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Guide to the Sellers Family Papers
MS 71  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Access Restrictions
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Sellers family papers
    Dates: circa 1890s-1994
    Collection number: MS 71
    Creator: Sellers, Shirley Jean.
    Collection Size: 2.25 linear feet (2 boxes + 1 oversized box)
    Repository: African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)
    Oakland, CA 94612
    Abstract: The Sellers Family Papers includes photographs, certificates, graduation and funeral programs, scrapbooks, and newspaper clippings that document the life and activities of members of the Sellers family. The bulk of the papers are family photographs of the Sellers and Johnson families of Oakland, California, Los Angeles, California, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and are mostly of family members posing at home, on vacation, or portraits between 1890-1930s.
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

    Access

    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 Sellers Family Papers must be obtained from the African American Museum and Library at Oakland.

    Preferred Citation

    Sellers family papers, MS 71, African American Museum & Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library. Oakland, California.

    Acquisition Information

    The Sellers Family Papers was donated by George Craig Jr. to the African American Museum & Library at Oakland on May 16, 1996.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Sean Heyliger, 10/09/2013.

    Biography / Administrative History

    John J. Sellers (1866-1928) was born in 1866 in Charlottesville, Virginia to John L. Sellers, a shoemaker, and Almira Sellers. In 1893, John L. Sellers moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he worked as the head waiter for the Lutherer Catering Company and had three children, Emmett, John Willis, and Tragene Sellers.
    His middle son, John Willis Sellers (1907-1988), relocated to Oakland, California where he met and married Martha Lucille Johnson (1914-1991), the daughter of Mattie Laura Ashby and Howard William Johnson of Los Angeles, California. John Willis Sellers worked in the merchant marine and Martha Lucille worked as a nurse at Providence Hospital for over 30 years. Before separating in 1943, they had one daughter, Shirley Jean Sellers (1938-1994), born on January 4, 1938 in Oakland, California. After the separation, Martha Lucille Johnson met and married George A. Craig with whom she had a step-son, George A. Craig Jr.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Sellers Family Papers includes photographs, certificates, graduation and funeral programs, scrapbooks, and newspaper clippings that document the life and activities of members of the Sellers family. The bulk of the papers are family photographs of the Sellers and Johnson families of Oakland, California, Los Angeles, California, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and are mostly of family members posing at home, on vacation, or portraits between 1890-1930s. There are several photographs of Emmett Sellers posing in his military uniform prior to reporting for duty for World War I, group photographs of John J. Sellers and John Willis Sellers with other Pullman car porters, and a photograph album documenting the family attending the Golden Gate International Exposition.
    The papers also include biographical and educational material on various members of the Sellers and Johnson families. The Shirley Jean Sellers series includes three baby scrapbooks, junior and high school diplomas and graduation programs, and her birth certificate and funeral program. The Martha Lucille Johnson (Sellers/Craig) series includes her junior and high school diplomas, newspaper clippings and judgment of her divorce from John Willis Sellers, and her funeral program.
    The John Willis Sellers series includes a monogrammed leather money pouch, his father’s obituary, and a copy of his death certificate. In the George Craig Jr. series there are traffic reserve certificates, an address book, and agreement with Edward O. Ballard, private investigator. An assorted series includes a Mother’s Day card for Marguerite Adams, hospital bathing instructions for a newborn baby, and two postcards of a downtown park and an aerial view of a house from the 1950s.

    Arrangement

    Series I. Photographs Series II. Shirley Jean Sellers Series III. Martha Lucille Johnson (Sellers) (Craig) Series IV. John Willis Sellers Series V. George Craig Jr. Series VI. Assorted

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Sellers family.
    Johnson family.
    Craig family.
    World War, 1914-1918--African Americans.
    Pullman Company--Employees.
    Oakland (Calif.)-Social life and customs.
    African American families--California.
    African American families--sources.
    African Americans--California--East Bay--History.
    Golden Gate International Exposition (1939-1940 : San Francisco, Calif.)--History--Pictorial works.