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Roy Joseph Weems papers



Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

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Box 2


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Roy Joseph Weems papers, 1909-1999 | Amistad Research Center

By Andrew Salinas

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Collection Overview

Title: Roy Joseph Weems papers, 1909-1999Add to your cart.

Primary Creator: Weems, Roy Joseph

Extent: 3.0 Boxes

Date Acquired: 01/20/1999

Subjects: Dillard University - Alumni and alumnae, Historically black colleges and universities - Louisiana - New Orleans - Athletics, Straight College (New Orleans, La.), Straight College (New Orleans, La.) - Athletics, Straight College (New Orleans, La.) - Students

Forms of Material: Straight College (New Orleans, La.) - Photographs

Languages: English


The papers of Roy Joseph Weems richly document student life at Straight College in New Orleans, Louisiana, during the 1920s and 1930s, with a particular emphasis on athletics.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The papers of Roy Joseph Weems richly reflect student life at Straight College in New Orleans, Louisiana, during the late 1920s and early 1930s, before the school's merger with New Orleans University to form Dillard University. The collection also reflects alumni relations between Dillard University and graduates of Dillard's predecessor institutions. Materials include photographs, correspondence, student publications, newspaper clippings, diplomas, and certificates, which richly chronicle Straight College athletics and rivalries among other area colleges, such as Xavier University and New Orleans University. Sports represented in the collection include football, track and field, and baseball.

Correspondence in the collection chiefly pertains to the organization of reunions of Straight graduates, and enclosures include alumni lists and obituaries of classmates. Correspondence in the collection suggests that several of the materials in this collection, particularly photographs of Straight College, were given to Weems from former classmates. In particular, correspondence here indicates that former Straight teacher, Beatrice West, donated the photograph album now housed in this collection. Straight College publications include The Straight Gleaner, The Crimson Courier, and Straight College Bulletin. Photographs in the collection richly reflect student life at Straight College in the 1920s and 1930s, with a particular emphasis on athletics, including football and track and field. Newspaper clippings, in particular, highlight football rivalries between Xavier University, Straight College, and New Orleans University.

Items of interest include collected programs from 1935 and 1941 for the Xavier University relays, a joint track and field meet and tennis tournament with colleges such as Samuel Huston College, Tougaloo College, Tuskegee Institute, Dillard University, and Southern University.

Other materials in the collection include Weems' voter registration card, which indicates when he voted in 1946 and 1948 elections. Also included is a newspaper fragment of the short-lived New Orleans newspaper the New Orleans Sentinel. Other collected materials include photographs of heavyweight boxer Joe Frazier and a phonograph single of Frazier singing "My Way" issued by Knockout Records.

Biographical Note

Roy Joseph Weems was born in Alexandria, Louisiana, ultimately settling in New Orleans, where he studied at Straight College. Weems was a standout football player for Straight, where he also lettered in track, basketball, and baseball. He worked for Unity Insurance Company and retired from the United States Post Office after 36 years of service.

Born in 1909 to Thaddeus and Eunice Tomb Weems, Weems attended Catholic schools in Alexandria and Los Angeles before his studies at Straight College, where he graduated in 1933. Weems' brother, Melvin A. Weems, also attended Straight at the same time. Roy Weems married Marjory Amelia Oubre in 1937, and she died in 1946. They had two daughters, Myrna Lynne and Marjory Elaine. He married Rosa Aubry Haydel in 1962.

Weems was an active member of the Beau Brummell Club, Omega Psi Phi, and Straightites of Dillard University. He served informally as a historian of Straight, and several of his former classmates sent him photographs and other materials for safekeeping.

Subject/Index Terms

Dillard University - Alumni and alumnae
Historically black colleges and universities - Louisiana - New Orleans - Athletics
Straight College (New Orleans, La.)
Straight College (New Orleans, La.) - Athletics
Straight College (New Orleans, La.) - Students

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: Myrna Weems DeBose

Acquisition Method: Gift

Separated Materials: The 1973 edition of Tan Mardi Gras has been separated to the Center's library.

Related Materials: The American Missionary Association archives addenda richly document the origins of Straight College, particularly in regards to the institution's affiliation with the American Missionary Association. Amistad houses papers of several Straight alumni whose own papers offer glimpses into student life at the school, including Homer C. McEwen, Fannie C. Williams, and Lucille Hutton.

Preferred Citation: Roy Joseph Weems papers, Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, LA

Processing Information: Collection processed in February 2014.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],
[Box 2],
[Box 3: Oversized],

Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Correspondence, 1975-1998Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Newspaper clipping fragment: Christening announcement, 1909Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Obituary and funeral program, 1999Add to your cart.
Includes reproduced photographs of Weems
Folder 4: Voter registration certificate, 1946-1948Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Certificate and agreement: Air Raid Warden, 1943Add to your cart.
Issued by the Greater New Orleans Area Office of Civilian Defense
Folder 6: Diploma: Straight College, 1933Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Report cards and student essay, 1933Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Certificates: Straight College Athletic Association, 1925-1929Add to your cart.
Certificates confer varsity letters for baseball and football to Weems
Folder 9: Receipts: Straight College tuition and other expenses, 1928Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Member list and songs: Rho Phi Chapter, Omega Psi Phi, circa 1940sAdd to your cart.
Folder 11: Straight College Bulletin, 1925-1927Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Straight College Bulletin, 1929-1933Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Straight College student publications: The Straight Gleaner and The Crimson Courier, 1925-1929Add to your cart.
Several issues fragmentary
Folder 14: Graduation programs: Straight College, 1925-1933Add to your cart.
Folder 15: Newspaper clippings: Straight College athletics, 1925-1937Add to your cart.
Folder 16: Newspaper clippings: Straight College / Dillard University, 1975 and undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 17: Miscellaneous: Straight College, c. 1920s-1997Add to your cart.
Includes lists of Straight alumni and ephemera pertaining to the school, including reunion events
Folder 18: Miscellaneous: Dillard University / Dillard University Alumni Association, 1970-1998Add to your cart.
Includes ephemera from various campus events, including inauguration ceremonies for multiple presidents
Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Photograph album, 1925-1929Add to your cart.

This photograph album was created by Beatrice E. West, a White former Straight educator and lifelong friend of Weems who gifted the album to Weems upon her death. Most photographs are accompanied by written descriptions of an image's content.

The album includes photographs of the campus of Straight College, including Whitan Hall, Central Building, Stone Hall, campus landscaping, the athletic field, and the president's house. Other reflections of student life include the Straight choir and quartet and a 1929 track and field event.

Named individuals, who appear to be predominately Straight students and faculty, include Hamilton, Dorsey, Carlyle, Spencer, Jerome Carlyle, Bessie Jones, Albert Parker, L. Spottswood, Gladys Brooks, Jonas Henderson, Alexander Tucker, Anita Dave, Lizzie Brown, C. Ross, A. M. Hill, M. M. Sparrow, Beatrice E. West, Professor Harris, Coach Williams, B. C. Bigney, Wallace Bourgeois, Frances Yocom (English teacher), Toland (chorus teacher), Kingsley, Wilcox, Perkins Brandon, Anna Margaret Napier, Virginia Matters, Roy Weems, Houston Farrel, Myrtle Dejoie, Lawrence Carter, Mildred Gledhill (Latin teacher), and Margaret Nicol (librarian).

Other photographs depict the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, which includes depictions of street flooding on Canal Street (adjacent to Straight College) and Broad Street in New Orleans the day before Easter, 1927. Photographs of the flooding depict a man canoeing in the street, stalled cars, the flooded Broad Street Branch of Whitney Central Trust & Savings, and West and associates walking through floodwaters. Other photographs depict the Poydras Levee, which was dynamited in the flood.

The album includes photographs of City Park (1925), a Mardi Gras street scene  (1926), African American homes in Kenner, Louisiana, grinding sugar cane, cotton loaded on mule-drawn carts, scenes of the French Quarter and other New Orleans landmarks, and the Daniel Hand School. Other photographs depict national tourist attractions such as Niagara Falls and Gettysburg.

Folder 2: Photographs: Straight College athletics, 1925-1931Add to your cart.
Sports represented include baseball, football, and track and field. Named athletes include "Boots" Brandon, Edgar White, Lawrence Wilson, Frank Hooker, Jo-Jo Henderson (quarterback), Melton, Burrell, Dozuir, Coach Braden, and Chester Royal. Two individual posed action photographs of Straight football players Al Parker and Arthur Mike Royal were taken by Villard Paddio.
Folder 3: Photographs: Straight College, 1925-1932Add to your cart.

Includes identified photographs and those identified as plausible photographs of Straight College. Photographs include individual and groups of students and faculty, buildings, a Sunday school class, and campus grounds.

Named individuals include Carlos Moffett, Professor Allen, Carmen, Leslie Collins, Jerry Coleman, Roy Weems, Ben Mills, Genoa Tate, Gerard Verdun, Clarence Johnson, Benson Boutte, Vivian Evans, Myrtle Chenier, L. Allen, Rory Billis, James Foster, Bobbie Dean Dennis, Lena Chase, Beryl Thornhill, Conrad Waldon (also spelled Conrad Walden), Hardie Ory (also spelled Hardy Ory), Heloise Cohen, Gladys Green, George Parker, Ruba Falls, V. Jones, Helen R., Mrs. and Mrs. Austin (Straight president), Rita, Alberta Green, Rosella Johnson, Myrtle Dejoie, Iris, Natalie Harridy (also spelled Natalie Hariday), Tom Bolden, Marguerite, G. Blancher, Albert Hines, Lewis, Melton, Julia Rollo, and V. Desvignes.

Named locations include the boys dormitory and the manual training building.

Folder 4: Photographs: Miscellaneous, 1924-1964Add to your cart.
Includes vacation photographs from Pasadena, California, and Grand Isle, Louisiana. Includes photographs of several unidentified individuals, as well as scenes of cane and net fishing in the early 1930s. Named persons include Roy Weems, Le'Shawn Marnece, George Hall, Hardy Ory, W. Wright, Hazel, Eunice W. Porter, Hester Price, Neola, Joe, George Green, Don Cline, Jules Price, Mrs. Dagget, William C. Hunter, Homer McEwen, and Lillie McFeely.
Folder 5: Photographs: Unidentified, 1924-1988Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Photographs: Unidentified, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Photographs: Straight College reunion, 1988Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Photograph negatives: Straight College, c. 1930sAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Collected items: Joe Frazier, undatedAdd to your cart.
Includes three photographs of Frazier and a phonograph single of Frazier singing "My Way," issued by the Knockout label (the B-side recording is Frazier singing "Come and Get Me Love")
Folder 10: Newspaper articles: Boxing, 1935 and undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 11: Newspaper articles: African Americans in college athletics, 1927 and undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 12: Newspaper articles: Miscellaneous, 1935 and undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 13: Collected items: Miscellaneous, 1931-1987Add to your cart.
Includes 1952 and 1956 event programs for the Beau Brummell Club and a 1925 graduation program for Central Louisiana Baptist College
Folder 14: Collected items: Xavier University, 1935-1941Add to your cart.
Includes event program for 1935 and 1941 Xavier University Relays, a joint tennis and track and field event. The 1941 program includes results of past relays as well as handwritten results of that year's track and field events. Also includes a play program for a 1941 play at Xavier University Auditorium for The New Orleans Little Theatre Guild's production of Shadow and Substance.
Folder 15: Collected items: Spelman College Bulletin, 1960-1966Add to your cart.
Folder 16: Collected items: Inauguration of Dutch Morial as New Orleans mayor, 1982Add to your cart.
Folder 17: Collected item: Reception for President-Elect William Taft by the Colored Young Men's Christian Association program (photocopy), 1909 February 12Add to your cart.
Folder 18: Collected items: Golf score cards, Way-Side Country Club, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 19: Collected item: American Legion baseball program, 1962Add to your cart.
Box 3: OversizedAdd to your cart.
Folder 1: Photograph: Panoramic of Straight College student body, 1930 FebruaryAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Diploma: Straight College High School, 1928Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Straight College student publications: The Crimson Courier and The Straight Gleaner, 1925-1933Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Newspaper fragment: New Orleans Sentinel, 1941 May 24Add to your cart.
Includes names and photographs of Sentinel staff on occasion of the publication's first anniversary
Folder 5: Newspaper fragment: The Louisiana Weekly, 1966 February 26Add to your cart.
Includes photographs of Beau Brummell Club social event
Folder 6: Scrapbook: Newspaper clippings on African American athletes, 1932Add to your cart.
Access restricted due to fragile condition. Please contact Amistad Research Center reference staff for further details.
Folder 7: Newspaper articles: Straight College athletics and Mrs. T. W. Weems, 1925-1932Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Drafting exercises, c. 1930sAdd to your cart.

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