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William H. Scott family papers

Identifier: Manuscript Collection No. 1082

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the papers of the William H. Scott family from 1848-1982. The papers of William H. Scott, Sr. include correspondence, personal papers, writings, photographs, and printed material. The majority of the correspondence documents both Scott's religious activity and his political activism, including his involvement with the Anti-Imperialist League, the National Independent Political League, and the Negro Baptist Ministers Conference. Personal papers include a number of scrapbooks of newspaper clippings from African American newspapers concerning politics, African American history, and family history. Printed material consists of rare broadsides, programs and announcements concerning political and religious activity in the African American community in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., including activities sponsored by groups such as the Boston Suffrage League, the New England Suffrage League, and St. John's Baptist Church in Woburn, Massachusetts. The series also includes a Civil War era sword reportedly captured by Scott during the Battle of Fredericksburg.

The papers of William H. Scott, Jr. include correspondence, personal papers, writings, photographs, subject files, and printed material. Correspondence consists mostly of letters written by William H. Scott, Jr. to his wife while he was serving in the military at Camp Pike, Arkansas, from 1918-1919. The correspondence details black life in the U.S. Army during the Jim Crow era. Writings include a number of short essays, as well as material relating to a biography of William H. Scott, Sr. Photographs are mostly of family members and many were taken by William H. Scott, Jr. Subject files consist of material relating to subjects of interest to Scott and to organizations with which he may have been involved. Printed material primarily includes newspaper clippings relating to Scott and the Scott family.


  • 1848-1982

Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

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

Biographical Note

William H. Scott (1848-1910), was born a slave in Virginia on June 15, 1848. In April of 1862, he escaped and joined the 12th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. Following the Civil War, Scott studied at Howard University Law School. He taught newly freed slaves in Virginia until he was forced to flee the state as a result of racist intimidation. He then enrolled at Wayland Seminary and was ordained a Baptist minister in 1880. He served churches in Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Massachusetts. He established "Scott's Boston Cheap Bookstore" in the 1880s, selling it in 1892 when he moved to Boston to serve as pastor of Calvary Baptist Church. Scott was an advocate for African American rights. He founded the Massachusetts Racial Protective Association in March 1896; he was one of 29 original members of the Niagara Movement; and he helped organize the National Independent Political League in 1908. Scott died in Woburn, Massachusetts, on June 27, 1910.

William H. Scott, Jr. (1887-1976) was the son of William H. Scott and Laura Ann Fields Scott. In 1904, at the age of 17, he joined the Company L of the 6th Massachusetts Regiment, a "colored company" of the United States Army. He enrolled at Harvard in 1906 and attended for one year. Scott followed his father's interest in politics and was active in the National Equal Rights League. He wrote for radical periodicals, including The Clarion and The New Negro. Scott married Mary E. Robinson in 1907 and they had two children: William J. Scott and Henry Thompson Scott. In 1917 Scott enlisted in the Army again and was admitted to the Infantry Central Officers' training school in Camp Pike, Arkansas. He was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the Officers' Reserve Corp on January 15, 1919. He spent the same year in attendance at the Northeastern College of Law. He eventually spent most of his working life employed by the Monsanto Chemical Company in Everett, Massachusetts. While employed for Monsanto, Scott also did freelance work for the Baltimore Afro-American as a photographer. He married Lillian Wilson Gaskin in 1948 after the death of his first wife in 1946. William H. Scott, Jr. died in 1976.


4.25 linear feet (9 boxes); 9 bound volumes (BV); 3 oversized papers boxes (OP); 1 extra-oversized (XOP)


Papers of William H. Scott, an African American Baptist minister and political activist, and his son William H. Scott, Jr. from 1848-1982, including correspondence, scrapbooks, photographs, broadsides, sermons, writings, and other collected material.

Arrangement Note

Organized into two series: 1) William H. Scott, Sr. papers and 2) William H. Scott, Jr. papers.


Gift, 2007.

Separated Material

In Emory's holdings are pamphlets and publications formerly owned by William H. Scott, Sr. These materials may be located in the Emory University online catalog by searching for: Scott, William H. (William Henry), 1848-1910, former owner.


File name: scott1082.doc


Georgia Archives Institute, 2012.

File name: scott1082.doc

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William H. Scott family papers, 1878-1918
Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University
July 1, 2008
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library Repository

540 Asbury Circle
Atlanta Georgia 30322 United States