Matthews (Miriam) Photograph Collection

Portrait of an African American woman
Portrait of Biddy Mason [reproduction], circa 1865, Miriam Matthews Photograph collection, MS 19, African American Museum and Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library.
Born in 1905 in Pensacola, Florida to Reuben Hearde and Fannie (Elijah) Matthews, Miriam Matthews (1905-2003) was the Los Angeles Public Library's first professional African American librarian and an important early collector of African American art and history. Matthews earned degrees in librarianship from the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Chicago and served as a branch and regional library manager for the Los Angeles Public Library for 33 years between 1927-1960. She was active in professional and civic organizations and received numerous awards for her contributions to African American history.

The Miriam Matthews Photographic Collection consists of 121 photographic prints collected by Miriam Matthews (1905-2003) largely related to African American history in California. Roughly half of the collection is photographs of notable African American politicians taken by photographer Harry A. Adams in Southern California between 1955-1964. The remaining photographs are reproductions of images held by other institutions.

Dates: 1955-1964
Collection number: MS 19
Collection Size: 25 linear feet (1 box)
Creator: Matthews, Miriam

Guide to the Miriam Matthews Photograph Collection

Available at the African American Museum & Library at Oakland (AAMLO)

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