martin, Alice, circa 1907-2004
    Extent: 8 boxes
    Languages:

    English
    Repository: Special Collections, Robert E. Kennedy Library
    California Polytechnic State University
    San Luis Obispo, California 93407
    Abstract: The personal papers of Alice Martin, a civic-minded African-American woman known for her charitable nature and community service, consists primarily of correspondence, employment and war records, photographs, and realia. Donated by the estate of Alice Martin in 2004. Martin dedicated her time to her church, affordable housing consortiums, and community services for the economically disadvantaged and elderly in the county of San Luis Obispo. She was among the black family members who came to the area in the early 1940s as their husbands or other relatives were stationed at Camp San Luis Obispo, a training base for the U. S. Army.

    Provenance

    Donated by the estate of Alice Martin in 2004.

    Restrictions on Access

    Collection is open to qualified researchers by appointment only. For more information on access policies and to obtain a copy of the Researcher Registration form, please visit the Special Collections Access page.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    In order to reproduce, publish, broadcast, exhibit, and/or quote from this material, researchers must submit a written request and obtain formal permission from Special Collections, Cal Poly, as the owner of the physical collection.
    Photocopying of material is permitted at staff discretion and provided on a fee basis. Photocopies are not to be used for any purpose other than for private study, scholarship, or research. Special Collections staff reserves the right to limit photocopying and deny access or reproduction in cases when, in the opinion of staff, the original materials would be harmed.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of Item]. Alice Martin Papers, Special Collections, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Calif.

    Biography

    Alice Mae Martin, an African American and native of Illinois, came to San Luis Obispo, California, in 1942 with her then husband Clarence F. Martin while he was stationed at Camp San Luis Obispo. Following his deployment she moved back to her home base in Montana. She returned to live in San Luis Obispo permanently in 1969.
    Martin worked most of her adult life, well into her 70s. During her early working years, she served as a mechanical helper/aircraft fitter and a laundry presser for the U. S. War Department at military camps in Montana and Arizona during World War II. When her husband was transferred to California, she joined him, working at Camp Roberts in Monterey Co., then locally at Camp San Luis Obispo, as a presser. Later on, she operated the steam presses at Paul’s Cleaners, a retail dry cleaners still in business today on South Higuera St. Included in the collection is the original apron she wore as part of her work uniform there. She also held jobs as a nanny and housekeeper.
    Details of her birth are unconfirmed and among the records in the collection are her queries attempting to establish details about her birthplace and year of birth (variously stated as 1907 and 1912).
    She was known for her charitable nature and the donation of hours of community service to her church; affordable housing consortiums; and services for the economically disadvantaged and elderly in the city of San Luis Obispo. She volunteered for many organizations including Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), the Housing Authority, the Boy Scouts, Grace Church, the Red Cross, and the Salvation Army.
    A strong advocate of affordable housing, she served as a Commissioner for the Housing Authority for the City of San Luis Obispo for many years. Martin received much recognition for her contributions, most notably on the eve of her 97th birthday when the SLO County Community Foundation honored her for more than 10,000 hours of community service to the City of San Luis Obispo. This honor exemplified her life of service to her church, neighbors, friends, and community.
    Martin had only a sixth-grade education, but read extensively, and was an ardent poet. She died in San Luis Obispo, September 11, 2004, at 97 years of age.
    Sources
    "Alice Martin." [Obituary] The Tribune, (San Luis Obispo, CA) 19 Sept. 2004: no page Personal reminiscences, Ruth Smith

    Scope and Content Note

    Personal papers of Alice Martin, a civic-minded woman of color known for her charitable nature and donation of hours of community service. Consists of her writings, war records, photographs and personal papers.
    She dedicated her time to her church, affordable housing consortiums, and services for the economically disadvantaged and elderly in the City of San Luis Obispo. She was among the many black families who came to the city of San Luis Obispo in the early 1940s, whose husbands or relatives were training at Camp San Luis.
    Where possible, the provenance, or original organization, of the papers has been preserved. However, in order to simplify access to the collection for researchers, some materials in specific formats and topics were reorganized and refoldered to more accurately reflect their contents.
    The Alice Martin Papers are divided into 5 series:
    1. Personal Papers, 1937-2004
    2. Volunteer Activities, 1971-2004
    3. Writings, 1951-1988
    4. Photographs, undated
    5. Artifacts, undated
    The Alice Martin Papers are housed in 8 document boxes with Series 1 - 3 containing the most extensive and unique portions of the collection, which include her World War II civilian service records, volunteer activities and her writings.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library’s online public access catalog.

    Subjects

    African Americans -- California -- San Luis Obispo -- Social conditions.
    Community life -- California -- San Luis Obispo -- History -- 20th century.
    Political activists -- California – San Luis Obispo -- History -- 20th century.
    Volunteer workers in social service -- San Luis Obispo -- California.
    Martin, Alice Mae -- 1907-2004
    Martin, Clarence Franklin--1922-

    Genre and Forms of Materials

    Correspondence
    Photographs
    Family papers
    Realia
    Typescripts
    Military papers
    Newspaper clippings
    Poetry

    Related Material

    Materials Cataloged Separately
    Davidson, Orlando R., J. Carl Willems and Joseph A. Kahl. The Deadeyes: The Story of the 96th Infantry Division. Washington D. C.: Infantry Journal Press, 1947.
    [Inscribed by Clarence Martin to wife Alice Martin.]