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    The Jubilee Singers. (1875). Image courtesy of the New York Public Library.
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Miss Helen Hortense Tildon

The July 29, 1944 issue of the Chicago Defender carried this photo of Fisk student, Miss Helen Hortense Tildon of Tuskegee, Alabama.

Miss Tildon is the daughter of Lt. Col. Touissant T. and Margaret Tildon. The family is from Tuskegee, where this picture was taken, where I find 4 year old Helen H. enumerated with parents and brother Touissant Jr. 

Her father is enumerated as a physician and was born in Texas.   He was a pyschiatrist and graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1923 and would spend most of his career in Tuskegee.  [Black Psychiatrists and American Psychiatry].  Harvard has an online resource called Against All Odds that includes a biographical sketch about her father – click on the “Part Two: Biographical Sketches” to find it.  It appears though that the family last name may have been Tilden.


Oscar Arthur Joyner – Meharry Graduate

As I was reading my new book tonight, In Search of Our Roots by Henry Louis Gates, I came across a Nashville relevant tidbit.  Radio host Tom Joyner had a grandfather that attended Meharry.  The book says that he graduated in 1908, but according to the Meharry catalogs online, he graduated in 1909.

Harriet Marble’s House Found

The Lexington-Herald Leader, newspaper of Lexington, Kentucky, has a recent story about a home that was recently discovered to belong to Harriet Beecher Stowe Marble (story here), the first black female pharmacist.  An electrician checking the wiring found some of her memorabilia and from there, the home ownership was traced. It’s a wonderful story. 

The story mentioned that Marble graduated from Meharry, so of course I had to see if I could find her in the catalogs.  Sure enough, she graduated in 1906 and is listed in the 1906 catalog (see PDF here).

The story also references Harriet’s bio in the book, Who’s Who of Colored America, of which the 1915 edition is available full-text at Google Books and her bio appears on page 184. 

Her bio mentions that she was at one point secretary of the National Medical Association.  In my last post I shared that the association’s journal is available online back to it’s first issue in 1909 through 2007, so I am sure she appears within the pages of the journal.  

I also added a FindAGrave entry for her since the article gives her burial location.  


Journal of the National Medical Association

Combining my librairnaship with genealogy, I thought it would be worthwhile to post the fact that the Journal of the National Medical Association is now available online at PubMed Central, a repository of full-text biomedical literature made available by the National Library of Medicine.  As stated on their website, the mission of the National Medical Association (NMA) is to ” advance the art and science of medicine for people of African descent through education, advocacy, and health policy to promote health and wellness, eliminate health disparities, and sustain physician viability.”

Their journal has been published since 1909.  As stated on a blog post of the Southeastern Atlantic Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, the journal ” provides historical insight into the social, medical and public health issues that continue to be of particular concern to African American patients and physicians. It has also served as a venue to challenge disparaging interpretations of African American health history published in other medical and social science journals.”

It can also be beneficial for genealogists if you’ve had family members and people of interest active in the African-American medical fields.  A range of information can be found within the pages of the journal, from lectures, articles, and social news such as marriages.  Even obituaries are in the journal, such as the obituary of Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, the first black cardiologist and another Meharrian.  I even did my duty and added a link to it from his Wikipedia page.  Dr. Williams was one of the co-founders of the NMA. 

For example, the very first issue has an article by Dr. A.M. Townsend of Meharry Medical College.  I’ve blogged about him previously on this blog and even been contacted by one of his descendants. I’ll have to make sure to send this on to him.  Townsend’s article is titled “The preservation of pharmacotherapy necessary to medical advance.”

The second issue has an article by another Meharrian, Dr. C.V. Roman, also someone who’s name has appeared on this blog.  His article was titled “Woman’s Work” and in an address he gave to the graduating class of nurses at Lamar College in Georgia in 1909. 

This collection is definitely worth browsing or searching. If you wish to browse the issues, you may go here, but the best way to search the collection is to go here and enter your search term of interest but add this (include the quotation marks) after your search term in order to restrict to this specific journal:  “Journal of the National Medical Association”[Jour]

Happy searching!

NPR Interview w/ Henry Louis Gates

Courtesy of Mark via his Twitter feed, I learned that NPR has an interview today with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.  Check it out on their site.

Gates is the author of Finding Oprah’s Roots: Finding Your Own – published in 2007 that describes the work done on her family tree.  As you may know, Oprah has Nashville roots.  I did a quick search online and found this excerpt from Jet magazine in 1972 about her win as “Miss Fire Prevention” while she was a student at Tennessee State University. 


People.com even has a picture of her win!

Fisk Singers in Charlotte

From the Chicago Defender
31 Mar 1917

Raleigh, N.C., March 30 — The Fisk University Jubilee Singers, who appeared here Monday, were a treat.  Nearly 500 whites attended.  Mr. Hayes of the Fisk Jubilee Singers preached at the First Baptist Church Sunday.

King-Harris Marriage

Nashville Globe – 1 Mar 1907

Mr.  William Thomas King, of 1616 Patterson street, and Miss Ada Lee Harris, of 513 Fourth avenue, South, were quietly united in the holy bonds of matrimony Sunday, February 24, at 4:$5 o’clock, at the home of Rev. C.H. Clark, 610 Jo Johnston avenue.  The ceremony was performed by Dr. Clark in the presence of a few relatives, after which they were driven to the home of Mrs. M.S. King, mother of the groom, where they were served, with an elaborate six o’clock dinner which consisted of several courses. 

Those seated around the dining table were Mr. and Mrs. W.T. King,  Mr. and Mrs. R.L. King, Mrs. M.S. King, Misses Mary Clark, Ophelia Alexander, Nellie E. King, Little Connie May King, Dr. Oliver Reynolds and Mr. Waymon Box.  A number of presents both handsome and expensive were received. 

The bride made a lovely picture in a creation of grey and blue grenadine over blue silk with hat to match.  She carried a bouqet of white and red carnations with white ribbon.

Smyrna Notes

Nashville Globe – 1 Mar 1907

Smyrna Notes

  • Mrs. Martha A. Thompson and Mr. George Edmondson were quietly married last Sunday.
  • Madames M.C. Wade, S.K. Ridley and George M.  Jordan were in the city last week visiting relatives and friends. 
  • Miss Mary Cartwright has joined Miss E.M. Perry’s class in instrumental music.
  • Mrs. Ellen C. Elliott, surrounded by a host of friends left for Hot Springs Sunday night feeling much refreshed by her two months’ vacation. 
  • Miss Ellen Baker has gone to the city to spend a few weeks. 
  • News of the death of Mrs. Mary Mason, of East Nashville, formerly of this place, has been sadly received.

Whist Club

Nashville Globe – 1 Mar 1907

Whist Club — The Twentieth Century Whist Club held its third weekly meeting since its organization, Thursday evening, Feb. 21, 1907, at the residence of Miss Annie Cheek, Eight avenue, North.  The members enjoyed themselves playing whist.  The club was afterwards called to order and held an enthusiastic business meeting.  A dainty menu was served, consisting of the following: fruit, salmon salad, mayonnaise dressing, chocolate and fruit gelatin with cake.  The following members were present, Mrs. Thos. Ewing, Mrs. R.C. Eason, Misses Annie Cheek, Johnnie D. Blackwell, Willie May Turner,  Messrs. R.C. Eason, Thos. Ewing, Jas. M. Foster, Guy Bordenhammer, John Sims, Dr. Chas. Yearwood and Wymon Brady.

Goodlesttville Notes (1 Mar 1907)

Nashville Globe – 1 Mar 1907

Goodlettsville Notes 

  • Mr. William Johnson, one of our most energetic young men, gains much inspiration and race pride from reading the Globe. 
  • Miss Anna L. Hendricks returned from Nashville last Sunday morning and will spend a few weeks at home. 
  • Mr. Luther Crosswye, so long a faithful deacon of the Congregational Church, is now suffering with la grippe.
  • Mr. David Cantrell has been compelled to drop the Globe for a while; but conditions are growing better and he will renew his subscription soon. 
  • Through the efforts of Rev. R.C. McLendon, a teacher of instrumental music has been secured, and many of the young people will join the class.
  • Miss Kittie Garrett is always prompt in renewing her subscription.  May all follow her example