Selena Sloan Butler papers
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Selena Sloan Butler papers

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Auburn Avenue Research Library
Creator: Butler, Selena Sloan, ca. 1872-1964
Title: Selena Sloan Butler papers
Dates: 1886-1893
Quantity: 11.1 Linear feet
Identification: aarl09-002

Biographical/Historical Note

Selena Sloan was born around 1872 to Winnie Williams, a woman of mixed African and Native American descent, and William Sloan, who was of Caucasian ancestry, in Thomasville, Georgia. After attending a missionary elementary school, Sloan continued her education at Spelman Seminary (now Spelman College), graduating in 1888. She remained in Atlanta after graduation and taught in African American schools. In 1893, Sloan married Dr. Henry Rutherford Butler, a prominent black physician. A year later, while Dr. Butler studied at Harvard University, Selena Sloan Butler attended the Emerson School of Oratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Henry Rutherford Butler Jr., the couple's only child, was born in 1899.

Selena Sloan Butler was an educator, child welfare advocate, and community leader. Throughout her life Butler was active in many civic and service organizations, among them the American Red Cross, the Georgia Commission on Interracial Cooperation, and the Phyllis Wheatley branch of the Young Women's Christian Association. An organizer of the Atlanta Women's Club and Atlanta's Ruth Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star, she also published "The Woman's Advocate," a monthly paper devoted to the concerns and interests of African American women.

Butler's most notable work involved founding and leading the nation's and state's first black parent-teacher associations. She was instrumental in establishing the Georgia Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers and the National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers (NCCPT), the latter in 1926. In recognition of her achievements, President Herbert Hoover invited Butler to work on his White House Conference on Child Health and Protection. From 1920-1930, Selena Sloan Butler served on the Committee on Infant and Pre-School Children.

After Henry Butler Sr. died in 1931, Selena Sloan Butler traveled with her son to London, England in 1937, and later to Fort Huachuca in Arizona, where she remained active in civic and social associations. From 1953 until her death on October 7, 1964, Selena Sloan Butler lived in Los Angeles, California with her son and his wife, Rheba, and daughter, Darrilyn. In Atlanta, the park adjacent to the Henry R. Butler Elementary School-the former Yonge Street Elementary School where Selena Sloan Butler established the first black parent-teacher association in the United States-was named in her honor in 1966. In recognition of her lifelong work in education, in 1976 the Georgia Department of Education commissioned a portrait of Butler to hang in the state capitol. In 1995 Selena Sloan Butler was inducted in the Georgia Women of Achievement.

Henry Rutherford Butler Sr., son of Henry and Caroline Butler, was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina on April 11, 1862. Butler spent his formative years in Wilmington, North Carolina, where he went to school and worked odd jobs. He attended Lincoln University in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and received his M.D. from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee in 1890. Butler and his medical school classmate, Dr. Thomas Heathe Slater, were among the earliest African American doctors to establish practices in Atlanta. They also held the state's first pharmacy license for African Americans, owning and operating the Butler and Slater Drug Store, where Moses Amos worked early in his career before becoming the state's first black licensed druggist.

Butler Sr. was the founder of the Association of Physicians, Pharmacists and Dentists of Georgia and was one of the founders of both the Atlanta Medical Association and the National Medical Association. A noted civic leader, he was involved in the colored branch of the Young Men's Christian Association, Boy Scouts of America, and the Atlanta Interracial Commission. Butler served as Grand Master of the Prince Hall Masons for thirty years. In addition to having a school renamed in his recognition, he received an honorary degree from Lincoln University. Henry R. and Selena Sloan Butler are interred in Atlanta's Oakland Cemetery.

Henry Rutherford Butler Jr. was born on November 1, 1899 in Atlanta, Georgia. Butler Jr. earned his bachelor's degree from Atlanta University in 1922. He graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1926 as one of two African Americans in his class. Upon completion of his medical training Butler Jr. joined his father's medical practice, and after his father's death in 1931, continued the practice until 1937. During World War II, he supervised a 1,000 bed military station hospital at Fort Huachuca in Arizona, where he was awarded the Army Commendation Ribbon for Meritorious Service. Butler Jr. later settled with his wife Rheba and daughter Darrilyn in Los Angeles, California, and became the first African American physician at the Hospital of the Good Samaritan. Henry R. Butler Jr. practiced medicine in Los Angeles until his death in March of 1988.


Scope and Content Note

The Selena Sloan Butler family papers document the family's personal, professional, and civic activities from 1886 to 1983 through correspondence, certificates, newspaper clippings, periodicals, scrapbooks, photographs, engravings, artifacts, programs, personal journals, notes, pamphlets and publications. The photographs and photo engravings portray the Butler family and other African American men, women and children in social settings, though information about the dates, names, and locations is mostly unknown. Family correspondence, cards, newspaper clippings, and scrapbooks document daily life and relationships, various community activities, and sympathy letters and cards regarding Henry Butler Sr.'s death.

Local educational institutions, including the Gammon Theological Seminary and Spelman College, are documented through graduation programs and alumni materials. The Butler family's activities in civic and educational associations is illustrated in minutes, correspondence and reports from the National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers, the Phyllis Wheatley Y.W.C.A., the Atlanta Women's Club, Ruth Chapter of the Order of Eastern Star, and the Most Worshipful Union Grand Lodge. In addition, the collection consists of biographical information and newspaper clippings covering a variety of subjects, including education for African Americans, Auburn Avenue businesses, race relations and women's issues.


Index Terms

African American businesspeople--Georgia--Atlanta.
African American civic leaders--Georgia--Atlanta
African American parents' and teachers' associations--United States
African American physicians--Georgia--Atlanta
African American women educators--Georgia--Atlanta
African American women--Societies and clubs.
African Americans--Education--Georgia--Atlanta.
African Americans--Georgia--Atlanta--Social conditions--19th century
African Americans--Georgia--Atlanta--Social conditions--20th century
Butler family
Butler, Henry Rutherford, 1862-1931
Butler, Henry Rutherford, 1899-1988
Butler, Selena Sloan, ca. 1872-1964
Gammon Theological Seminary.
National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers.
Spelman College.
United States--Race relations.

Administrative Information

Provenance

The collection was donated to the Auburn Avenue Research Library in 2002.


Restrictions

Restrictions on Use

There are no restrictions on research use of this collection.

Copyright Restrictions

Prior permission from the Research Library must be obtained in writing before any portion of this collection can be published or reproduced.


Related Material

Select publications were removed and cataloged in the non-circulating general collection.


Container List

 

Series I: Selena Sloan Butler (1886-1969)

This series dates from 1886-1969 and consists of alphabetically arranged subject files containing correspondence, printed material, clippings, postcards, reports and other documents. Selena Sloan Butler's involvement in multiple state Colored Parent-Teacher Associations, the Young Women's Christian Association and the Georgia Commission on Interracial Cooperation is well documented. Personal correspondence and the Cornelius King and Son and utilities files contain information about family financial and legal matters. Family relationships and daily life also are portrayed through cards, correspondence, scrapbooks, and address books. A travel book provides information about a 1964 trip to London, England, where Butler met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Box

Fldr

11Address book, undated View online.
2Address book, undated View online.
3Atlanta Community Chest, 1924-1939 View online.
4Atlanta District P.T.A., 1963 View online.
5Better Homes of America, 1931 View online.
6Blueprint (copy), home floor plan, undated
7Business cards, undated View online.
8Cards, 1926-1961 View online.
9Commission on Interracial Cooperation, 1924-1926 View online.
10Cornelius King and Son, Renting Agents, 1929-1952 View online.
11Correspondence, personal, 1910-1939 View online.

Box

Fldr

21Correspondence, personal, 1940-1964 View online.
2Correspondence, professional, 1930 View online.
3Correspondence, professional, 1931-1958 View online.
4Correspondence, women's clubs, 1925-1956 View online.
5County Council of Colored Parents and Teachers of Chattanooga, Tennessee, undated View online.
6Delaware Colored Parents and Teachers Association, minutes, undated View online.
7Des Moines Colored Parents and Teachers Association, undated View online.
8Education, undated View online.
9Essay book, 1890 View online.
10Florida Branch, National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers, undated View online.
11Funeral program, 1964 View online.
12Gammon Seminary, 1923-1924 View online.
13Georgia Colored Parent-Teacher Association, 1925-1926 View online.
14Georgia Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers, 1964 View online.
15Henry Rutherford Butler Elementary School, 1958-1969 View online.
16Holiday cards and correspondence, 1930-1939 View online.

Box

Fldr

31Holiday greeting cards, 1941 View online.
2Holiday greeting cards, 1941 View online.
3Invitation, 1941 View online.
4Kentucky Colored Parents and Teachers Association, 1930-1946 View online.
5National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers, 1931-1964 View online.
6Notepad, undated View online.
7Notes, undated View online.
8Order of the Eastern Star, 1926-1953 View online.
9Postcards (unsigned), undated View online.
10Programs, 1886-1963 View online.

Box

Fldr

41Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., 1927-1928 View online.
2South Carolina State Parents and Teachers Association, 1931 View online.
3Spelman College, 1921-1964 View online.

Box

OV2Spelman Plate, undated View online.

Box

Fldr

44Stationery, undated View online.
5Sympathy letters, death of Dr. Butler Sr., 1931 View online.
6Travel book, 1964 View online.
7Utilities, statements, 1938 View online.
8Virginia Congress of Parents and Teachers in Colored Schools, 1930-1931 View online.
9Young Women's Christian Association (Y.W.C.A.), 1922-1928 View online.
10Y.W.C.A., Phyllis Wheatley branch, 1920-1945 View online.
 

Series II: Henry Rutherford Butler Sr. and Henry Rutherford Butler Jr. (1890-1983)

This series, 1890 to 1983, partially documents the lives of Dr. Henry Rutherford Butler Sr. and Dr. Henry Rutherford Butler Jr. through alphabetically arranged files containing correspondence, certificates, biographical information, legal documents, programs, and printed material related to their medical training and careers. The artifacts in the series belonged to Dr. Henry R. Butler Jr.

Box

Fldr

51Biography, Dr. Henry Rutherford Butler Sr., 1890-1959 View online.
2Biographical narrative, Dr. Henry Rutherford Butler Jr., undated View online.
3Certificates, Dr. H. R. Butler Jr., 1927-1970 View online.
4Correspondence, Dr. H. R. Butler Sr., 1894-1930 View online.
5Correspondence, Dr. H. R. Butler Jr., 1924-1983 View online.
6Last will and testament, Dr. H. R. Butler Sr., 1921
7Most Worshipful Union Grand Lodge, Dr. H. R. Butler Sr., 1913-1931 View online.
8Pathology laboratory note book, Dr. H. R. Butler Jr., 1923-1924 View online.
9Programs, Dr. H. R. Butler Sr., 1895 View online.
10Programs, Dr. H. R. Butler Jr., 1925-1963 View online.
11Published and unpublished writings, Dr. H. R. Butler Jr., 1913, undated View online.
12Thank You notes for sympathies expressed of Dr. H. R. Butler Sr., 1931 View online.

Box

Fldr

66Box top, Soft Soles, undated View online.
1Children's sock, undated View online.
2Children's socks, undated View online.
5Hair brush, undated View online.
7Infant's shoes, undated View online.
3Pendant, Mahavatar Babaji, undated View online.
4Ribbon, undated View online.
 

Series III: Photographs and Photo Engravings (1926, undated)

Photographs and photo engravings in this series document the Butler family, friends, and professional associations, though indentifying information is mostly unknown. Photos of the Butler family include Atlanta scenes and travels abroad.

Box

Fldr

71Photographs, Selena Sloan Butler, undated View online.
2Photographs, Selena Sloan Butler, undated View online.
3Photographs, Selena Sloan Butler, undated View online.
4Photographs, Selena Sloan Butler, undated View online.
5Photographs, Selena Sloan Butler, 1926 View online.
6Photographs, Dr. Henry R. Butler Sr., undated View online.
7Photographs, Dr. Henry R. Butler Sr., undated View online.

Box

OV1Photographs, Dr. Henry R. Butler Sr. and Nursing Staff, undated View online.
Photographs, Free Mason Banquet, undated

Box

Fldr

78Photographs, Dr. Henry R. Butler Jr., undated View online.
9Photographs, Dr. Henry R. Butler Jr., undated View online.
10Photographs, Dr. Henry R. Butler Jr., undated View online.
11Photographs, Dr. Henry R. Butler Jr., undated View online.
12Photographs, Dr. Henry R. Butler Jr., undated View online.
13Photographs, Dr. Henry R. Butler Jr., undated View online.

Box

OV1Photographs, Dr. Henry R. Butler Jr., undated
Photographs, Dr. Henry R. Butler Jr., undated

Box

Fldr

81Photographs, travel and negatives, undated View online.
2Photographs, Butler family, undated View online.
3Photographs, Butler family, undated View online.
4Photographs, unidentified, undated View online.

Box

Fldr

91Photographs, unidentified children, undated View online.
2Photographs, unidentified men, undated View online.
3Photographs, unidentified women, undated View online.
4Photographs, unidentified groups, undated View online.

Box

Fldr

101Photographs, unidentified groups, undated View online.
2Photographs, unidentified scenes, undated View online.
3Engraving, unknown woman, undated View online.
4Engraving, unknown, undated View online.
5Engraving, unknown, undated

Box

Fldr

111Engraving, Mr. Cornelius King, undated View online.
2Engraving, Mr. W.S. Thomas, undated View online.
3Engraving, Ms. E.E. Bentley, undated
4Engraving, Mrs. Sarah T. Wynn, undated
5Engraving, Mrs. Nine King Miller, undated View online.
6Engraving, Mr. Cornelius King and Woman, undated View online.
7Engraving, Mrs. Alice Flanders, undated
8Engraving, Mr. Cornelius King, undated View online.
9Engraving, Mrs. Silver King, undated View online.

Box

Fldr

121Engraving, unknown, undated View online.
2Engraving, unknown, undated View online.
3Engraving, unknown woman, undated View online.
4Engraving, unknown man, undated View online.
5Engraving, unknown, undated

Box

OV1Architectural photography-folder 1, undated
Architectural photography-folder 2, undated
Photographs, military scenes, undated
Photograph, unknown, undated
Photograph, unknown, undated
 

Series IV: Printed Materials (1895-1972)

This series dates from 1895 to 1972 and is comprised of newspaper clippings, various periodicals, and a yearbook. Newspaper clippings from the Atlanta Constitution document the 1895 Cotton States and International Exposition, which included a special building featuring the accomplishments of African Americans. Periodicals include single issues of the Boulé Journal (1955), the Journal of the National Medical Association (1959), New Crusade (1898), and Vistas de Los Angeles (1901). Details about the lives of the Butler family are contained in the several newspaper clippings, as well as the Boulé Journal and the Journal of the National Medical Association.

Box

OV4Newspaper clippings, 1895

Box

Fldr

131Newspaper clippings, 1918-1940 View online.
2Newspaper clippings, 1941-1972 View online.
3Periodicals and books, 1898-1959 View online. View online.
4Yearbook, Knoxville College, 1938 View online. View online. View online.
 

Series V: Scrapbooks (1896-1961)

This series is comprised of three scrapbooks which relate to both the personal and professional lives of the Butler family from 1896-1961. They include materials relating to the National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers, family travel, and local events.

Box

OV2National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers, 35 th Anniversary, 1961

Box

OV3News clippings, 1896-1898 View online.
Travel postcards, 1906-1907