Guide to the Alice Martin Papers

Special Collections Department
Robert E. Kennedy Library
1 Grand Avenue
California Polytechnic State University
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407-0605
Phone: (805) 756-2305
Fax: (805) 756-5770
URL: http://www.lib.calpoly.edu/specialcollections/
Email: archives@lib.calpoly.edu
© 2008
Trustees of the California State University. All rights reserved.

Guide to the Alice Martin Papers

Special Collections Department



Robert E. Kennedy Library

1 Grand Avenue

California Polytechnic State University

San Luis Obispo, CA 93407–0605

Contact Information

  • Special Collections Department
  • Robert E. Kennedy Library
  • 1 Grand Avenue
  • California Polytechnic State University
  • San Luis Obispo, CA 93407–0605
  • Phone: 805/756–2305
  • Fax: 805/756–5770
  • Email: archives@lib.calpoly.edu
  • URL: http://www.lib.calpoly.edu/specialcollections/
Processed by:
Denise Fourie and Catherine Trujillo
Date Completed:
2008
Encoded by:
Byte Managers, 2008, Carina Love, 2008, Marisa Ramirez, 2009
© 2008 Trustees of the California State University. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Alice Martin Papers
Date (inclusive): 1937-2004
Date (bulk): (bulk 1943-1993)
Collection number: MS 122
Creator: Martin, Alice, circa 1907-2004
Extent: 8 boxes
Languages:

English
Repository: Special Collections, Robert E. Kennedy Library
California Polytechnic State University
San Luis Obispo, California 93407
Abstract: The personal papers of Alice Martin, a civic-minded African-American woman known for her charitable nature and community service, consists primarily of correspondence, employment and war records, photographs, and realia. Donated by the estate of Alice Martin in 2004. Martin dedicated her time to her church, affordable housing consortiums, and community services for the economically disadvantaged and elderly in the county of San Luis Obispo. She was among the black family members who came to the area in the early 1940s as their husbands or other relatives were stationed at Camp San Luis Obispo, a training base for the U. S. Army.

Provenance

Donated by the estate of Alice Martin in 2004.

Restrictions on Access

Collection is open to qualified researchers by appointment only. For more information on access policies and to obtain a copy of the Researcher Registration form, please visit the Special Collections Access page.

Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

In order to reproduce, publish, broadcast, exhibit, and/or quote from this material, researchers must submit a written request and obtain formal permission from Special Collections, Cal Poly, as the owner of the physical collection.
Photocopying of material is permitted at staff discretion and provided on a fee basis. Photocopies are not to be used for any purpose other than for private study, scholarship, or research. Special Collections staff reserves the right to limit photocopying and deny access or reproduction in cases when, in the opinion of staff, the original materials would be harmed.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of Item]. Alice Martin Papers, Special Collections, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Biography

Alice Mae Martin, an African American and native of Illinois, came to San Luis Obispo, California, in 1942 with her then husband Clarence F. Martin while he was stationed at Camp San Luis Obispo. Following his deployment she moved back to her home base in Montana. She returned to live in San Luis Obispo permanently in 1969.
Martin worked most of her adult life, well into her 70s. During her early working years, she served as a mechanical helper/aircraft fitter and a laundry presser for the U. S. War Department at military camps in Montana and Arizona during World War II. When her husband was transferred to California, she joined him, working at Camp Roberts in Monterey Co., then locally at Camp San Luis Obispo, as a presser. Later on, she operated the steam presses at Paul’s Cleaners, a retail dry cleaners still in business today on South Higuera St. Included in the collection is the original apron she wore as part of her work uniform there. She also held jobs as a nanny and housekeeper.
Details of her birth are unconfirmed and among the records in the collection are her queries attempting to establish details about her birthplace and year of birth (variously stated as 1907 and 1912).
She was known for her charitable nature and the donation of hours of community service to her church; affordable housing consortiums; and services for the economically disadvantaged and elderly in the city of San Luis Obispo. She volunteered for many organizations including Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), the Housing Authority, the Boy Scouts, Grace Church, the Red Cross, and the Salvation Army.
A strong advocate of affordable housing, she served as a Commissioner for the Housing Authority for the City of San Luis Obispo for many years. Martin received much recognition for her contributions, most notably on the eve of her 97th birthday when the SLO County Community Foundation honored her for more than 10,000 hours of community service to the City of San Luis Obispo. This honor exemplified her life of service to her church, neighbors, friends, and community.
Martin had only a sixth-grade education, but read extensively, and was an ardent poet. She died in San Luis Obispo, September 11, 2004, at 97 years of age.
Sources
"Alice Martin." [Obituary] The Tribune, (San Luis Obispo, CA) 19 Sept. 2004: no page Personal reminiscences, Ruth Smith

Scope and Content Note

Personal papers of Alice Martin, a civic-minded woman of color known for her charitable nature and donation of hours of community service. Consists of her writings, war records, photographs and personal papers.
She dedicated her time to her church, affordable housing consortiums, and services for the economically disadvantaged and elderly in the City of San Luis Obispo. She was among the many black families who came to the city of San Luis Obispo in the early 1940s, whose husbands or relatives were training at Camp San Luis.
Where possible, the provenance, or original organization, of the papers has been preserved. However, in order to simplify access to the collection for researchers, some materials in specific formats and topics were reorganized and refoldered to more accurately reflect their contents.
The Alice Martin Papers are divided into 5 series:
1. Personal Papers, 1937-2004
2. Volunteer Activities, 1971-2004
3. Writings, 1951-1988
4. Photographs, undated
5. Artifacts, undated
The Alice Martin Papers are housed in 8 document boxes with Series 1 - 3 containing the most extensive and unique portions of the collection, which include her World War II civilian service records, volunteer activities and her writings.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library’s online public access catalog.

Subjects

African Americans -- California -- San Luis Obispo -- Social conditions.
Community life -- California -- San Luis Obispo -- History -- 20th century.
Political activists -- California – San Luis Obispo -- History -- 20th century.
Volunteer workers in social service -- San Luis Obispo -- California.
Martin, Alice Mae -- 1907-2004
Martin, Clarence Franklin--1922-

Genre and Forms of Materials

Correspondence
Photographs
Family papers
Realia
Typescripts
Military papers
Newspaper clippings
Poetry

Related Material

Materials Cataloged Separately
Davidson, Orlando R., J. Carl Willems and Joseph A. Kahl. The Deadeyes: The Story of the 96th Infantry Division. Washington D. C.: Infantry Journal Press, 1947.
[Inscribed by Clarence Martin to wife Alice Martin.]

Container List

 

1. Personal Papers 1937-2004

Scope and Content Note

Contains eleven subseries: A. Personal Records, B. Employment Records, C. Education Records, D. Church Materials, E. Address Books, F. Pension and Retirement, G. General Correspondence, H. Recipes, I. Photographs, J. Clippings and K. Clarence F. Martin's World War II records.
 

A. Personal Records

Scope and Content Note

Contains Alice Martin's birth, memorial, cemetery records and membership records. Arranged chronologically by date, from 1968-2004. 4 folders.
Box 1, Folder 1

Birth records, 1968-1993

Box 1, Folder 2

Cemetery plot records, 1969-1984

Box 1, Folder 3

Identification cards and memberships, 1972-1987

Box 1, Folder 4

Memorial materials, 2004

 

B. Employment records

Scope and Content Note

Contains Alice Martin's World War II civilian employment and post war employment records. Arranged chronologically by date, from 1943-1964. 2 folders.
Box 1, Folder 5

Alice Martin, World War II civilian employment records, 1943-1946

Box 1, Folder 6

Alice Martin, Labor and post-war employment records, 1959-1964

 

C. Education records

Scope and Content Note

Contains Alice Martin's correspondence for educational training. Arranged chronologically by date, 1955. 1 folder.
Box 1, Folder 7

Northwest Radio & Television, 1955

 

D. Church Materials

Scope and Content Note

Contains sermons, writings, and programs belonging to Alice Martin. Arranged chronologically by date, from 1966-1993. 2 folders.
Box 1, Folder 8

Sermons and writings, 1966-1993

Box 1, Folder 9

Programs, 1983-1985

 

E. Address Books

Scope and Content Note

Contains Alice Martin's personal address books, undated. 1 folder.
Box 1, Folder 10

Address Books

 

F. Pension and Retirement

Scope and Content Note

Contains Alice Martin's retirement and pension correspondence. Arranged chronologically, from 1951-1987. 2 folders.
Box 1, Folder 11

Correspondence, Civil Service Net, 1951-1979

Box 1, Folder 12

Correspondence, Pension, 1959-1987

 

G. General Correspondence

Scope and Content Note

Contains Alice Martin's personal correspondence and correspondence documenting her efforts to have her poetry published. Arranged chronologically, from 1947-2004. 3 folders.
Box 1, Folder 13

Correspondence, Poetry Publication, 1962-1979

Box 1, Folder 14

Correspondence, Personal, 1947-2003

Box 1, Folder 15

Correspondence, Cards and letters, 1977-2004

 

H. Recipes

Scope and Content Note

Contains Alice Martin's personal and bound recipes, undated. 1 folder.
Box 1, Folder 16

Recipes, undated

 

I. Photographs

Scope and Content Note

Contains photographs of Alice Martin, undated. 2 folders.
Box 2, Folder 1

Photographs, Alice Martin

Box 2, Folder 2

Alice Martin with friends

 

J. Clippings

Scope and Content Note

Contains clippings and articles from local newspapers about the history of African Americans on the Central Coast. Arranged chronologically, from 1981-2004. 2 folders.
Box 2, Folder 3

Clippings about Alice Martin, 1985-2004

Box 2, Folder 4

Clippings and photocopies, local history, 1981-1983

 

K. Personal Files of Clarence Martin

Scope and Content Note

Contains Clarence Martin's employment and service records during World War II, as well as parole records. Arranged chronologically, from 1937-1944. 2 folders.
Box 2, Folder 5

World War II Employment and Service records, 1941-1944

Box 2, Folder 6

Parole records 1937

 

2. Volunteer Activities 1971-2004

Scope and Content Note

Contains nine subseries: A. Area Agency on Aging, B. Atascadero State Hospital, C. Economic Opportunity Commission (EOC), D. Help Hospitalized Vets, E. Housing Authority of the City of San Luis Obispo, F. Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), G. Young Men's Christian Association, San Luis Obispo (YMCA), H. Consumer Advocacy, and I. Plaques and Awards.
 

A. Area Agency on Aging

Scope and Content Note

Contains printed awards and correspondence. Arranged chronologically, from 1997-1992. 1 folder.
Box 3, Folder 1

Area Agency on Aging, printed awards and correspondence, 1977-1992

 

B. Atascadero State Hospital

Scope and Content Note

Contains awards and newsletters, undated. 1 folder.
Box 3, Folder 2

Atascadero State Hospital, printed awards and newsletters

 

C. Economic Opportunity Commission (EOC)

Scope and Content Note

Contains printed awards, correspondence photographs, arranged chronologically, from 1990-1993. 2 folders.
Box 3, Folder 3

EOC, printed awards and correspondence, 1990-1993

Box 3, Folder 4

EOC, Photographs, 1990

 

D. Help Hospitalized Vets

Scope and Content Note

Contains printed awards. Arranged chronologically, from 2003-2004. 1 folder.
Box 3, Folder 5

Help Hospitalized Vets, printed awards, 2003-2004

 

E. Housing Authority of the City of San Luis Obispo

Scope and Content Note

Contains printed awards, newsletters and photographs. Arranged chronologically, from 1984-2003. 2 folders.
Box 3, Folder 6

Housing Authority, printed awards and newsletters, 1984-2003

Box 3, Folder 7

Housing Authority, photographs undated

 

F. Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP)

Scope and Content Note

Contains printed awards and correspondence, undated. 1 folder.
Box 3, Folder 8

RSVP, printed awards and correspondence undated

 

G. Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) and San Luis Obispo County Agencies

Scope and Content Note

Contains printed awards from the YMCA and other county agencies. Arranged chronologically, from 1974-2004. 2 folders.
Box 3, Folder 9

YMCA, printed awards, 1974-1976

Box 3, Folder 10

San Luis Obispo County printed awards, 1974-2004

 

H. Consumer Advocacy Correspondence

Scope and Content Note

Contains correspondence to and from California politicians and draft letters to the editor. Arranged chronologically, from 1971-1989. 3 folders.
Box 3, Folder 11

Correspondence, Alan Cranston, 1971

Box 3, Folder 12

Correspondence, Leon Panetta, 1980-1989

Box 3, Folder 13

Draft letters to the Editor, undated

 

I. Plaques and Awards

Scope and Content Note

Contains awards and plaques. Arranged by format of material, from 1990-2003. 5 items.
Box 4, Folder 0

EOC, Volunteer of the Year, 1990

Box 4, Folder 0

RSVP, Isabel Lierman-Regina Rohde Award, 2000-2001

Box 4, Folder 0

Housing Authority of City of SLO, Outstanding Service Award, 2003

Box 4, Folder 0

Nominee for Intergenerational Effort of the Year, 1991

Box 4, Folder 0

SLO County Community Foundation, Salute to Volunteers, undated

 

3. Writings 1951-1988

Scope and Content Note

Contains 3 subseries: A. Poetry, B. Speeches, and C. Notebooks.
 

A. Poetry

Scope and Content Note

Contains typescripts and handwritten poetry authored by Alice Martin. Arranged in original order, from 1951-1988. 8 folders.
Box 5, Folder 1

"Words of Comfort", by Alice Martin, undated

Box 5, Folder 2

Typescripts, 1951-1972

Box 5, Folder 3

List of poems, undated

Box 5, Folder 4

Poetry, Dated, 1951-1988

Box 5, Folder 5

Poetry, undated

Box 5, Folder 6

Poetry, undated

Box 5, Folder 7

Poetry, undated

Box 5, Folder 8

Poetry, undated

 

B. Speeches

Scope and Content Note

Contains typescripts and handwritten speeches authored by Alice Martin. Arranged in original order, from 1974-1980. 11 folders.
Box 6, Folder 1

What the YMCA and RSVP Mean to Me, undated

Box 6, Folder 2

A Volunteering Senior for the RSVP-Speaking Out!, 1974

Box 6, Folder 3

A Short Reading For Our Mission Society, 1980

Box 6, Folder 4

RSVP Duties and What it Means to Me, undated

Box 6, Folder 5

Outline, 1978

Box 6, Folder 6

Thinking Deep, undated

Box 6, Folder 7

The Beautiful Story of the Late Mahalia Jackson, undated

Box 6, Folder 8

A Quote from our Negro Paper-The Omaha Star..., undated

Box 6, Folder 9

In Memory of the Late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., undated

Box 6, Folder 10

Tribute to the Late Former Pres. Lyndon Baines Johnson, undated

Box 6, Folder 11

Five Dark Days in the History of the Late Martin Luther King Jr., undated

 

C. Notebooks

Scope and Content Note

Contains notebooks and commonplace writing compiled and authored by Alice Martin. Arranged in original order, undated. 2 folders.
Box 6, Folder 12

"Final Outfittings" notebook, undated

Box 6, Folder 13

Commonplace Writing, undated

 

4. Photographs undated

Scope and Content Note

Contains 1 subseries: A. Unidentified friends and acquaintances.
 

A. Unidentified friends and acquaintances

Scope and Content Note

Contains photographs. Unarranged, undated. 4 folders.
Box 7, Folder 1

Unidentified friends and acquaintances

Box 7, Folder 2

Unidentified friends and acquaintances

Box 7, Folder 3

Unidentified friends and acquaintances

Box 7, Folder 4

Unidentified friends and acquaintances

 

5. Artifacts undated

Scope and Content Note

Contains 1 subseries: A. Coin purses and Apron.
 

A. Coin purses and apron

Scope and Content Note

Contains personal artifacts. Arranged by format of material, undated. 3 items.
Box 8, Folder 0

Coin purses

Box 8, Folder 0

Apron