Helen Edmonds papers, 1951-1994
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- Edmonds, Helen G. (Helen Grey), 1911-1995
- Collection contains primarily correspondence and printed materials, including speeches, clippings, and photocopies. Two large sections of materials concern Edmonds' interests and activities as a member of the Republican Party and her work as an alternate delegate to the U.N. General Assembly, 1970. Some materials relate to her work with the National Peace Corps Advisory Council, to educational exchange, consultations in Europe and Israel, and other work experiences in an international context. Papers representing her duties as a college professor are limited.
- 4.4 Linear Feet
circa 4,000 Items
- Collection ID:
- Scope and content:
Collection contains primarily correspondence and printed materials, including speeches, clippings, and photocopies. Two large sections of materials concern Edmonds' interests and activities as a member of the Republican Party and her work as an alternate delegate to the U.N. General Assembly, 1970. Some materials relate to her work with the National Peace Corps Advisory Council, to educational exchange, consultations in Europe and Israel, and other work experiences in an international context. Papers representing her duties as a college professor are limited.
- Biographical / historical:
Helen Edmonds was a historian, scholar, and civic leader. She was the first African American woman to earn a doctorate from Ohio State University, the first to become a graduate school dean, and the first to second the nomination of a United States presidential candidate.
Born in Lawrenceville, VA, Edmonds received her bachelor’s degree in history from Morgan State College in 1933. She went on to receive an M.A. in History at Ohio State University in 1938, followed by a Ph.D. from that same institution in 1946. Edmond's dissertation was published in 1951 as her first book, The Negro and Fusion Politics in North Carolina, 1894-1901. Edmonds also published numerous articles in scholarly journals on politics in the South. Her second book, Black Faces in High Places, was published in 1971.
In 1941 Edmonds joined the faculty of North Carolina College, now North Carolina Central University, where she remained until her retirement in 1977. During her tenure at NCCU, Edmonds taught U.S. and European diplomatic history, served as chair of the department of history, Dean of the Graduate School, and University Distinguished Professor. After her retirement from the teaching faculty in 1977, she became a member of the Board of Trustees.
Edmonds was appointed by the U.S. Department of State as a Leader-Specialist in International Education Exchange in 1954. Through this post she helped develop educational exchanges for U.S. faculty and students in Germany, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, and France. She also served as a visiting instructor in numerous institutions in the United States, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East including Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT), the Free University of Berlin, the University of Stockholm, Ohio State University, and the University of Liberia.
An active Republican, Edmonds seconded the nomination of President Dwight D. Eisenhower at the Republican National Convention in San Francisco in 1956. During the second term of the Eisenhower Administration she traveled throughout Africa promoting American ideals and values in colonies that were soon-to-be independent nations. In 1970, President Richard M. Nixon appointed Edmonds as an alternate delegate to the United Nations General Assembly where she chaired the Human Rights Committee.
Edmonds also held important leadership roles in civic organizations such as the United Negro College Fund, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Legal Defense Fund, the United Research and Development Corporation, the National Council of Negro Women, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. She was the fifth president of the African American women's service organization, the Links.
In 1986 Edmonds was named a Distinguished Woman of North Carolina. Three years later the North Carolina Central University social science and history building was renamed in her honor. Edmonds died in Durham, North Carolina on May 9, 1995.
Chronology Date Event 1911 Dec. 3Born in Lawrenceville, Va. 1933Graduated from Morgan State University 1938Earned Master's Degree from Ohio State University 1941-1977Professor at North Carolina Central University 1995Died in Durham, North Carolina
- Acquisition information:
- The Helen Edmonds Papers were donated to the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library on November 9, 1981.
- Processing information:
Processed by: Duke University. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library Staff
Completed ca. 1981
Encoded by Stephen Douglas Miller
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- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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- Educational exchanges
African Americans -- Politics and government
African Americans -- Correspondence
Historians -- United States
African American college teachers -- North Carolina -- Durham
African American historians
- United Nations. General Assembly
Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- ) -- History -- 20th century
Peace Corps (U.S.) -- Management
Edmonds, Helen G. (Helen Grey), 1911-1995
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