Downingtown Industrial and Agricultural School Collection

Collection ID: 
Record Group MS005DI
Date: 
1907-1985
Footage: 
6 Linear feet

 

Processed by:

Lyndsey Brown

Jessica Clark

Timothy Horning

Jenna Marrone

Megan Miller

Group leader: Sara Borden

Supervisor: Aslaku Berhanu

Processing completed: April 2010


Background Note

The Downingtown Industrial and Agricultural School operated from 1905 until 1993 in Chester County, Pennsylvania.  The school was a non-profit institution geared toward neglected or under-achieving African American youth.  Founded by prominent Philadelphians John S. Trower and William A. Creditt, the Downingtown Industrial and Agricultural School was established to provide academic and vocational training to African American teenagers who were in danger of being declared “delinquent.”  Creditt, who was pastor of Philadelphia’s First African Baptist Church, felt that a northern counterpart to Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute was much needed.  John Trower, a member of Reverend Creditt’s congregation, also shared this belief.  Trower was a prominent businessman and caterer who counted himself as one of the wealthiest black men in Pennsylvania.  Together, the two men located land in Chester County and established the school.  Both Trower and Creditt served as principals of DIAS until their respective deaths in 1911and 1921.  They were succeeded by J.N.H. Waring and his son, John Waring II, both notable for their work with inner-city African American youths.

DIAS boasted a 110-acre campus and two dormitories that housed approximately one hundred and ten students a year, both boys and girls.  Though it originally operated as a non-denominational private institution, it became state funded in 1907.  The school achieved national recognition and was well-known and respected by the local community.  Under the Warings’ regime DIAS was advertised in African American newspapers from all major northeastern cities.  Applications to the school were accepted from parents, guardians, and child welfare programs.  The school prided itself on the wealth of available extracurricular activities, including sports teams for boys and girls, domestic studies, and college prep classes.  Group activities and socialization were highly encouraged in addition to the academic curriculum or vocational training.  The Downingtown Industrial and Agricultural School closed in 1993.  In 2002 Delaware County Community College opened its Chester County Campus on the school’s former site.[1]

Scope & Content

This collection documents the Downingtown Industrial and Agricultural School (DIAS) from 1907-1993, a vocational high school for African-American students located in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.  Items included are administrative and financial documents, publications, correspondence, scrapbooks, photographs, memorabilia and other ephemera.  The earlier years of the school’s history are well-documented, but the later years are less well-represented in this collection.  Also not included are student rosters or enrollment information.  The strengths of this collection include a visual documentation (in photographs) of the early years of the school, as well as how DIAS was portrayed in the press.

Organization

The collection is divided into five series:

Series I, Administration and Financial

Series II, Publications

Series III, Scrapbooks

Series IV, Memorabilia & Ephemera

Series V, Photographs
 

Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated to Temple University by Mr. Charles L. Blockson in 1985.  Mr. Blockson acquired the materials three years earlier, courtesy of a Downingtown faculty member, while giving a commencement address at the school.

Access Points

These headings represent access points under which the collection has been indexed in     Diamand: Temple University Libraries’ public access catalog.

Corporate name

Downingtown Industrial and Agricultural School
 

Authors

  Creditt, William A

  Trower, John S.

Document type

  Photographs

  Clippings

Topics

  African Americans – Vocational education – Pennsylvania – Downingtown

  African Americans – Education (Secondary) – Pennsylvania – Downingtown

  Youth with social disabilities – Education (Secondary) – Pennsylvania -- Downingtown

 

Processing Note

The collection maintains its deposit organization structure.  Loose materials (primarily photographs, but also newspaper clippings, publications, and memorabilia) were found tucked into the photograph book of George B. Lomax and the scrapbook of Clara Clark.  These items were removed and re-housed in separate folders or envelopes and placed within the appropriate series.                                                                                         

Recommended Citation

Please cite as, Downingtown Industrial and Agricultural School (Accession # MS005DI), Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection, Temple University Libraries.

 

Series I, Administration and Financial, (1907-1964; 1976-1985)

This series documents the earlier years of the school, including the president’s report of 1907, and a minute book that was curiously used off and on.  Also included are documents pertaining to the estate of school founder William A. Creditt.  There are a few financial records (1946-1964), including insurance policies, that document the aftermath and resulting construction after a devastating fire in 1946.  A few pages of correspondence are also in this series (1976-1985).

 

Box / Folder               Folder Title                                                    Date(s)

1 / 2                             Correspondence                                              1976, 1981-82, 1985

1 / 9                             President’s report                                            November 12 1907

2 / 2                             Reassessment for fire insurance                      June 10, 1948  

2 / 4                             Insurance survey                                             December 1950

2 / 5                             Insurance correspondence & policy                1956

2 / 6                             Dormitory construction bid                            (1950, 1964)

solicitation & fire insurance

2 / 7                             Building contract & insurance                        1949, 1950, ?

2 / 8                             Minute book                                                    [1907-1908, 1911, 1921-1929]

2 / 10                           Executive Committee 1921-1922                   [1907-1908, 1911, 1921-29]

from minute book

2 / 11                           Office of Principal,                                         [1907-1908, 1911, 1921-1929]

1922 from minute book  

2 / 12                           Re: William A. Creditt estate to                     1921

principal, 1921 from minute book

2 / 13                           Students absent, female                                  1918-1919  

2 / 14                           Student Records                                             1918-1921

3 / 43                           Receipt removed from Lomzx book               1925

5 / 1                             Trustees elected 1923 from                             1923

                                                Clark scrapbook

5 / 2                             Undated school history from                          None

                                                Clark scrapbook

 

Series II, Publications, (1929-1985; n.d.)

This series spans many decades of the school’s operations and serves to illustrate the depth of events going on at DIAS.  Included here are commencement programs, banquet programs, a few issues of the Downingtown Bulletin, and a yearbook, the 1972 Downingtonia. Also included are newspaper clippings, some of which are undated.

 

Box / Folder               Folder Title                                                    Date(s)

1 / 1                             Commencement exercise programs                 1951-54, 1956-60, 1962,                                                                                                         1964, 1966, 1969, 1975-76,                                                                                                    1981-82, 1985

1 / 3                             Creditt-Bradford Memorial Club Flyer          1976

1 / 4                             Dedication ceremony program, Creditt-         October 6, 1968

                                                Bradford

1 / 5                             Founder day’s banquet programs                   1967, 1969-71, 1973-79

1 / 6                             Founder day’s banquet programs                   1980-82, 1985

1 / 7                             Raymond A. Lemon. Appreciation                October 25, 1980                                                        banquet [Copy and draft of

                                                acceptance speech]

1 / 8                             Middle Atlantic Association bulletin,             1934-35

                                                football and basketball

1 / 10                           J.H Warning, Jr. testimonial banquet              October 19, 1959

1 / 11                           Publications                                                     1923, 1968, 1976, 1980-81,                                                                                                    and undated

2 / 1                             Pennsylvania State Police:                              1946

                                                Bureau of Fire Protection

2 / 3                             Yearbook – The Downingtonian                     1972

2 / 9                             Bulletin of information                                   1981-82

4 / 2                             Downingtown Bulletin, Newspaper                1933

                                             clippings & misc. items found in

                                                1933 scrapbook
4 / 4                             Downingtown Bulletin, Vol. XVII, No. 1      October 1941

                                    Downingtown Bulletin, Vol. XIX, No. 7        April 1944;

                                    Downingtown Newsletter                                1962, 1968-70

5 / 4                             Newspaper clippings from                              1951

                                                Clark scrapbook

5 / 5                             Newspaper clippings Clark scrapbook            None

5 / 6                             Commencement exercises (copy) from           1929-1940

                                                Clark scrapbook

5 / 7                             Promotional pamphlet from                            None

                                                Clark scrapbook

5 / 8                             Downingtown Bulletin (copy) from                1936

                                                Clark scrapbook

5 / 9                             Negro History Week Program from                February 15, 1935

                                                Clark scrapbook

5 / 10                           Football & Basketball bulletin from               1934-1935

                                                Clark scrapbook

5 / 11                           31st commencement booklet from                   1936

                                                Clark scrapbook

5 / 12                           Newspaper clippings from                              None

                                                Clark scrapbook

5 / 13                           Downingtown Bulletin (copy)        
                                               
                                                from Clark scrapbook

5 / 14                           Newsletter from Clark scrapbook                   1964

5 / 16                           Newspaper clippings from                              1985

                                                Clark scrapbook

5 / 17                           Downingtown Bulletin (copy)             1932

                                                from Clark scrapbook

5 / 18                           Downingtown Bulletin from                            1930

                                                Clara scrapbook

5 / 19                           Girls’ championship booklet                           1929

                                                from Clark scrapbook

 

Series III, Scrapbooks, (1906-[1943])

This series contains scrapbooks that include newspaper clippings arranged chronologically and comprising various subjects.  Included are:  School business, including hiring, tuition, honor roles, commencement and other official events; girls’ and boys’ sports; an advertisement for DIAS; discussions of funding; the effects of World War II, including Civilian Defense training of students and teachers, the sale of war stamps, and the impact of the draft on DIAS’s faculty; health issues at the school, including smallpox vaccination and a scarlet fever quarantine; racial issues at West Chester Hospital and Cheyney State Teachers’ College; and “Friendly Cooperation Is Aim of Negro-Owned Institutions.”  Additionally, various other newsworthy occurrences at the school are documented, including a fire, a fight, the marriage of faculty members, and the death of the President of the Board of Trustees. 

 

 

Box/Folder                 Folder Title                                                    Date(s)

5 / -                              Clara Clark scrapbook of                                [1930s?]

                                                newspaper clippings

                                                (see Publications)

6 / -                              Scrapbook                                                       1906, 1921-23, 1943

                              Dual purpose book of labeled

                              invoices, newspaper clippings,

                              commencement exercises

7 / -                              Ledger book/scrapbook                                  1909-1910

                              Dual purpose ledger book                   1909-1910

                              overlaid with newspaper clippings      1913-1927

8 / -                              Scrapbook with newspaper clippings              October 1935 – July 1937

9 / -                              Scrapbook with newspaper clippings              July 1937 – April 1939

10 / -                            Scrapbook with newspaper clippings              May 1941 – June 1943

 

Series IV, Memorabilia & Ephemera, 1929-1933; n.d.)

This series is made up of seven scrapbooks of photographs and newspaper clippings, memorabilia and other ephemera.  The series is comprised of two parts.  The first is a ledger book that was repurposed as a scrapbook, containing a significant number of newspaper clippings.  The second includes a scrapbook and a collection of diplomas and records belonging to Clara Clark (1929-1933). 

 

Box/Folder                 Folder Title                                                    Date(s)

4 / 9                             Diploma/certificates, Vivian Evans                1933

5 / 3                             Personal reminder note from                           None

                                                Clark scrapbook

5 / 15                           Varsity letters (basketball) from                     None

                                                Clark scrapbook

5 / 20                           Dance card from Clark scrapbook                  1929

 

Series V, Photographs, (1929-1932; n.d.)

This series contains all photographs in the collection.  One album which belonged to a school official named George B. Lomax is included here, and dated 1925, but not all of the photographs are from this year; dates are included where possible.  This album and the Clara Clark scrapbook contained many loose photographs that are now in separate envelopes for maximum preservation.  Most of the photographs are from the Lomax album.  There are many photographs of students, faculty, and facilities, a large portion of which are unidentified.

 

Box/Folder                 Folder Title                                                    Dates

3 / -                              Photo book of George B. Lomax                   1925

3 / 1                             Newspaper clipping:  “As a part of the           None

                                                commencement pageant Mr. Waring

                                                drills his WACs” from Lomax book

3 / 2                             Newspaper clipping:  “Mr. Lemmon –            None

                                                Get a good look at him while he is

                                                still single” from Lomax book

3 / 3                             1 Photo:  seated woman - “Mrs.Hunt 25.       None

                                                N. 40th St. 16th Ave 6868” from

                                                Lomax book

3 / 4                             1 Photo:  woman with car “Mrs.                     None

                                                Rhodes []” from Lomax book

3 / 5                             1 Photo:  three people in yard –                      None

                                                “Kenneth Cousins, Dorothy

                                                Peterson, Miss Carter” from

                                                Lomax book

3 / 6                             1 Photo:  scenery - “Campus” from                None

                                                Lomax book

3 / 7                             1 Photo:  Group – “Mr. Tignore and               1926

                                                service group” from Lomax book

3 / 8                             1 Photo:  standing man – “D.J.S.”                  June 1937

                                                from Lomax book

3 / 9                             9 Photos:  women from Lomax book             None

3 / 10                           3 Photos:  scenery from Lomax book None

3 / 11                           1 Photo of men with a car from                      None

                                                Lomax book

3 / 12                           4 Photos:  men/boys from Lomax book          None

3 / 13                           2 Photos:  groups from Lomax book              None

3 / 14                           1 Photo:  candid group of 8 people                None

                                                from Lomax book

3 / 15                           1 Negative:  group of 6 people from               None

                                                Lomax book

3 / 16                           2 Photos:  scenery – sports field and              None

                                                 waterfall from Lomax book

 

 

3 / 17                           5 Photo:  posed groups of people –men,         None

                                                 women, and children, from

                                                Lomax book

3 / 18                           1 Photo:  Group of males and female from    None

                                                Lomax book

3 / 19                           6 Photos:  groups of couples, males                None

                                                and females, posed and candid from

                                                Lomax book

3 / 20                           1 Photo:  candid shot of woman –                  None

                                                “Mother Ni[]on” from Lomax book

3 / 21                           1 Photo:  posed shot of women’s                   None

                                                basketball team from Lomax book

3 / 22                           Advertisement:  “The ‘Ideal’ – the                 None

                                                original Album Pencil” from

                                                Lomax book

3 / 23                           1 Photo:  shot of men’s baseball team in        None

                                                action from Lomax book

3 / 24                           1 Photo:  candid shot of people on                 None

                                                beach from Lomax book

3 / 25                           1 Photo:  shot of individual male from           None

                                                Lomax book

3 / 26                           1 Photo:  shot of individual male from           None

                                                Lomax book

3 / 27                           2 Photos:  shots of building from                   None

                                                Lomax book

3 / 28                           5 Photos:  candid and posed shots of males   None

                                                and females outdoors from

                                                Lomax book

3 / 29                           2 Photos:  shots of scenery from                     None

                                                Lomax book

3 / 30                           1 Photos: posed shot of unidentified              None

                                                woman from Lomax book

3 / 31                           1 Photo:  scene from baseball game                None

                                                 from Lomax book

3 / 32                           4 Photos:  sports and crowd from                   None

                                                Lomax book

3 / 33                           3 Photos (beach shots of children and            None

                                                adults) and photograph postcard

                                                (two male children) from Lomax book

3 / 34                           4 Photos:  scenic images, including                None

                                                Washington D.C., from Lomax book

3 / 35                           3 Photos:  sports from Lomax book                None

3 / 36                           5 Photos from Lomax book                            None

3 / 37                           3 Photos from Lomax book                            None

 

3 / 38                           Postcard of Virginia Union University,          July 10, 1920

                                                Richmond, VA:  card to Lomax

                                                from Debora ]; from Lomax book

3 / 39                           4 Photos:  football from Lomax book None

3 / 40                           7 Photos from Lomax book                            None

3 / 41                           4 Photos:  fire and portraits, from                   None

                                                Lomax book

3 / 42                           Postcard from Lomax photograph book         None

3 / 44                           Photos:  page from unknown booklet             None

                                                for Alumni Assoc., officer list and

                                                photo from Lomax book

4 / 1                             Original aerial photograph of DIAS               July 5, 1971

4 / 3                             Photos:  graduation                                         1972

4 / 5                             Scrapbook                                                       1933

4 / 6                             Photos:  Girl’s basketball team/                      1931

                                                boy’s football team                             None

4 / 7                             Photos:  faculty & staff (?)                             (1920s?)

4 / 8                             Photos:  faculty & students(?)                        (1920s?)

5 / 21                           2 Photos removed from Clark scrapbook       None



[1] Information from the Diamond Jubilee (1905-1980) pamphlet, with notes corrected by Mrs. Clay Griffin.