Inventory of the John L. Dart Family Papers, 1844 - 1947

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Descriptive Summary

Abstract: John Lewis Dart (1854-1915) was born a free person of color in Charleston, South Carolina. He graduated from Avery Normal Institute in 1872 and attended Atlanta University in Georgia, and Newton Theological Seminary in Massachusetts, where he was ordained a Baptist minister. He returned to Charleston in 1886 and became pastor of Morris Street Baptist Church. Sixteen years later, Dart ministered the Shiloh Baptist Church. In 1894, he opened the Charleston Normal and Industrial Institute, a public school to educate African American children. Dart was also the editor of The Southern Reporter newspaper.
The Dart Family Papers contains documents pertaining to the formerly enslaved William Dart and his wife Susan Fenwick Dart, a free woman of color; their son, John Lewis Dart; his son, William Andrews Dart, daughter Susan Dart Butler and her husband Nathaniel Lowe Butler; daughter Anna Pierre Dart and her husband, Beverly Bronseaux, and their children, Beverly and Evangeline. Holds documents pertaining to the transference of the enslaved William Dart to Susan Fenwick; transcripts of taxes paid by free people of color and a Bill of Sale for the steamer Mab to Dart. The collection includes documents pertaining to the life of John Dart as a pastor, school administrator, newspaper publisher, and businessman including his authored booklet, The Famous Trial of the Eight Men Indicted for the Lynching of Frazier B. Baker and His Baby, Late U.S. Postmaster at Lake City, S.C. in the U.S. Circuit Court, at Charleston, SC, April 10-22, 1899. Also included is a photocopy of one issue of The Southern Reporter, 9 April 1904.
Title: John L. Dart Family Papers, 1844 - 1947
Call Number: AMN 1069
Repository: Avery Research Center
Dates: 1844-1947
Language of Material: Material is in English
Extent: 0.5 linear foot
(1 archival box)

Historical Note

Reverend John Lewis Dart (1854-1915) was the son of former slave William Dart and Susan Fenwick, a free person of color in Charleston, South Carolina. Fenwick purchased the enslaved William in 1849 and ten year later he was listed as free.

John L. Dart was valedictorian of the Avery Normal Institute's first graduating class of 1872, and obtained a bachelor's degree from Atlanta University in 1879. Dart studied at the Newton Seminary, Massachusetts and was ordained a Baptist minister. Returning to Charleston by 1886, Dart was instrumental in obtaining aid for African American citizens who suffered in a massive earthquake that hit the area. He eventually served as pastor of Morris Street Baptist Church for sixteen years ,and Shiloh Baptist for another ten years. In 1887, Dart married Julia Pierre.

In opposition to the lack of public education available to African Americans in the city of Charleston, Dart established the Charleston Normal and Industrial Institute with the help from Northern benefactors in 1894. As the school's success grew, Dart built a new building on six lots on the corner of Kracke and Bogard Street. Known as Dart Hall, the school eventually held a social center for adults, and printing press for his newspaper The Southern Reporter. Additionally, Dart partnered in a real estate company with his son William, and son-in-law, Nathaniel Butler. Due to declining health, Dart retired as pastor of Shiloh Baptist in 1913. John L. Dart passed in 1915.

John and Julia Dart had three children: Anna Pierre Bronseaux (1896-1978) who attended Atlanta University and moved to Brooklyn, New York; Susan Dart Butler (1888-1959), who attended Atlanta University and was a pioneer librarian, who established the first public library for African-Americans in Dart Hall; and William Andrews Dart (circa 1890-circa 1967), who graduated from Claflin University, and the Law School of Boston University.

SOURCES:

Greene, Harlan, "Unknown Charleston: Reading Revolution," Charleston Magazine July 2012, 40-41.

Pyatt, Sherman E. Burke High School 1894-2006 Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2007.


Collection Overview

The collection is divided into three series:

1. Dart Family Members contains documents pertaining to William Dart and his wife Susan Fenwick Dart; their son, John Lewis Dart; his children and spouses, son, William Andrews Dart, daughter Susan Dart Butler and her husband Nathaniel Lowe Butler; daughter Anna Pierre Dart and her husband, Beverly Bronseaux, and their children, Beverly and Evangeline. Of note are various copies and transcriptions regarding the transference of John Caldwell's slave William, to Susan Fenwick, a free woman of color; with note (1844) of Caldwell allowing William to look for a new master; and Susan Dart Butler's note that William was her grandfather; transcripts of taxes paid by free people of color and a Bill of Sale for the Steamer Mab to Dart.

John L. Dart's brief papers illustrate his life as an pastor, school administrator, newspaper publisher and businessman. Included is his authored and self-published booklet: The Famous Trial of the Eight Men Indicted for the Lynching of Frazier B. Baker and His Baby, Late U.S. Postmaster at Lake City, S.C. in the U.S. Circuit Court, at Charleston, SC, April 10-22, 1899, a reprinting of newspaper coverage and appending a printed memorial to President William McKinley from Reverend Dart, Dr. William D. Crum, Dr. Alonzo C. McClennan and others. The collection also holds a photocopy of one issue of The Southern Reporter, 9 April 1904. Photocopies from a microfilm reel from the Miscellaneous African-American Publications from the Roscoe C. Simmons Collection at Harvard University. This copy provides articles and advertisements of Charleston African-American owned businesses at the turn of the 20th century.

The children of John and Julia Dart are represented by the Dart and Butler Family which includes the "Marriage Certificate Booklet" (1912) of Susan Dart and Nathaniel Lowe Butler, with signature of Edwin A. Harleston as witness; and signatures of attending guest in Boston, Massachusetts; and statements of expenses and rental receipts regarding Nathaniel L. Butler's and his brother-in-law, William A. Dart's realty company. Also included is a copy with photocopy of a petition, "To South Carolina legislators to permit African-American teachers to instruct in African-American schools in the Charleston County School District." Autographed by petitioner Dr. William Johnson with other signers including Thomas E. Miller and Edwin A. Harleston; with another printed version from the South Carolina House of Representatives Journal, also autographed by Johnson (22 January 1919).

The Dart and Bronseaux Families includes Anna Pierre Dart and Beverly Bronseaux's wedding certificate (photocopy-1922); her teaching certificate (1935) and Masters of Arts, from Atlanta University (photocopy-1936); along with school documents and brief correspondence regarding their children Beverly (Jr.) and Evangeline.

2. Various Families' Papers contains marriage certificates of William Pierce to Virginia Dandridge (1848) and Alma Kreuger and Marx Hanft, (1917-1918) with his government issued insurance policy. They were possibly friends or extended families related to the Dart Family.

3. Various Documents holds scattered photocopies of newspaper clippings of the News and Courier and an anonymous typed manuscript, "What Makes A Truly Valuable Woman," regarding the roles of women (undated).


Collection Arrangement

1. Dart Family Members, 1844-1947

2. Various Families Papers, 1848, 1917-1918

3. Various Documents, 1900, and undated


Subject Headings

  • Bronseaux, Anna Pierre Dart, 1896-1978
  • Bronseaux, Beverly
  • Butler, Nathaniel
  • Butler, Susan Dart, 1888-1959
  • Dart Family
  • Dart, John Lewis, 1854-1915
  • Dart, Julia Pierre
  • Dart, William Andrews
  • Dart, William
  • Fenwick, Susan
  • McClennan, Alonzo C., 1855-1912
  • Miller, Thomas E., 1849-1938
  • The Southern Reporter
  • African American businesses--Charleston, SC
  • African American librarians--Charleston, SC
  • African American ministers--Charleston, SC
  • African American newspapers--Charleston, SC
  • African American schools--Charleston, SC
  • African American teachers -- South Carolina -- Charleston.
  • Atlanta University.
  • Charleston Normal and Industrial School--South Carolina
  • Free people of color--Charleston, SC
  • Lynching--Lake City, South Carolina
  • Morris Street Baptist Church, Charleston, SC
  • Slaves--Charleston, SC
  • South Carolina House of Representatives


Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Dart Family Members, 1844-1947.

Contains documents pertaining to William Dart and his wife Susan Fenwick Dart; their son, John Lewis Dart; his children and spouses, son, William Andrews Dart, daughter Susan Dart Butler and her husband Nathaniel Lowe Butler; Anna Pierre Dart and her husband, Beverly Bronseaux, and their children, Beverly and Evangeline.

1.1: William Dart and Susan Fenwick Dart, 1844-1865.

Holds documents pertaining to the transfer of William Dart to Susan Fenwick; transcripts of taxes paid by free people of color and a Bill of Sale for the Steamer Mab to Dart
Box 1   Folder 1
Bill of Sale regarding William Dart, 6 January 1844, 1849, and undated
Contains various copies and transcriptions regarding the transference of John Caldwell's slave William, to Susan Fenwick, a free woman of color; with note (1844) of Caldwell allowing William to look for a new master; and Susan Dart Butler's note that William was her grandfather. *NOTE: Original documents are in Fragile Condition. Please use photocopies*
Box 1   Folder 2
Transcripts of "List of the Tax Payers of the City of Charleston for 1859: Tax On Property Paid by Free People of Color", 1859
Typed and handwritten data includes taxes paid by William Dart. *NOTE: Original typed transcription is in Fragile Condition. Please use photocopies*
Box 1   Folder 3
Bill of Sale of Steamer Mab, 7 August, 1865
Former "property of the United States of America" to William Dart. *NOTE: Original document is in Fragile Condition. Please use photocopy*

1.2: John Lewis Dart, 1891-1926.

Contains documents pertaining to the life of John Dart as an pastor, school adminstrator, newspaper publisher and realtor.
Box 1   Folder 4
Legal document regarding Morris Street Baptist Church, 1891
"Order dissolving Information" discusses the lifting of an injunction involving the Church. *NOTE: Orginial document is in Fragile Condition. Please use photocopy*
Box 1   Folder 5
"Prospectus of the Charleston Industrial Institute and Home for Girls," and Seventh Annual Prospectus of the Charleston Normal and Industrial Institute, 1895, 1901
Also includes Fifth Annual Circular and Prospectus, Charleston Normal and Industrial Institute, with numerous manuscript annotations; and two copies the Seventh Annual Prospectus (1901) *NOTE: Documents are in Fragile Condition. Please use photocopies*
Box 1   Folder 6
Charleston Normal and Industrial School stationary, undated
Letterhead notes board members, officers, and references. *NOTE: Documents are in Fragile Condition. Please use photocopy*
Box 1   Folder 7
Booklet: The Famous Trial of the Eight Men Indicted for the Lynching of Frazier B. Baker and His Baby, Late U.S. Postmaster at Lake City, S.C. in the U.S. Circuit Court, at Charleston, SC, April 10-22, 1899
Authored and possibly printed by J.L. Dart; a reprinting of newspaper coverage and appending a printed memorial to President William McKinley from Reverend Dart, Dr. William D. Crum, Dr. Alonzo C. McClennan and others. *NOTE: Documents are in Fragile Condition. Please use photocopies*
Box 1   Folder 8
Receipts, 1900-1902, and undated
Services and building materials for domestic and school repairs purchased by Reverend Dart
Box 1   Folder 9
The Southern Reporter, 9 April, 1904
A John L. Dart publication. Photocopied issue of microfilm copy from the Miscellaneous African-American Publications from the Roscoe C. Simmons Collection at Harvard University.
Box 1   Folder 10
Bonds and Mortgages, 1905-1908, 1922, 1926
Includes correspondence and notes (1906-1909) regarding John Dart's real estate and financial concerns, mostly regarding lending money to others. Also includes two postcards sent posthumously to Dart (1922, 1926)

1.3: William A. Dart, 1911, 1915.

Holds Claflin Commencement booklets of John Dart's son William
Box 1   Folder 11
Claflin University: Graduation programs, 1911, 1915
College Preparatory-Classical (1911) and College (1915) graduating programs of William Dart

1.4: Dart and Butler Family, 1912-1939, and undated.

Holds documents of John Dart's daughter, Susan, and her husband, Nathaniel Lowe Butler
Box 1   Folder 12
Marriage Certificate Booklet, 1912, 1939
Of Susan Dart and Nathaniel Butler, with signature of Edwin A. Harleston as witness; and signatures of attending guests. Also includes an "Abutment Statement" (17 May 1939) for City of Charleston SC street maintenance
Box 1   Folder 13
Butler and Dart Real Estate Company, 1922-1923
Includes original statements of expenses and rental receipts regarding Nathaniel L. Butler's and his brother-in-law, William A. Dart's realty company.
Box 1   Folder 14
Petition and "Journal of the South Carolina House of Representatives," 18 and 22 January, 1919
To South Carolina legislators to permit African-American teachers to instruct in African-American schools in the Charleston County School District. Autographed by petitioner Dr. William Johnson with other signers including Thomas E. Miller and Edwin A. Harleston; with another printed version from the South Carolina House of Representatives Journal, also autographed by Johnson (22 January 1919) *NOTE: Original documents are in Fragile Condition. Please use photocopies*

1.5: Dart and Bronseaux Families, 1922-1947.

Holds documents pertaining to John Dart's daughter Anna Pierre, her husband, Beverly H. Bronseaux; their son, Beverly, and daughter, Evangeline
Box 1   Folder 15
Anna Pierre Dart Bronseaux: Marriage Certificate and Diplomas, 1922, 1935-1936
Includes wedding certificate (photocopy-1922); two diplomas: teaching certificate (1935) and Masters of Arts, Atlanta University (photocopy-1936)
Box 1   Folder 16
Anna Pierre Dart Bronseaux: Church and Political materials, 1938, 1945, 1947 and undated
Includes letter signed by Dart Bronseaux on behalf of Nazarene Congregational Church, Brooklyn, NY regarding fundraising efforts; political campaign material for Maude B. Richardson (circa 1940s); St. Augustine's Episcopal Church Pre-Lenten concert at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, NY (1947) and three tikcets for the Irish Hospitals' Sweepstake (undated) *NOTE: Several documents are in Fragile Condition. Please use photocopies*
Box 1   Folder 17
Anna Pierre Dart Bronseaux: Postcards and letter, 1939, 1945-1947
Holds unsent and received postcards by Anna Dart Bronseaux regarding church and political activites in Brooklyn, New York, and postcard (1939) to Beverly in a Veterans Hospital
Box 1   Folder 18
Beverly Bronseaux: School documents and correspondence, 1938-1941, 1945-1946
Son of Anna and Beverly Bronseaux: includes junior high school certificate (1938); report card from High School of Music and Art, New York City (1939-1940); and V Mail letter sent to his mother (3 August 1945)
Box 1   Folder 19
Evangeline Bronseaux: School documents and postcards, 1933-1934, 1938, 1940, 1946
Includes report cards from Atlanta University Laboratory Elementary School (1933-1934); Hunter College French Review (1938); and postcards (1940, 1946). *NOTE: Several documents are in Fragile Condition. Please use photocopies*

Series 2: Various Families' Papers, 1848-1918.

Contains marriage certificates and an insurance policy of possible friends or extended families related to the Dart Family
Box 1   Folder 20
Marriage Certification, 1848
Of William Pierce to Virginia Dandridge, Washington, DC
Box 1   Folder 21
Marriage Booklet, 1917, 1918
Of Alma Emily Kreuger and Max Harry Hanft of Irvington, NY. Also includes Hanft's war risk insurance policy issued by the United States Treasury Department (1918)

Series 3: Various Documents, 1900, and undated.

Holds scattered newspaper clippings and essay regarding women (circa early 20th century)
Box 1   Folder 22
Various newspaper clippings of News and Courier, 1900, and undated
Includes clippings of later undated unknown publications. *NOTE: Original newpapers are in Fragile Condition. Please use photocopies*
Box 1   Folder 23
Essay: "What Makes A Truly Valuable Woman", Undated
Anonymous typed and handwritten manuscript regarding the roles of women


Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

No Restrictions

Copyright Notice

The nature of the Avery Research Center's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The Avery Research Center claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], John L. Dart Family Papers, Avery Research Center, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC, USA.

Acquisition Note

Papers acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, Watchung, New Jersey, 14 December 2004.

Processing Information

Reprocessed by Georgette Mayo, May 2014

Edited by Aaron Spelbring, July 2014

Encoded by Aaron Spelbring, July 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

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