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McClennan Family papers

Overview

Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

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McClennan Family papers, 1880-1974 | Amistad Research Center

By Christopher Harter

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Collection Overview

Title: McClennan Family papers, 1880-1974Add to your cart.

Primary Creator: McClennan, Alonzo Clifton

Extent: 0.2 Linear Feet

Date Acquired: 01/01/1972

Subjects: African American physicians - South Carolina, McClennan, Alonzo Clifton

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The McClennan Family papers document the life and career of African American physician Alonzo C. McClennan of Charleston, South Carolina, as well as members of his family. McClennan's marriage to Ida Ridley, his experience as the second African American midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy, his efforts to establish a hospital in Charleston, his founding of a school for training nurses, and his participation in the organization of a medical association of Black physicians, dentists, and pharmacists are documented in the papers, which include correspondence, news clippings, invitations and programs, photographs, obituaries, and collected items.

Correspondence comprises a small portion of the collection, but is highlighted by a love letter sent from Alonzo McClennan to Ida Ridley in August 1880, soon after his arrival in Augusta, Georgia, as well as an undated note sent by McClennan to Ridley. Two additional letters regard the seeking of support for the Hospital and Training School for Nurses, founded by McClennan; a form letter sent to William F. Holmes of Charleston, dated 1889, concerning a proposed visit by a "delegation of Southern Gentlemen" to President Benjamin Harrison; and an undated note of appreciation from the family of Maude Thomas complete the correspondence. Writings within the collection include a hand script of a lecture or speech by McClennan concerning his views on the doctor-patient relationship and a hand script school essay on McClennan by his granddaughter, Maude Thomas.

A certificate presented to McClennan by the Palmetto Medical, Dental, and Pharmaceutical Association of South Carolina, as well as invitations and programs are included in the collection. Of note among the latter is a 1906 program for a banquet in honor of Richard T. Greener, Archibald H. Grimke, Frank J. Grimke, Kelly Miller, and Whitefield McKinlay; a 1906 graduation program from the Hospital and Training School for Nurses in Charleston; a 1907 reception in honor of Mary Church Terrell by The Palmetto Coterie; and the 1958 50th anniversary banquet for the Robert Gould Shaw House. Obituaries are included for Alonzo and Ida McClennan, their son Ridley, and their granddaughter Maude C. Thomas and her husband Augustus G. Jenkins Sr.

Photographs of family members include those of Alonzo and Ida Ridley, their children, and extended family. Additional photographs include those of People's Pharmacy, operated by McClennan in Charleston, as well as the directors of the hospital and training school founded by him. A publication by the school, newspaper clippings, and a photocopy of Robert Smalls' autograph complete the collection. Of special interest among the clippings is one reporting the reaction to a dinner hosted by the Cosmopolitan Club in New York; included among those in attendance were Hamilton Holt, Mary White Ovington; and Oswald G. Villard. The interracial composition of the dinner party and the mention of the word "inter-marriage" caused the affair to be given considerable coverage.

Biographical Note

Alonzo Clifton McClennan (1855-1912) was an African American physician and community leader in Charleston, South Carolina. He established a nurse training school and hospital in Charleston, as well as the first African American medical organization in South Carolina.

Alonzo Clifton McClennan was born in Columbia, South Carolina, on May 1, 1855. He was the son of Harriet (Kennedy) McClennan and was orphaned as a child. He lived with his uncle and guardian, Edward B. Thompson, a prosperous barber in the city. In 1872, he became a page in the South Carolina state senate, where he gained the noticed of legislator Richard H. Cain. Upon Cain's election to the U.S. Congress, McClennan passed his examination to the U.S. Naval Academy and became the second African American to enter the academy. Although light-skinned, McClennan met bigotry within the academy and eventually withdrew after a few months. He studied briefly at Wilbraham Wesleyan Academy in Massachusetts before returning to Columbia in 1875 to enroll in the newly integrated South Carolina College. However, within a year the school resegregated, forcing McClennan to leave.

He received a scholarship to the Howard University Medical School. He completed the surgery program with distinction and acquired a degree in pharmacy. Afterwards, McClennan established a practice in Columbia before moving to Augusta, Georgia. There he met Ida Veronica Ridley; the couple had two daughters, Maude (d. 1976) and Harriet (b. 1890), and a son, Ridley Ulysses (1887-1921). In 1884, the McClennan family moved to Charleston, South Carolina. There, McClennan established South Carolina's first African American nurse training school in 1896 and the Cannon Street Hospital the following year, which served the city's African American population. In 1897, he assisted with the establishment of the Palmetto Medical, Dental, and Pharmaceutical Association, which was South Carolina's first organization for Black medical professionals. In 1899, McClennan founded the monthly newsletter Hospital Herald.

Alonzo McClennan died on October 4, 1912, in Charleston.

Subject/Index Terms

African American physicians - South Carolina
McClennan, Alonzo Clifton

Administrative Information

Repository: Amistad Research Center

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.

Acquisition Source: Maude McClennan Thomas

Acquisition Method: Gift

Separated Materials: Fordham, Mary Weston. Magnolia Leaves. Tuskegee, AL: [s.n.], 1897. With introduction by Booker T. Washington. Note in collection file reads: "Mary Weston Fordham is mother of Ellen Fordham, wife of Dr. Wm. Holmes."

Related Materials: The Eric Steele Wells papers and the William F. Holmes scrapbook contain material related to the history of Charleston, South Carolina. Related family papers include the Heslip-Ruffin papers.

Preferred Citation: McClennan Family papers, Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, LA


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Box:

[Box 1],
[All]

Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Correspondence, 1880-1950, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Handscript: speech or lecture by Alonzo C. McClennan, 1911Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Handscript: "A Pace Maker" / by Maude Thomas, 1935Add to your cart.
regarding Alonzo C. McClennan
Folder 4: Palmetto Medical, Dental, and Pharmaceutical Association of South Carolina: certificate for meritorious service to Alonzo C. McClennan, 1948Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Invitations and programs, 1888-1958Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Obituary notices, 1912-1974, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Photographs: individuals, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 1: Alonzo C. McClennan, undatedAdd to your cart.
Cabinet card, 4 1/4 x 6 1/2 in., sepia, verso reads: "Arthur L. Macbeth, Photographer, Instantaneous Portraiture, 33 Henrietta Street, Charleston, S.C."
Item 2: Alonzo C. McClennan, undatedAdd to your cart.
Cabinet card, 5 x 7 1/4 in., b&w, recto reads: "Leidloff's Studio, 269 King Street, Charleston, S.C."
Item 3: Alonzo C. McClennan, undatedAdd to your cart.
Cabinet card, 4 1/4 x 6 1/2 in, sepia; vero reads: "Arthur L. Macbeth, Photographer, Instantaneous Portraiture, Ground Floor Studio, 557 King St., Opposite Woolfe St., Charleston, S.C."
Item 4: Ida Ridley McClennan, undatedAdd to your cart.
4 x 5 3/4 in., b&w
Item 5: Ida Ridley McClennan, undatedAdd to your cart.
3 x 4 1/8 in., b&w; verso reads: "Ida Ridley McClennan in mourning"
Item 6: Ida Ridley McClennan, undatedAdd to your cart.
Cabinet card, 4 1/4 x 6 1/2 in. sepia; verso reads: "Ida Veronica McClennan"
Item 7: Ridley McClennan, undatedAdd to your cart.
3 1/4 x 4 1/4 in., sepia
Item 8: Maud McClennan, undatedAdd to your cart.
Cabinet card, 4 1/4 x 6 1/2 in., sepia
Item 9: Maud McClennan, undatedAdd to your cart.
2 1/2 x 3 1/2 in., b&w
Item 10: Harriet McClennan, undatedAdd to your cart.
Cabinet card, 5 1/4 x 7 1/4 in., b&w, recto reads: "Clarke's Studio, 301 King St, Charleston, S.C.", verso reads "To Aunt Feddie. From your niece Harriet W. McClennan"
Item 11: Harriet McClennan, undatedAdd to your cart.
3 x 4 1/2 in., b&w
Item 12: Harriet McClennan, undatedAdd to your cart.
4 x 6 in., sepia, hand-colored
Item 13: Ulysses A. Ridley, undatedAdd to your cart.
4 3/4 x 7 3/4 in, sepia; verso reads: "Ulysses A. Ridley father of Ida McClennan. He was a tailor."
Item 14: Ulysses A. Ridley Jr., undatedAdd to your cart.
4 x 5 1/2 in, sepia; verso reads: "Ulysses A. Ridley Jr., Ida McClennan's brother, Father of Constance Ridley Heslip"
Note: Secondary sources, as well as material in the Heslip-Ruffin Family papers state that Ulysses Jr. was the son of Florida Ruffin Ridley and Ulysses A. Ridley and the brother of Constance Ridley Heslip.
Item 15: Amarintha Moyer, undatedAdd to your cart.
Carte de viste, 2 1/2 in 4 1/8 in,. sepia; verso reads: "Amarintha Moyer Grandfather's sister"
Item 16: Nell Houston Chisolm, undatedAdd to your cart.
3 1/2 x 5 1/4 in., sepia, photogrpher stamp reads: "Clarke, Charleston"; verso reads: "Mrs. Nell Houston Chisolm, goddaughter of Alonzo McClennan and donor of Wm. Holmes' scrapbooks with data on Avery."
Folder 8: Photographs: groups, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 1: Ida Ridley McClennan and graddaughter Maude Carol Thomas, undatedAdd to your cart.
3 1/2 x 5 1/2 in., b&w
Item 2: Constance Ridley Heslip, Harriet McClennan Mickey, and Bertha Baumann Randolph, undatedAdd to your cart.
2 1/2 x 4 in., b&w; verso reads: Seated on steps of the old Robert Gould Shaw House are: Constance Ridley Heslip, headworker, 1924-27, Harriet McClennan Mickey, headworker, 1927-1931, Bertha Baumann Radolph, resident teacher of music"
Item 3: McClennan Family, undatedAdd to your cart.
8 1/2 x 6 1/2 in., b&w; verso reads: "Dr. Alonzo McClennan, Ida Ridley McClennan, Ridley McClennan, Harriet McClennan, Maude McClennan"
Item 4: McClennan Family, undatedAdd to your cart.
7 1/2 x 9 1/4 in, b&w; verso reads: "Back Row: Left to Right: Julius Moyer, son of Amarintha Moyer (sister of Alonzo McClennan), Ida Ridley McClennan, Front Row: Dr. Alonzo McClennan holding Harriet McClennan on the left is Ridley McClennan. On the right is Maud[e] McClennan"
Item 5: Alonzo C. McClennan and men, undatedAdd to your cart.
6 1/2 x 9 1/4 in., b&w; verso reads: "Mr. Mushington, organist at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC, Thaddeous Worrell, friend of Alonzo McClennan, Alonzo McClennan"
Item 6: Officers of the Hospital Corporation, undatedAdd to your cart.
7 1/4 x 8 1/2 in., b&w; verso reads: "Seated (left to right) James Spencer, [illegible] Davis, Resident, Surnton Bennett, Standing (left to right) Murdock (uncertain of this person), Dr. Arthur MacBeth, Dr. Alonzo C. McClennan, C.D. Leslie and Merton B. Laurence"
Item 7: Scrapbook page, undatedAdd to your cart.
Group of nine b&w photographs of unidentified African American individuals, presumably in Charleston, South Carolina.
Folder 9: Photographs: buildings, etc., undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 1: Scrapbook page, undatedAdd to your cart.

Recto contains photograph and prescription page from People's Pharmacy, owned by Alonzo C. McClennan; label reads: "First Negro-owned drugstore in Chas. It had a soda fountain too."

Verso contains two photographs labeled "grandfather's home, Chas. S.C."

Item 2: Alonzo C. McClennan's grave, undatedAdd to your cart.
Mounted on scrapbook page with label "Grandfather's Grave, Charleston, He Served Mankind"
Item 3: Ulysses A. Ridley's tailor shop, undatedAdd to your cart.
4 x 6 in., mounted, sepia; verso reads: "Ulysses A. Ridley's tailor shop in Augusta, Georgia. The family had 3 generations of tailors."
Item 4: Alonzo C. McClennan in horse and buggy[?], undatedAdd to your cart.
Photocopy of photograph of man (Alonzo C. McClennan[?] in buggy for the Hospital and Training School for Nurses; label reads: "Grandfather would not let the hospital be named after him"
Folder 10: Publication: Doings at the Fair, Vol. 1, no. 10, 1898 FebruaryAdd to your cart.
Folder 11: Autograph and handscript (photocopies), undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 12: Newspaper clippings, 1897-1950Add to your cart.
Preservation photocopies
Folder 13: Newspaper clippings, 1897-1950Add to your cart.
Fragile: Use preservation photocopies in folder 12.

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