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Guide to the Frances Albrier Papers
MS 108  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Access Restrictions
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Frances Albrier papers
    Dates: 1895-1987
    Collection number: MS 108
    Creator: Albrier, Frances Mary, 1898-1987.
    Collection Size: 7.9 linear feet (7 boxes + 2 oversized boxes)
    Repository: African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)
    Oakland, CA 94612
    Abstract: The Frances Albrier papers include correspondence, legal and financial records, awards, photographs, records of civic organizations and women’s clubs, and assorted printed material documenting Albrier life and participation in various civic organizations and women’s clubs in the San Francisco Bay Area.
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    No access restrictions. Collection is open to the public.

    Access Restrictions

    Materials are for use in-library only, non-circulating.

    Publication Rights

    Permission to publish from the Frances Albrier papers must be obtained from the African American Museum & Library at Oakland.

    Preferred Citation

    Frances Albrier papers, MS 108, African American Museum & Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library. Oakland, California.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Sean Heyliger, 12/28/2013.Finding aid updated to add materials from Accession #2017-013 on April 21, 2017.

    Biography / Administrative History

    Social activist Frances Albrier (1898-1987) was born on September 21, 1898 in Mt. Vernon, New York to Lewis L. and Laura Redgray. Following the death of her mother at the age of three, she was raised by her grandparents in Tuskegee, Alabama, attending primary and secondary school at the nearby Tuskegee Institute. She attended Howard University graduating with a B.A. in 1920. After graduation she moved to Berkeley, California where she met and married William Albert Jackson, and the couple had three children: Albert Jackson, Betty Kimble, and Anita Black. In 1921, she attended a meeting of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association at the Oakland Auditorium and joined Black Cross Nurse Corps. After she was unable to find a nursing job in the Bay Area’s segregated hospitals, she took a position as a maid with the Pullman Company in 1926. As a Pullman car maid, she met her second husband, Willie Antoine Albrier, and the two were married in 1934.
    During the late 1930s, Albrier became active in a number of different political and civil rights issues. In 1938, she became the first woman elected to the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee. The following year she became the first woman to run for the Berkeley City Council, led the Citizen’s Employment Council’s “Don’t Buy Where You Can’t Work” campaign, and organized the East Bay Women's Welfare Club, a women’s group which advocated for the hiring of black teachers in the Berkeley Unified School District. During the 1940s, she continued to be active in a number of women's, civil rights, and union organizations while serving as a first aid instructor in the American Red Cross. After her application to become a welder was denied because blacks did not have an auxiliary union in Richmond, she garnered political pressure in the black community forcing Kaiser Shipyards to hire her making her the first black woman welder during the war.
    Following the war, Albrier continued to be active in politics, women’s organizations, and civil rights issues, serving as president of many Bay Area organizations and co-chairing local political campaigns. She also became active in promoting black history and history, giving presentations to students in the Oakland Public School system on black history and culture and serving as president of both the San Francisco Negro Historical and Cultural Society and the East Bay Negro Historical Society. She also became an advocate of senior citizens throughout the 1960s-1970, serving on local, state, and federal committees on aging and the establishment of the Berkeley Senior Center. For her community service and many contributions in civil rights to the Bay Area, the City of Berkeley re-named the San Pablo Park Community Center in her honor in 1984.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Frances Albrier papers include correspondence, legal and financial records, awards, photographs, records of civic organizations and women’s clubs, and assorted printed material documenting Albrier life and participation in various civic organizations and women’s clubs in the San Francisco Bay Area. The papers are organized into six series: biographical material, civic organizations, political activities, educational activities, photographs, and assorted printed material. Biographical material includes a biographical timeline of Albrier’s professional activities, personal correspondence, her last will and testament, funeral programs of Willie and Frances Albrier, assorted newspaper clippings documenting her participation in various organizations, business and membership cards, and awards and honorary certificates presented to Albrier for her advocacy for civil rights, senior citizens, and participation in various organizations and women’s groups.
    The civic organizations series includes organizational records of the many civic organizations, governmental committees, and women’s clubs Albrier was either a member, president, or served on the organization’s board of directors. The records are organized alphabetically by organization and include the constitution and bylaws, yearbooks, programs, deeds, and financial records of women’s clubs, such as the Northern Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs, Inc., Fanny Hall Children’s Home and Day Nursery, Inc., and the Women’s Arts & Industrial, Inc. The records also include correspondence, memoranda, and reports of senior citizen committees including the Berkeley Committee on Aging, California Committee on Aging, Northern California Caucus on the Black Aged, and records related to Albrier’s advocacy for the Berkeley Senior Center. There are also assorted publications and records of civic and civil rights organizations in which Albrier was an active member including the Berkeley Chapter of the NAACP, East Bay Negro Historical Society, and the San Francisco Historical and Cultural Society.
    The political activities series includes mostly correspondence from politicians thanking Albrier for her political support, campaign flyers of politicians running for Berkeley city council and the California assembly in the 1960s-1970s, Albrier’s membership cards to various political organizations, and assorted correspondence related to her participation on the Democratic Central Committee of Alameda County. The educational activities series mostly consists of black history study kits, pamphlets, posters, and visual aids Albrier used to teach black history to students in the Oakland Public School system in the 1960s. The series also includes Albrier’s teaching notes, Oakland Public School volunteer forms, and thank you letters written by students to Albrier thanking her for her class presentations on black history.
    Photographs include 189 photographs and negatives mostly documenting Albrier’s activities in various civic and women’s clubs. Photographs are arranged by photograph identification number and include portraits of Albrier as a Red Cross volunteer during the 1940s, group photographs at annual meetings of the National Negro Council of Women, a Negro history Boy Scout-O-Rama exhibit at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, an awards ceremony at the South Berkeley Senior Center, and a dedication ceremony of the Frances Albrier Community Center in Berkeley and a historical marker honoring civil rights pioneer Mary Ellen Pleasant in San Francisco erected by the San Francisco Historical and Cultural Society.
    Assorted printed material includes city of Berkeley and Men of Tomorrow, Inc. directories, East Bay church and women’s clubs programs, and books, brochures, ephemera, essays, pamphlets, periodicals mostly related to black history, California politics, and civil rights. There is also an assortment of Tuskegee Institute alumni brochures and programs, a collection of letters from Marcus Garvey to W.A. Deane, and flyers and an almanac of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (U.N.I.A).


    Series I. Biographical material Series II. Civic organizations Series III. Political activities Series IV. Educational activities Series V. Photographs Series VI. Assorted printed material

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Albrier, Frances Mary, 1898-1987.
    California State Association of Colored Women's Clubs.
    Fannie Wall Children’s Home and Day Nursery, Inc.
    National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Berkeley Branch.
    National Council of Negro Women.
    Northern Federation of Colored Women's Clubs.
    Women’s Art & Industrial Club, Inc. (Oakland, Calif.)
    African American women--California--History.
    African American women--Societies and clubs.
    African Americans--California--East Bay--History.

    Related Material

    Determined advocate for racial equality : oral history transcript / Mary Frances Albrier, Berkeley, Calif : Bancroft Library. Regional Oral History Office.