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Papers & Collections: Mary Church Terrell

Welcome to Mary Church Terrell’s Papers & Collections. This is a working directory of Mary Church Terrell’s extant papers and collections as located across many different repositories and housed in a myriad of libraries and archival organizations. These various collections contain Terrell’s primary documents, photos and portraits of Terrell, and physical items owned by Terrell. Here, you will find a comprehensive directory of the collections along with links to Terrell’s materials. This directory is part of the BWOA mission to bring together the works of Black women organizers, illuminating their social and political efforts in advancing civil rights throughout the long 19th century.

Credits: Primary research locating extant collections of Terrell’s writings conducted by Kesla Elmore, Yolanda Mackey, and Sabrina Evans between 2022-2023. Editing and review of the directory conducted by Yolanda Mackey, Sabrina Evans, Kendra Napier-Fonash, Morgan Robinson, and Shirley Moody-Turner. Web publishing of the directory completed by Lauren Cooper. 

Digital Collections

Ned R. McWherter Special Collections Library, University of Memphis

The Church Family Papers include the documents and activities of Robert Reed Church, Sr. & his son Robert Reed Church, Jr.


Robert S. Cox Special Collections and University Archives Research Center, University of Massachusetts Amherst

The  W. E. B. Du Bois Papers include correspondence between W.E.B. Du Bois and Mary Church Terrell (1903-1952), circular letters, petitions, announcements, and invitations.


Library of Congress 

The Manuscript Division houses the Mary Church Terrell Papers, which includes her diaries, appointment calendars and address book, correspondence, speeches and writings, subject files, and miscellany.

Additionally, a number of her items can be found in other LOC collections:


Alexander Street Press

The Women and Social Movements in the United States,1600-2000 collection contains a digital copy of A Colored Woman in a White World (1940) and Harriet Beecher Stowe: An Appreciation (1911) by Mary Church Terrell.


National Archives and Records Administration


The New York Public Library Digital Collections

The Manuscripts and Archives Division holds the Century Company Records (Series I: General Correspondence) collection, which contains Mary Church Terrell’s “Letter to the Editor of the Century,” and other related correspondences. In addition, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Books Division contains two portraits of Mary Church Terrell circa 1897:


University of Tennessee, Knoxville

The Volunteer Voices collection holds letters from Robert Terrell to Robert R. Church about “Mollie.”


University of Southern California Libraries

The Los Angeles Examiner Photographs Collection 1920-1961 houses four photographs of the “National Association of Colored Women Convention, 1952,” some of which include Mary Church Terrell.


Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College

The Branson-Jackson Family Papers contain a letter from Mary Church Terrell to Anna M. Jackson.


Smithsonian Institution

The Museum of American History, Archives Center holds The Scurlock Studio Records collection, which includes four photographs of Mary Church Terrell:

The National Portrait Gallery contains two portraits of Terrell:


The Henry P. Whitehead collection  in the Anacostia Community Museum Archives includes two photographs of Mary Church Terrell.


Tennessee State Library and Archives

The Women’s Suffrage in Tennessee collection includes two items regarding Terrell:


University of North Carolina Library

The Documenting the American South project houses The Church in Southern Black Community collection, which includes a still image of Terrell from the book Evidences of Progress among Colored People by G.F. Richings (1902).


Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection, Temple University Libraries

The John W. Mosley Photograph Collection contains three photographs of Mary Church Terrell.

Non-Digital Collections

Oberlin College Archives

The Mary Church Terrell Papers include biographical information, correspondence, diaries and appointment calendars, legal and financial documents, organizational materials, speeches, writings, artifacts, and photographs.


Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library

The Research & Reference division includes microfilm of the Mary Church Terrell Papers collection housed at the Library of Congress.

The Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division houses the National Association of University Women records (1925-1985) collection which includes national conventions programs, directories, bulletins, newsletters, journals, and news clippings. Mary Church Terrell was organizer of the NAUW’s parent group, the College Alumnae Club, and this collection may hold some of her speeches and correspondences.

The Photographs and Prints Division houses the Mary Church Terrell portrait collection which includes six photoprints and the Paul Robeson portrait collection which includes a still image of Paul Robeson and Mary Church Terrell.


Moorland-Spingarn Research Center Manuscript Division, Howard University

The Mary Church Terrell Papers (1888-1976) includes correspondence, clippings, newspaper articles, pamphlets, broadsides, organizational affiliations, notes, memorabilia, a play: Phyllis Wheatley: A Pageant, and materials related to her autobiography, A Colored Woman in a White World. 

The Henry Arthur Callis Papers (1888-1974) collection includes correspondence between Terrell and Callis, who was a physician, professor of medicine at Howard University, and founder of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.


Abakanowicz Research Center, Chicago History Museum

The Oscar DePriest papers [manuscript], 1916-1983 collection may have some correspondence or other materials from Mary Church Terrell. 

Material Archives

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture 

The museum’s digital collection includes images of three physical belongings previously owned or occupied by Mary Church Terrell. These items were donated as “A Gift of Ray and Jean Langston in memory of Mary Church and Robert Terrell.”