Henry Nathaniel Oakes papers, 1904-1974 9.5 Linear Feet — Approx. 5000 Items
The papers of Henry Nathaniel Oakes chiefly consist of research material for and drafts of Oakes's 1973 Ph.D. dissertation, which focuses on the career of Robert Elijah Jones (1872—1960), the first African American Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, elected in 1920. Jones was born in Greensboro, North Carolina. Oakes's materials document the relationship between Jones and his close friend Booker T. Washington, Jones's accomodationist approach to racial integration, as well as the black struggle for equality in the predominantly white Methodist Episcopal Church in the first half of the twentieth century.
The earliest dates (1904-1940s) derive from photocopied research materials pertaining to the period during which Robert Jones was active, chiefly from Methodist publications, including reports, newsclippings, articles, and correspondence. These materials contain exceprts and notes on comments Jones made from 1905 to 1920 on abolition, African American business, mob violence and lynching, education, and politics. Also among the research papers are typed notes Henry Oakes took on an unidentified work by Robert E. Jones. Typewritten notes are typically annotated with many hand-written comments and underlined passages. Handwritten notes are often found on the backs of re-used elementary school worksheets.
Additional materials in the collection include University of Iowa forms and policies; correspondence between Oakes and members of the Jones family and Univ. of Iowa faculty; a set of typed transcripts of six or seven interviews conducted by Oakes with Jones family members, ministers, and other individuals; a set of black-and-white photographs of Jones, his immediate family, and Church officials; and five microfilm reels.
Mold remediation has been carried out by Conservation staff on selected portions of the collection. To facilitate access to severely damaged items, photocopies are available for use and are housed alongside the originals.
Acquired as part of the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture.