Thyra Edwards papers
Chicago History Museum
Research Center1601 North Clark StreetChicago, IL 60614-6038
- Thyra Edwards
- Bib number
- Thyra Edwards papers
- Predominant Dates
- 2 linear feet (2 boxes, 1 volume)
- Call number
- MSS Lot E
Terms governing use
Copyright may be retained by the creators of items, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law, unless otherwise noted.
accession # M1970.0031
Please cite this collection as
Thyra Edwards papers (Chicago History Museum) plus a detailed description, date, and box/folder number of a specific item
Correspondence, articles, scrapbook with photographs, and other papers of Thyra Edwards, a social worker at the Abraham Lincoln Centre in Chicago, Ill. Included are Edwards' observations on workers' education and social conditions in Europe and her feelings as an African American when traveling there; material relating to her work on behalf of the Loyalists during the Spanish Civil War, the tour of the Negro People's Ambulance donated to the Loyalist cause (photographs in scrapbook), and the resettlement of refugees in Mexico; articles on African American life in Chicago; and materials relating to the Chicago Venereal Disease Control Program, ca. 1941-1942.
Thyra J. Edwards was born in 1897 and grew up in Houston, Texas, where she began her career as a school teacher and social worker. She later moved to Gary, Indiana and then to Chicago, where she worked as a social worker at the Abraham Lincoln Centre. In addition to social work, Edwards also worked as a journalist, labor organizer, and advocate for women's and civil rights. In the 1930s and 1940s, Edwards wrote about international affairs for black newspapers, including the Chicago Defender, and became an open supporter of the Communist Party and publicly supported the Loyalists in the Spanish Civil War. In 1938, she organized an ambulance tour of the U.S. to raise money for the American Medical Bureau to Aid Spanish Democracy and the North American Committee to Aid Spanish Democracy In her role as a journalist, she traveled to Europe, Mexico, and the Soviet Union. During World War II, Edwards married Murray Gitlin, an official with the philanthropic organization United Jewish Appeal. After World War II, Edwards moved to New York City. She spent the last five years of her life in Italy. Edwards died in 1953 at the age of 56.
Other Finding Aids
Finding aid also submitted to Explore Chicago Collections portal.
- African American women -- Illinois -- Chicago -- 20th century
- African Americans -- Illinois -- Chicago -- 20th century
- Working class -- Illinois -- Chicago -- 20th century
- Working class -- Europe -- 20th century
- Social workers -- Illinois -- Chicago -- 20th century
- Sexually transmitted diseases -- Study and teaching -- Illinois -- Chicago -- 20th century
- Gitlin, Thyra Edwards
- Edwards, Thyra, d. 1953 -- Archives
- Abraham Lincoln Centre (Chicago, Ill.)
- Chicago Venereal Disease Control Program (Chicago, Ill.)
- Chicago (Ill.) -- Social conditions -- 20th century
- Spain -- History -- Civil War, 1936-1939 -- Participation, American
- Spain -- Description and travel -- 20th century
- Photographic prints
Organization and Arrangement of Collection
The collection is arranged in one series.
Series 1. Correspondence and other papers (box 1-2, unboxed volume)
This series contains correspondence, articles, a scrapbook with photographs, and other materials relating to Edwards' life and work in social work and political causes, including a substantive amount on her work with the Chicago Venereal Disease Control Program. The scrapbook documents her ambulance tour campaign to raise funds for the Spanish Loyalists.
Detailed list of contents of the collection
- Correspondence and other papers
- 1932-1953, undated
- Correspondence and other papers, 1932-1935
- Social Sciences notes, 1936
- Correspondence and other papers, 1937-1939
- Correspondence and other papers, 1940-1953, undated
- Data for proposed book: "A Thread From Every Man in the Village"
- Chicago Venereal Disease Control Program, Nov. 1941-Aug. 1942
- Chicago Venereal Disease Control Program
- 1942, undated
- Chicago Venereal Disease Control Program, Sept-Dec 1942
- Chicago Venereal Disease Control Program, 1942 and undated
- Tour of the Negro People's Ambulance for Loyalist Spain scrapbook (unboxed volume)