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Bessie Emanuel photo album

 Unprocessed Material — Flat_Box: 1
Identifier: ViU-2023-0185

Content Description

This collection contains a brown faux leather photo album (7.25" X 11.25") belonging to Bessie Emanuel. Bessie (1902-1984) was raised in White Plains, New York. She was the first Black woman in her town to attend college, entering the Hampton Institute in Virginia in 1922. The photographs are dated from 1922 to 1924 and capture daily life at the Institute, sports events, friends, and family. Captions are found throughout the album. A picture of Bessie with her family in the Hampton Institute dining room features a poem dedicated to her parents on its reverse. Bessie Emanuel Smith (1902-1984) was raised in White Plains, New York. Bessie graduated in 1925, and later earned her master's of Teaching at Columbia University. She was a "much beloved and honored teacher" (including at the New York City School for the Blind), and in 1945 became the first African American teacher in White Plains. She served as vice president of the White Plains chapter of the NAACP. She received the National Sojourner Truth Award -- the highest honor conferred by the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Clubs. Hampton Institute, founded in 1868, was created to educate freedmen after the Civil War. Booker T. Washington was among its notable graduates. Bessie died in 1984, the same year the Hampton Institute gained university status.

Acquisition Type



Purchased from James E. Arsenault and Company, 29 August 2023.

Language of Description


Script of Description


Restrictions Apply



  • Creation: 1922-1924



.19 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



One album