Neal F. Simeon Papers

Dates: 1942-1967
Size: 2 linear feet
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: Donation of Sharon Simeon [daughter of Neal Simeon] in 1979
Access: No restrictions

When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is:

Neal F. Simeon 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, May 2021

Biographical Note

Neal Ferdinand Simeon was born in Chicago in 1916 and was of Creole descent. He graduated from Doolittle Elementary School and went on to graduate from Wendell Phillips High School in 1934. Simeon received his Bachelor of Arts in Mechanical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1938. He started working under Benjamin Willis at the Chicago Board of Education in 1942., and later served in the United States Navy from 1944-1945. After WWII, he went to Northwestern University and received a Master of Arts in Educational Administration.

Simeon’s career as an educator began when he became a teacher at Wendell Phillips Evening High School.  A short time later, he became a full time machine shop teacher at Dunbar Vocational High School where he successively served as Administrator, Placement Counselor, Assistant Principal, and as Director of Special Projects in Vocational Education.  In 1961, the Chicago Board of Education appointed him Director of Vocational Education and Guidance Centers for the Chicago public schools. This position gave him a citywide voice in creating and developing vocational education for Chicago youth and made him the highest paid African American employee at the Board. Simeon represented the United States at the 1962 International Trade Fair in Lagos, Nigeria. Simeon died in 1963.

Scope and Content

Simeon was one of 16 teachers who organized Dunbar Trade School (now Dunbar Vocational High School) in 1948 and later served as acting Director of Dunbar. In 1962, Neal Simeon was asked by President John Kennedy to represent the United States Exhibit of New Tools, New Skills, and New Markets in Nigeria.


There are 4 series in this collection: Biography, Newspaper Clippings, Scrapbook and Photographs. Each series is in chronological order. The biographical series features materials unrelated to Neal Simeon at the end. The scrapbook covers local and international educational events during 1947.

Related materials

Related materials at the Chicago Public Library include:

Container List

Series 1: Biography, 1942-1967

Box 1 Folder 1 US Department of Commerce Civil Aeronautics Administration identification card, 1942 June 14
Box 1 Folder 2 Northwestern University School of Education grades, 1948-1949
Box 1 Folder 3 Northwestern University School of Education transcript, 1958
Box 1 Folder 4 Retirement and congratulation card, circa 1961
Box 1 Folder 5 Neal Simeon’s passport, 1962
Box 1 Folder 6 United States Department of Commerce personal history, circa 1962
Box 1 Folder 7 United States Department of Commerce International Trade Fair in Lagos, Nigeria, 1962
Box 1 Folder 8 Sympathy telegrams, including telegrams from the O’Bannons, Mayor Richard J. Daley, the Abbotts, Dunbar PTA, Willa Brown, Frederick Sengstacke family and Betty Thurman, 1963 August
Box 1 Folder 9 Purgatorial Society Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, circa 1963
Box 1 Folder 10 Certificate of Enrollment in the Seraphic Mass Association, 1963 August 28
Box 1 Folder 11 American Cancer Society donation in memory to Dr. Neal F. Simeon, 1963 September 3
Box 1 Folder 12 Newspaper clipping, “Congratulations are exchanged by Neal Simon and Berenice McDermott”, undated
Box 1 Folder 13 Newsletter, The Technometer, 1964 October
Box 1 Folder 14 Neal Simeon memorabilia, undated
Box 1 Folder 15 Hilda Lee Anderson obituary, 1967
Box 1 Folder 16 Helen Penn Simeon international driving permit, 1962 November 21

Series 2: Newspaper-clippings, 1959-1963

Box 1 Folder 17 “Seeks Wider Use of Dunbar High,” Chicago Defender, 1959 May 18
Box 1 Folder 18 Madison, Eddie. “Personality Spotlight,” Chicago Defender, 1959 October 17
Box 1 Folder 19 “Simeon Named to High Board Post,” Chicago Defender, 1961 June 3
Box 1 Folder 20 “Neal Simeon may get new school post,” Chicago Defender, 1962 June 13
Box 1 Folder 21 “Chicagoan gets briefing,” Chicago Defender, 1962 July 10
Box 1 Folder 22 “Revise Public School Study Plan Upward,” Chicago Tribune, 1962 July 8
Box 1 Folder 23 “Set Rites for Neal Simeon, 46,” Chicago Defender, 1963 August 31

Series 3: Scrapbook, 1947

Box 2   Scrapbook, 1947

Series 4: Photos, undated

Box 2 Folder 1 Neal Simeon, undated. Photo by Valentine
Box 2 Folder 2 Neal Simeon and 2 unidentified men, undated
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