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M.C. Lawton Civic and Cultural Club Records

M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives

Inclusive Date: 1921-2004

M.C. Lawton Civic And Cultural Club

1.13 cubic ft.

English

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.

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Collection Details

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

The materials are located onsite in the department.

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.

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.

The collection is organized into the following series:
Series 1 is arranged chronologically while Series 2, is arranged alphabetically.

Collection Access & Use

Access to this record group is unrestricted.

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.

Preferred citation for this material is as follows: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]).

Collection Subjects & Formats

Series 1: Minutes

Inclusive Date: 1927-2004

Minutes

Inclusive Date: ca. 1927-1930

Box: 1 (1-Minutes)

Folder: 1

Papers removed from 1927-1930 minute book

Inclusive Date: 1927-1930

Box: 1 (1-Minutes)

Folder: 2

Minutes

Inclusive Date: 1930-1932

Box: 1 (1-Minutes)

Folder: 3

Papers removed from 1930-1932 minute book

Inclusive Date: 1930-1932

Box: 1 (1-Minutes)

Folder: 4

Minutes

Inclusive Date: 1932-1936

Box: 1 (1-Minutes)

Folder: 5

Papers removed from 1932-1936 minute book

Inclusive Date: 1932-1936

Box: 1 (1-Minutes)

Folder: 6

Minutes

Inclusive Date: 1937-1941

Box: 1 (1-Minutes)

Folder: 7

Minutes

Inclusive Date: 1941-1951

Box: 1 (1-Minutes)

Folder: 8

Minutes

Inclusive Date: 1951-1957

Box: 2 (1-Minutes)

Folder: 1

Papers removed from 1951-1957 minute book

Inclusive Date: 1951-1957

Box: 2 (1-Minutes)

Folder: 2

Minutes

Inclusive Date: 1958-1965

Box: 2 (1-Minutes)

Folder: 3

Minutes

Inclusive Date: 1971-1975

Box: 2 (1-Minutes)

Folder: 4

Minutes and Agenda

Inclusive Date: 2002-2004

Box: 2 (1-Minutes)

Folder: 5

Series 2: Subject Files

Inclusive Date: 1921-2004

Albany Inter-Racial Council

Inclusive Date: 1929

Inclusive Date: 1956

Box: 3 (2-Subject Files)

Folder: 1

Arbor Hill Community Dinner

Inclusive Date: 1957

Box: 3 (2-Subject Files)

Folder: 2

Awards Banquet Hosted by M.C. Lawton Club

Inclusive Date: 1984

Box: 3 (2-Subject Files)

Folder: 3

Awards to the M.C. Lawton Club

Inclusive Date: 1973

Inclusive Date: 1975

Inclusive Date: 1979

Inclusive Date: 1983

Box: 3 (2-Subject Files)

Folder: 4

Child Health Meeting Notice

Inclusive Date: 1941

Box: 3 (2-Subject Files)

Folder: 5

Community Chest of Albany and Rensselaer

Inclusive Date: 1955-1956

Box: 3 (2-Subject Files)

Folder: 6

Constitution

Inclusive Date: 1955

Box: 3 (2-Subject Files)

Folder: 7

Constitution and Handbook

Inclusive Date: 1999

Box: 3 (2-Subject Files)

Folder: 8

Correspondence

Inclusive Date: 1921-1923

Inclusive Date: 1928-1931

Box: 3 (2-Subject Files)

Folder: 9

Correspondence

Inclusive Date: 1943

Inclusive Date: 1950

Inclusive Date: 1953-1959

Box: 3 (2-Subject Files)

Folder: 10

Correspondence

Inclusive Date: 1973

Inclusive Date: 1977-1978

Inclusive Date: 2002-2004

Box: 3 (2-Subject Files)

Folder: 11

Dinner Programs

Inclusive Date: 1954-1956

Inclusive Date: 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

Inclusive Date: 1994

Inclusive Date: 1998

Inclusive Date: 2002

Box: 3 (2-Subject Files)

Folder: 13

March on Washington Movement, Brochure

Inclusive Date: 1914-1915

Box: 3 (2-Subject Files)

Folder: 14

Membership, Correspondence and List

Inclusive Date: 2003-2004

Box: 3 (2-Subject Files)

Folder: 15

Mother and Daughter Banquest, Program

Inclusive Date: ca. 1958

Box: 3 (2-Subject Files)

Folder: 16

Musical Programs

Inclusive Date: 1936

Inclusive Date: 1955-1957

Inclusive Date: ca. 1964

Inclusive Date: 1968-1971

Inclusive Date: 1975-1979

Box: 3 (2-Subject Files)

Folder: 17

Musical Programs

Inclusive Date: 1980

Inclusive Date: 1985-1987

Inclusive Date: 1993

Inclusive Date: 2003

Box: 3 (2-Subject Files)

Folder: 18

News Clippings

Inclusive Date: 1939

Inclusive Date: 1952

Inclusive Date: 1969

Inclusive Date: 1973-1980

Inclusive Date: 1988-1989

Box: 3 (2-Subject Files)

Folder: 19

News Clippings

Inclusive Date: 1939

Inclusive Date: 1952

Inclusive Date: 1969-1980

Inclusive Date: 1988-1989

Inclusive Date: 2002-2003

Box: 3 (2-Subject Files)

Folder: 20

Photographs

Inclusive Date: Undated

Box: 3 (2-Subject Files)

Folder: 21

President, Carol Praylor

Inclusive Date: 2002-2003

Box: 3 (2-Subject Files)

Folder: 22

Presidents and Vice Presidents, List

Inclusive Date: 2002

Box: 3 (2-Subject Files)

Folder: 23

Reports, Annual and Historian's

Inclusive Date: 2002-2003

Box: 3 (2-Subject Files)

Folder: 24

Reports on Annual Conventions of the Empire State Federation of Women's Clubs

Inclusive Date: 1949

Inclusive Date: 1973

Inclusive Date: 1975

Box: 3 (2-Subject Files)

Folder: 25

Reports to Empire State Federation of Women's Clubs

Inclusive Date: 1928

Inclusive Date: 1930

Inclusive Date: 1932

Inclusive Date: 1935

Box: 3 (2-Subject Files)

Folder: 26

Scholarship Recipients, List

Inclusive Date: 2003

Box: 3 (2-Subject Files)

Folder: 27

35th Anniversary Celebration, Invitation

Inclusive Date: 1955

Box: 3 (2-Subject Files)

Folder: 28

75th Anniversary Celebration, Program and Roster

Inclusive Date: 1994-1995

Box: 3 (2-Subject Files)

Folder: 29

85th Anniversary Celebration, Program

Inclusive Date: 2003

Box: 3 (2-Subject Files)

Folder: 30