Dorothy Rogers Tilly papers, 1868-1970

Emory University

Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322



Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/8zzmk

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Tilly, Dorothy Rogers, 1883-1970
Title: Dorothy Rogers Tilly papers, 1868-1970
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 539
Extent:3 linear ft. (4 boxes), 4 bound volumes (BV), and 4 oversized papers (OP)
Abstract:Papers of church and civil rights worker Dorothy Rogers Tilly, including correspondence, printed material, photographs, and records of the President's Committee on Civil Rights (1947).
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Related Materials in Other Repositories

The official files of the Committee on Civil Rights are located at the Truman Library, Independence, Missouri; other related materials are located at Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia and Winthrop College Archives, Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Related Materials in This Repository

Eliza K. Paschall papers, Frances F. Pauley papers, Josephine Wilkins papers, and Glenn W. Rainey papers.


Gift, 2004.


[after identification of item(s)], Dorothy Rogers Tilly papers, Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.


Processed by Susan Potts McDonald, March 2007.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

Born in Hampton, Georgia, on June 30, 1883, Dorothy Rogers Tilly, church and civil rights worker, was the daughter of Richard Wade Rogers, a Methodist minister, and Frances (Eubank) Rogers. She attended Reinhardt College in Waleska, Ga. and received an A.B. from Wesleyan College in Macon, Ga. in 1901. She also attended Scarritt College for Christian Workers in Nashville. Dorothy Rogers married Milton Eben Tilly, a mill owner and chemical manufacturer, on November 24, 1903, and they had one child, Eben Fletcher. During the majority of their married life, Mrs. Tilly and her family resided in Atlanta, Georgia. She died in Atlanta on March 16, 1970.

Throughout her life, Dorothy Rogers Tilly worked through church and civic organizations for the cause of civil rights. Her earliest work was under the auspices of the Methodist Church, and she remained active in the Church's women's organizations until her death in March, 1970. She served as a teacher under the General Board of Education of the Methodist Church; was elected a delegate to the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South in 1938, the Uniting Conference in 1939, and the General Conference in 1944; served as secretary of Christian Social Relations, Southeastern Jurisdiction of the Woman's Society of Christian Service, 1940-1948, and as a member of the department of Christian Social Relations, 1940-1952.

In addition to her work with the Methodist Church, Mrs. Tilly was active in the Georgia Interracial Committee, the Atlanta Urban League, the Georgia Conference on Social Work, and as director of women's work for the Southern Regional Council. In September 1949, she founded the Fellowship of the Concerned, a women's organization whose goals were similar to those of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation's Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching - namely, to end discrimination in the courts, police brutality, and irregularities in voter registration. One of Mrs. Tilly's achievements in the South was her organization of a petition of 28,000 signatures which resulted in the appropriation of state funds for the Georgia Training School for Delinquent Negro Girls.

In 1947, Mrs. Tilly was appointed to President Truman's Committee on Civil Rights and co-authored its report "To Secure These Rights." In 1948, she served as a member of the American Palestine Committee to Israel. She was also a member of the U. S. Community Service Commission. Mrs. Tilly lobbied in Washington for the Farmer's Union, the Catholic Rural Life Conference, the Federal Council of Churches, the A. F. of L., and with the C.I.O. to save the Farm Security Administration.

Mrs. Tilly received numerous awards, including awards from the Atlanta Constitution and the Atlanta Women's Chamber of Commerce (1950), the Methodist Church (in 1950, 1958, 1963, and 1965), the National Committee of Negro Women (1950), the Philadelphia Fellowship Commission (1956), and the Southern Regional Council (1964). Biographical source: Alfred M. Pierce, A History of Methodism in Georgia (North Georgia Conference Historical Society, 195 , pp. 196-197) and from two clippings in the Tilly papers (Sarah Cunningham, "A Woman Beyond Her Times," The Church Woman, December, 1966, pp. 5-12; and Helena Huntington Smith, "Mrs. Tilly's Crusade," Collier's, December 30, 1950, pp. 29, 66-67).

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the papers of Dorothy Rogers Tilly from 1868-1970. The papers consist of general correspondence (approximately 200 letters, 1936-1970), clippings, biographical information, and other printed material relating to Mrs. Tilly's activities with the Women's Division of Christian Service of the Methodist Church, the Southern Regional Council, and the Fellowship of the Concerned and other organizations; records of the Committee on Civil Rights, 1947, on which Mrs. Tilly served; and four bound volumes.

Twenty-eight letters in the general correspondence, May 20-August 14, 1944, concern Eleanor Roosevelt's visit to a Methodist Women's Assembly at Lake Junaluska in the summer of 1944. Approximately 100 letters, mainly dated 1947 but scattered throughout 1948 and 1949, refer to Mrs. Tilly's work on the President's Committee on Civil Rights, and are mainly letters of commendation. The election of 1948 is discussed in two letters of November 4 and 8 of that year. Other letters of interest include a letter from Jessie Daniel Ames concerning race relations in Georgia (TLS, March 30, 1949, l p.), and a letter describing a symposium on women in public life, dated September 24, 1958.

Correspondents include: Morris Abram, Jessie Daniel Ames, Mary McLeod Bethune, Robert K. Carr, Tom C. Clark, James A. Dombrowski, Myles Horton, Ira Jarrell, Charles Spurgeon Johnson, Ralph E. McGill, Richard M. Nixon, Eleanor Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., Jacob M. Rothschild, Lillian Smith, Channing H. Tobias, Harry S. Truman, and Charles E. Wilson.

Records of the President's Committee on Civil Rights include mimeographed transcriptions of the discussions at the committee meetings and certain subcommittee meetings, staff interviews and reports made to the committee; also some official correspondence, memoranda, and scattered minutes, as well as miscellaneous material collected by the committee or by Mrs. Tilly, and unidentified reports. A copy of the committee's published report, To Secure These Rights, is catalogued for MARBL.

Container List

Box Folder Content
1 1 Articles and programs, 1926-1959
1 2 Articles and programs, 1962-1971
1 3 Articles and programs, no date
1 4 Biographical information
1 5 Certificates and citations
1 6 Correspondence, 1936-1947
1 7 Correspondence, 1948-1949
1 8 Correspondence, 1950-1959
1 9 Correspondence, 1961-1970
1 10 Correspondence and papers, Methodist Church Baby Book, 1938
1 11 Family materials: Richard W. Rogers diplomas
2 1 Miscellaneous memorabilia
2 2 Newspaper clippings
2 3 Photographs
2 4 Printed material: Fellowship of the Concerned
2 5 Programs, Methodist Church, Uniting Conference and General Conference
2 6 Reports and papers by Tilly
2 Plaque: Gammon Theological Seminary, May 19, 1957 (loose)
2 Plaque: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Atlanta Alumnae Chapter, n.d. (loose)
Committee on Civil Rights, 1947
3 1 Correspondence, memoranda, reports, notes, etc., 1946-1947
3 2 Memorabilia
3 3 Minutes of meetings, February 5 and 6, 1947
3 4 Miscellaneous materials - notes, pamphlets
3 5 Miscellaneous materials - notes, pamphlets
3 6 Newspaper clippings
3 7 Records, Subcommittee no. 2, February 28, April 1, 1947
3 8 Records, Subcommittee no. 3, April 15 and 30, 1947
4 1 Staff interviews
4 2 Transcripts of meetings, March 6 and 20, April 3 and 17, May 1, 14, and 15, June 30, July 1 and 3, September 12 and 13
4 3 Transcripts of meetings, May 1, 1947
4 4 Transcripts of meetings, May 1, 14, and 15
4 5 Transcripts of meetings, , June 30, 1947
4 6 Transcripts of meetings, June 30 and July 1, 1947
4 7 Transcripts of meetings, July 1, 1947
4 8 Transcripts of meetings, September 12, 1947 (morning)
4 9 Transcripts of meetings, September 12, 1947 (afternoon)
4 10 Transcripts of meetings, September 13, 1947
Bound volumes
BV1 Scrapbook of clippings and mementos
BV2 Record of Life Members, Woman's Missionary Society; North Georgia Conference
BV3 Jubilee Baby Book, North Georgia Conference, Woman's Missionary Society
BV4 Woman's Missionary Society, scrapbook, 1880-1888
Oversized papers
OP1 Diploma, Wesleyan College, 1901
OP2 Certificate honoring Dorothy Tilly, United Church Women, October 10, 1966
OP3 Richard W. Rogers, Certificate of Membership, Washington College (Lexington, Va.,) 1869 (photographic reproduction)
OP4 Citation, "National Fellowship Award" from Philadelphia Fellowship Commission
- - Tilly, Dorothy Rogers, address to Women's National Press Club, Washington, D.C., 1947, WINX Washington (part 1 of 8)
- - Tilly, Dorothy Rogers, address to Women's National Press Club, Washington, D.C., 1947, WINX Washington (part 2 of 8)
- - Tilly, Dorothy Rogers, address to Women's National Press Club, Washington, D.C., 1947, WINX Washington (part 3 of 8)
- - Tilly, Dorothy Rogers, address to Women's National Press Club, Washington, D.C., 1947, WINX Washington (part 4 of 8)
- - Tilly, Dorothy Rogers, address to Women's National Press Club, Washington, D.C., 1947, WINX Washington (part 5 of 8)
- - Tilly, Dorothy Rogers, address to Women's National Press Club, Washington, D.C., 1947, WINX Washington (part 6 of 8)
- - Tilly, Dorothy Rogers, address to Women's National Press Club, Washington, D.C., 1947, WINX Washington (part 7 of 8)
- - Tilly, Dorothy Rogers, address to Women's National Press Club, Washington, D.C., 1947, WINX Washington (part 8 of 8)