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Moorland-Spingarn Research Center


Moorland-Spingarn Research Center


Moorland Spingarn Research Center
500 Howard Place, NW
Howard University
Washington, DC 20059


(202) 806-7480

Fax Number

(202) 806-6405


Contact Person

Joellen El Bashir, Curator, Manuscript Division



The resources of the Manuscript Division of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center provide extensive documentation of African American life and history, offering unique insight into the growth and development of black families, organizations, institutions, social and religious consciousness, and the continuing struggle for civil rights and human justice. Currently more than 200 processed manuscript collections, approximately 800 oral histories, as well as 50,000 photographs, are available for research. The collections documenting African Americans in the health professions provide accounts of medical doctors and nurses from the late 19th century to the present, all of whom made significant contributions in their respective fields. Many were graduates of Howard University's College of Medicine.


Holdings include the papers of Daniel Hale Williams [1856-1931], founder of Provident Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, and first surgeon to successfully perform open-heart surgery; Louis T. Wright [1895-1952], director of surgery at Harlem Hospital; Charles Drew [1904-1950], surgeon noted for his research in the storage of human blood; Mabel Keaton Staupers [1890-1989], nurse and activist, whose goal was the effective integration of African American nurses into the field of professional nursing; Dorothy Boulding Ferebee [1919-1980], physician and administrator, whose lasting contribution was her work with the 1930s Mississippi Health Project sponsored by the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; William E. Allen [1903-1981], radiologist at Homer G. Phillips Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, one of the first African Americans to become a leader in the field of radiology; and Henry A. Callis [1887-1974], former administrator at Tuskegee's Veterans Administration Hospital, professor at Howard University's College of Medicine, and one of the founders of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. These and other smaller processed collections comprise approximately 165 linear ft., and consist of correspondence, reports, news clippings, writings, photographs, certificates, plaques, and other artifacts.

Among our unprocessed collections are the papers of W. Montague Cobb [1904-1990], physician and Howard University anatomy professor, who made significant contributions in the field of comparative anatomy; and Hildrus Poindexter [1901-1987], internationally acclaimed specialist in tropical diseases, epidemiology, preventive medicine, and public health. Together, these collections comprise approximately 150 linear ft.

Note: Access to unprocessed collections is determined on a case-by-case basis by the Curator.

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