Robert O. French Papers

Robert O. French Papers, 1902-2007
Dates: 1902-2007
Size: 9 linear feet (9 archival boxes)
Repository: Chicago Public Library, Carter G. Woodson Regional Library, Vivian G. Harsh Research collection of Afro-American History and Literature, 9525 S. Halsted St., Chicago, IL 60628
Collection Number: 1999/08
Provenance: Donation of Robert O. French, September 20, 1999. Subsequent additions by Mr. French in 2000-2007.
Access: No restrictions
Citation: When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is: Robert O. French Papers [Box #, Folder #], Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature, Chicago Public Library.
Processed by: Jeanie Child, Harsh Archival Processing Project
Supervised by: Beverly Cook, Assistant Curator, Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature, Chicago Public Library; Michael Flug, Senior Archivist, Harsh Archival Processing Project

Biographical Notes

Annie Minerva Turnbo (Pope) Malone

Annie Turnbo Malone (1869-1957), founder of Poro College and Poro beauty products, was one of America’s earliest and most successful African American beauty culture entrepreneurs. Before African American women had access to professional hair care and products, she had invented her own hair care preparations and equipment, after which she devised a worldwide franchise system of marketing. By the mid-1920s her Poro enterprise had made Malone one of the wealthiest African Americans in the country, and she was nationally known for her munificent philanthropy to African American churches, community organizations and institutions of higher learning.

Malone was born Annie Minerva Turnbo on or about August 9, 1869, the youngest of 11 children of Robert and Isabella (Cook) Turnbo, on their farm outside Metropolis, Ill. Her parents, who had almost certainly been born into slavery, both died before she was old enough for school. She was raised by older siblings, particularly a sister, Laura Roberts, and she demonstrated talent and interest in hair care from an early age. Malone later recalled having moved to a sister’s in Peoria in order to attend the high school, but withdrawing from school after but a couple of years because of illness. She described her fascination with chemistry, which led to her creating and testing various hair care formulas until she had perfected her “Wonderful Hair Grower.” The free demonstrations she offered soon brought her many orders to fill. During the next decade Malone recruited family to help, sold products door-to-door, and moved her business to Lovejoy, Ill., (now Brooklyn) and thence across the Mississippi River to St. Louis in time for the 1904 World’s Fair. In 1902 she married Nelson Pope, described as a Spanish-American War veteran and janitor, but that marriage was short-lived.

Located in “The Ville,” St. Louis’ most affluent African American neighborhood, Malone’s hair care enterprise thrived. Such neighborhoods burgeoned in the first three decades of the 20th century, as African American migration made this the “golden age of black business” within a segregated Jim Crow social economy, especially for entrepreneurs in larger cities with growing concentrations of African Americans. The relatively lucrative business of black beauty products attracted other ambitious women, notably Madam C. J. Walker (Sarah Breedlove) and Sarah Spencer Washington, also fabulously successful. Walker began as a Poro agent and was accused by Poro of marketing Poro products as her own. To protect her investment, Malone in 1906 devised the trademark name “Poro,” later described as a compound of the first two letters of “Pope” and “Roberts.” She also obtained patents for her products. Meanwhile, training of Poro agents and beauticians was expanded to a full cosmetology curriculum and certification was devised to guarantee authenticity of the products they alone were allowed to sell. By 1926 Malone had opened Poro College branches in nearly two dozen of the largest U.S. cities and boasted some 75,000 agents in the Eastern and Western hemispheres.

In 1918 Malone opened in St. Louis her block-long, five-story, $300,000 Poro College building that housed classrooms, laboratories, dormitories, offices, apartments, travel accommodations, dining facilities, a large auditorium and the legendary roof garden. Poro immediately became the hub of “The Ville,” as well as mecca for nationwide religious, artistic and social gatherings at a time when African Americans were denied accommodations and venues available to whites.

Before the Depression, Poro beauty culture operators could earn more than 10 times a domestic servant’s wages, and more than once Malone was forced to flee irate white employers after a successful Poro recruitment tour south of the Mason-Dixon line. Such experiences inspired Malone to dedicate her work to “better the condition of [my] people.” A gifted speaker and writer, she taught not only the techniques and products of beauty care but (in her words) “dignity, grace, beauty, industry, thrift, godliness… ideals that should be held aloft for the glorification of the women and girls of my race.” Such ideals saw material substance in Poro’s empowerment of African American women who had been restricted from all but the most menial of jobs in the larger white community. Furthermore, Poro agents could improve the welfare of their own communities by organizing “Poro Clubs”—democratic community service organizations that also linked agents to Poro headquarters.

Malone counted esteemed African Americans as her colleagues and supporters: newspaper publishers Robert Abbott and the Claude Barnetts; Thomas A. Dorsey and countless other musicians, Chicago attorney Edith Sampson, Tuskegee’s Booker T. Washington and Oberlin College’s Hallie Q. Brown; and national leaders from the A.M.E. and other churches. In 1922 Kittrell College in North Carolina awarded Malone an honorary master of arts, and in 1931 she was awarded another from Howard University, whose medical school had previously received $10,000 of Malone’s philanthropy. Although Poro competed with Madame C. J. Walker’s own beauty empire, Walker’s Chicago agent Marjorie Stewart Joyner and Bethune-Cookman College founder Mary McCleod Bethune both worked with Malone on national issues such as beauty parlor licensing. In St. Louis, Malone’s financial support and active board membership were critical in building a new facility for the Colored Children’s Home in 1922. That institution was re-named the Annie Malone Children’s Home in 1946. Malone herself served actively in the A.M.E. church, the Republican Party, the WCTU and the (National) Businessman’s League throughout most of her life.

Annie Turnbo Pope had remarried (c. 1916), to Aaron E. Malone, a childhood schoolmate, whom she installed as president of Poro while remaining fully in control as Poro’s founder. In 1927 their divorce involved a struggle in court for the Poro enterprise, for which Annie Malone received much public support and ultimately the Poro business largely intact. But financial losses from this and from the arrival of the Great Depression may have contributed to Malone’s 1930 decision to move Poro headquarters to Chicago, which already had a strong Poro branch and wider marketing potential.

Poro continued to flourish as a beauty school and culture business throughout the Depression and even World War II—while serving as gathering spot for fine arts, service and professional groups. Key organizations in the struggle for equality, such as the Chicago Urban League and the NAACP, held meetings there. However, Malone’s refusal to pay a 20 percent federal excise tax instituted in the 1920s—as well as local property taxes—caught up with her in 1951 when federal receivership took over the Poro business and properties were lost in foreclosure. Community support for her was vocal but did not produce financial assistance. Two of Malone’s nephews were able to restore Poro’s product line, which sold for at least another 20 years. However, the African American beauty culture business itself transformed, as mass advertising replaced door-to-door outreach, as white-owned corporations marketed beauty products to black women and as new middle-class employment opportunities for women appeared outside of the African American community. Malone died May 10, 1957, in Chicago’s Provident Hospital, her age given as 87 and her estate listed as $100,000. She was buried in Burr Oak Cemetery in Worth, Ill. Both Poro College in St. Louis and the Poro Block in Chicago were subsequently demolished. But Poro beauty operators and their Poro Clubs persisted; the last Poro College, in Cincinnati, is said to have closed in 1989.

Robert O. French

Robert O. French was born in 1923 in Annie Turnbo Malone’s hometown of Metropolis, Ill. His mother’s family was descended from Malone’s Turnbo ancestors.

From the beginning, Malone recruited and hired family members, including her siblings and their descendents, to work in her Poro business at various St. Louis locations. When Malone moved Poro headquarters from St. Louis to Chicago’s south side in 1930, several family members joined in the move. Family continued to be employed there, including French, who began working there in 1946, beginning as switchboard operator and gradually gaining experience in doing “everything,” including class registrar. He became close to Malone, who took him along as she traveled to Poro’s beauty schools and organizations in other cities. During these tours French met notable African American citizens, especially musicians, many of whom visited Chicago and stayed at Poro College. W.C. Handy, Mary McLeod Bethune, Langston Hughes and Marian Anderson were just a few of the cultural icons that Malone introduced to French and to Poro’s hospitality. French became close to Ottoway (alt.: Ottaway) O. Morris, executive secretary of the YMCA, first in St. Louis and then at the Wabash/Washington Park YMCAs in Chicago.

French attended Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. On campus he was among the charter members who established SIU’s local Kappa Alpha Psi men’s fraternity in 1951. He maintained his association with this national African American fraternity throughout his life. He continued to work for Poro until Malone’s death in 1957, and thereafter with Malone nephew Dr. Milo Turnbo (1907-1993) until Poro ceased to operate. French also continued his involvement with African American cosmetology associations, including the National Poro Association. He helped organize Heritage of Afro American Beauty Industry, Inc., a group formed in the 1980s to preserve this aspect of African American history.

Robert French decided to collect the historical documentation of Annie Turnbo Malone and Poro after he learned that most family photographs or documents had not been saved, partly because of the upheaval of Malone’s move from St. Louis to Chicago and partly through other family members’ neglect. His association with Poro provided access to some of the Poro material that comprises this collection. He also contacted persons who remembered Poro for records and interviews, generating more material. French collected files of various subjects that are related to the Poro story and that illustrate aspects of African American history and culture. Those include the history of African Americans in St. Louis (“The Ville”), aspects of African American beauty culture, and the relationship between Poro and aviator John C. Robinson.


  • Blackwelder, Julia Kirk. Styling Jim Crow: African American Beauty Training during Segregation . College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2003.
  • Bundles, A’Lelia Perry. On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker . New York: Scribner, 2001.
  • Dawson, Nancy J. “Annie Minerva Pope Turnbo-Malone.” Encyclopedia of African American Business History . Ed. Juliet E. K. Walker. Westport CT: Greenwood Press, 1999. (see for complete listing of biographical reference sources)
  • Gill, Tiffany M. Beauty Shop Politics: African American Women’s Activism in the Beauty Industry . Urbana, Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2010.
  • Ingram, John N. and Lynne B. Feldman. African-American Business Leaders: A Biographical Dictionary . Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1994.
  • Rooks, Noliwe. “Annie Turnbo Malone.” The African American National Biography . Eds. Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Evelyn Brooks-Higginbotham. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.
  • Willett, Julie. Permanent Waves: The Making of the American Beauty Shop . New York: New York University Press, 2000.

Harsh Research Collection Holdings Relevant to Annie Turnbo Malone and Poro

The following collections contain material related to the Robert O. French Papers: the Horace Cayton Papers, the Marjorie Stewart Joyner papers, the McGill Family Papers, the Theodore Charles Stone Papers and the Eugene Winslow Papers.

Collections at Other Institutions Relevant to Annie Turnbo Malone and Poro

  • Booker T. Washington Papers, Library of Congress
  • Claude Barnett Papers, Chicago History Museum
  • Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library
  • Western Historical Collection, University of Missouri

Scope and Content Note

The papers of Robert O. French comprise the materials and artifacts collected by French, a nephew and also assistant (1946-1957) to Poro College and Poro beauty product company founder Annie Turnbo Malone (ca.1869-1957). These materials include biographical material on Malone, as well as a small amount of her correspondence. A significant portion of the collection was generated by the Poro enterprise (1915-1960s), such as graduation and other event programs, advertising and other promotional material, photographs and memorabilia. Because Robert French dedicated himself to collecting and preserving Poro’s history, his papers include his research files on various aspects of Poro, Annie Turnbo Malone’s life, and related subjects such as African American beauty culture in America and the history of “The Ville” neighborhood of St. Louis. Also included is correspondence that French carried out while he conducted this research or maintained ties with out-of-town college friends. Some biographical French material relates to his involvement with various Poro organizations, the YMCA, African American beauty culture associations and his college fraternity. Certain items are photocopied from originals, which are not included in the collection.

Much less documentation is provided on Poro College curricula, Poro Company financial, organizational or product manufacturing records, and records of Annie Turnbo Malone’s birth, schooling, marital status or earliest business enterprises.

The collection has been arranged to reflect Robert French’s own file system or other provenance of materials as closely as possible. Therefore the researcher will find many folders that combine a variety of correspondence, event programs, news clippings and photocopies of photographs. However, the collection’s photographs, audiovisual media and memorabilia have been housed separately.

The collection has been arranged in 10 series:

  1. Annie M. Turnbo Malone Biographical Materials . Arranged by topic, and chronologically within, are Malone’s personal documents, her obituaries and examples of her correspondence (1919-1950), all relating to Poro enterprises. Also included is a variety of secondary biographical data collected from various sources by Robert French. More information on Malone is found in Series 2 and Series 6.
  2. Poro College and Poro Company Products . Reflecting the life of Poro College and its related business enterprises from 1915 to the 1960s, this series provides materials produced by Poro, such as graduation and other event programs, promotional booklets and advertising. The items may or may not reflect their hierarchical Poro source, which would include Poro headquarters (St. Louis until 1930, Chicago after 1930), Poro branches (many larger cities, including Chicago before 1930) or Poro’s organizational functions (e.g., teaching, recruiting, advertising). The series is arranged chronologically by folder and within folders, with news clippings (collected by Robert French) at the end of the series. Photographs taken at various events are found in Series 7.
  3. Poro Social Clubs and Organizations . This series includes programs from National Poro Association conventions from the 1950s through the 1980s, as well as items produced by Poro social clubs from Chicago, St. Louis and a few other cities from the same period. Included are materials arising from Robert French’s own involvement with these activities. The series is arranged alphabetically by topic, chronologically within folders, with news clippings at the end of the series. Photographs taken at various events are found in Series 7.
  4. Annie Malone Children’s Home . This series provides programs and news clippings documenting the story of the Annie Malone Children’s Home, or the St. Louis Colored Children’s Home, as this St. Louis institution was known before 1946. Absent is original paperwork detailing the massive funding Malone provided for a new building in the 1920s, and her long service as board member until sometime after World War II. However, Robert French’s correspondence (also found in Series 6) indicates a relationship he maintained with the home as it continued its active service into the 21st century. Also, a significant portion of this series relates the history of “The Ville” neighborhood of St. Louis in which the home is located. This series is arranged chronologically, with news clippings at the end of the series.
  5. African American Beauty Culture . Materials herein relate to Robert French’s participation in various beauty culture associations organized to promote professional beauty culture practice in the African American community. A folder pertaining to the Heritage of Afro American Beauty Industry, Inc., details the efforts of the profession to preserve the history of African American beauty culture (1980s-2000s). Series arrangement is mostly alphabetical by topic, chronological within folders.
  6. Robert French Research Files . French’s correspondence, located first in this series, illustrates his research into Poro’s history and also his personal relationships from Poro or from his college days. Included is correspondence with other repositories to which he donated items related to Poro and Malone. This series also includes extensive secondary source information about the historic “Ville” neighborhood in St. Louis. Materials documenting the founding of the Southern Illinois University’s Kappa Alpha Psi chapter, with French as a charter member [c. 1950], also comprise a folder. Also found in this series are files French created as he carried out his Poro research on such topics as African American Chicago banker Jesse Binga, Burr Oak Cemetery and St. Louis journalist Nancy Garrett Fields. The series concludes with funeral programs and related obituaries collected by French, which detail the lives of former Poro employees and agents as well as other notable African Americans located mostly in Chicago and St. Louis. These include funeral programs for Dr. Milo Turnbo, Malone’s nephew who assumed leadership of Poro shortly before she died, and for Robert French’s brother James. However, the researcher should note that funeral programs and related obituary material may also be found elsewhere in the collection.
  7. Photographs . The photographs include several early (c. 1920) portraits of Annie Malone and a few views of various Poro College graduations, Poro Club events and holiday celebrations. Over a dozen photos document the Malone gravesite at Burr Oak Cemetery. Robert French is shown at various Poro graduations and beauty culture conventions (1950s-1980s), and with his Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity brothers at various times and locations, including the founding of the Southern Illinois University chapter (1951). Also found in this series are several photographs of Ottoway (alt.: Ottaway) O. Morris, YMCA executive administrator and friend of Malone and French, both in St. Louis and in Chicago. In a few instances, a photocopy replaces the original photograph that is not available. For photographs from Poro’s early history the researcher should examine the Poro publications “Souvenir of Poro College” and “‘Poro’ in Pictures,” which are found in Series 2.
  8. Audiovisual Material . This series contains two audiocassettes of an interview of Robert French conducted under Harsh Research Collection auspices by Michael Flug and Alexis McCoy. French discussed his relationship to his aunt Annie Turnbo Malone and the history of Poro. Also in this series, a St. Louis TV video documentary (“Living St. Louis—Annie Malone”) provides interviews of persons who worked with or who remembered Poro and its founder [c. 1972].
  9. Memorabilia . Of particular interest are eight original labeled containers for various Poro beauty products, not dated. Other items in this series include original Poro advertising, Poro postcards, Poro dealer membership card, publicity materials, sales forms and tickets to Poro events, relating to Poro in Chicago and many of which were created after Malone’s death in 1957. Also found are Robert French’s own membership cards and name tags from various beauty culture conferences and the YMCA of Chicago.
  10. Books . Collected by Robert French during his Poro employment and/or research are two volumes relating to African American history in Missouri, and a standard textbook on cosmetology (1960).

Container List

Robert O. French Papers, 1902-2007

Series 1: Annie M. Turnbo Malone (ATM) Biographical Materials
Box 1 Folder 1 Annie M. Turnbo Malone – Certificate of marriage to Nelson Pope June 25, 1902
Box 1 Folder 2 A. T. Malone – Program, Howard University Commencement, granting Honorary Master of Arts 1931
Box 1 Folder 3 A. T. Malone – Death certificate and burial permit May 1957
Box 1 Folder 4 A. T. Malone – Funeral program, May 15, 1957
Box 1 Folder 5 A. T. Malone – A. T. Malone obituaries (with clippings) May, 1957
Box 1 Folder 6 A. T. Malone – A. T. Malone memorial service programs 1957-1980
Box 1 Folder 7 A. T. Malone – Correspondence, ATM to Poro dealers, 1919
Box 1 Folder 8 A. T. Malone – Correspondence, ATM to Poro dealers, 1930
Box 1 Folder 9 A. T. Malone – Correspondence, ATM to Poro dealers, [n.d., c. 1930 -1957]
Box 1 Folder 10 A. T. Malone – Correspondence, ATM to O. O. Morris, 1941
Box 1 Folder 11 A. T. Malone – Correspondence, ATM to Cellie B. Parrish, 1947-1948
Box 1 Folder 12 A. T. Malone – Correspondence, ATM to Mrs. Humphrey, 1949
Box 1 Folder 13 A. T. Malone – Correspondence, ATM to Goldie C. Vincent, 1950
Box 1 Folder 14 A. T. Malone – Biographical research articles, exhibits, clippings (collected by Robert French)
Box 1 Folder 15 A. T. Malone – Biographical research websites (provided by Robert French)
Box 1 Folder 16 A. T. Malone – Programs from relevant events and exhibits (collected by Robert French) 1987-2004
Series 2: Poro College and Poro Company Products
Box 1 Folder 17 Poro College – Search results for Poro, in St. Louis city directories 1915-1933
Box 1 Folder 18 Poro College – St. Louis [building department] property records and building permits [1917-1950s]
Box 1 Folder 19 Poro College – Program book “Souvenir of Poro College” (St. Louis) [c. 1920]
Box 1 Folder 20 Poro College – Sheet music “Harlem Blues” by W.C. Handy (reference to Poro in lyrics) 1922
Box 1 Folder 21 Poro College – Ladies’ Orchestra (St. Louis; picture only) 1925
Box 1 Folder 22 Poro College – Souvenir book “‘Poro’ in Pictures” (St. Louis) 1926
Box 1 Folder 23 Poro College – Graduation Program “Greater Bethel A.M.E. Church Presents Poro” (Chicago) [c. 1930]
Box 1 Folder 24 Poro College – Ad layout [1930s]
Box 1 Folder 25 Poro College – Diploma of Claudie Laughlin 1936
Box 1 Folder 26 Poro College – Graduating class of 1938
Box 1 Folder 27 Poro College – Souvenir Program “Forty-fifth Anniversary” (Chicago) 1945
Box 1 Folder 28 Poro Beauty School (Pittsburgh) Postcard view [c. 1945]
Box 1 Folder 29 Poro College – Commencement Program (Chicago) 1946
Box 1 Folder 30 Poro College – [Program book page] framed oil portrait of Annie M. Turnbo Malone, unveiling ceremony, Chicago [1946]
Box 1 Folder 31 Poro College – Commencement Program (Chicago) 1947
Box 1 Folder 32 Poro – Brochure, National Convention of Poro Dealers (Cincinnati) 1948
Box 1 Folder 33 Poro College – Desk copies of convention programs, National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc. 1948, 1950
Box 1 Folder 34 Poro Products – Brochure (Chicago) [c. 1950]
Box 1 Folder 35 Poro College – Program “Poro Day in the Churches of Chicago” 1950
Box 1 Folder 36 Poro Products – Brochure (Chicago) [c. 1950s]
Box 1 Folder 37 Poro College & Products – Display Advertisement by Charles C. Dawson (Chicago), commercial artist working for Poro, with website information by Tim Jackson, at [1950s]
Box 2 Folder 1 Poro College – Program “A Coiffeurs of Nations Contest” (Chicago) 1953
Box 2 Folder 2 Poro College – Commencement Program (Chicago) 1955
Box 2 Folder 3 Poro College – Commencement Program (Chicago) 1956
Box 2 Folder 4 Poro College – Commencement Programs “Paragon,” (Indianapolis) 1956, 1959
Box 2 Folder 5 Poro College – Invitations to Commencement (Chicago) 1957-1963
Box 2 Folder 6 Poro College – Commencement Program (Chicago) 1961
Box 2 Folder 7 Poro College – Programs, various Poro events [c. 1959-1962]
Box 2 Folder 8 Poro College – Photocopies of Poro artifacts [n.d.] photographed 2000
Box 2 Folder 9 Poro College – Clippings file 1920-1959, [n.d.]
Box 2 Folder 10 Poro College – Clippings file 1960s-1970s
Box 2 Folder 11 Poro College – Clippings file 1980s
Box 2 Folder 12 Poro College – Clippings file 1990s-2000s
Series 3: Poro Social Clubs and Organizations
Box 2 Folder 13 National Poro Association, Inc. Convention Programs 1950s
Box 2 Folder 14 National Poro Association, Inc. Convention Attendees 1967 (photocopy)
Box 2 Folder 15 National Poro Association, Inc. Convention Programs 1970s
Box 2 Folder 16 National Poro Association, Inc. Convention Programs, 1980s
Box 2 Folder 17 Poro Social Club (St. Louis) Programs 1949-1987
Box 2 Folder 18 Poro College – Program “Poro Beauticians’ Annual Tea” (Chicago) 1955
Box 2 Folder 19 Poro Beauticians Club (Chicago) Program “Swirls, Curls & Fashions for 1966”
Box 2 Folder 20 Poro Beauticians (Chicago) Program “50 Years of Hairstyling” 1967
Box 2 Folder 21 Poro Beauticians (Chicago) Program “Annual Exotic Fashions” 1975
Box 2 Folder 22 Poro Social Clubs & Organizations – Clippings file 1950s-1980s
Series 4: Annie Malone Children’s Home
Box 2 Folder 23 Annie Malone Children’s Home – Program, “St. Louis Colored Children’s Home Presents Roland Hayes, Tenor” 1926
Box 2 Folder 24 Annie Malone Children’s Home – Annual Report 1954
Box 2 Folder 25 Annie Malone Children’s Home – Annual Report 1957
Box 2 Folder 26 Annie Malone Children’s Home – Program, 90th Anniversary Banquet 1978
Box 2 Folder 27 Annie Malone Children’s Home – Program, 90th Anniversary “Musical Potpourri” 1978
Box 2 Folder 28 Annie Malone Children’s Home – Newsletter 1979
Box 2 Folder 29 Annie Malone Children’s Home – Program, 93rd Anniversary May Day Celebration 1981
Box 2 Folder 30 Annie Malone Children’s Home – Program, 94th Anniversary May Day Celebration 1982
Box 2 Folder 31 Annie Malone Children’s Home – Program, Dedication for Adolescent Center for Boys 1983
Box 2 Folder 32 Annie Malone Children’s Home – Brochure, Family Crisis Center [c. 1985]
Box 2 Folder 33 Annie Malone Children’s Home – Program, Dedication of Annie Malone Drive 1986
Box 2 Folder 34 Annie Malone Children’s Home – Expansion proposal [c. 1986]
Box 2 Folder 35 Annie Malone Children’s Home – Newsletter [c. 1986]
Box 2 Folder 36 Annie Malone Children’s Home – Program, 98th Anniversary May Day Parade 1986
Box 3 Folder 1 Annie Malone Children’s Home – Program, “Peace Today for Tomorrows’ Children” Soiree 1991
Box 3 Folder 2 Annie Malone Children’s Home – Services Brochure [c. 1992]
Box 3 Folder 3 Annie Malone Children’s Home – Brochure, Expansion Project [n.d.]
Box 3 Folder 4 Annie Malone Children’s Home – Clippings file 1950s-1990s
Box 3 Folder 5 Annie Malone Children’s Home – Clippings file 2000s
See Box 7, folder M-29 for clipping, “Annie Malone Children and Family Service Centers, 8th Annual Golf Tournament” [n.d.]
Series 5: African American Beauty Culture
Box 3 Folder 6 AHBAI (American Health and Beauty Aids Institute) – Program, Proud Lady Beauty Show “On the Cutting Edge” 1990
Box 3 Folder 7 Bronner Brothers International Beauty Show – Program 1983
Box 3 Folder 8 Bronner Brothers 43rd International Beauty Show – Program 1990
Box 3 Folder 9 Bronner Brothers 44th International Beauty Show – Program 1991
Box 3 Folder 10 Bronner Brothers 45th International Beauty Show – Program 1992
Box 3 Folder 11 Cosmetologists State Board Exam Review Book (Milady Publishing Corporation, 1983)
Box 3 Folder 12 Heritage of Afro American Beauty Industry, Inc. – Programs 1988-1994
Box 3 Folder 13 Madame C. J. Walker – research materials collected by Robert French
Box 3 Folder 14 Madame Sara S. Washington – research materials collected by Robert French
Box 3 Folder 15 African American Beauty Culture – research materials collected by Robert French
Series 6: Robert French Correspondence and Research Files
Box 3 Folder 16 Correspondence – American Health and Beauty Aids Institute (AHBAI), 1990
Box 3 Folder 17 Correspondence – Annie Malone Children’s Home, 1979
Box 3 Folder 18 Correspondence – APEX/African American Panoramic Experience, 1991
Box 3 Folder 19 Correspondence – Berkey, Susie (Mrs.), 1977
Box 3 Folder 20 Correspondence – Bethune Museum & Archives, Inc., National Historic Site, 1984-1992
Box 3 Folder 21 Correspondence – Blackamore, Olivia McDavid, 2001
Box 3 Folder 22 Correspondence – Bronner Brothers International Beauty Show, 1990
Box 3 Folder 23 Correspondence – Brzeczek, Richard J., 1982
Box 3 Folder 24 Correspondence – Carey, Archibald J. (Hon.), 1971
Box 3 Folder 25 Correspondence – Chicago Committee on Urban Opportunity, 2001
Box 3 Folder 26 Correspondence – Chicago Sun-Times (includes article on Robert French and Thomas A. Dorsey, by Don Hayner), 2003
Box 3 Folder 27 Correspondence – Courts, Clara, 2005
Box 3 Folder 28 Correspondence – Crawford, Merceedis (envelope only), 2006
Box 4 Folder 1 Correspondence – Dickerson, Edward, 1994
Box 4 Folder 2 Correspondence – DuSable Museum of African American History (Leroy Winbush), 2000
Box 4 Folder 3 Correspondence – Essence Magazine , 1992
Box 4 Folder 4 Correspondence – Greene, Lorenzo J., 1987
Box 4 Folder 5 Correspondence – Greer, Lewis, 1987
Box 4 Folder 6 Correspondence – Grooms, Milton K., Jr. (envelope only), 1999
Box 4 Folder 7 Correspondence – Gwynn, Florence, 1990
Box 4 Folder 8 Correspondence – Hale, Matt (Reverend), 2002
Box 4 Folder 9 Correspondence – Haley, Alex, 1982
Box 4 Folder 10 Correspondence – Harsh Research Collection (Michael Flug), 2003-2007
Box 4 Folder 11 Correspondence – Heritage of the Afro-American Beauty and Barber Industry, Inc., 1989
Box 4 Folder 12 Correspondence – Huff, Martha, 2006
Box 4 Folder 13 Correspondence – Johnson, Ken, 1999-2004
Box 4 Folder 14 Correspondence – Josephita Pastoral Center, 1988
Box 4 Folder 15 Correspondence – Kringel, Ruth, 1994 (See also photo, Box 6 #051)
Box 4 Folder 16 Correspondence – Kyle, Walter, Jr., 1990
Box 4 Folder 17 Correspondence – Leland, Mickey, 1989
Box 4 Folder 18 Correspondence – Lloyd’s of Lawndale Sportswear, [c. 1999]
Box 4 Folder 19 Correspondence – Parsons, James B. (Hon.), 1967
Box 4 Folder 20 Correspondence – Phillips, Evelyn Newman, 2002
Box 4 Folder 21 Correspondence – Reese, DeAnna, 2002
Box 4 Folder 22 Correspondence – St. Louis American (to editor, commending Annie Turnbo Malone coverage), 1983
Box 4 Folder 23 Correspondence – Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (NYPL), 1985-1999
Box 4 Folder 24 Correspondence – Sunset Manufacturing Company, 2000
Box 4 Folder 25 Correspondence – Vincent, Goldie Copher (Poro employee & social club leader, St. Louis), 1990-2002
Box 4 Folder 26 Correspondence – Wilson, Robert H., 2003
Box 4 Folder 27 Correspondence – Wineman, John S., 1962
Box 4 Folder 28 Correspondence – Wolff, Peter M., 1986-1999
Box 4 Folder 29 Correspondence – [unknown] “F. H. R.” [c. 1961]
Box 4 Folder 30 Correspondence – [unknown] “Mike” [nephew, n.d.]
Box 4 Folder 31 Financial records – Robert French at Poro in Chicago (incl. medical) [1950s]
Box 4 Folder 32 Financial records – Hardy, Mary E. (74-year Poro employee) burial arrangements 1986
Box 4 Folder 33 Research file – Binga, Jesse
Box 4 Folder 34 Research file – Burr Oak Cemetery
Box 4 Folder 35 Research file – Dillard University
Box 4 Folder 36 Research file – Fields, Nancy Garrett
Box 4 Folder 37 Research file – Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity materials c. 1950-1991
Box 4 Folder 38 Research file – Robinson, John C. & School of Aviation at Poro (Chicago) [c. 1936-1954]
Box 4 Folder 39 Research – [St. Louis Directory] “Your St. Louis and Mine,” Publisher, N.B. Young [c. 1937-1938]
Box 4 Folder 40 Research – The Ville Foundation, campaign programs and flyer 1995-1998
Box 4 Folder 41 Research – “The Ville” [St. Louis Neighborhood] National Landmarks Register Application (draft) [1990s]
Box 4 Folder 42 Research – The Ville: St. Louis by John A. Wright, Sr. (Black America Series, Arcadia Publishing, 2001)
Box 4 Folder 43 Research – Report, “The Ville:” The Ethnic Heritage of an Urban Neighborhood , Carolyn Hewes Toft, editor (Social Science Institute, Washington University, 1975) [second printing, Landmarks Association, 1980]
Box 4 Folder 44 Research file – Wabash YMCA and Ottoway [alt.: Ottaway] O. Morris (includes Crute correspondence) 1980s
Box 5 Folder 1 Research file – Miscellaneous materials [1970s-1990s]
Box 5 Folder 2 Research file – Miscellaneous programs and brochures 1950s-2000s
Box 5 Folder 3 Research file – Miscellaneous clippings [1960s-2000s]
Box 5 Folder 4 Research file – Obituaries and related correspondence 1989-2006
Box 5 Folder 5 Funeral Program – Archer, Margaret A. (March 24, 2005)
Box 5 Folder 6 Funeral Program – Blewett, Kenneth Gibson (February 12, 1986
Box 5 Folder 7 Funeral Program – Browning, Frank L., Jr. (June 27, 2002)
Box 5 Folder 8 Funeral Program – Browning, Frank L., Sr. (December 23, 1998)
Box 5 Folder 9 Funeral Program – Browning, Myra L. (May 11, 2002)
Box 5 Folder 10 Funeral Program – Carter, Harry Joseph, Jr. (October 17, 2003)
Box 5 Folder 11 Funeral Program – Cochran, Johnnie L., Jr. (March 29, 2005)
Box 5 Folder 12 Funeral Program – Dailey, Larry James (August 2004)
Box 5 Folder 13 Funeral Program – Davis, Evelyn (July 16, 1972)
Box 5 Folder 14 Funeral Program – Davis, Julia (Dr.) (April 26, 1993)
Box 5 Folder 15 Funeral Program – Foster, LaDoris Jean (April 21, 2005)
Box 5 Folder 16 Funeral Program – French, James E. (June 18, 2005)
Box 5 Folder 17 Funeral Program – Gordy, Bertha Ida (January 31, 1975)
Box 5 Folder 18 Funeral Program – Hayes, Grace C. (June 13, 1999)
Box 5 Folder 19 Funeral Program – Humphrey, Bertha Mae (February 22, 1999)
Box 5 Folder 20 Funeral Program – Jackson, Andrew S. (April 10, 1993)
Box 5 Folder 21 Funeral Program – Jackson, Emerson Jefferson (July 30, 1991)
Box 5 Folder 22 Funeral Program – Johnson, Leatha LaVera (October 22, 2005)
Box 5 Folder 23 Funeral Program – King, Martin Luther, Jr. (April 9, 1968)
Box 5 Folder 24 Funeral Program – Mack, Laura [Lenoir] Hughes (December 30, 2003
Box 5 Folder 25 Funeral Program – McDaniel, Esther (May 3, 1989)
Box 5 Folder 26 Funeral Program – McMillian, Theodore (Hon.) (January 18, 2006)
Box 5 Folder 27 Funeral Program – Parsons, James Benton (Hon.) (June 19, 1993)
Box 5 Folder 28 Funeral Program – Peterson, Pearl Green (December 30, 1983
Box 5 Folder 29 Funeral Program – Shelton, Horace, Sr. (April 22, 2004)
Box 5 Folder 30 Funeral Program – Smith, Margaret (May 16, 2005)
Box 5 Folder 31 Funeral Program – Spaulding, Marva Trotter Louis (December 2000)
Box 5 Folder 32 Funeral Program – Stepto, Robert Charles (April 16, 1994)
Box 5 Folder 33 Funeral Program – Thompson, Arvell S. (June 9, 2005)
Box 5 Folder 34 Funeral Program – Thompson, Era Bell (December 30, 1986)
Box 5 Folder 35 Funeral Program – Turnbo, Milo R. (Dr.) (June 13, 1993
Box 5 Folder 36 Funeral Program – Warfield, William (August 25, 2002)
Box 5 Folder 37 Funeral Program – Wilson, Clarence Hayden (March 1968
Box 5 Folder 38 Funeral Program – Winbush, LeRoy (May 4, 2007)
Series 7: Photographs
Box 6 001 Poro Beauty School, Pittsburgh [c. 1945]
Box 6 002 Annie T. Malone, with “Sunshine Sammy” and Mr. Morrison 1923
Box 6 003 Annie Turnbo Malone, with unidentified woman 1918
Box 6 004 Annie T. Malone, with Mrs. Caribe Lewis, at dinner party, 4415 S. Parkway [c. 1931]
Box 6 005 Robert French, with A. T. Malone’s Mason & Hamlin grand piano, 1955. See also Box 3, folder 26
Box 6 006 Annie T. Malone – framed oil portrait of Malone, by “artist from Panama,” in unveiling ceremony, Chicago [c. 1946]
Box 6 007 Poro College parade float, Bud Billiken Parade [c. 1950]
Box 6 008 Poro Club – Chicago tea 1959
Box 6 009 Poro College – Employee Christmas dinner 1946
Box 6 010 Annie T. Malone – Poro’s 45th Anniversary – “money cape” 1945
Box 6 011 Annie T. Malone – at Poro College graduation, with Robert French and Dr. Lawrence E. Nicholson [1950s]
Box 6 012 Annie T. Malone – portrait [c. 1920] See also #16, 19
Box 6 013 Annie T. Malone – at Poro College graduation, with Robert French and Dr. Lawrence E. Nicholson 1955
Box 6 014 Annie T. Malone – at Poro College graduation, with Robert French [c. 1950]
Box 6 015 Poro College class of [1954], with Robert French
Box 6 016 Annie Turnbo Malone – portrait [c. 1920] See also #12, 19
Box 6 017 Mr. and Mrs. Joshua Green, uncle and aunt of Robert French [c. 1925]
Box 6 018 Poro College graduation class (photo by Frank Browning, Jr.) 1940
Box 6 019 Annie T. Malone – portrait [c. 1920] See also #12, 16
Box 6 020 Memorial service for Annie T. Malone at gravesite, Burr Oak Cemetery 1973
Box 6 021 Memorial service for Annie T. Malone at gravesite, Burr Oak Cemetery [c. 1973]
Box 6 022 Memorial service for Annie T. Malone at gravesite, Burr Oak Cemetery [c. 1973]
Box 6 023 Headstone for Annie T. Malone grave at Burr Oak Cemetery [c. 1987]
Box 6 024 Headstone for Annie T. Malone grave at Burr Oak Cemetery 2002
Box 6 025 Headstone for Annie T. Malone grave at Burr Oak Cemetery 2002
Box 6 026 Headstone for Annie T. Malone grave at Burr Oak Cemetery 2002
Box 6 027 Headstone for Annie T. Malone grave at Burr Oak Cemetery 2002
Box 6 028 Headstone for Annie T. Malone grave at Burr Oak Cemetery 2002
Box 6 029 Headstone for Annie T. Malone grave at Burr Oak Cemetery 2002
Box 6 030 Gravesite of Annie T. Malone, Burr Oak Cemetery [c. 2002]
Box 6 031 Burr Oak Cemetery 2002
Box 6 032 Burr Oak Cemetery 2002
Box 6 033 Poro College and A. T. Malone artifacts and memorabilia (display) [c. 2000]
Box 6 034 Carter, Harry Joseph, Jr. (owner, Carter’s Funeral Home) [n.d.]
Box 6 035 A. T. Malone promotional brochure “Success Against the Odds” [n.d.]
Box 6 036 Annie T. Malone home, 4415 S. Parkway – backyard view [n.d.]
Box 6 037 Poro Convention, Indianapolis 1967
Box 6 038 Poro Convention, Indianapolis 1967
Box 6 039 Poro Convention, Indianapolis 1967
Box 6 040 Poro Convention, Memphis TN, speaker Robert French 1971
Box 6 041 Poro Convention, with Goldie Vincent [St. Louis, c. 1976]
Box 6 042 Poro Convention, with Goldie Vincent [St. Louis, c. 1976]
Box 6 043 Vincent, Goldie, receiving Mayoral Proclamation on 100th birthday, Hazelwood, MO 2001
Box 6 044 Vincent, Goldie Copher – Funeral 2002
Box 6 045 Morris, Ottoway [alt.: Ottaway] O. (“O.O. Morris”), YMCA, Chicago [n.d.]
Box 6 046 Morris, Ottoway [alt.: Ottaway] O. (on left), at YMCA, Chicago, O. O. Morris Room [n.d.]
Box 6 047 Worrill, Walter (on left), at YMCA, Chicago [n.d.]
Box 6 048 Morris, Ottoway [alt.: Ottaway] O., at YMCA [n.d.]
Box 6 049 Morris, Ottoway [alt.: Ottaway] O. [n.d.]
Box 6 050 Hudson, Doris & Hewitt, [Carbondale IL [YMCA] [n.d.]
Box 6 051 Kringel, Ruth and Leon on 50th Anniversary Cruise 1980 (2 photos) See also Box 4, Robert French correspondence: Kringel
Box 6 052 Apartment interior [n.p., n.d.]
Box 6 053 Apartment interior [n.p., n.d.]
Box 6 054 Apartment interior [n.p., n.d.]
Box 6 055 Apartment interior [n.p., n.d.]
Box 6 056 Interior, plaques on wall [n.p., n.d.]
Box 6 057 Outdoor event gathering [n.p., n.d.]
Box 6 058 Outdoor event gathering [n.p., n.d.]
Box 6 059 Outdoor event gathering [n.p., n.d.]
Box 6 060 French, Robert, with C.R. Wilson and Emerson Jackson at Rodger Wilson Retirement Party [n.d.]
Box 6 061 Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Gamma Epsilon Chapter, SIU charter members 1951 (with Robert French)
Box 6 062 Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Gamma Epsilon Chapter, SIU charter members [c. 1951]
Box 6 063 Annie T. Malone, in [Poro?] garden (photocopy only) [1940s]
Box 6 064 Poro Club event (photocopy only) [unidentified, c. 1960s]
Series 8: Audiovisual Materials
Box 7 AV-01 Audio cassette, “Robert French” (Sides 1 and 2) Interview, by Michael Flug and Alexis McCoy (about Annie Malone) June 26, 2002
Box 7 AV-02 Audio cassette, “Robert French” (Sides 3 and 4) Interview, by Michael Flug and Alexis McCoy (about Annie Malone) June 26, 2002
Box 7 AV-03 Video, “Annie Malone,” segment of “Living St. Louis,” with host Jim Kirchnerr, KETC-TV [c. 1972]
Series 9: Memorabilia and Oversized
Box 7 M-01 Advertisement card – Poro Hair and Beauty Products (Chicago) [n.d.]
Box 7 M-02 Dues card – Poro Beauticians’ Club, Mr. Robert French 1972-1973
Box 7 M-03 Letterhead correspondence cards, Robert O. French [n.d.]
Box 7 M-04 Membership card – Poro National Honor Roll [n.d.]
Box 7 M-05 Membership card – Poro College, Inc., for Poro dealer [n.d.]
Box 7 M-06 Membership card – YMCA of Chicago, Wabash Ave., Robert O. French 1954
Box 7 M-07 Name tag – AHBAI Proud Lady Beauty Show, for Robert French, Heritage of Afro American Exhibitor [1990]
Box 7 M-08 Name tag – National Poro Association, Mr. Robert O. French 1971
Box 7 M-09 Palm card – Chicago Poro Club (advertising bus tour to St. Louis) 1976
Box 7 M-10 Poro College and Products, Inc. – Price list and order blank (Chicago) [1950s]
Box 7 M-11 Poro College and Products, Inc. – Invoice form (Chicago) [1950s]
Box 7 M-12 Poro College and Products, Inc. – Invoice copy for sales analysis form (Chicago) [1950s]
Box 7 M-13 Poro College and Products, Inc. – Parcel slip form (Chicago) [1950s]
Box 7 M-14 Postcard – view of Poro College, St. Louis, MO [n.d.]
Box 7 M-15 Postcards – AHBAI Convention (Sheraton Peabody Hotel, Memphis, TN) [c. 1988]
Box 7 M-16 Receipt book [Poro College] 1951
Box 7 M-17 Ticket – Poro Beauticians’ “The Greatest All Male Fashion Show” 1980
Box 7 M-18 Ticket – Poro Club “Moonlight Cruise” 1973
Box 7 M-19 Advertising Placard – “Poro Puts Beauty in Your Hair” [1960s]
Box 7 M-28 News clipping – “Annie Malone Centennial Celebration Parade,” St. Louis Argus , May 1988 (Original and two photocopies)
Box 7 M-29 News clipping – “Annie Malone Children and Family Service Centers 8th Annual Golf Tournament” (St. Louis) [n.d.]
Box 7 M-30 Transparencies – Poro College, misc. publications and other related material, mostly partial copies, 1920s and 1930s (with photocopies)
Box 7 Folder 65 [Photos] of [Joseph D. Russell, Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity] (photocopies only, 4 sizes) [c. 1950]
Box 8 M-20 Container: Poro Special for the Hair (1.5 oz. tin)
Box 8 M-21 Container: Poro Special for the Temples (1.5 oz. tin)
Box 8 M-22 Container: Poro Special No. 2 (1.5 oz. tin)
Box 8 M-23 Container: Poro Special No. 3 (1.5 oz. tin)
Box 8 M-24 Container: Poro Tetter [treatment] (1.5 oz. tin)
Box 8 M-25 Container: Poro Shampoo (16 oz. bottle)
Box 8 M-26 Container: Poro Talcum (with contents remaining) (3.5 oz. can)
Box 8 M-27 Container: Poro Pressing Oil (12 oz. tin)
Series 10: Books
Box 9 Greene, Lorenzo J., Gary R. Kremer and Antonio F. Holland. Missouri ’s Black Heritage. Revised and updated by Gary R. Kremer and Antonio F. Holland. University of Missouri Press, 1993.
Box 9 Holland, Antonio F., with Timothy R. Roberts and Dennis White, Rosemary Hearn, ed. The Soldiers’ Dream Continued: A Pictorial History of Lincoln University of Missouri . Lincoln University Printing Services, 1991.
Box 9 Kibbe, Constance V. Standard Textbook of Cosmetology . Milady Publishing Corporation, 1981.
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