UofM Special Collections Receives Grant to Rehouse Church Family Papers

January 24, 2017 - The Preservation and Special Collections Department of the University of Memphis Libraries has been awarded a $3,000 grant to rehouse its Church family papers collection. This is the second successive Archives Development Grant the department has received, and the sixth from the state of Tennessee in the last three years.

Secretary of State Tré Hargett will present the award Jan. 27 at 9 a.m. in the Ned McWherter Library rotunda.

The collection includes thousands of items from the prominent Robert Church family of Memphis, including correspondence, newspaper clippings, bills, publications and other artifacts. Robert R. Church Sr., reputedly the first African-American millionaire in the South, Robert Church Jr. and Roberta Church were influential leaders in business and politics.

"The collection is among the most important among those held by Special Collections and has been used extensively by researchers over the years to document the role of the middle class African-American community in the South at the turn of the 20th century," said Dr. Gerald Chaudron, head of Preservation and Special Collections. Many of the oldest documents have become damaged, he said, and the grant will enable the papers to be preserved so they can continue to be accessible to researchers.

Contact: Gabrielle Maxey