The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories
Dora E. Mackay papers
Repository: University of Iowa Libraries. Iowa Women's Archives
Collection Description (Extant): Dora E. Mackay, an African-American singer and beauty shop owner in Des Moines, was born on August 12, 1915 to Ernest and Izora Mackay. As a high-school student in 1931, Mackay became a founding member of the Mary Church Terrell Club, a social and civic club in Des Moines. She remained an active member.
Mackay attended the Crescent School of Beauty and Culture in Des Moines and was a member of its first graduating class in 1940. Later that year, Mackay assumed ownership of Berline's Beauty Shop, one of a small number of black beauty shops in Des Moines. She retired in 1978.
Although she built a career in cosmetology, Mackay pursued singing as a side interest. During the 1940s, she sang and played the piano for local radio stations. She performed as a singer at the club Johnny and Kay's for ten years during the 1970s.
The collection consists of photographs, primarily of Mackay, newspaper clippings, and an oral history interview conducted by Karen Mason in 2006. Other individuals featured include Dora Mackay's sister, Virginia Mackay Williams, and members of the Mary Church Terrell club.
Access Copy Note: The papers are open for research.
Digital Status: No
Existing IDs: ac1109
Extent: 0.25 linear inches and 1 audiocassette
Finding Aid URL: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/findingaids/IWATitleDetail.aspx?CollectionIdentifier=IWA0248
Related Archival Items: See the Verda L. Williams papers (Williams is Mackay's niece) at the University of Iowa.
Interviewees: Dora E. Mackay
Rights (Extant): Copyright has been transferred to the University of Iowa.
African American entertainers
African American women--Societies and clubs
Hairdressing of African Americans