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Guide to the Roscoe Conkling Simmons Papers, 1919-1950

Summary

Roscoe Conkling Simmons was an African American orator, journalist, and community leader who strongly supported the Republican party in the early twentieth century. This collection consists of pamphlets, speeches, newspaper clippings, and other ephemera documenting his public life and service to the Republican party.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.11016
Title
Roscoe Conkling Simmons papers
Date
1919-1950 and undated
Extent
2.5 Linear Feet
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Materials in English

Collection Overview

The collection consists largely of printed materials, particularly pamphlets, flyers, and newspapers, documenting Simmons' public life as a Republican party organizer and orator. A small number of printed speeches and a file with portraits of Simmons are also included. Materials are loosely arranged by format. Several newspaper clippings include articles and essays by Simmons.

More Biographical / Historical Info

Using These Materials

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warning Access to the Collection

Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48-hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use & Permissions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], Roscoe Conkling Simmons Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

Event programs, 1924-1950

Programs, pamphlets, and other collected materials documenting Simmons' public life, largely featuring him as a lecturer or guest speaker. Other programs appear to be from events he attended.

Box 1
Event flyers and advertisements, 1929-1949

Flyers and advertisements, largely ephemeral and broadsides, promoting events and other occasions featuring Simmons and other Republican-minded speakers.

Box 1
Portraits and pictures, undated

Formal portraits of Simmons from throughout his life, undated.

Box 1
Speeches, 1919-1950

Reprints of speeches by Simmons, as well as a typescript of "Address to the Country," and an accompanying attendance list, from a Republican conference in 1950 held in Washington, D.C.

Box 1
Pamphlets, 1930s-1940s

Includes assorted political pamphlets, one authored by Simmons. Titles include: The Republican Party and American Colored People, 1856-1936, by R.C. Simmons; Our Motto: Co-operation, by the Second Ward Republicatn Organization of Chicago; The Story of Roosevelt and Garner as it Affects the Negro, by the Repulican National Committee; and The Negro and the Republican Party, by the Republican National Committee.

Box 1
Campaign clippings, 1943 and undated

Excerpts from The Union newspaper promoting Simmons as a delegate candidate for the Republican National Convention.

Box 1
Songsheets and music, 1940s

Sheet music and lyrics from political events, including a song about Calvin Coolidge.

Box 1
The Union (Chicago) newspaper issues, 1928-1948
(3 folders)

Includes assorted issues of The Union, usually with columns by Simmons or advertisements promoting an upcoming speech. The latest issue is dated 1978, but this appears to be a typesetting error. Its estimated date is 1948.

Newspapers are folded, brittle, and in fragile condition. Digital reproductions may need to be produced to allow access to the materials.

Box 2
Second Ward Times (Chicago) newspaper issues, 1938

Includes issues with coverage of Simmons' speeches and appearances.

Newspapers are folded, brittle, and in fragile condition. Digital reproductions may need to be produced to allow access to the materials.

Box 3
The Spokesman (Chicago) newspaper issues, 1933

Includes issues with Simmons' column "The Week."

Newspapers are folded, brittle, and in fragile condition. Digital reproductions may need to be produced to allow access to the materials.

Box 3
The St. Louis American newspaper issues
Box 3
Miscellaneous newspaper issues, 1922-1941

Includes press coverage of Simmons' lectures as well as published copies of his column "The Week."

Newspapers are folded, brittle, and in fragile condition. Digital reproductions may need to be produced to allow access to the materials.

Box 3
 

Historical Note

Roscoe Conkling (sometimes spelled Conklin) Simmons was born in Greenview, Mississippi, in 1878, and was a nephew of Booker T. Washington' third wife. Simmons graduated from Tuskegee Institute in 1899. He became a prominant journalist for newspapers like the Chicago Defender, the Washington Times-Herald, and the Chicago Tribune. He was also a lifelong Republican. He was a popular orator in the African American community and served as a director of the Republican National Committee's Colored Speakers Bureau for presidential campaigns between 1924 and 1936. Simmons died in April 1951.


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Provenance

The Roscoe Conking Simmons Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in April 2015.

Processing Information

Processed by: Zoe Willingham, Meghan Lyon, April 2015

Accessions described in this finding aid: 2015-0043