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William B. Matthews collection

 Collection — Box: 1-4
Identifier: 0000-0000-0000-00049

Scope and contents

This collection consists of the papers of William Baxter Matthews from 1881 to 1932. It includes correspondence, scrapbooks, photographs, and printed materials, most of which pertain to Atlanta University. The bulk of the materials relates to Matthews’s tenure on the Atlanta University Board of Trustees. Correspondence from Edward Twichell Ware (Atlanta University’s third president) and fellow trustees documents the administration of the school, including fundraising efforts, land development, and personnel issues. Also included are letters from Matthews’s daughter Louise as a co-ed writing home to her parents. These letters are an account of the events and people on the Atlanta University campus. Of special interest is William Albert Robinson’s (class of 1913) scrapbook of his days as an Atlanta University student filled with snapshots and memorabilia of the school.


  • Creation: 1881-1932


Biographical note

William Baxter Matthews (b. 1864 d. 1940) was an educator and businessman. His entire career was spent as a teacher, first in Atlanta at the Houston Street School (circa 1890-1911), and later in Louisville, Kentucky at Central Colored High School (circa 1912-1932). A graduate of Atlanta University, class of 1890, he served his alma mater as president of the Alumni Association and as a trustee. Matthews was a state agent with the North Carolina Mutual and Provident Association and proprietor of the Negro Business Directory and Advertising Agency which published The Negro Business Directory and Commercial Guide of Atlanta in 1911. He was active in the community as a member of the Atlanta branch of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), fraternal organizations, and the Negro Young People’s Christian and Educational Congress.

1864 July 31 Born to William B. and Annie (Head) Matthews in Powerville, Georgia

1883 Graduated from Lewis High School in Macon, Georgia

1890 Graduated from Atlanta University (A.B.)

1890-1911 Principal of Gate City School, then Houston Street School, in Atlanta

1895 Elected president of the Atlanta University Alumni Association

1896 January 01 Married Josephine O. “Ophelia” Beale [ca. 1898] Daughter Florida Louise born

1902-1929 Trustee of Atlanta University

1909 Compiled the Negro Business Directory of Atlanta

[1912-1932?] Principal of Central Colored High School in Louisville, Kentucky

1915 Graduated from Columbia University (A.B.)

1940 January 08 Died in Louisville


2 Linear feet

Language of Materials


William B. Mathews Collection, 1881-1932
Finding aid prepared by Dorothy Bell and Cathy Lynn Mundale, 2003 September.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Inc. Repository


404-978-2109 (Fax)