Ann Hennington Brown Papers

Dates: 1890-1961
Size: 3 linear feet (4 archival boxes, 2 oversized)
Repository: Chicago Public Library, Woodson Regional Library, Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature, 9525 S. Halsted Street, Chicago, Illinois 60628
Collection Number: 1999/07
Provenance: Donated by Ann Hennington Brown, 1999. Additional donations by Belinda Robinson-Jones, 2002, 2012, 2014
Access: No restrictions
Citation: When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is: Ann Hennington Brown Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Chicago Public Library, Woodson Regional Library, Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature
Processed by: Michael Flug, Senior Archivist, Harsh Archival Processing Project


Born Annie Estine Hennington in Jackson Mississippi on September 30, 1913, Ann Hennington Brown was a pianist and organist at Arnett Chapel A.M.E. Church in Chicago’s Morgan Park neighborhood, an elementary school teacher in the Chicago Public Schools, and a librarian for the Chicago Public Library. In 1923 the Hennington family moved to Chicago, settling in Morgan Park, on the city’s far south side. Since the 1890s, the Morgan Park neighborhood included a small and cohesive African American community, even though miles separated the neighborhood from other south side black neighborhoods.

The family joined Arnett Chapel A.M.E. Church, the oldest African American institution in Morgan Park. It was established in 1898. She was an active member of the first Junior Choir at the church, and was noted as a gifted pianist and organist. She began her education at Esmond Elementary School, which was integrated at that time. After the 1919 Chicago race riot, however, Ann Hennington and all other African American students at Esmond were removed, and sent to Shoop School, a new elementary school east of Vincennes Avenue. She continued her education at Morgan Park High School and graduated from Illinois State Normal University.

After graduation she met Oscar B. Brown, while they were both members of the Sanctuary Choir at Arnett Chapel. They were married in 1937. Oscar Brown’s family had migrated to Chicago from Memphis, Tennessee, where they had been active in church and racial justice work. His mother, Adelaide Parrish Brown, was a founder of the Gaudeamus Club and a charter member of the Alpha Suffrage Cub. She attended the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs convention, held at Wilberforce, Ohio in 1914.

Oscar B. Brown and Ann Hennington Brown had three children: Phyllis Jean, Margaret Ann and Oscar. Ann Hennington Brown was a member of Tau Gamma Delta Sorority, Inc., a business and professional women’s organization. She was also a member of the Tally-Ho Social Club. She was the author of a children’s book, “When Sock Saved the Day,” and a book of poems, “Love Is Alive.” In her later years, she joined Trinity United Church of Christ, where she served on the Stewardship Council and the Hurston-Hughes Writers Ministries. Ann Hennington Brown died on July 17, 2012.


This small collection contains family and church documents and photographs held by the family of Ann Hennington Brown, and the family of her husband, Oscar B. Brown, Sr. These archival items were held at the family home in the Morgan Park neighborhood of Chicago; they were part of the first generation of African Americans to settle in the neighborhood.

Series 1: Family and Church Papers

This series includes documents from Jackson and Crystal Springs, Mississippi, Memphis, Tennessee, and Chicago, Illinois. Of special note is an 1890 “Report of the Colored People’s Relief Committee of Memphis, Tennessee,” an organization created by African American churches and individuals to assist flood victims in the Memphis area. Among its founders was Ida B. Wells, who served as secretary for the initial meetings. Also noteworthy is the Arnett Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church “Centennial Observance” book, documenting Morgan Park’s oldest African American institution from 1898 through 1998. The documents in this series are arranged in chronological order. Several oversized family documents are housed in a separate box.

Series 2: Photographs

Nearly all of thephotographs in this series document the history of the Hennington and Brown families in Mississippi and in Chicago. A few photographs depict members of the Tally-Ho Club and the Tau Gamma Delta Sorority. One extraordinary oversize photograph shows the 1914 conference of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, held at Wilberforce College in Ohio. The photographs are arranged in the order in which they were donated.

Series 3: Family Books

Two books, one written by Ann Hennington Brown, the other written by her daughter, Phyllis Jean Robinson, comprise this series.


Series 1: Family and Church Papers

Box 1 Folder 1 “Report of the Colored People’s Relief Committee of Memphis, Tennessee”, April, 1890. Includes information on Ida B. Wells’ participation in fundraising efforts for flood relief
Box 1 Folder 2 Sermon Record, Collins Chapel AM.E. Church, Memphis, Tennessee, 1891
Box 1 Folder 3 Adelaide Brown (and others), handwritten record of some family births and deaths, 1898-1986
Box 1 Folder 4 Donation envelope, African M.E. Church, Golden Rule Society, to be mailed to Rev. J.A. Brockett, D.D., Secretary, Savannah, Georgia, circa 1905
Box 1 Folder 5 Program and invitation, Gaudeamus Charity Club and Gaudeamus Women’s Club, Chicago, 1912, 1953
Box 1 Folder 6 Graduation program, obituary and memorial notice for Melba Brown, Chicago, 1915, 1917, 1918
Box 1 Folder 7 Payment receipts for rent and furniture, Beaureau [Beauregard] Carter family, Chicago, 1915-1928
Box 1 Folder 8 Reference letter for Adelaide Brown, Gage Brothers and Company, Chicago, 1920
Box 1 Folder 9 Correspondence, Adelaide Brown and children, Chicago and New York City, November 1932
Box 1 Folder 10 LeMoyne College (Memphis, Tennessee) letter and invitation to “musical tea,” Chicago, November, 1931
Box 1 Folder 11 Moody Bible Institute, invitation to party and Bible study flyer, Chicago, 1938
Box 1 Folder 12 Condolence telegram, sent by Katie Seals to Adelaide Brown, November, 1943
Box 1 Folder 13 Funeral program, Jathard Coston, Jr., St. Mary A.M.E. Church, Chicago, December, 1952
Box 1 Folder 14 Funeral programs, Oscar W. Horton and Eliza Lassiter, Chicago, April and July, 1955
Box 1 Folder 15 “100th Anniversary Celebration” book, Greater St. John A.M.E. Church, Chicago, 1987
Box 1 Folder 16 “Centennial Observance” book, Arnett Chapel A.M.E. Church, Chicago, 1998
Box 1 Folder 17 Funeral program, Dr. Wilfred Reid, Grant Memorial A.M.E. Church, Chicago, 2001
Box 1 Folder 18 Funeral program, Dr. Inez G. Walton, Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago, 2002
Box 1 Folder 19 Holiday cards received by Ann Brown, undated
Box 1 Folder 20 Program, “Home Going Service of Ann H. Brown,” Trinity United Church of Christ, July 26, 2012
Box 2 Folder 1 Moody Bible School, Walter Carter, Certificate of Promotion from Primary Department to Junior Department, Chicago, 1919
Box 2 Folder 2 Marriage Certificate, Mr. B.R. Bland and Miss Annie B. Brown, Chicago, October 30, 1890. Witnessed by J.T. Jenifer, Pastor, Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church, Chicago
Box 2 Folder 3 Promotion certificate, Beauregard S. Carter, completion of Grammar Department, Chicago Public Schools, January 30, 1925

Series 2: Photographs

Box 3 Folder 1 Oscar Hennington Brown (son of Ann Hennington Brown and Oscar B. Brown) at age 4, Chicago, circa 1947
Box 3 Folder 2 Oscar Hennington Brown, graduating with M.B.A. from DePaul University, circa 1976
Box 3 Folder 3 Edward Lawrence Hennington, graduating from Tennessee Normal College (now Tennessee State University), circa 1916
Box 3 Folder 4 Ann Hennington Brown, about age 20, Chicago, circa 1933
Box 3 Folder 5 Adelaide Parrish Brown (mother of Oscar Brown), graduating from Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, 1938. Inset on photo is Ann Hennington Brown, circa 1960
Box 3 Folder 6 Inez Hennington (sister of Ann Hennington Brown) in horse-drawn cart with her aunt, Crystal Springs, Mississippi, 1917
Box 3 Folder 7 Members of the Tally-Ho Social Club, with Viola Webb seated at far left, at 1342 W. 111th Street, Morgan Park neighborhood, Chicago, circa 1949
Box 3 Folder 8 Ann Hennington Brown, Chicago, c. 1960
Box 3 Folder 9 Family group photo, with Eddie (“Jack”) Keithley (left), Edward Lawrence Hennington (center) and Ann Hennington Brown (right) in front of home at 1233 W. 111th Street in Morgan Park neighborhood, Chicago, 1930
Box 3 Folder 10 Inez Hennington, age 13 (left), Rev. Aaron Davis (center), Ann Hennington, age 6 (right), Jackson, Mississippi, just before migration to Chicago, 1919
Box 3 Folder 11 Kelley Robinson (left), Phyllis Robinson (center, Belinda Robinson (right), on Belinda Robinson’s first day of pre-school at Arnett Chapel A.M.E. Church, Morgan Park, 1974 [Negative only]
Box 3 Folder 12 Page from Wendell Phillips High School yearbook, with photo and affiliations of Inez Hennington, Chicago, 1926
Box 3 Folder 13 Oscar B. Brown, Sr., (husband of Ann Hennington Brown), in Cook County Hospital guard uniform, circa 1985
Box 3 Folder 14 [In Oversized Photos, Box 4]
Box 3 Folder 15 Rev. Aaron Davis, Jackson, Mississippi, 1919
Box 3 Folder 16 Family photo, with (left) Annie Davis (Ann Hennington Brown’s mother), (center) Rose Gilbert Hennington, (right) Edward Hennington’s sister (name unknown), Crystal Springs, Mississippi, 1917
Box 3 Folder 17 Family photo with (left) Rose Gilbert Hennington, (center) Aunt “Tee” Robinson (Edward Lawrence Hennington’s sister), and (right) Irving Hennington (Edward Lawrence Hennington’s father), Crystal Springs, Mississippi, circa 1910
Box 3 Folder 18 Tau Gamma Delta Sorority pledge line, Chicago, 1950
Box 3 Folder 19 Delta chapter, Tau Gamma Delta sorority, with (top row, second from left) Willie Hart, (seated, far left) Julia Jones, and (top row, second from right) Hazel Love, Chicago, 1950
Box 3 Folder 20 Delta chapter, Tau Gamma Delta sorority, Chicago, 1950
Box 3 Folder 21 Belinda Robinson, age six months, Chicago, 1970.
Box 3 Folder 22 Photo and memorial paragraph for Sergeant W.M.H. Carney, Massachusetts 54th regiment, from brochure for “Progression of the Race in the U.S. and Canada,” by Rev. D.D. Buck, 1907
Box 3 Folder 23 Photo and memorial paragraph for Harriet Tubman, underground railroad conductor, from brochure for “Progression of the Race in the U.S. and Canada,” by Rev. D.D. Buck, 1907
Box 4 Folder 1 Panoramic photograph of members of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs meeting at eighth biennial convention, Wilberforce College, Wilberforce, Ohio, August 4-6, 1914. Photo was reconstituted from fragments owned by Ann Hennington Brown

Series 3: Family Books

Box 5 Folder 1 Brown, Ann H., “Love Is Alive: Inspirational Poems,” (Bloomington, Indiana: 1st Books Library), 1998, 2001
Box 5 Folder 2 Robinson, Phyllis Jean, “Grace and Mercy Brought Us Through,” (Bloomington, Indiana, AuthorHouse), 2010
Print this page