Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Marr-McGee: Family History papers, 1914-1994

The Family History papers of the Marr-McGee Family papers contain both original and secondary materials documenting the genealogy of the African American and Caucasian branches of the Marr family of Virginia and New England, as well as, the McGee family. Warren Marr II, the unofficial family historian, thoroughly researched his paternal and maternal familial lines in attempts to shed light on his diverse background.  Marr's great-great grandparents were John Quincy Marr, the first Confederate casualty of the Civil War and Eliza Nickens, his Cherokee mistress.  See images below.

John Quincy Marr, undated
Eliza Nickens, undated
 In 1967, Warren published a volume titled, Genealogy of the Marr Family in the United States, registered it with the Library and Congress, and then circulated it throughout the Marr family.  Before Marr published his volume, many family members had known nothing about their genealogy.  The materials include a copy of Warren’s volume on the Marr family genealogy and family tree, as well as biographical information of family members.  Of particular note is Marr’s, The Marr Family: What Do We Know? (November 1987) which gives a brief summary of the genealogy of the Marr family of Virginia and New England.  

 Below: Marr House, Warrenton, Virginia. Erected 1830. One of the show places of Warrenton.  Home of Captain John Quincy Marr.

Also included is Marr's book, The McGee Family: Mid-1800 to 1994 which contains his recollections of old family history, data sheets from family members in 1986, and reprints of published biographical articles about the McGee family.  Family members were asked to complete biographical data sheets which asked for their names, their parent’s names, birthplace, educational background, employment experience, and organizational membership and honors.  The data sheets for nearly fifty McGee relatives are included in the materials.
Below: McGee Family before 1915. (Top, left to right) Charles, Ruth, Lewis, Antoinette, Grace. (Bottom) Charles Armstead, Gay Ruth, Richard

A full run of The Mars Exchange (1978-1985), a family newsletter started by Nancy Miller, is available and its purpose was to gather and distribute all Marrs family material (including all spellings of the surname).  The notes and clippings contain wedding announcements, samples of the tartans of Scottish clans, and sketches of the House of Mar [sic] Coat of Arms.  A brief outline of the McGee Family History secured from Gay Ruth Ankrum McGee (maternal grandmother) is also included, as well as, Warren Marr’s handwritten notes.

Of particular note are the papers and records of various Marr-McGee family members.  These materials include funeral programs, sermons, obituaries, the original marriage license (1915) of Marr’s parents, a handwritten autobiography of Warren Q. Marr, Sr., a copy of Warren Q. Marr, III’s manuscript, Dedicated to Women with Love (1982), among other items.  The Marr-McGee Family Papers are currently being processed as part of the Amistad Research Center’s Hidden Collections project funded by the Council of Library and Information Resources. The papers largely document the lives and careers of Warren Marr, II, his wife Carmel, and his sister Grace Marr Nugent.

Posted by Amber L. Moore
(Images from the Marr-McGee Family Papers.  May not be reproduced without permission.) 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Marr-McGee Family Papers: Early Entrepreneur files

The Warren Marr Management files and the House of Marr, Inc. files of the Marr-McGee Family Papers document the early entrepreneurial endeavors of Warren Q. Marr II.  Both companies were established by Marr and represented his interests in the creative arts and printing.   

In 1942, Marr created his own management company, Warren Marr Management, which promoted budding authors and classical musicians.  These files include a brief write-up about Marr, the establishment of his company, correspondence, contracts and paraphernalia relating to Marr’s many clients.  

During 1947-1948, Marr presented “five concerts in artistic good taste” at Times and Town Halls in New York which featured five of his clients: Coreania Hayman, soprano; Ozan Marsh, pianist; William Veasey, baritone; Patricia Benkman, pianist; and Kathryn Ward; soprano. 

Below is a promotional flyer for the 1947-1948 concert series (Click to enlarge):

Marr was also the proprietor of the House of Marr, Inc., which specialized in “art” printing and greeting cards.  These files (1950-1962) include correspondence, invoices, legal documents and minutes.  However, the bulk of the materials include printing samples, such as Christmas and other greeting cards, pamphlets, programs and stationary. 

Below are some samples of Christmas cards produced by House of Marr, Inc.
(Click to enlarge):

Posted by Amber L. Moore

(Images from the Marr-McGee Family Papers.  May not be reproduced without permission.) 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Marr-McGee Family Papers: Grace Marr Nugent (1919-1969)

Grace Elizabeth Marr Nugent, the first African American nurse to hold the positions of instructor at Teachers College, Columbia, and senior supervisor of nursing education in the New York State Department of Education, was the younger sister of Warren Q. Marr II

Above:  Grace Marr Nugent, undated.  Click image to enlarge.
Daughter of Rev. Warren Q. Marr, Sr. and Cecelia A. Marr (née McGee), Grace was born on January 25, 1919 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She received her early education at Peabody High School in Pittsburgh.  After obtaining her nursing diploma (1941) from Harlem Hospital School of Nursing, she stayed at the school and taught chemistry (1941-1944) eventually serving as director of education (1949-1951).

Grace was hired to teach microbiology at the Teachers College of Columbia University in New York (1944-1949), where she received both her bachelor of science (1945) and master’s degrees (1948).  She was the first African American to hold a position on Columbia’s staff.  In 1951, she achieved another first for African Americans when she became supervisor of nursing education for the New York State Department of Education, a position she held for two years. 

In 1953, when the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Graduate Nurses (NACGN), of which she had been a longtime member, merged with the American Nurses Association (ANA), she became assistant executive secretary (1953-1959) of the combined organization working in the Intergroup Relations Unit. Her responsibility was to travel the country in order to monitor and enforce the group’s race relations program.  Upon leaving her position at the ANA, Grace devoted the rest of her life to “Operation Democracy,” a self-help program she founded to help attain “universal acceptance and understanding of people of all races and cultures.”  

Grace was a lifetime member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the American Nurses’ Association, the National League for Nursing, the American Academy of Political Science, the Commission on Community Organizations, the National Conference of Christians and Jews, the Commission Committee on Problems Arising from Integration, the Committee of Human Relations, the National Council of Negro Women, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She was married Richard Bruce Nugent (1952-1969), a Harlem Renaissance writer of fiction and poetry.

Grace Marr Nugent died on December 4, 1969. 

The Marr-McGee Family Papers are currently being processed as part of the Amistad Research Center’s Hidden Collections project. The papers largely document the lives and careers of Warren Marr, II, his wife Carmel, his sister Grace Marr Nugent, and related families.

Posted by Amber L. Moore

(Image from the Marr-McGee Family Papers.  May not be reproduced without permission.)