David W. Kellum Papers


Dates: 1920-1981
Size: 1 linear foot (1 archival box)
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 2004/06
Provenance: Donated by James D. Kellum, 2004
Access: No restrictions
Citation: When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is: David W. Kellum 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 Research Collection; completed by Cynthia Fife-Townsel, 2019


David W. Kellum was born in Greenville, Miss. in 1903. As a youth he arrived in Chicago where he attended Wendell Phillips High School. A prominent member of the school’s ROTC, Kellum became the first African American to receive a “brevert commission” from the governor of Illinois. He later graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Kellum began working for the Chicago Defender newspaper in 1923, where he worked his way from copy editor to city editor. During his early years with the paper he covered sports but also wrote for the “Defender Junior” page, a section of the paper devoted to young readership. There he co-founded the Bud Billiken Club and along the way became the founder of the nationally known Bud Billiken parade and picnic. The parade has been held every summer since 1929 and was initially created to be a source of pride and unity for the children of Chicago. Kellum eventually left the Defender and founded the Kellum Employment Agency in downtown Chicago. At the time of his death in 1981, Kellum was survived by his wife Kathelynea and son James D. Kellum.




The David W. Kellum Papers contains photocopied Kellum obituaries, Bud Billiken parade photographs and an oral history interview about David Kellum conducted with his son James Kellum. All photographs are reproductions.


Related materials at the Chicago Public Library include:


Series 1: Biographical

Box 1 Folder 1 Photocopies of David W. Kellum obituaries from various newspapers, 1981 March
Box 1 Folder 2 Two audiocassette tapes of oral history taken from James Kellum about David Kellum, 2004 August 17

Series 2: Photographs

Box 1 Photo 001 David W. Kellum, circa 1910
Box 1 Photo 002 Kellum with youth talent contest winners [including Nat King Cole], 1934
Box 1  Photo 003 Kellum with Nat King Cole, circa 1948
Box 1 Photo 004 Kellum dancing with young woman at Billiken, 1930s
Box 1 Photo 005 Kellum with trophy and unidentified group of women, 1940s
Box 1 Photo 006 [snippet of photographs of two adults, possibly at Billiken parade], undated
Box 1 Photo 007 Students in crowd [at Regal Theater, midnight show], 1930s
Box 1 Photo 008 Unidentified women [in Washington Park], undated
Box 1 Photo 009 [snippet of children in crowd at Regal Theater], undated
Box 1 Photo 010 Kellum greeted in Washington Park after parade, undated
Box 1 Photo 011 Kellum and unidentified group in Washington Park after parade, undated
Box 1 Photo 012 Children participating in contest at Billiken, undated
Box 1 Photo 013 Kellum at microphone with Henry Armstrong, 1930s
Box 1 Photo 014 Kellum with Elizabeth Kellum and Charlie Cole, undated
Box 1 Photo 015 Kellum with unidentified woman at table, undated
Box 1 Photo 016 Kellum, undated
Box 1 Photo 017 Kellum with gospel choir at WSBC radio’s “Wings over Jordan,” 1930s
Box 1 Photo 018 Kellum, portrait, undated
Box 1 Folder 019 Photocopies from scrapbook containing photographs described above


Print this page