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Mary Church Terrell: Online Resources

Compiled by Angela McMillian, Digital Reference Specialist

Mary Church Terrell, three-quarter length portrait, seated, facing front]
Mary Church Terrell, three-quarter length portrait, seated, facing front.
1 photographic print.
[between 1880 and 1900, printed later]
Prints & Photographs Division.
Reproduction Number:

The digital collections of the Library of Congress contain a wide variety of material associated with Mary Church Terrell, including manuscripts, photographs, and books. This guide compiles links to digital materials related to Mary Church Terrell that are available throughout the Library of Congress Web site. In addition, it provides links to external Web sites focusing on Mary Church Terrell and a bibliography containing selected works for both general and younger readers.

Library of Congress Web Site | External Web Sites | Selected Bibliography

Digital Collections

Mary Church Terrell Papers

The Terrell Papers reflect all phases of her public career. They show her as educator, lecturer, club woman, writer, and political campaigner. This collection contains diaries, correspondence, printed matter, clippings, and speeches and writings, primarily focusing on Terrell's career as an advocate of women's rights and equal treatment of African Americans. A timeline is included in the articles and essay section.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

Additional Digital Collections

African American Perspectives: Pamphlets from the Daniel A. P. Murray Collection, 1818-1907

The collection presents a panoramic and eclectic review of African-American history and culture, spanning almost one hundred years from the early nineteenth through the early twentieth centuries, with the bulk of the material published between 1875 and 1900. Among the authors represented are Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Benjamin W. Arnett, Alexander Crummell, and Emanuel Love. The special presentation Progress of a People includes a biography of Mary Church Terrell.

  • The Progress of Colored Women / by Mary Church Terrell ...
    ["An address delivered before the National American Women's Suffrage Association at the Columbia Theater, Washington, D.C., February 18, 1898, on the occasion of its fiftieth anniversary."]

Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey

The Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) collections document achievements in architecture, engineering, and design in the United States through a comprehensive range of building types and engineering technologies.

Miller NAWSA Suffrage Scrapbooks, 1897-1911

The Elizabeth Smith Miller and Anne Fitzhugh Miller scrapbooks are a part of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) Collection in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division. Browse the subject index to locate four items pertaining to Mary Church Terrell.

National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection

The NAWSA Collection consists of 167 books, pamphlets and other artifacts documenting the suffrage campaign. They are a subset of the Library's larger collection donated by Carrie Chapman Catt, longtime president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, in November of 1938.

Prosperity and Thrift: The Coolidge Era and the Consumer Economy, 1921-1929

This collection assembles a wide array of Library of Congress source materials from the 1920s that document the widespread prosperity of the Coolidge years, the nation's transition to a mass consumer economy, and the role of government in this transition. Mary Church Terrell is included in the special presentation "Guide to People, Organizations, and Topics in Prosperity and Thrift."

  • Calvin Coolidge Papers. Mary Church Terrell, 1924-25.
    [Letters from and to Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954), a noted African American educator, author, and early civil rights proponent, regarding her request to the White House to be appointed head of a "colored women's section" in either the Women's Bureau or the Children's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor during President Coolidge's administration.]

America's Library

America's Library is especially designed for elementary and middle school students.

Jump Back in Time

Activist Mary Church Terrell Was Born, September 23, 1863


African-American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship

This exhibition showcases the incomparable African American collections of the Library of Congress. It displays more than 240 items, including books, government documents, manuscripts, maps, musical scores, plays, films, and recordings. It includes the report What the National Association [of Colored Women] Has Meant to Colored Women by Mary Church Terrell.

American Treasures of the Library of Congress

American Treasures of the Library of Congress is an unprecedented exhibition of the rarest, most interesting or significant items relating to America's past, drawn from every corner of the world's largest library. The exhibition includes the draft pages of A Colored Woman in a White World.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom

This exhibition, which commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, explores the events that shaped the civil rights movement, as well as the far-reaching impact the act had on a changing society. Mary Church Terrell Civil Rights Advocate is included in the exhibition.

The NAACP: A Century in the Fight for Freedom

This exhibition presents a retrospective of the major personalities, events, and achievements that shaped the NAACP’s history during its first 100 years. Currently, the site highlights 70 treasures and will eventually expand to feature more than 150 items. The prelude of the exhibition includes a letter from Mary Church Terrell concerning the Brownsville Affair.

Global Gateway

France In America

Conceived in partnership with France’s national library, the Bibliothèque nationale de France, France in America /France en Amérique is a bilingual digital library made available by the Library of Congress. It explores the history of the French presence in North America from the first decades of the sixteenth century to the end of the nineteenth century.

Manuscript Division

Manuscript Division Finding Aids Online

Access the finding aid for the papers of Mary Church Terrell in the Library of Congress Manuscript Division.

Access the finding aid for Mary Church Terrell's husband, Robert H. Terrell Papers, in the Library of Congress Manuscript Division.

Prints and Photographs Division

Images of Twentieth Century African American Activists: A Select List

This list includes images of individuals frequently requested by researchers for which staff have been able to find acceptable quality images in the Prints and Photographs Division collections. Mary Church Terrell is included in this list.

Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC)

Search in PPOC on Mary Church Terrell or use the subject heading "Terrell, Mary Church,--1863-1954" to find digital images related to Terrell.

Special Presentation

African American History Month Portal

In celebration of African-American History Month, this Web site highlights the many resources on African-American history and culture available from the extensive online collections of the Library of Congress.

Teachers Page

Features and Activities

From Slavery to Civil Rights: A Timeline of African-American History

Use this interactive timeline-based activity to introduce the topic of African-American history through primary sources.

Lesson Plans

African American Identity in the Gilded Age: Two Unreconciled Strivings

Students examine the tension experienced by African-Americans as they struggled to establish a vibrant and meaningful identity based on the promises of liberty and equality in the midst of a society that was ambivalent towards them and sought to impose an inferior definition upon them.

Segregation: From Jim Crow to Linda Brown

Students explore the era of legalized segregation. This lesson provides a foundation for a more meaningful understanding of the modern Civil Rights movement.

Themed Resources

Civil Rights

Explore the fight for voting rights as well as the racial history of the United States in sports and schools. Study maps, baseball cards and political cartoons as well as pamphlets, legal documents, poetry, music, and the personal correspondence and oral histories of the famous and the ordinary.

Today in History

September 23

Mary Church Terrell—educator, political activist, and first president of the National Association of Colored Women—was born on September 23, 1863, in Memphis, Tennessee. An 1884 graduate of Oberlin College, America's first college to admit women and amongst the first to admit students of all races, Terrell was one of the first American women of African descent to graduate from college. She earned her master's degree from Oberlin in 1888.

Virtual Programs and Services

Web Guides produced by the Digital Reference Section of the Library of Congress

African-American Sites in the Digital Collections

This guide highlights contributions by African Americans to the arts, education, industry, literature, politics and much more as represented in the vast online collections of the Library. Mary Church Terrell is included in the Civil War and Reconstruction section.

Civil Rights Resource Guide

This guide compiles links to civil rights resources throughout the Library of Congress Web site and beyond.

Link disclaimerExternal Web Sites

The African-American Experience in Ohio 1850-1920

This digital collection illuminates specific moments in the history of Ohio's African-Americans and provides an overview of their experiences during the time period 1850 to 1920 in the words of the people that lived them.

The Church in the Southern Black Community, 1780-1925

This compilation of printed texts traces how Southern African Americans experienced and transformed Protestant Christianity into the central institution of community life. A sketch of Mary Church Terrell's life is included in the book Women of Achievement: Written for the Fireside Schools Under the Auspices of the Woman's American Baptist Home Mission Society by Benjamin Griffith Brawley.

Documenting the American South, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Documenting the American South (DocSouth) is a digital publishing initiative that provides Internet access to texts, images, and audio files related to southern history, literature, and culture. The collection includes several items that pertain to Mary Church Terrell.

Howard University Libraries and the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

Access the finding aid for the Mary Church Terrell Papers, 1888-1976.

Oberlin College Archives

Access the finding aid for the Mary Church Terrell Papers, 1884-2004.

Traveling Culture: Circuit Chautauqua in the Twentieth Century

This digital collection presents 7,949 publicity brochures, promotional advertisements and talent circulars for some 4,546 performers who were part of the Chautauqua circuit.

  • Mary Church Terrell. [Flyer which includes biographical information and an image of Mary Church Terrell].

W. E. B. Du Bois Papers, 1803-1999 (bulk 1877-1963), from the Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

The W. E. B. Du Bois Papers contains more than thirty letters pertaining to Mary Church Terrell.

Selected Works by Mary Church Terrell

Ham, Deborah N., ed. A Colored Woman in a White World. Amherst, NY: Humanity Books, 2005.
LC Call Number: E185.97.T47 A3 2005 [Catalog Record]

Terrell, Mary Church. Harriet Beecher Stowe; an Appreciation. N.P., 1911.
LC Call Number: PS2956 .T4 [Catalog Record]

---. Phillis Wheatley, a Bicentennial Pageant. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1932.
LC Call Number: PN3206 .T4 [Catalog Record]

Selected Biographies and other Studies of Terrell

Cooke, Paul P. Mary Church Terrell: A Tribute. Washington, DC: Cooke, 1978.
LC Call Number: LD7501.W317 T473 [Catalog Record]

Fradin, Dennis B. Fight On!: Mary Church Terrell's Battle for Integration. New York: Clarion Books, 2003.
LC Call Number: E185.97.T47 F73 2003 [Catalog Record]

Jones, Beverly Washington. Quest for Equality: The Life and Writings of Mary Eliza Church Terrell, 1863-1954. Brooklyn, NY: Carlson, 1990.
LC Call Number: E185.86 .B543 1990 vol. 13 [Catalog Record]

Shepperd, Gladys Byram. Mary Church Terrell, Respectable Person. Baltimore: Human Relations Press, 1959.
LC Call Number: E185.97.T47 S48 [Catalog Record]

Younger Readers

Lommel, Cookie. Mary Church Terrell: Speaking Out for Civil Rights. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow, 2003.
LC Call Number: E185.97.T47 L66 2003 [Catalog Record]

McKissack, Pat. Mary Church Terrell: Leader for Equality. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, 2002.
LC Call Number: E185.97.T47 M35 2002 [Catalog Record]

Swain, Gwenyth. Civil Rights Pioneer: A Story about Mary Church Terrell. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books, 1999.
LC Call Number: E185.97.T47 S93 1999 [Catalog Record]

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  October 4, 2018
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