O’Quinn Family Papers

Dates: 1943-1984
Size: 0.75 linear feet, 109 photographs
Repository: Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center, Special Collections, 400 S. State St., Chicago, IL 60605
Collection Number: Archives_OQC
Provenance: The O’Quinn papers were donated by John W. And Cleodia D. O’Quinn to the Special Collections Division of Chicago Public Library in February 1985. This collection overlaps that of Bethel New Life in provenance. Original contact between Special Collections and the O’Quinns was made through Bethel New Life, but the Bethel material was accessioned into Special Collections and cataloged independently of the O’Quinn Collection.
Access: No restrictions
Citation: When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is: O’Quinn Family Papers [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections, Chicago Public Library.

Biographical Note

The O’Quinns are perhaps best known for the O’Quinn Royal Gladiators Drum and Bugle Corps, which they founded in 1962. The Corps has "posted the colors" in numerous community and city events, won awards and traveled nationwide, while providing recreation and training for hundreds of boys and girls. The Drum and Bugle Corps evolved out of the Fine Arts Academy organized by the O’Quinns in 1953. The Academy offered cultural education and a community studio for young people in Lawndale, including drama, music, dance, talent shows, parades, tutoring, counseling, job placement and arts and crafts.

John William O’Quinn was born in Larmon, Mississippi and attended Southern Christian College and Alcorn College before coming to Chicago. He served with the Navy in World War II. He graduated from the Chicago Barber College and was the owner and manager of the Triple Q Barbershop at 1218 S. Central Park Avenue in Lawndale. He served as scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop #3365 and participated extensively in other scout-related activities, earning a Distinguished Silver Beaver Award in 1973. In addition to his involvement with Boy Scouts, the Fine Arts Academy and the Drum and Bugle Corps, Mr. O’Quinn has been active in numerous community and youth organizations, including American Legion Posts #896 (Robert Brooks) and #1268 (Crispus Attucks), the American Boys Commonwealth, the Maxwell Street YMCA, the O'’Quinn Community Center, the Boys Brotherhood Republic, Reading is Fundamental and the Westside Citizens Organization. He was chairman of the Sears Art Festival parade committee and taught Sunday school. Mr. O’Quinn was the first black to run for Alderman of the 24th Ward. He died in 1996.

Cleodia Lyndon Dawkins O’Quinn’s community involvement has been equally extensive. Born in Sedalia, Mississippi, she attended Herzl Junior College and the Chicago Teachers College, holds a doctorate in theology and is a licensed evangelist. Like her husband, she has been heavily involved with the Drum and Bugle Corps, the Fine Arts Academy, the American Legion and scouting. She has served as director of teacher training for the Boy Scouts of America. In 1960 she was elected vice-mayor of Lawndale, a post she held for ten years. She represented Lawndale at the Conference of Women of Africa and African Descent (Ghana, 1960). Her activities have included leadership education, the Lawndale Women’s League, the Lawndale Professional Matrons and the Maxwell Street YMCA. She died around 2011.

Scope and Content

The Cleodia D. and John W. O’Quinn collection (OQC) consists of papers and photographs which reflect the O’Quinn’s lifelong participation in Lawndale Community affairs and youth organizations.

Papers in the OQC include biographical data, correspondence, speech drafts, awards, testimonials, programs, certificates, schedules, news clippings and other printed materials. Dates range from around 1949 to 1984. The documentation of Boy Scout Troop #3365 and the O’Quinn Royal Gladiators Drum and Bugle Corps is the most complete, and the correspondence of Cleodia D. O’Quinn is relatively extensive. The rest of the record, however, is incomplete. Important subjects in the manuscript collection include:

  • Boy Scouts of America
  • Conference of Women of Africa and African Descent
  • Lawndale Professional Matrons
  • O’Quinn, Cleodia D.
  • O’Quinn Fine Arts Academy
  • O’Quinn, John W.
  • O’Quinn Royal Gladiators Drum and Bugle Corps
  • Sears Annual Westside Art Fair
  • West Side Negro Women’s League

106 photographs dating from the early 1940s to 1984 appear in the Papers. Particularly plentiful are the photographs documenting the activity of the Boy Scouts and of the O’Quinn Royal Gladiators Drum and Bugle Corps. Although photographs of the O’Quinns and the children they worked with dominate the collection, the following persons, among others, appear: Susie Arrington, Clarence Cash, George Collins, Richard Daley, Ishmail Florey, Sugar Hampton, Otto Kerner, Benjamin Lewis, Cecil O’Quinn, Milton O’Quinn, Cecil Partee, Sylvester Rim, Dorothy Sardegon, O.B. Saryman, Niles Sherman, Walter Shumpert, Benjamin Simon, Oburn Simons, Ruth Watson, and Bill Willis.

Series 1: Personal Papers, 1957-1984

This series consists of biographical data on Cleodia D. and John W. O’Quinn, as well as correspondence, speech drafts and other materials relating to their activities. Also included are awards earned by Milton O’Quinn, testimonials for Cleodia L. Anderson Dawkins (Cleodia'’s mother) and Councilman Walter Shumpert and various certificates. The series is arranged into the following subseries: Cleodia D. O’Quinn, John W. O’Quinn, Milton O’Quinn, Certificates, and Testimonials.

Series 2: Clubs and Events, 1949-1984

This series contains programs, correspondence, schedules, news clippings and other printed materials from clubs and from Sears Annual Westside Art Fair. Most extensive are the records from the Royal Gladiators Drum and Bugle Corps and from the Boy Scouts of America Troop #3365. Materials are arranged alphabetically by name of club.

Related Materials

Bethel New Life Records

Container List

Series 1: Personal Papers, 1957-1984

Box 1 Folder 1 Cleodia D. O’Quinn, biographical
Box 1 Folder 2 Cleodia D. O’Quinn, Conference of Women of Africa and African Descent
Box 1 Folder 3 Cleodia D. O’Quinn, correspondence
Box 1 Folder 4 Cleodia D. O’Quinn, Mayoral campaign
Box 1 Folder 5 Cleodia D. O’Quinn, speeches
Box 1 Folder 6 John W. O’Quinn, biographical
Box 1 Folder 7 Milton O’Quinn, awards
Box 1 Folder 8 Milton O’Quinn, testimonials
Box 1 Folder 9 Milton O’Quinn, certificates

Series 2: Clubs and Events, 1949-1984

Box 1 Folder 10 Art Fair, Sears Annual Westside
Box 1 Folder 11 Boy Scouts of America, awards, certificates, and membership cards
Box 1 Folder 12 Boy Scouts of America, correspondence
Box 1 Folder 13 Boy Scouts of America, news clippings
Box 1 Folder 14 Fine Arts Academy
Box 1 Folder 15 Lawndale Professional Matrons
Box 1 Folder 16 Miscellaneous Clubs
Box 2 Folder 1 O’Quinn Royal Gladiators Drum and Bugle Corps, construction and by-laws
Box 2 Folder 2 O’Quinn Royal Gladiators Drum and Bugle Corps, correspondence
Box 2 Folder 3 O’Quinn Royal Gladiators Drum and Bugle Corps, historical sketches
Box 2 Folder 4 O’Quinn Royal Gladiators Drum and Bugle Corps, news clippings
Box 2 Folder 5-6 O’Quinn Royal Gladiators Drum and Bugle Corps, printed materials
Box 2 Folder 7 O’Quinn Royal Gladiators Drum and Bugle Corps, programs
Box 2 Folder 8 West Side Negro Women’s League

Photographs

Series 3: Business Establishments

Photograph 1.1 A. Pod Stock Holders’ meeting, circa 1950
Photograph 1.2 Buddy Bear Food Center, parade float, circa 1981
Photograph 1.3 Holiday Magic pageant, c circa 1968-1970
Photograph 1.4 Holiday Magic pageant, circa 1968-1970
Photograph 1.5 O’Quinn Fine Arts Academy, circa 1969
Photograph 1.6 Sears & Roebuck Company, art fair project, circa 1976
Photograph 1.7 Triple Q Barber Shop, 1218 S. Central Park, interior, staff, circa 1950
Photograph 1.8 Triple Q Barber Shop, 1218 S. Central Park, exterior, circa 1969
Photograph 1.9 Triple Q Barber Shop, 1218 S. Central Park, interior, circa 1950
Photograph 1.9a Triple Q Barber Shop, interior, circa 1950

Series 4: Religious Institutions

Photograph 1.10 St. Agatha Church, circa 1955

Series 5: Clubs and Organizations

Photograph 1.11 American Boys Commonwealth, Pack 3365, circa 1950
Photograph 1.12 American Legion, Robert Parks Post #896, circa 1948
Photograph 1.13 Boy Scouts of America, Cub Scout Troop #3365, circa 1950
Photograph 1.14 Boy Scouts of America, circa 1950
Photograph 1.15 Boy Scouts of America, circa 1954
Photograph 1.16 Boy Scouts of America, undated
Photograph 1.17 Boy Scouts of America, circa 1956
Photograph 1.18 Boy Scouts of America, circa 1958
Photograph 1.19 Boy Scouts of America, circa 1964
Photograph 1.20 Boy Scouts of America, circa 1964
Photograph 1.21 Boy Scouts of America, 1966 July 30
Photograph 1.22 Boy Scouts of America, 1966 July 30
Photograph 1.23 Boy Scouts of America, 1966 October 15
Photograph 1.24 Boy Scouts of America, circa 1968
Photograph 1.25 Boy Scouts of America, circa 1968-1969
Photograph 1.26 Boy Scouts of America, circa 1969-1970
Photograph 1.27 Boy Scouts of America, undated
Photograph 1.28 Boy Scouts of America, undated
Photograph 1.28a Boy Scouts of America, outside Triple Q Barber Shop, circa 1950 [see Oversize Photographs Box 1]
Photograph 1.34 Carey Tercentenary (Methodist Church), circa 1960
Photograph 1.29 Conquerors Baseball Team, circa 1960
Photograph 1.107 Eagles Baseball Team, circa 1940
Photograph 1.108 Eagles Baseball Team, 1940
Photograph 1.30 Green Donkeys Social Club, ball, circa 1976
Photograph 1.31 Lakers Basketball Team, circa 1950
Photograph 1.32 Lawndale Education and Civic Organization, circa 1955
Photograph 1.33 Lawndale Youth Commission, circa 1968-1969
Photograph 1.35 O’Quinn Royal Gladiators Drum & Bugle Corps, circa 1966
Photograph 1.36 O’Quinn Royal Gladiators Drum & Bugle Corps, circa 1966
Photograph 1.37 O’Quinn Royal Gladiators Drum & Bugle Corps, 1966 July 12
Photograph 1.38 O’Quinn Royal Gladiators Drum & Bugle Corps, 1967 December
Photograph 1.39 O’Quinn Royal Gladiators Drum & Bugle Corps, circa 1967-1969
Photograph 1.40 O’Quinn Royal Gladiators Drum & Bugle Corps, circa 1970
Photograph 1.41 O’Quinn Royal Gladiators Drum & Bugle Corps, circa 1970
Photograph 1.42 O’Quinn Royal Gladiators Drum & Bugle Corps, 1970 December
Photograph 1.43 O’Quinn Royal Gladiators Drum & Bugle Corps, circa 1970-1973
Photograph 1.44 O’Quinn Royal Gladiators Drum & Bugle Corps, c circa 1975-1983
Photograph 1.45 O’Quinn Royal Gladiators Drum & Bugle Corps, circa 1980
Photograph 1.46 O’Quinn Royal Gladiators Drum & Bugle Corps, circa 1987
Photograph 1.47 O’Quinn Royal Gladiators Drum & Bugle Corps, circa 1981
Photograph 1.48 O’Quinn Royal Gladiators Drum & Bugle Corps, circa 1982
Photograph 1.49 O’Quinn Royal Gladiators Drum & Bugle Corps, circa 1982
Photograph 1.50 O’Quinn Royal Gladiators Drum & Bugle Corps, circa 1983
Photograph 1.51 O’Quinn Royal Gladiators Drum & Bugle Corps, circa 1983
Photograph 1.52 O’Quinn Royal Gladiators Drum & Bugle Corps, 1983
Photograph 1.53 West Side Citizens Organization, circa 1950-1955

Series 6: Municipal Agencies

Photograph 1.54 Department of Human Services, 1978
Photograph 1.55 Department of Human Services, Voter Registration, circa 1973
Photograph 1.56 Poverty Program Workshop, circa 1967
Photograph 1.57 Poverty Program Workshop, circa 1969-1970

Series 7: Parks

Photograph 1.58 Douglas Park, reopening of the fountain, circa 1967

Series 8: Portraits and Family Photographs

Photograph 1.59 No photo for this number
Photograph 1.60 Crafte, Rev. Helen, pastor West Side Center of Truth, 1982
Photograph 1.61 Daley, Richard J. (1902-1976) with Santa Claus and others, circa 1965-1973
Photograph 1.109 Daley, Richard presents Eagle Scout Award to Milton O’Quinn, 1956
Photograph 1.62 Hoover, Leonard, undated
Photograph 1.63 Howard, Lilly, in Ghana, circa 1960
Photograph 1.64 Lewis, Benjamin (alderman, d. 1960s), and Cleodia O’Quinn, circa 1963
Photograph 1.65 Lewis, Benjamin, circa 1963
Photograph 1.66 Moore, Mattie, circa 1973
Photograph 1.67 O’Quinn, Cleodia, circa 1947
Photograph 1.68 O’Quinn, Cleodia, circa 1947-1948
Photograph 1.69 O’Quinn, Cleodia, circa 1953
Photograph 1.70 O’Quinn, Cleodia, 1959
Photograph 1.71 O’Quinn, Cleodia, Mayor of Lawndale Inaugural Ball, 1960
Photograph 1.72 O’Quinn, Cleodia, 1960
Photograph 1.73 O’Quinn, Cleodia, 1960
Photograph 1.74 O’Quinn, Cleodia, 1962
Photograph 1.74a O’Quinn, Cleodia, 1960
Photograph 1.75 O’Quinn, Cleodia, circa 1974
Photograph 1.76 O’Quinn, Cleodia, circa 1983
Photograph 1.77 O’Quinn, Cleodia, circa 1983
Photograph 1.78 O’Quinn, Cleodia, circa 1984
Photograph 1.79 O’Quinn, Cleodia, circa 1984
Photograph 1.80 O’Quinn, Cleodia, undated
Photograph 1.81 O’Quinn, John W., circa 1940
Photograph 1.81a O’Quinn, John W., circa 1937
Photograph 1.82 O’Quinn, John W., circa 1940
Photograph 1.83 O’Quinn, John W., 1943
Photograph 1.84 O’Quinn, John W., circa 1950
Photograph 1.85 O’Quinn, John W., circa 1976
Photograph 1.86 O’Quinn, John W. and Cecil O’Quinn, circa 1944
Photograph 1.87 O’Quinn, John W. and Cleodia, wedding picture, 1940
Photograph 1.88 O’Quinn, John W. and Cleodia, circa 1959-1965
Photograph 1.89 O’Quinn, John W. and Cleodia, circa 1960
Photograph 1.90 O’Quinn, John W. and Cleodia, circa 1962-1963
Photograph 1.91 O’Quinn, John W. and Cleodia, 1970 January 23
Photograph 1.92 O’Quinn, John W. and Cleodia, 1973
Photograph 1.93 O’Quinn, John W. and Cleodia, circa 1980
Photograph 1.94 O’Quinn, John W. and Cleodia, circa 1981
Photograph 1.95 O’Quinn, John W. and Cleodia, undated
Photograph 1.96 O’Quinn, John W., Cleodia, and Milton O’Quinn, undated
Photograph 1.97 O’Quinn, John W., and son, Milton, circa 1956
Photograph 1.98 O’Quinn family, 1960
Photograph 1.99 Rim, Representative Sylvester, undated
Photograph 1.100 Sardegon, Dorothy, circa 1979
Photograph 1.101 Shumpert, Walter, circa 1979
Photograph 1.102 Shuttleworth, Mrs. Rev., undated
Photograph 1.103 Simons, Oburn, circa 1979
Photograph 1.104 Tyree, Lacy L. and Leola A. Tyree, 1977
Photograph 1.105 Willis, Bill, circa 1950

Series 9: Street Scenes

Photograph 1.106 1500 Central Park, circa1954 (previously identified as “Congress Ave [sic])
Print