Charles Y. Williamson papers, 1892-1936

Emory University

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

Atlanta, GA 30322



Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/rpbbj

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Williamson, Charles Y.
Title: Charles Y. Williamson papers, 1892-1936
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 1362
Extent: .25 linear feet (1 box) and 3 bound volumes
Abstract:Papers of Pullman porter Charles Y. William including correspondence, photographs, printed material, and scrapbooks.
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.


Purchase from Bookmark/Robert Langmuir, 2016

Custodial History

Forms part of the Robert Langmuir African American photograph collection. The Rose Library acquired this collection from Robert Langmuir in his capacity as a rare book and manuscript dealer but did not integrate it with the Langmuir collection because of its volume, cohesion, and assumed common provenance.


[after identification of item(s)], Charles Y. Williamson papers, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Appraisal Note

Curator of African American Collections, Pellom McDaniel, III, acquired this collection as part of the Rose Library's holdings in African American history.


Arranged and described at the folder level by Sarah Quigley, June 2016.

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Collection Description

Biographical Note

Charles Y. Williamson was an African American Pullman porter and performer who lived much of his life in Oakland, California. He was a member of the Acme Mandolin Club in Chicago, Illinois, in the 1890s. In the early 1900s, he lived in Los Angeles, California, and worked for the Los Angeles Theatre and the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra. He worked as a porter and waiter for the Pullman Company and the Southern Pacific Company off and on from the 1890s until his retirement in 1934. In 1934, he began working as caretaker for the Paradise Valley Country Club (Morgan Hill, California). He died in 1936.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the papers of Charles Y. Williamson from 1892-1936 and includes correspondence, photographs, printed material, and scrapbooks. Correspondence is primarily professional and includes letters of recommendation, letters regarding his employment as a porter and waiter on passenger trains, and letters of reprimand from employers. There are a few additional letters regarding performances with the Acme Mandolin Club and from friends and/or family. Photographs contain two images of Williamson with other porters and one image of Williamson's son. Printed material consists mainly of programs for church events and menu cards, including some menu cards from train dining cars. There is also a handbill with campaign advertisements for several candidates in an undated Alameda County, California, election. Scrapbooks are comprised mainly of clippings, but also include photographs taken on Williamson's trips, programs, and letters. The dates of the scrapbooks overlap from the early 1900s to the 1930s. Williamson also kept lists of celebrities he served, including their names, claims to fame, and the dates they traveled on his train. Many of the items in the collection appear to have been part of a scrapbook originally and may contain notes written by Williamson.

Arrangement Note

Arranged in alphabetical order.

Selected Search Terms

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Container List

Box Folder Content
1 1 Alameda County (California) election handbill, undated
1 2 Correspondence, undated
1 3 Correspondence, 1894-1912
1 4 Correspondence, 1925-1936
1 5 Fishing license, 1921
1 6 The Friendly Circle, 1934
1 7 Introduction card, circa 1890s
1 8 Lists of celebrities served by Williamson, circa 1892-1933
1 9 Menus, 1897-1935
1 10 Oakland Tribune broadside, 1935
1 11 Paradise Valley Country Club contract, correspondence, and advertisement, 1934
1 12 Passport letter, 1920
1 13 Photographs, circa 1903
1 14 Programs, 1907-1934
1 15 Pullman Company commissary receipt, 1902
1 16 Pullman Company passenger far check, undated
1 17 Pullman, George Mortimer, centennial booklet, 1931
BV1 - Scrapbook [1]
BV2 - Scrapbook [2]
BV3 1 Scrapbook [3]
BV3 2 Scrapbook [4]
1 18 Scrapbook pages, loose, 1905-1913
1 19 Southern Pacific Company passes, 1924-1929
1 20 Trans-Mississippi commercial Congress, sixteenth session, ribbon, 1905
1 21 Union Pacific brochure, undated