M.C. Lawton Civic and Cultural Club Records, 1921-2004

Descriptive Identification

Unit ID
apap027
Repository
M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives
Extent
1.13 cubic ft.
creator
M.C. Lawton Civic And Cultural Club
Location
The materials are located onsite in the department.
Language
English
Abstract
The M.C. Lawton Civic and Cultural Club Records showcase the operations of the first black organization in Albany that was actively involved in community service and educational advancement, which was founded in 1919.

Administrative Information

Processing Information

Processed in 2012 by Geoffrey A. Huth, Nicholas Webb.

Access

Access to this record group is unrestricted.

Copyright

The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.

Acquisition Information

Items in this manuscript group were donated to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, by the M.C. Lawton Civic and Cultural Club, Inc. on April 17, 1990. An additional accession was received from Carol Praylor, President, in September 2004.

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, M.C. Lawton Civic and Cultural Club Records, 1921-2004. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as [shortened name]).

Organizational Sketch

The M.C. Lawton Club has its beginnings in the Women's Auxiliary of the 15th Infantry, a black unit active during World War I. At the end of the war, the members of the auxiliary decided to continue to associate as they had for the previous four years. In April 1919, the club was founded as the Marie C. Lawton Club in Albany, N.Y., as a branch of the Empire State Federation of Women's Clubs. The club's goals were to "promote the welfare of people wherein needed, and to assist in civic affairs."[1] The club was the first black organization in Albany actively involved in "community service, educational advancement, race relations and self-development."[2] An important activity of the club was its annual concert showcasing promising young black musicians. The Club regularly sponsored dances to support causes such as scholarships for college students and Haiti. In 1926/1927, the Club was involved in advocacy on a number of important issues including performances by minstrels in the Albany Public Schools and housing conditions in the city. Out of this work the Club developed a five-point plan whcih was eventually taken over by the Albany Inter-Racial Council. By 1955, the club had consistently begun to use the name M.C. Lawton Civic and Cultural Club.

The M.C. Lawton Club has close ties to other civic and cultural clubs in the Capital District, including the Albany Inter-Racial Council and the Community Chest. The club is affiliated with the Empire State Federation of Women's Clubs, Inc.; the Northeastern Association of Women's Clubs; and the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs, Inc.

[1] M.C. Lawton Civic and Cultural Club, Inc. Constitution, 1955.

[2] M.C. Lawton Civic and Cultural Club, Inc. Musical Program, 1978.

Scope and Contents

The minutes (1927-65, 1971-75) of the M.C. Lawton Club are its most substantial records. The earliest minutes (1919-26) are missing, but the minutes that remain give a good picture of the activities of the organization and how well it met those goals. Only scattered minutes for 2002-2004 are available in this collection. The remainder of the Club's minutes remain in with its members. Especially interesting are the earlier minutes when the club fought for racial justice at the local level in the fields of housing, education, and employment, presenting black speakers such as Countee Cullen to the population as a whole and decrying minstrel shows.

The correspondence (1921-23, 1928-31, 1943, 1950, 1953-59, 1973, 1977-78) primarily concerns routine administrative matters. Although the correspondence covers a wide range of years, most of the correspondence dates from the 1920's, 1950's, and 1970's, and consists mainly of thank you notes or other routine correspondence.

The reports (1928, 1930, 1932, 1935, 1949, 1973, 1975) are not extensive, but these are full of information about the club's activities. The musical programs (1936, 1955, 1957, circa 1964, 1968, 1971, 1975-80, 1985-87) contain little additional information other than the programs, which do include brief historical sketches of the club.

For related records, see the records of the Empire State Federation of Women's Clubs, Inc. A photograph from the collection is available for viewing online from the University at Albany Libraries' Digital Collections database.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is organized into the following series:

Series 1 is arranged chronologically while Series 2, is arranged alphabetically.

Components List

  • Minutes, 1927-2004

    Unit ID
    1
    Physical Facet
    0.80
    Arrangement

    Arranged chronologically.

    • Minutes, ca. 1927-1930
      Box
      1 (1-Minutes)
      Folder
      1
    • Papers removed from 1927-1930 minute book, 1927-1930
      Box
      1 (1-Minutes)
      Folder
      2
    • Minutes, 1930-1932
      Box
      1 (1-Minutes)
      Folder
      3
    • Papers removed from 1930-1932 minute book, 1930-1932
      Box
      1 (1-Minutes)
      Folder
      4
    • Minutes, 1932-1936
      Box
      1 (1-Minutes)
      Folder
      5
    • Papers removed from 1932-1936 minute book, 1932-1936
      Box
      1 (1-Minutes)
      Folder
      6
    • Minutes, 1937-1941
      Box
      1 (1-Minutes)
      Folder
      7
    • Minutes, 1941-1951
      Box
      1 (1-Minutes)
      Folder
      8
    • Minutes, 1951-1957
      Box
      2 (1-Minutes)
      Folder
      1
    • Papers removed from 1951-1957 minute book, 1951-1957
      Box
      2 (1-Minutes)
      Folder
      2
    • Minutes, 1958-1965
      Box
      2 (1-Minutes)
      Folder
      3
    • Minutes, 1971-1975
      Box
      2 (1-Minutes)
      Folder
      4
    • Minutes and Agenda, 2002-2004
      Box
      2 (1-Minutes)
      Folder
      5
  • Subject Files, 1921-2004

    Unit ID
    2
    Physical Facet
    0.33
    Arrangement

    Arranged alphabetically.

    • Albany Inter-Racial Council, 1929 1956
      Box
      3 (2-Subject Files)
      Folder
      1
    • Arbor Hill Community Dinner, 1957
      Box
      3 (2-Subject Files)
      Folder
      2
    • Awards Banquet Hosted by M.C. Lawton Club, 1984
      Box
      3 (2-Subject Files)
      Folder
      3
    • Awards to the M.C. Lawton Club, 1973 1975 1979 1983
      Box
      3 (2-Subject Files)
      Folder
      4
    • Child Health Meeting Notice, 1941
      Box
      3 (2-Subject Files)
      Folder
      5
    • Community Chest of Albany and Rensselaer, 1955-1956
      Box
      3 (2-Subject Files)
      Folder
      6
    • Constitution, 1955
      Box
      3 (2-Subject Files)
      Folder
      7
    • Constitution and Handbook, 1999
      Box
      3 (2-Subject Files)
      Folder
      8
    • Correspondence, 1921-1923 1928-1931
      Box
      3 (2-Subject Files)
      Folder
      9
    • Correspondence, 1943 1950 1953-1959
      Box
      3 (2-Subject Files)
      Folder
      10
    • Correspondence, 1973 1977-1978 2002-2004
      Box
      3 (2-Subject Files)
      Folder
      11
    • Dinner Programs, 1954-1956 1969
      Box
      3 (2-Subject Files)
      Folder
      12
    • Empire State Federation of Women's Clubs, Inc., Events Hosted by M.C. Lawton Club, Programs and Financial Report, 1994 1998 2002
      Box
      3 (2-Subject Files)
      Folder
      13
    • March on Washington Movement, Brochure, 1914-1915
      Box
      3 (2-Subject Files)
      Folder
      14
    • Membership, Correspondence and List, 2003-2004
      Box
      3 (2-Subject Files)
      Folder
      15
    • Mother and Daughter Banquest, Program, ca. 1958
      Box
      3 (2-Subject Files)
      Folder
      16
    • Musical Programs, 1936 1955-1957 ca. 1964 1968-1971 1975-1979
      Box
      3 (2-Subject Files)
      Folder
      17
    • Musical Programs, 1980 1985-1987 1993 2003
      Box
      3 (2-Subject Files)
      Folder
      18
    • News Clippings, 1939 1952 1969 1973-1980 1988-1989
      Box
      3 (2-Subject Files)
      Folder
      19
    • News Clippings, 1939 1952 1969-1980 1988-1989 2002-2003
      Box
      3 (2-Subject Files)
      Folder
      20
    • Photographs, Undated
      Box
      3 (2-Subject Files)
      Folder
      21
    • President, Carol Praylor, 2002-2003
      Box
      3 (2-Subject Files)
      Folder
      22
    • Presidents and Vice Presidents, List, 2002
      Box
      3 (2-Subject Files)
      Folder
      23
    • Reports, Annual and Historian's, 2002-2003
      Box
      3 (2-Subject Files)
      Folder
      24
    • Reports on Annual Conventions of the Empire State Federation of Women's Clubs, 1949 1973 1975
      Box
      3 (2-Subject Files)
      Folder
      25
    • Reports to Empire State Federation of Women's Clubs, 1928 1930 1932 1935
      Box
      3 (2-Subject Files)
      Folder
      26
    • Scholarship Recipients, List, 2003
      Box
      3 (2-Subject Files)
      Folder
      27
    • 35th Anniversary Celebration, Invitation, 1955
      Box
      3 (2-Subject Files)
      Folder
      28
    • 75th Anniversary Celebration, Program and Roster, 1994-1995
      Box
      3 (2-Subject Files)
      Folder
      29
    • 85th Anniversary Celebration, Program, 2003
      Box
      3 (2-Subject Files)
      Folder
      30