Radden (Thelma Gibson) Papers

Thelma Gibson Radden sitting at desk with surgical graduate nurse
Thelma Gibson Radden (left) sitting at desk with surgical graduate nurse, circa 1940s, Thelma Gibson Radden papers, MS 206, African American Museum & Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library.

Nurse and educator Thelma Gibson Radden (1903-2004) was born on February 18, 1903 in Oakland, California to Charles Nelson Gibson and Maude Esther Gibson. She was a fourth-generation Californian with her family tracing their roots in the state to 1864, when her great-grandfather Nelson Ray moved to Placerville, California from Lexington, Missouri. Born a slave on the Verlinder Ray Plantation, he was freed following the death of his slave owner and he purchased the freedom of his wife, Lucinda Ray, and their three daughters after arriving in California and they were reunited as a family in Sacramento in 1877.

The Thelma Gibson Radden papers consist of photographs, correspondence, artifacts, clothing, ephemera, and legal records documenting her life and professional career as a nurse and her family’s long history in California and Michigan.

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Dates: circa 1880s-2004
Collection number: MS 206
Creator: Radden, Thelma Gibson
Collection Size: 8.75 linear feet (9 boxes + 2 oversized boxes)

Guide to the Thelma Gibson Radden Papers

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

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