Edwina Harleston Whitlock papers
The collection contains personal documents, correspondence, printed and photographic material, and legal records pertaining to the life, career and family of Edwina Augusta Harleston Whitlock. Collection items in each folder are arranged chronologically.
Series 1. Biographical Papers, 1935-2006, undated includes Whitlock's passports and personal identification cards, appointment books, diaries and correspondence. The series also contains signed affidavits regarding her name change from Gussie Louise Harleston to Edwina Augusta Harleston. In addition, there are materials related to Whitlock's living arrangements and expenses; family and wedding photographs; greeting and birthday cards, as well as posthumous materials including obituaries, remembrances from friends, and a program from her funeral. Also present within the series are class notes and ephemera from Whitlock's alma mater, Talladega College; a certificate of completion for specialized training in counseling disadvantaged youth; and a portfolio and business card from Jonathan Green Studios, Inc., from Whitlock's work with the League of Allied Arts. A publishing contract for The Sweet Hell Inside: A Family History, correspondence between Edward Ball and Whitlock concerning the book's title and release; and book reviews from the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, and O, The Oprah Magazine, are also contained in the series.
Series 2. Harleston Family, 1918-2002 contains news clippings from the Post & Courier and Avery Bulletin about her Uncle Edwin Augustus Harleston's artwork; a photocopied note regarding Harleston family members' ownership of his artwork; and correspondence regarding a long-term exhibit at the Smithsonian on African American history. In addition, the series consists of correspondence to Whitlock from University of South Carolina professor, Dr. Bobby Donaldson regarding letters from her uncle and cousin, Edward Crum Mickey to W.E.B. Du Bois. Copies of these letters are included in the series, as well as a reply letter from Du Bois. A handwritten letter to Whitlock's uncle from friend, Nora Brown is also part of the series.
Series 3. Legal Records/Documents, 1958-1983 consists of items pertaining to the estate of Whitlock's husband, Henry Oliver Whitlock, and his local Gary, Indiana newspaper, The Gary American, including: copies of her husband's death certificate; a certificate of incorporation; a bill of sale for the Gary American Printing and Publishing Corporation and mortgage documents. Also included in the series are correspondence between Whitlock and her attorneys regarding property damage coverage for a space she was leasing at 212 East Main Street in Dillion, South Carolina.
Series 4. Correspondence, 1977-2001, undated consists of handwritten letters from Whitlock to friends, family and professional acquaintances, as well as one from an unknown source.
Series 5. Miscellaneous, 1961-1987 consists of news clippings and a booklet on conducting oral history interviews.
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Edwina Augusta Harleston Whitlock was born Gussie Louise Harleston on September 28, 1916 in Charleston, South Carolina to Robert Othello Harleston and his wife, Marie Isabelle Forrest. Whitlock was the grand-daughter of Captain Edwin Gillard Harleston, founder of the Harleston Funeral Home. At the age of two, Whitlock was sent to live with her uncle, a noted portrait artist, Edwin Augustus "Teddy" Harleston and his wife, Elise Forrest, who is acknowledged as South Carolina's first female photographer. Both Edwin and Elise worked for the family business, the Harleston Funeral Home. Edwin was also active in the Charleston Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), founded in 1917. Edwin adopted Whitlock; and when he died in 1931, she changed her name to Edwina Augusta Harleston in honor of his memory. After her uncle's death, Whitlock was sent to live with her aunt, Eloise Harleston Jenkins, wife of Reverend Daniel Jenkins of Jenkins Orphanage. As a teenager Whitlock wrote for the Charleston Messenger, a newspaper published by her uncle, The Rev. Daniel J. Jenkins. By the age of twenty, Whitlock lost her parents and sister, Sylvia to tuberculosis.
Whitlock attended the Avery Normal Institute in Charleston, South Carolina and Talladega College in Talladega, Alabama. She graduated from the college in 1939; earning a B.A. degree in English with a minor in Sociology. She worked as a reporter and editor for the Pittsburgh Courier, Baltimore Afro-American, Chicago Defender, and Negro Digest. Whitlock met her husband, Henry Oliver Whitlock, while studying for her Master's degree at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. The couple married in 1945 and had four children together: Henry O. Whitlock, Jr., Sylvia Elise Whitlock, Mae Whitlock Gentry and Edwin Harleston Whitlock. Whitlock and her husband published a weekly newspaper based out of Gary, Indiana, called The Gary American, until his death in 1960.
Following her husband's death, Whitlock and her family moved to Los Angeles California, where she became a social worker. When she retired, Whitlock returned to Charleston and founded a chapter of the League of Allied Arts, serving as the organization's first president. She also volunteered as an editor of the Avery Bulletin from 1988-1990. In the early 1990s, Whitlock moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where she consulted with her distant cousin, author, Edward Ball on writing The Sweet Hell Inside: A Family History. The book documents the African American branch of the Harleston family and was published by HarperCollins in 2001. Whitlock died the following year at the age of 87.
0.42 linear feet (1 archival box)
Language of Materials
Edwina Augusta Harleston Whitlock was born Gussie Louise Harleston on September 28, 1916 in Charleston, South Carolina to Robert Othello Harleston and his wife, Marie Isabelle Forrest. She was raised by her uncle, Edwin Augustus
Teddy Harleston and his wife Elise Forrest after it was discovered that Whitlock's parents had tuberculosis. Whitlock attended the Avery Normal Institute in Charleston, South Carolina and Talladega College in Talladega, Alabama, where she graduated in 1939. She worked as a reporter and editor for several publications throughout the U.S. Whitlock met her husband, Henry Oliver Whitlock, while studying for her Master's degree at Northwestern University. The couple married in 1945 and had four children together. They also published a newspaper in Gary, Indiana, called The Gary American, until Henry's death in 1960. Following her husband's death, Whitlock and her children relocated to Los Angeles California, where she became a social worker. Upon retirement, she returned to Charleston where she founded a chapter of the League of Allied Arts and volunteered as editor of The Avery Bulletin. In the early 1990s consulted with her distant cousin Edward Ball on writing The Sweet Hell Inside: A Family History. The book documents the African American branch of the Harleston family and was published by HarperCollins in 2001. Whitlock died the following year at the age of 87.
The collection contains personal papers, correspondence, photographs, and printed material relating to Whitlock and her family. Also included are materials documenting Whitlock's education, as well as her professional, civic and research endeavors. Items in the collection date from 1960-2006, with bulk dates spanning the years 1960-1989 and 2000-2001.
1. Biographical Papers, 1935-2006, undated
2. Harleston Family, 1918-2002
3. Legal Records/Documents, 1958-1983
4. Correspondence, 1977-2001, undated
5. Miscellaneous, 1961-1987
- Avery Research Center preliminary biographical note: Edwina Augusta Harleston Whitlock Papers (1916-2002)
- Life History: Edwina Harleston Whitlock, undated
Processed by Ardra Whitney, 11, 2012
Encoded by Ardra Whitney, 11, 2012
Edited by Aaron Spelbring, 12, 2012
- African American art -- South Carolina -- 20th century
- African American artists -- South Carolina
- African American families -- South Carolina
- African American newspapers
- African American photographers
- African Americans -- South Carolina -- Charleston
- Avery Normal Institute -- Alumni and alumnae
- Ball, Edward, 1958-
- Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963
- Funeral homes -- South Carolina -- Charleston
- Funeral rites and ceremonies
- Harleston family
- Harleston, Edwin Augustus, 1882-1931
- Harleston, Elise F. (Elise Forrest)
- Jenkins' Orphanage Band
- Racially mixed people -- United States
- Talladega College
- Tuberculosis -- Diagnosis
- Youth -- Counseling of
- appointment books
- clippings (information artifacts)
- greeting cards
- identity cards
- programs (documents)
- Inventory of the Edwina Harleston Whitlock Papers, 1918 - 2006 AMN 1120
- Finding aid prepared by Processed by: Ardra Whitney; machine-readable finding aid created by: Ardra Whitney
- Description rules
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Description is in English
Part of the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture Repository
125 Bull Street
Charleston South Carolina 29424 United States