Inventory of the Edwina Harleston Whitlock Papers, 1918 - 2006

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Descriptive Summary

Abstract: Edwina Augusta Harleston Whitlock was born Gussie Louise Harleston on September 28, 1916 in Charleston, South Carolina to Robert Othello Harleston and his wife, Marie Isabelle Forrest. She was raised by her uncle, Edwin Augustus "Teddy" Harleston and his wife Elise Forrest after it was discovered that Whitlock's parents had tuberculosis. Whitlock attended the Avery Normal Institute in Charleston, South Carolina and Talladega College in Talladega, Alabama, where she graduated in 1939. She worked as a reporter and editor for several publications throughout the U.S. Whitlock met her husband, Henry Oliver Whitlock, while studying for her Master's degree at Northwestern University. The couple married in 1945 and had four children together. They also published a newspaper in Gary, Indiana, called The Gary American, until Henry's death in 1960. Following her husband's death, Whitlock and her children relocated to Los Angeles California, where she became a social worker. Upon retirement, she returned to Charleston where she founded a chapter of the League of Allied Arts and volunteered as editor of The Avery Bulletin. In the early 1990s consulted with her distant cousin Edward Ball on writing The Sweet Hell Inside: A Family History. The book documents the African American branch of the Harleston family and was published by HarperCollins in 2001. Whitlock died the following year at the age of 87.
The collection contains personal papers, correspondence, photographs, and printed material relating to Whitlock and her family. Also included are materials documenting Whitlock's education, as well as her professional, civic and research endeavors. Items in the collection date from 1960-2006, with bulk dates spanning the years 1960-1989 and 2000-2001.
Title: Edwina Harleston Whitlock Papers, 1918 - 2006
Creator: Whitlock, Edwina H. (Edwina Harleston), 1916 - 2002.
Repository: Avery Research Center at the College of Charleston
Call Number: AMN 1120
Language of Material: Material in English
Extent: 0.42 linear feet
(1 archival box)

Biographical Note

Edwina Augusta Harleston Whitlock was born Gussie Louise Harleston on September 28, 1916 in Charleston, South Carolina to Robert Othello Harleston and his wife, Marie Isabelle Forrest. Whitlock was the grand-daughter of Captain Edwin Gillard Harleston, founder of the Harleston Funeral Home. At the age of two, Whitlock was sent to live with her uncle, a noted portrait artist, Edwin Augustus "Teddy" Harleston and his wife, Elise Forrest, who is acknowledged as South Carolina's first female photographer. Both Edwin and Elise worked for the family business, the Harleston Funeral Home. Edwin was also active in the Charleston Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), founded in 1917. Edwin adopted Whitlock; and when he died in 1931, she changed her name to Edwina Augusta Harleston in honor of his memory. After her uncle's death, Whitlock was sent to live with her aunt, Eloise Harleston Jenkins, wife of Reverend Daniel Jenkins of Jenkins Orphanage. As a teenager Whitlock wrote for the Charleston Messenger, a newspaper published by her uncle, The Rev. Daniel J. Jenkins. By the age of twenty, Whitlock lost her parents and sister, Sylvia to tuberculosis.

Whitlock attended the Avery Normal Institute in Charleston, South Carolina and Talladega College in Talladega, Alabama. She graduated from the college in 1939; earning a B.A. degree in English with a minor in Sociology. She worked as a reporter and editor for the Pittsburgh Courier, Baltimore Afro-American, Chicago Defender, and Negro Digest. Whitlock met her husband, Henry Oliver Whitlock, while studying for her Master's degree at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. The couple married in 1945 and had four children together: Henry O. Whitlock, Jr., Sylvia Elise Whitlock, Mae Whitlock Gentry and Edwin Harleston Whitlock. Whitlock and her husband published a weekly newspaper based out of Gary, Indiana, called The Gary American, until his death in 1960.

Following her husband's death, Whitlock and her family moved to Los Angeles California, where she became a social worker. When she retired, Whitlock returned to Charleston and founded a chapter of the League of Allied Arts, serving as the organization's first president. She also volunteered as an editor of the Avery Bulletin from 1988-1990. In the early 1990s, Whitlock moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where she consulted with her distant cousin, author, Edward Ball on writing The Sweet Hell Inside: A Family History. The book documents the African American branch of the Harleston family and was published by HarperCollins in 2001. Whitlock died the following year at the age of 87.


Collection Overview

The collection contains personal documents, correspondence, printed and photographic material, and legal records pertaining to the life, career and family of Edwina Augusta Harleston Whitlock. Collection items in each folder are arranged chronologically.

Series 1. Biographical Papers, 1935-2006, undated includes Whitlock's passports and personal identification cards, appointment books, diaries and correspondence. The series also contains signed affidavits regarding her name change from Gussie Louise Harleston to Edwina Augusta Harleston. In addition, there are materials related to Whitlock's living arrangements and expenses; family and wedding photographs; greeting and birthday cards, as well as posthumous materials including obituaries, remembrances from friends, and a program from her funeral. Also present within the series are class notes and ephemera from Whitlock's alma mater, Talladega College; a certificate of completion for specialized training in counseling disadvantaged youth; and a portfolio and business card from Jonathan Green Studios, Inc., from Whitlock's work with the League of Allied Arts. A publishing contract for The Sweet Hell Inside: A Family History, correspondence between Edward Ball and Whitlock concerning the book's title and release; and book reviews from the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, and O, The Oprah Magazine, are also contained in the series.

Series 2. Harleston Family, 1918-2002 contains news clippings from the Post & Courier and Avery Bulletin about her Uncle Edwin Augustus Harleston's artwork; a photocopied note regarding Harleston family members' ownership of his artwork; and correspondence regarding a long-term exhibit at the Smithsonian on African American history. In addition, the series consists of correspondence to Whitlock from University of South Carolina professor, Dr. Bobby Donaldson regarding letters from her uncle and cousin, Edward Crum Mickey to W.E.B. Du Bois. Copies of these letters are included in the series, as well as a reply letter from Du Bois. A handwritten letter to Whitlock's uncle from friend, Nora Brown is also part of the series.

Series 3. Legal Records/Documents, 1958-1983 consists of items pertaining to the estate of Whitlock's husband, Henry Oliver Whitlock, and his local Gary, Indiana newspaper, The Gary American, including: copies of her husband's death certificate; a certificate of incorporation; a bill of sale for the Gary American Printing and Publishing Corporation and mortgage documents. Also included in the series are correspondence between Whitlock and her attorneys regarding property damage coverage for a space she was leasing at 212 East Main Street in Dillion, South Carolina.

Series 4. Correspondence, 1977-2001, undated consists of handwritten letters from Whitlock to friends, family and professional acquaintances, as well as one from an unknown source.

Series 5. Miscellaneous, 1961-1987 consists of news clippings and a booklet on conducting oral history interviews.

Collection Arrangement

1. Biographical Papers, 1935-2006, undated

2. Harleston Family, 1918-2002

3. Legal Records/Documents, 1958-1983

4. Correspondence, 1977-2001, undated

5. Miscellaneous, 1961-1987



Bibliography

Sources consulted by Ardra Whitney

Avery Research Center preliminary biographical note: Edwina Augusta Harleston Whitlock Papers (1916-2002)

Life History: Edwina Harleston Whitlock, undated

Subject Headings

  • African American-South Carolina--Charleston.
  • African American art--South Carolina-20th century.
  • African American artists--South Carolina.
  • African American families--South Carolina.
  • African American newspapers.
  • African American photographers.
  • Avery Normal Institute.
  • Ball, Edward, 1959-
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963
  • Funeral homes--South Carolina-Charleston.
  • Funeral rites & ceremonies.
  • Genealogy & local history.
  • Genealogy--Research.
  • Harleston, Edwin Augustus, 1882-1931
  • Harleston, Elise F. (Elise Forrest)
  • Harleston family.
  • Jenkins' Orphanage Band.
  • Racially mixed people--United States.
  • Talladega College.
  • Tuberculosis--diagnosis.
  • Whitlock, Edwina H. (Edwina Harleston), 1916-2002.
  • Youth--Counseling of.


Detailed Description of the Collection

1. Biographical Papers, 1935-2006, undated.

This series contains personal documents, records and ephemera relating to Whitlock's life, including passports and personal identification cards, appointment books, diaries and correspondence; signed affidavits concerning her name change from Gussie Louise Harleston to Edwina Augusta Harleston, and materials related to her living arrangements and expenses. In addition, the series includes family and wedding photographs; greeting and birthday cards, as well as posthumous materials, such as obituaries, remembrances from friends and a funeral program. Class notes and other ephemera from Whitlock's alma mater, Talladega College; a certificate of completion from the University of California for specialized training in counseling disadvantaged youth; a publishing contract and book reviews for The Sweet Hell Inside: A Family History can also contained within the series.
Box 1   Folder 1
Talladega College: Class Notes, Concert Flyer, Annual Fund Contributor Sticker and Student Identification Card, 1935-1988, undated
Box 1   Folder 2
Affidavits Regarding Legal Name Change, 1960
Box 1   Folder 3
Certificate of Completion for Specialized Training in Vocational Counseling, 1964
Box 1   Folder 4
Appointment Books, Diaries, Calendar and Notes, 1966-1989, undated
Includes Whitlock's appointments books and calendar with entries and notes, as well as addresses and telephone numbers. Also included are handwritten notes concerning her family heritage research.
Box 1   Folder 5
Photographs, c.1970s-2001, undated
Contains a photocopied image of Whitlock as a baby with her mother Marie; a photo from her daughter's wedding and a photo of Whitlock with her daughter, Camille.
Box 1   Folder 6
Living Arrangements and Expenses: Budgets, Correspondence Flyer, Health Care Insurance Membership Cards, Mortgage Interest Statement and Permit to Return to Work or School, 1981-2000, undated
Box 1   Folder 7
Georgia State Identification Cards, Passports and Social Security Card, 1982-2003, undated
Box 1   Folder 8
Obituaries and Newspapers Clippings, 1983-2002, undated
Includes an article from the News & Courier/Evening Post concerning Whitlock's promotion of her uncle's art.
Box 1   Folder 9
Transcript of Oral History Interview with Edwina Harleston Whitlock, 1995
Box 1   Folder 10
Birthday and Greeting Cards, 1996-2002, undated
Many of the cards are written in celebration of Whitlock's 85th birthday.
Box 1   Folder 11
The Sweet Hell Inside: A Family History: Correspondence, Magazine and Newspaper Clippings, and Publishing Contract, 1998-2001
Magazine and newspaper clippings consist of book reviews of The Sweet Hell Inside: A Family History from the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, and O, The Oprah Magazine.
Box 1   Folder 12
Posthumous Materials: Correspondence and Funeral Program, 2002-2006, undated
Includes a program from Whitlock's funeral and e-mails from friends and family commemorating Whitlock in her passing.

2. Harleston Family, 1918-2002.

This series includes news clippings from the Post & Courier and Avery Bulletin, as well as a note regarding Edwin Augustus Harleston's artwork. The series also contains correspondence concerning a long-term exhibit at the Smithsonian on African American history and correspondence to Whitlock from University of South Carolina professor, Dr. Bobby Donaldson about letters from her uncle, Edwin Augustus Harleston and cousin, Edward Crum Mickey to W.E.B. Du Bois. Copies of these letters are included in the series, as well as a reply letter from Du Bois. A handwritten letter to Whitlock's uncle from friend, Nora Brown is also part of the series.
Box 1   Folder 13
Correspondence Re: W.E.B. Du Bois, Edwin Harleston and Edward Crum Mickey, 1918-2000
Box 1   Folder 14
Photocopy of Correspondence to Edwin A. Harleston from Nora Brown, 1921
Box 1   Folder 15
Correspondence, Notes and Printed Material Pertaining to Edwin A. Harleston, 1931-2002
Box 1   Folder 16
Reverend Jenkins Almost All Colored Orphanage Band Program, 1987

3. Legal Records/Documents, 1958-1983.

This series is comprised of records pertaining to the estate of Whitlock's husband, Henry Oliver Whitlock, and his local Gary, Indiana newspaper, The Gary American. Also included in the series are correspondence between Whitlock and her attorneys regarding property damage coverage for a space she was leasing at 212 East Main Street in Dillion, South Carolina.
Box 1   Folder 17
Henry Oliver Whitlock's Estate Records, 1958-1969
Contains records pertaining to Whitlock's husband, Henry Oliver Whitlock, and his local Gary, Indiana newspaper, The Gary American, including copies of her husband's death certificate; a certificate of incorporation; a bill of sale for the Gary American Printing and Publishing Corporation; and mortgage documents.
Box 1   Folder 18
Property Damage at 212 East Main Street, Dillion South Carolina: Correspondence and Lease Agreement, 1982-1983

4. Correspondence, 1977-2001, undated.

This series consists of handwritten letters from Whitlock to friends, family and professional acquaintances, as well as one from an unknown source.
Box 1   Folder 19
Correspondence and Notes, 1977-1985, undated
Highlights include a letter from Whitlock to Josephine Herrald of Detroit's Heritage Museum about an upcoming exhibition of Edwin Augustus Harleston's works; a note about Edmund J. Jenkins studying at the Royal Academy of Music; a letter from Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe (photographer and wife of Arthur Ashe) regarding Whitlock's assistance with Ashe's book, Viewfinders; and a note card detailing Whitlock's discovery of information about a family member, named Kate Harleston, from going through reels of the 1880 Census at the South Carolina Archives.
Box 1   Folder 20
Handwritten Letters, 1977-2001, undated
Includes handwritten letters from Whitlock, mentioning her family history research at Atlanta University's archives and describing her health. Also present are letters from Whitlock's friends discussing their lives, health and families.
Box 1   Folder 21
Jonathan Green Studios, Inc.: Business Card, Career Portfolio and Correspondence, 1989
These items were sent to Whitlock by Studio Manager, Richard D. Weedman, while she was Chairman of the Long Range Planning Committee at the League of Allied Artists.

5. Miscellaneous, 1961-1987.

This series contains a booklet on oral history interview procedures and news clippings from the Los Angeles Sentinel and Atlanta Constitution.
Box 1   Folder 22
Oral History Booklet, 1973
Box 1   Folder 23
Newspaper Clippings, 1961-1987
Contains a clipping from the Los Angeles Sentinel concerning a family savings bank and an article from the Atlanta Constitution regarding Atlanta University's honoring of the restoration of murals by the late artist, Hale Woodruff.


Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Unpublished and published manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

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], Edwina Harleston Whitlock Papers, Avery Research Center, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC, USA.

Processing Information

Processed by Ardra Whitney, 11, 2012

Encoded by Ardra Whitney, 11, 2012

Edited by Aaron Spelbring, 12, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

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