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ADAMS, OSCAR W.
Oscar W. Adams papers, 1910-1978

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322

404-727-6887

rose.library@emory.edu

Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/8xwv8


Descriptive Summary

Creator: Adams, Oscar W.
Title: Oscar W. Adams papers, 1910-1978
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 931
Extent: 4.5 linear ft. (9 boxes), 1 bound volume (BV), and 2 oversized papers (OP)
Abstract:Papers of Oscar W. Adams, African American journalist, newspaper publisher, and a national fraternal leader for the Knights of Pythias including correspondence, financial records, printed material, organizational records, subject files, writings and ephemera.
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.

Source

Purchase, 2002.

Citation

[after identification of item(s)], Oscar W. Adams papers, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Processing

Processed by Randy Gue and Alicia Monroe, February 2008.


Collection Description

Biographical Note

Oscar W. Adams (1882-1946), was an African American journalist, newspaper publisher, and a national fraternal leader for the Knights of Pythias. He also served as an administrator for the A.M.E. Zion Church Extension Department. Adams was born in Gulf Crest, Alabama, a small town near Mobile, in 1882. After graduating from Alabama Agriculture and Mechanical College in 1906, Adams headed to Birmingham where he founded a weekly newspaper called the Birmingham Reporter.

The Birmingham Reporter had sales agents across Alabama and Mississippi. The paper was available outside the South in cities such as Springfield, Missouri, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Clarksburg, West Virginia. The paper was published on Thursday so the paper's sales agents could distribute it on Saturday.

In 1917, the Birmingham Reporter was adopted as the official organ of the Order of the Eastern Star, and Adams claimed the Reporter's circulation was approximately 27,500 in 1922. The Reporter's projected circulation numbers reached this size because Adams worked out agreements with local civic groups to make the newspaper an "official organ" of communication for their organizations. The paper suspended publication in 1934 as a result of the economic hardship of the Great Depression.

Besides his duties at the Birmingham Reporter, Adams also wrote for a local white paper, the Birmingham News. He penned a column entitled "What Negroes Are Doing" in Sunday editions of the paper beginning in 1918. He died in 1946.

Oscar W. Adams (1882-1946), was an African American journalist, newspaper publisher, and a national fraternal leader for the Knights of Pythias. He also served as an administrator for the A.M.E. Zion Church Extension Department. Adams was born in Gulf Crest, Alabama, a small town near Mobile, in 1882. After graduating from Alabama Agriculture and Mechanical College in 1906, Adams headed to Birmingham where he founded a weekly newspaper called the Birmingham Reporter.

The Birmingham Reporter had sales agents across Alabama and Mississippi. The paper was available outside the South in cities such as Springfield, Missouri, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Clarksburg, West Virginia. The paper was published on Thursday so the paper's sales agents could distribute it on Saturday.

In 1917, the Birmingham Reporter was adopted as the official organ of the Order of the Eastern Star, and Adams claimed the Reporter's circulation was approximately 27,500 in 1922. The Reporter's projected circulation numbers reached this size because Adams worked out agreements with local civic groups to make the newspaper an "official organ" of communication for their organizations. The paper suspended publication in 1934 as a result of the economic hardship of the Great Depression.

Besides his duties at the Birmingham Reporter, Adams also wrote for a local white paper, the Birmingham News. He penned a column entitled "What Negroes Are Doing" in Sunday editions of the paper beginning in 1918. He died in 1946.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the papers of Oscar W. Adams from 1910-1978. The papers contain correspondence, financial records, printed material, organizational records, subject files, writings and ephemera. The Birmingham Reporter series includes business correspondence, advertisement drafts, receipts for advertisement spaces in the newspaper, as well as subscription requests.

Personal papers consist of biographical information about Adams, business and personal correspondence, financial records, legal documents, printed material, and two speeches.

The organizations series contain records relating to his service as a member and Grand Chancellor of the national organization of the Knights of Pythias, as well as A.M.E. Zion Church Extension Department and other civic and religious groups. The Knights of Pythias records include circulars, correspondence, ephemera, financial records, legal documents, and papers relating to the administration of property owned by the group.

The Mattie Rowe series contains communication directed to and from Mattie B. Rowe, who was Adams' assistant and secretary. She took over Adams' Birmingham News column after his death in 1946, and worked for the new Grand Chancellor of the Knights of Pythias after Adams died.

Arrangement Note

Organized into four series: (1) Birmingham Reporter files, (2) Personal papers, (3) Organizational files, and (4) Mattie Rowe papers.


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Description of Series

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