By Shannon Burrell
Creator: Himes, Joseph S. (1908-1991)
Extent: 12.0 Linear Feet
Arrangement: The papers are arranged in six series: personal correspondence, professional correspondence, organizational files, articles and essays, memorabilia and news clippings, and oversize materials. The bulk of the collection is arranged chronologically and topically by subject, personal, and organizational names.
Date Acquired: 05/15/1991
The Joseph S. Himes papers encompass 12 linear feet of material covering Himes personal and professional career as a professor of Sociology at several Universities including the University of North Carolina Greensboro and North Carolina Central University. The collection covers the areas of blindness, teenaged pregnancy, racial conflict, social change and social movements of the civil rights era. The papers are arranged into six groups of materials with the bulk of them being professional in nature with some personal correspondence.
Among the largest group of materials are professsional correspondence, which span the years (1946-1991). The topics include Himes' career as a Professor of Sociology at the University at North Carolina at Greensboro and North Carolina Central University, his tenure as a Fulbright Professor at Helsinki University in Finland from (1961-1962) and Madras University in India from (1966-1967); his memberships in several organizations including the American Sociological Association, the Southern Sociological Society, the International Sociological Association, North Carolina Family Council, and the North Carolina Sociological Association where he served as the Association's first president. His main correspondents include Dr. Mozell C. Hill, Dr. Charles H. Thompson, Dr. James Shepard, Dr. J.H. Taylor, and Dr. Alfonso Elder with topics consisting of recommendations, meetings, conferences, committees and career opportunities.
Included among the Himes papers are invitations, clippings, curriculum vitae, and personal correspondence consisting of letters to and from Estelle Himes, Chester Himes and Edward Himes (1928-1991) and topics include current events, and vacations. The papers also include photographs taken of Himes at several functions, of interest is a photograph of the Himes brothers as adults.
Memorabilia within the collection includes magazines, brochures, passports, programs, a speech to the President of the Republic of Guinea by Ada T. Spaulding, reports and a Subpeona for the Middle District of North Carolina in the case of Warren H. Wheeler, et als., C.C. Spaulding, III, et als. vs. Durham City Board of Education., et als., which called for further racial desegregation of the public schools in the City of Durham, North Carolina. Lastly, there is a scrapbook containing newspaper articles and programs pertaining to Himes achievements from years (1927 -1955). The papers are arranged chronologically within each catergory.
One of the leading figures in Sociology during segregation, Himes achieved recongition as a respected sociologist, researcher and author. Himes initiated several studies covering teenaged pregnancy, social change, racial conflict and blindness. Himes was the brother of noted author Chester Himes.
Joseph S. Himes Jr. was born on April 4, 1908, in Jefferson City, Missouri, he was the second of three boys born to Dr. Joseph Himes Sr. and Estelle Bomar Himes. Himes' father was a college professor at several universities including Lincoln University, Alcorn College and Branch Normal College and taught black history, blacksmithing, and wheelwrighting. Himes' mother also was a teacher, as well as a member of the faculty of Georgia State College and Scotia Seminary, where she taught English composition and music.
Himes' parents seperated during his childhood and Estelle Himes accepted a job offer to teach school in South Carolina, taking her sons Joseph, Jr. and Chester with her; however less than a month later Estelle relocated again, to Augusta, Georgia, where she accepted a teaching position at Haines Normal and Industrial School. At the end of the school year the family reunited. Himes's father took a position at the Branch Normal School in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, while his mother taught in the local school system.
In 1923, an accident during a chemistry demonstration left Himes blind. Himes and his brother, Chester were scheduled to partake in the demonstration together; however, Chester was forbidden to take part so Himes performed the experiment alone. During the experiment gunpowder exploded in Himes' face causing him to go blind. Due to his injury, the family settled in Saint Louis, Missouri, where he could receive adequate medical treatment at Barnes Hospital. Two years later the family moved once again, this time to Cleveland, Ohio where eventually, Joseph and Estelle, would divorce. The Himes family often relocated to seek treatment for Joseph's blindness.
In 1925, Himes enrolled at East High School in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated with honors, he received a scholarship offer to attend Oberlin College where he received his Bachelor and Master is of Arts degrees in Sociology and Economics in 1931 and 1932.
After teaching a year at Samuel Huston College in Austin, Texas, Himes returned to Ohio State and finished his PH. D. in Sociology and Economics in 1936. While attending Ohio State University, Himes served as a editorial writer for the Ohio State News and also served as a research director of the Urban League. As research director, Himes conducted several studies including a survey of black unemployment in Columbus, which became his first published work. Himes also did post doctoral work at the University of California from 1954-1955.
Himes met Estelle Jones at Ohio State University and the couple was married on December 22, 1941. Estelle Jones Himes taught foreign languages at the University of North Carolina Central and Himes became a professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina Central University in Durham in 1946. He served North Carolina Cental until 1969 and then accepted a position as a Excellence Fund Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In 1977, he became a Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He also served as Fulbright professor at Helsinki University in Finland and the University of Madras in India.
Himes wrote numerous articles and books including Racial Conflict in American Society, Racial and Ethnic Relations, The Study of Sociology, Conflict and Conflict Mangement, Racial Conflict in America and Social Planning in America. Dr. Joseph Himes died in 1992.
Access Restrictions: The Joseph S. Himes papers is open and available for research use.
Acquisition Source: Dr. and Mrs. Joseph Himes
Acquisition Method: Gift
Related Materials: The Chester Himes papers and addendum, as well as, the papers of sociologists James Blackwell, Hylan Lewis, and Preston and Bonita Valien.
Preferred Citation: Joseph Himes papers, Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, LA.
Processing Information: The processing of this collection was completed in March 2010.