Chandler Owen Papers

Dates: 1922-1972
Size: 1 linear foot
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



Provenance: Donated by Theodore Kornweibel in July 2010
Access: No restrictions

When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is:

Chandler Owen Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Chicago Public Library, Woodson Regional Library, Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature

Processed by: Beverly A. Cook, June 2021

Biographical Note

Chandler Owen (1889-1967) was born in Warrenton, North Carolina. After graduating from Virginia Union University in 1913, he moved to New York City to become a fellow at the National Urban League and enrolled in Columbia University. In 1916, he met A. Philip Randolph and joined the Socialist Party of America. Owen and Randolph founded the socialist journal, the Messenger in 1917. The Messenger published political commentaries, advocated trade unions and published literature of the New Negro Movement.

The Messenger folded in 1928 and Owen moved to Chicago to become managing editor of the Chicago Bee. Although he and Randolph would remain lifelong friends, he dropped out of the Socialist Party of America and joined the Republican Party. He wrote pamphlets and speeches to encourage Black voters to join the Republican Party while advising Republicans on how to win the Black vote. Owen ran for a seat in the House of Representatives in 1928 but lost to Oscar DePriest who became the first African American from a northern state elected to Congress.

By 1942, Owen owned his own public relations firm and was commissioned by the United States Office of War Information to write a pamphlet, Negroes and the War, to encourage African Americans to support the war effort. He continued to write speeches for prominent Republicans including Presidential candidate Wendell Wilkie and Thomas Dewey and later Democrat Dwight Eisenhower and Lyndon B. Johnson. Chandler Owen died in 1967.


Scope and Content

This collection was donated by Theodore Kornweibel, who taught Africana Studies at San Diego State University from 1977-2006. Kornweibel collected and wrote articles on A. Philip Randolph, Chandler Owen and the Messenger. There are original typescripts of some of Owen’s speeches and essays. Kornweibel also included commentaries and explanatory notes for the included manuscripts. They are located in the back of each folder. Kornweibel wrote the biography of Chandler Owen in the Dictionary of American Negro Biography and explored Chandler’s writings in No Crystal Stair: Black Life and the Messenger, 1917-1928.


This collection has three series: Manuscripts (1941-1964, undated); Correspondence (1922-1972, undated) and Pamphlets (1940-1950s). All series are in chronological order.

Related Materials

Related materials at the Chicago Public Library include:

Related materials at other institutions include:

Container List

Series 1: Manuscripts, 1941-1964, undated

Box 1 Folder 1 Owen, Chandler. “What will happen to the Negro if Hitler wins,” Norfolk Journal and Guide, 1941 December 12
Box 1 Folder 2 Owen, Chandler. “Lincoln Day Address,” 1945 February 12
Box 1 Folder 3 Owen, Chandler. “How to Secure Full Employment in America,” circa 1945
Box 1 Folder 4 Owen, Chandler. “The American Negro Purchasing Power,” 1948
Box 1 Folder 5 Owen, Chandler. “A Program to Combat Russia’s Appeal to the Colored People of the World,” circa 1950s
Box 1 Folder 6 Owen, Chandler. “Cause of Crime and Court Clogging,” 1958 [written for the Honorable Warren E. Wright]
Box 1 Folder 7 Owen, Chandler. “Integration,” circa 1960s [speech written for A.. .Rayner]
Box 1 Folder 8 Owen, Chandler. “Reorganizing the Republican Party,” circa 1960
Box 1 Folder 9 Owen, Chandler. “The Republican Party and the Negro Today,” circa 1960s
Box 1 Folder 10 Owen, Chandler. “An Appeal to the Common Sense of the American Negro Voter in 1964, circa 1960s
Box 1 Folder 11 Owen, Chandler. “A New Appeal to Bring More Negro Votes into the Republican Party,” circa 1960s
Box 1 Folder 12 Owen, Chandler. “White Friends of the Negro,” circa 1960s
Box 1 Folder 13 Owen, Chandler. “New Program of Education,” circa 1963
Box 1 Folder 14 Owen, Chandler. “What can the Negro Expect from the Republican Party,” circa 1963
Box 1 Folder 15 Owen, Chandler. “The Amazing Afro-Nigerian Market,” 1963 November 25
Box 1 Folder 16 Owen, Chandler. “Another Look at America’s Two Political Parties,” 1964
Box 1 Folder 17 Owen, Chandler. “The Negro Voter,” 1964
Box 1 Folder 18 Owen, Chandler. “Douglas, Dunbar, Ingersoll,” undated
Box 1 Folder 19 Owen, Chandler. “LBJ,” undated
Box 1 Folder 20 Owen, Chandler. “A Place and a Program for better American Youth and a Palace of Recreation for Interracial Youth,” undated
Box 1 Folder 21 Owen, Chandler. “Practicality vs Idealism,” undated
Box 1 Folder 22 Owen, Chandler. “What an Alderman Should Do?” undated

Series 2: Correspondence, 1922-1972, undated

Box 1 Folder 23 Owen, Chandler to John Fitzpatrick, 1922 April 7
Box 1 Folder 24 Owen, Chandler to John Fitzpatrick, 1923 February 23
Box 1 Folder 25 Randolph, A. Philip to M.P. Webster, 1928 June 27
Box 1 Folder 26 Randolph, A. Philip to M.P. Webster, 1928 August 27
Box 1 Folder 27 Randolph, A. Philip to Sir George Campbell, 1941 June 28
Box 1 Folder 28 Randolph, A. Philip to Chandler Owen, 1941 December 10
Box 1 Folder 29 Vandenberg, Arthur to Chandler Owen, 1942 February 28
Box 1 Folder 30 Wilkie, Wendell to Chandler Owen, 1942 March 4
Box 1 Folder 31 Houchins, Joseph to Chandler Owen, 1942 April 30
Box 1 Folder 32 Blayne, Ned to Henry Pringle, 1942 August 12
Box 1 Folder 33 Wilkie, Wendell to Chandler Owen, 1943 July 30
Box 1 Folder 34 Owen, Chandler, 1944 April 10
Box 1 Folder 35 Schuyler, George, 1950 November 1
Box 1 Folder 36 Streit, Clarence, 1950 November 7
Box 1 Folder 37 Harris, Abram L., 1950 November 10
Box 1 Folder 38 Kirksey, Thomas, 1950 December 16
Box 1 Folder 39 Rivers, Francis E., circa 1950
Box 1 Folder 40 Dirksen, Everett to Chandler Owen, 1950 December 24
Box 1 Folder 41 Owen, Chandler to Clarence Streit, 1954 July 17
Box 1 Folder 42 Owen, Chandler to Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1962 July 20
Box 1 Folder 43 Owen, Chandler to Louis Martin, 1964 September 11
Box 1 Folder 44 Owen, Chandler to Vantage Press, 1964 September 24
Box 1 Folder 45 Kornweibel, Theodore to Perry Thompson, 1972
Box 1 Folder 46 Jefferson, Joseph and Perry Thompson to Theodore Kornweibel, 1972 August 12
Box 1 Folder 47 Anthony, Harold to Theodore Kornweibel, 1972 September 6
Box 1 Folder 48 Carey, Archibald J. to Theodore Kornweibel, 1972 September 14
Box 1 Folder 49 O’Brien, Laurence, undated

Series 3: Pamphlets, 1940-1950s

Box 1 Folder 50 An Appeal to the Common Sense of Colored Citizens, 1940 [distributed by the Republican National Committee]
Box 1 Folder 51 Ketchum, Alton. The Miracle of America, circa 1950s
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