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Florence M. Read records

 Collection — Box: 180-198
Identifier: 0000-0000-0000-0021

Scope and contents

The Florence M. Read records is the eighth series in the Atlanta University President records.

The bulk of the material in this series is comprised of documents created out of her tenure as Acting President of Atlanta University. The Administrative file contains correspondence, and some information on the memorial service for Dr. John Hope. Other university records include information on buildings and grounds, records from academic departments, the Laboratory School, Trevor Arnett Library, and information on property surrounding the campus. In addition, this series contains reports, correspondence, and printed material from Gammon Theological Seminary, Morehouse College, Spelman College, Morris Brown College, and Clark College. Documentation of Atlanta University's association with educational and philanthropic organizations is also included.


  • Creation: 1927-1947


Rights statement

All materials in this collection are either protected by copyright and/or are the property of the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Inc., and/or the copyright holder as appropriate. For more information, please contact

Biographical note

From 1936 to 1937, during the interim period after the death of John Hope and the election of his successor, Florence Matilda Read, President of Spelman College was named Acting President of Atlanta University. Read was President of Spelman College from 1927-1953. She also served as Secretary of Atlanta University for twenty-four years, from 1929-1953. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1909, and served as Alumnae Secretary of her alma mater for two years. She became secretary to the president of Reed College in 1911. Before arriving at Spelman, she worked on the International Board of the Rockefeller Foundation for seven years. Upon her retirement from Spelman she was neamed President Emeritus of the college, and in 1961 she authored The Spelman Story. She died in 1973.

Historical note

Seventy-two days following the end of the Civil War, the American Missionary Association (A.M.A.) began formal educational work for African Americans in Atlanta. Edmund Asa Ware, the Educational Director of the A.M.A. in Georgia, promoted the idea of establishing a university to provide educational opportunity for the recently freed slaves and refugees of the war. Altanta University opened on 13 October 1869.

The University offered training for students of all ages including kindergarten, grade school, normal industrial, academy and college. In 1894, all pre-high school level work ceased, and during the first two decades of the twentieth century, the University phased out its high school courses. In 1929, Atlanta University affiliated with Morehouse and Spelman in a cooperative plan known as the Atlanta University System. Among the features of this system was a division of labor between the schools to eliminate unnecessary duplication of educational efforts. Under this plan, the University discontinued all undergraduate work and devoted its resources to graduate and professional education, while Morehouse and Spelman operated on a college level.

The Atlanta University Schools of Social Work, Library and Information Studies, Arts and Sciences, Education, Business Administration, and Library Services were all established between 1920 and 1946. On 1 July 1988, Atlanta University and Clark College consolidated to form Clark Atlanta University.


7.5 Linear feet

Language of Materials



This collection is divided into twelve series including Administrative files, Affiliations & cooperations, Association & organizations, Educational organizations, Philanthropic organizations, Buildings and grounds, Departments, Housisng, Laboratory School/Nursery School, Library, Property, and Statistics. Each series is arranged alphabetically.



Atlanta University Presidential records Florence M. Read records, 1927-1947
Finding aid prepared by Clarence Brown, Joy Broyles, Paul Crater, Wilson Flemister, Jean Smith, and Dawn Williams, 1998.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the AUC Institutional Records Repository