Two-page letter (Jan. 11, 1917) written on Mrs. Booker T. Washington's (Margaret James Murray) own letterhead (Girls' Industries at Tuskegee Institute, AL) and signed by her.
The Letter reads: My Dear Miss Elliott: I am writing to thank you for the cards, toys & notions for children. Through friends like you we were able to carry sunshine to many children & "grown ups" all about us. It was always Mr. Washington's desire that the children in the country should be thought of at this time. For him as much as for the people and ourselves we are grateful. We are doing our best to make young people willing to serve as well as being served. I want my friends to fell that we are doing our best. I remain yours sincerely, Mrs. Booker T Washington.
The envelope has a Tuskegee institute, Ala postal stamp dated Jan 12, 1917. The back of the envelope is marked Booker T Washington, Tuskegee Institute, Alabama. It appears Mrs. Washington hand wrote Mrs. in front of Mr. Booker T's name. The letter is in nice condition with just a small tear at the top. Nice content with reference to Mr. Washington. Also, another two-page 1917 letter by Margaret.
Washington married three times. A private and complex man, Booker had the trauma of losing two wives. He married one of his Malden school pupils, Fanny Norton Smith in 1882. Their daughter Portia was born in 1883. Fanny died in 1884. He then married Olivia Davidson in 1885. A Hampton graduate, Olivia was the assistant principal of Tuskegee. She had great influence on Washington and the development of his Northern philanthropic support. They had two sons, Booker T. Washington Jr. and Ernest Davidson Washington. Olivia died in 1889. Washington then married Margaret James Murray in 1892. A teacher, Margaret became the Lady Principal of Tuskegee after Olivia's death. Margaret and Booker did not have children. In addition to her professional role on campus, Margaret ran a home for the entire Washington family at The Oaks. She died in 1925.
-- First Edition copy of "Character Building" by Booker T. Washington, 1902. Fine condition.
-- First Edition of "Up From Slavery" by Booker T. Washington, 1900 and another copy signed by his son.
A quote from Washington's classic, Up From Slavery: "I used to envy the white boy who had no obstacles placed in the way of his becoming a congressman, governor, bishop, or president by reason of the accident of his birth or race. I used to picture the way that I would act under such circumstances; how I would begin at the bottom and keep rising until I reached the highest round of success. In later years, I confess that I do not envy the white boy as I once did. I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed. Looked at from this standpoint, I almost reach the conclusion that often the Negro boy's birth and connection with an unpopular race is an advantage, so far as real life is concerned. With few exceptions, the Negro youth must work harder and must perform his task even better than a white youth in order to secure recognition. But out of the hard and unusual struggle through which he is compelled to pass, he gets a strength, a confidence, that one misses whose pathway is comparatively smooth by reason of birth and race. From any point of view, I had rather be what I am, a member of the Negro race, than be able to claim membership with the most favored of any other race. I have always been made sad when I have heard members of any race claiming rights and privileges, or certain badges of distinction, on the ground simply that they were members of this or that race, regardless of their own individual worth or attainments. I have been made to feel sad for such persons because I am conscious of the fact that mere connection with what is known as a race will not permanently carry an individual forward unless he has individual worth, and mere connection with what is regarded as an inferior race will not finally hold an individual back if he possesses intrinsic, individual merit. Every persecuted individual and race should get much consolation out of the great human law, which is universal and eternal, that merit, no matter under what skin found, is, in the long run, recognized and rewarded. This I have said here, not to call attention to myself as an individual, but to the race to which I am proud to belong."
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