By Florence Borders and Lester G. Sullivan Jr.
Creator: Frederick, Rivers (1874-1956)
Extent: 1.0 Linear Feet
Arrangement: Arranged chronologically within each format.
Date Acquired: 01/01/1976
The papers of Dr. Rivers Frederick consist of circa 250 items of correspondence and approximately 125 items of non-correspondence. The non-correspondence occupies about eighty-five percent of the shelf space allotted to this collection.
Non-correspondence in these papers includes speeches and writings by Frederick; writings by others about Frederick; other collected writings; lists; programs and menus; diplomas and certificates; photographs; newspaper clippings; collected periodicals, books, and other collected items, including posthumous materials. A series of phonograph records are housed in box 2; oversized items are housed in box 3. Most of the materials, both correspondence and also non-correspondence, date from after World War II.
Most of the correspondence consists of letters of congratulation to Frederick upon the occasions of testimonial celebrations in his honor staged in 1947 and 1954. These congratulatory letters amount to a veritable catalog of central Southern black doctors and their black and white associates and of blacks in the industrial life insurance business in Louisiana at the time. Some are posthumous letters to Frederick's widow, Eloise Clarke Frederick. There are no more than four letters each from any one correspondent.
Among prominent persons represented within incoming correspondence are the following, with the years of their correspondence: Herbert Acuff, president of the International College of Surgeons, 1951; Will W. Alexander, vice-president of the Julius Rosenwald Fund, 1947; Joseph Bartholomew, prominent New Orleans businessman, 1947; Roscoe C. Brown, chief of the office of Negro Health Work of the U.S. Health Service, 1947; Fred Brownlee, general Secretary of the American Missionary Association, 1947; Daniel E. Byrd, New Orleans civil rights activist, 1954; Gladys F. Cahn, Louisiana State Commander, American Cancer Society, 1947-1954; W.G. Carradine, president of the Standard Industrial Life Insurance Company of Louisiana, 1947; Giovanni Cavina, director and vice-president, Societa Tosco-Umbra di Chururgia, Florence, Italy, 1951; Ulysses Grant Dailey, leading African American surgeon, 1954 and n.d.; Matthew S. Davage, Secretary of the Department of Educational Institutions for Negroes of the Methodist Church Board of Education, 1947; Jimmie H. Davis, Governor of Louisiana, 1946; Eugene H. Dibble, medical director, Tuskegee Institute, 1947; Joseph A. Hardin, prominent black New Orleans physician and Liberian consul, 1947; Raymond Hufft, Louisiana state director Selective Service System, 1950; James Lewis, Jr., president of the People's Industrial Life Insurance Company of Louisiana, 1947; Earl K. Long, Governor of Louisiana, 1951; Douglas L. Manship, Louisiana state director of Civil Defense,1951; Wade O. Martin, Jr. Secretary of State of Louisiana, 1951-1954; Mother Mary Agatha, president of Xavier University of Louisiana, 1954; Karl A. Meyer, secretary of the International College of Surgeons, 1953; deLesseps Story Morrison, New Orleans mayor, 1947; Alton Ochsner, leading New Orleans hospital administrator, 1947-1954; Kermit A. Parker, Commissioner, Louisiana State Industrial School for Colored Youths, 1949; J.E. Walker, president of the Universal Life Insurance Company, 1947-1954; Matthew Walker, chairman of the department of Surgery, Meharry Medical College, 1947; John M. Whitney, New Orleans Superintendant of Public Health, 1947; and Andrew J. Young, politician and pastor, 1947.
This collection was processed under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Rivers Frederick, son of George S. Frederick and Armintine Dalcourt Frederick, was born May 22, 1874, in New Roads, Louisiana. After his early education, Frederick completed the English course at New Orleans University on May 24, 1893. Frederick received his M.D. from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in 1897.
Frederick began his professional career as an intern at the John B. Murphy Clinic in Chicago from 1897-1899. Following his private practice in New Orleans from 1901-1904, Frederick became the surgeon-in-chief at a small government hospital in El Roi Tan, Spanish Honduras. Frederick later contracted malaria during this stint. He then returned to New Orleans where he became the Assistant Professor of Surgery at Flint Medical School from 1904-1908. During this time Frederick married his first wife, Adele (nee Bouis) on May 20, 1906. A year later on June 18, Frederick's first child, Pearl, was born.
In 1908, Frederick obtained the position of Chief Surgeon at Sarah Goodridge Hospital in New Orleans, which he maintained until 1913. During this time, Frederick's second child, Lolita, was born on June 27, 1911. From 1913-1932, Frederick was a surgeon for Southern Pacific Railway in New Orleans. In 1923, Frederick became one of the founders of the black-owned Louisiana Life Insurance Company (later known as the Universal Life Insurance Company). Frederick served as a board member, secretary, vice-president, and president. He later became the principal stockholder.
Frederick became the Chief of Surgery at the Flint-Goodridge Hospital of Dillard University from 1932-1950. He married his second wife, Eloise (nee Clarke), and had his third child, Rivers Jr., on Nov 10, 1939. In 1934, he was elected first vice-president of the National Medical Association. From 1935-1953, Frederick became the instructor in surgery at the Flint-Goodridge summer postgraduate courses. He also led efforts that resulted in the formation of the New Orleans Insurance Executive Council, an organization of black-owned industrial life insurance firms.
On November 2, 1947, the Flint-Goodridge testimonial service honored Frederick for fifty years of medical practice. The same year he became a life member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 1948, he was appointed to the New Orleans Citizens' Advisory Committee for Shakespeare Park Playground. The following year Frederick became a member of the International College of Surgeons. He also received a National Urban League Certificate of Recognition, and was appointed to the New Orleans Mayor's Negro Advisory Board.
In 1950, Frederick stepped down as Chief of Surgery at Flint-Goodridge to become its Consultant in Surgery. The same year he became Associate Medical Advisor to Selective Service Local Board No. 39 (Orleans Parish). In 1951, Frederick received the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Social Action Achievement Award. The summer of that year he was named a Corresponding Fellow of the Italian Societa Tosco-Umbra di Churgia, as well as being appointed to the Louisiana Governor's Advisory Council on Civil Defense.
During October 1951, Frederick was appointed by Louisiana Governor Earl K. Long to sit on a special committee investigating the Orleans Parish Levee Board. Frederick also won the first Dillard University Alumni Achievement Award, and was also awarded in February 1952 by the Flint-Goodridge Hospital.
The following year Frederick was appointed to the New Orleans Mayor's Citizens' Committee to Study Housing Rehabilitation. In 1954, Frederick received a National Medical Association Distinguished Service Award and was honored by the New Orleans Branch of the NAACP for over half a century of service to the Community. Dr. Rivers Frederick died on September 2, 1954.
Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research.
Use Restrictions: Copyright to these papers has not been assigned to the Amistad Research Center. It is the responsibility of an author to secure permission for publication from the holder of the copyright to any material contained in this collection.
Technical Access Note: Phonograph records are unavailable for use at this time.
Acquisition Source: Mrs. Eloise F. Buckner
Acquisition Method: Gift
Appraisal Information: Collection documents the medical career of Dr. Frederick Rivers, as well as his many honors and recognitions.
Processing Information: Processed
Finding Aid Revision History: Initial processing by Florence E. Borders, 1976-1977; second processing by Lester G. Sullivan, Jr., December 1979; rehoused by Christopher Harter and Andrew Albert, student intern, June 2009
Other Note: Correspondence Index attached as PDF
National Medical Association, Certificate of Membership, August 30, 1950
Selective Service System, Appointment as Medical Advisor, September 22, 1950
Societa Tosco-Umbra di Chirurgia, Diploma di Nomina, May 5, 1951