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Thomas-Jones Family Papers

The Thomas-Jones Family Papers document four successive generations of an African-American family with ties to New Orleans, North Carolina, and New York City. The collection is comprised of correspondence; legal records, such as marriage, death, and birth records; real estate records; membership certificates; insurance and funeral records; school records; photographs; news clippings; collected ephemera; and art work.

Portrait: Caroline M. Thomas, undated. Photo credit: Alston Studios

The earliest family members documented are William W. and Elizabeth (nee Johnson) Coleman of Louisiana, who were married in 1880. Elizabeth owned property in Plaquemine Parish and Orleans Parish as early as 1912 and 1921, respectively. Their daughter, Emma C. Coleman, married Rev. Fletcher W. Thomas in 1903 and lived in New Orleans. Their son, Fletcher W. Jr. left New Orleans for New York City where he worked as a clerk in an antiques firm and married Ethel Jones, whose family came from North Carolina. Children of Fletcher W. Jr. and Ethel Thomas are documented in the collection, most notably Fletcher A. (Sonny) Thomas and Caroline M.

Items of note within the collection include love letters written by Fletcher W. Thomas Jr. to Ethel Thomas during the 1920s; materials related to African American-owned funeral homes (Marion A. Daniels & Sons in New York City and Gertrude Geddes Willis Funeral Home in New Orleans); a 1921 photograph of an 8th grade class at McDonogh No. 35 High School in New Orleans; photographs from the 1944 N.Y. Daily Mirror Youth Forum; ephemera from the Pinochle 12 Social Club in New York City; and news clippings related to family member and soprano Clamma Dale.

Images from the Thomas-Jones Family Papers. Images from Amistad’s website, newsletters, and blogs cannot be reproduced without permission.

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