Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Boswell (Hamilton T.) papers
BANC MSS 2015/203  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (91.88 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Alternate Forms Available
  • Acquisition Information
  • Accruals
  • Arrangement
  • Processing Information
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Scope and Contents

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: The Bancroft Library
    Title: Hamilton T. Boswell papers
    creator: Boswell, Hamilton T.
    Creator: Jones Memorial United Methodist Church (San Francisco, Calif.)
    source: Boswell-Raine, Eleanor
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 2015/203
    Physical Description: 8.2 Linear Feet 6 cartons; 1 box; 2 oversize folders; 1 portfolio
    Date (inclusive): 1930-2009
    Abstract: This collection documents the life and work of Hamilton T. Boswell, minister of Jones Memorial Methodist Church in San Francisco and founding minister of Bowen Memorial Methodist Church in Los Angeles. The collection includes correpsondence and working documents related to Boswell's work with his congregations and within the United Methodist Church; San Francisco civic and public institutions such as the Juvenile Justice Commission and Housing Authority; the Civil Rights movement; his activities as a San Francisco police chaplain and chaplain of the California Assembly; and his personal life. Also included are his writings, from early classwork to sermons, speeches, and articles for his column, 'The Pulpit Voice', as well as photographs spanning his life and career. Audio recordings of sermons and family films are also present. Included are correspondence and photographs from Boswell's interactions with figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy, Justice Thurgood Marshall, Langston Hughes, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Willie Brown, Jr. and various other San Francisco mayors, California governors, and other city and state officials.
    Language of Material: Collection materials are in English.
    Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.

    Access

    Collection is open for research.
    Portfolio 1: NEGATIVES RESTRICTED. Available for use by appointment only.

    Publication Rights

    Materials in this collection may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000. See:
    http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/libraries/bancroft-library/rights-and-permissions

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Hamilton T. Boswell papers, BANC MSS 2015/203, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Alternate Forms Available

    There are no alternate forms of this collection.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Eleanor Boswell-Raine, 2015.

    Accruals

    No additions are expected.

    Arrangement

    Arranged to the folder level.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Lori Dedeyan in 2017.

    Biographical / Historical

    Rev. Hamilton T. Boswell was born in Dallas, Texas in 1914. In 1920, his family moved to Los Angeles, where he attended grade school and high school. He attended Wiley College in Marshall, Texas and then earned his master’s degree and PhD in 1943 from the University of Southern California. He was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first African-American, intercollegiate Greek-lettered fraternity, and continued his involvement for 72 years. He met and married Eleanor Gragg in 1939, after a courtship of three days; they would remain married until their deaths in 2007. The couple had two daughters, Eleanor and Jeri Lynn.
    Boswell’s first position as a clergyman was at St. John’s Methodist Church in Los Angeles, where he presided from 1939 to 1943, after which he established Bowen Memorial Methodist Church. He and his family moved to San Francisco in 1947, where he assumed the pastorship of Jones Memorial United Methodist Church in the Fillmore District. He founded the Jones Methodist Credit Union and then the Jones Memorial Homes, the first federally financed senior citizen housing in San Francisco, in 1954.
    Boswell was a mentor and campaign adviser to California Assemblyman and San Francisco mayor Willie Brown, Jr., who joined Jones Methodist in 1951. From 1953 to 1962, Boswell was a commissioner for Juvenile Justice in California. He served as a San Francisco Housing Authority Commissioner from 1964 to 1974, serving as chairman for two terms.
    Boswell was active in the Civil Rights movement. He was the initial chairman of the San Francisco Conference on Religion and Race and co-chaired the Church Labor Conference, working with the interdenominational Ministerial Alliance to organize a 1964 gathering at the Cow Palace in San Francisco in support of the Southern Christian Leadership and Martin Luther King, Jr. He was given the Freedom Award by the NAACP in 1972 and 1974. He also received the Human Rights Award from the California State Senate and Assembly in 1964.
    Boswell also served as chaplain to the San Francisco Police Department.
    In 1976, he was appointed the District Superintendent within the California-Nevada United Methodist Church conference, presiding over the Contra Costa County and Alameda County jurisdiction until 1980. In 1984, he came out of retirement to serve as the chaplain for the California Assembly, a position he held for 10 years.
    He died on May 6, 2007. His wife Eleanor passed away during the same year.

    Scope and Contents

    This collection documents the life and work of Hamilton T. Boswell, minister of Jones Memorial Methodist Church in San Francisco and founding minister of Bowen Memorial Methodist Church in Los Angeles. The collection includes correpsondence and working documents related to Boswell's work with his congregations and within the United Methodist Church; San Francisco civic and public institutions such as the Juvenile Justice Commission and Housing Authority; the Civil Rights movement; his activities as a San Francisco police chaplain and chaplain of the California Assembly; and his personal life. Also included are his writings, from early classwork to sermons, speeches, and articles for his column, 'The Pulpit Voice', as well as photographs spanning his life and career. Audio recordings of sermons and family films are also present. Included are correspondence and photographs from Boswell's interactions with figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy, Justice Thurgood Marshall, Langston Hughes, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Willie Brown, Jr. and various other San Francisco mayors, California governors, and other city and state officials.
    The collection is divided into five series:
    Series 1 (correspondence) contains incoming and outgoing letters pertaining to Boswell's work in the Methodist Church, community work, the Civil Rights Movement, San Francisco civic and political work, and personal life.
    Series 2 (Writings) contains classwork, sermons, prayers, speeches, and articles.
    Series 3 (Career and personal life) contains church documents, work documents, conference material, programs and proceedings, certificates and resolutions pertaining to Boswell's work, family and school documents, and personal material.
    Series 4 (Photographs) contains images spanning Boswell's work, in the church and in San Francisco and California political and civic institutions, and family life.
    Series 5 (Audiovisual material) includes audio and film recordings of Boswell's sermons, speeches, recollections, and family life.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    African American Methodists
    African American political activists
    Methodist Church--Clergy
    Methodist Church--United States--History
    African Americans--California--San Francisco
    Chaplains, Police--United States
    Housing -- California -- San Francisco
    Housing authorities--Officials and employees
    African Americans - Civil rights
    Boswell, Hamilton T.
    Jones Memorial United Methodist Church (San Francisco, Calif.)
    Boswell-Raine, Eleanor