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W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library Manuscript Collections

Guide to the Matthews Family Papers MSS.3387


University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 35487-0266

May 2011


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July 2014
Collection Title:

Matthews Family Papers

Unit ID:



University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

SC0069 3387.01

0.1 Linear feet (10 Letters and 1 greeting card)




The Matthews Family Papers contain letters written to and from members of the W. B. Matthews family in Atlanta and contains one recommendation letter from W. E. B. DuBois. A series of letters written by Joseph Cotter Jr. discuss race relations during World War I


Cotter, Joseph Seamon, 1895-1919


Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963

Preferred Citation:

Matthews Family Papers, W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library, The University of Alabama

Processing Information:

Processing Information note

Processed by Erin Schmidt 2011

Access Restrictions:



Gift of Wade Hall 2008

Scope and Contents note

In 1904, W. E. B. Du Bois writes "To whom it may concern" on behalf of Mr. W. B. Matthews, recommending Matthews for any position in a public school system. Du Bois writes of his seven year acquaintance with Matthews and his family and speaks very highly of Matthews, both personally and professionally.

The collection also contains letters written during WW I in which African American poet Joseph S. Cotter Jr. writes from Louisville, Kentucky, to Louise Matthews in Atlanta, Georgia, regarding "colored officers" and soldiers in the military; one letter from Louise Matthews to Cotter recounting her activities as a student at Atlanta University; a solicitation from The Crisis magazine; a letter from the National Urban League; and a New Year Card signed by Joseph S. Cotter. According to the donor the greeting card is dated circa 1931.

Biographical/Historical note

By 1906, W. B. Matthews was serving as principal of the Gate City Colored School, the first public school for African Americans in Atlanta, Georgia. According to Rage in the City: The Story of the 1906 Atlanta Race Riot, Du Bois and Matthews both attended the First Congregational Church.

W. E. B. Du Bois lived from 1868 to 1963 and was one of the most prominent leaders of the Civil Rights movement in the United States during the early twentieth century. He was a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and served as editor of The Crisis, its magazine, from 1910 to 1934. In 1904, at the time of the writing of the W. E. Burghardt Du Bois Letter, Du Bois was a Professor of Economics and History at the Atlanta University.


African Americans--Education, Higher (lcsh)

Education (localbroad)

World War, 1914-1918 (lcsh)

World War, 1914-1918--Participation, African American (lcsh)

Matthews Family Papers Box SC0069 Folder 3387.01