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Ethel Moore family papers

Call Number: RH MS 559


Ethel Johnson Moore was a long-time resident of Lawrence, Kansas, along with several other members of her family. Her father became one of the first African American members of the Lawrence school board in the 1890s when he filled an unexpired term of another board member. This collection primarily reflects the activities of the women of the family, including Ethel Moore, her sister Lois Johnson Branch, her mother Lulu Johnson Irving, and her granddaughter Alice Fowler.


  • Creation: 1861 - 2014


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Ethel Moore

Ethel Johnson Moore was born in Lawrence, Kansas, on April 30, 1889, to Samuel Henry Johnson and Lula (Carr) Johnson. Her father, an engineer by trade, became one of the first African American members of the Lawrence school board when he filled an unexpired term of another board member from August 1891-April 1892.

The family moved to Alexandria, Indiana, in 1895, residing there until Mr. Johnson's death in 1906, at which time Mrs. Johnson moved her family back to Lawrence. Ethel, the oldest of eight children, discontinued school in order to help raise her younger siblings.

Her mother later married George Irving. Ethel received teacher training, but these aspirations were redirected when she went to work for Mrs. Jimmy Green, wife of the Dean of the School of Law at the University of Kansas.

At the age of twenty-four, Ethel married Milton M. Moore; they had seven children. Throughout her life, Ethel along with her sister, Lois Johnson Branch, was an active participant in local and national organizations affiliated with both the Baptist and African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Churches.

Ethel Moore died in January 1983. Her granddaughter, Alice Fowler, has remained in Lawrence as an active member of the First Regular Missionary Baptist Church.


4.25 Linear Feet (11 boxes + 1 oversize box, 1 oversize folder, 1 rolled textile)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The Ethel Moore family papers reflect the lives of not only Moore and her children and grandchildren, but also her siblings, mother (Lula Johnson Irving), and mother's sisters.

The papers are divided into six series: Personal Papers, Baptist Training Union, Church Activities, Organizations, Printed Material, and Photographs.

The Personal papers are divided into two subseries, Correspondence and Personal Records. The correspondence is primarily that of Lula Johnson Irving and Ethel Moore with Moore's siblings and children. Personal records correspond with the same group of individuals and consist of diaries and record books, legal and military documents, among other miscellanies. Where attributable to certain family members, items appear under names of the individuals, arranged alphabetically by family name.

The Baptist Training Union series includes correspondence and administrative material attributable to Lois Johnson Branch, a younger sister of Ethel Moore.

The two series titled Church Activities and Organizations are comprised of the event planning notes, performance programs, and administrative documents of a variety of religious, social, and civic groups in which the Johnson-Moore family members participated. These groups are arranged alphabetically under each respective series. Church activities includes a sub-series for the First Regular Missionary Baptist Church, which includes various church- and choir-related material.

The collection's printed materials, consisting of both serials and monographs, concern miscellaneous subjects and are arranged alphabetically by title.

Oversize materials, mostly related to the Personal Papers series, have been physically separated and are located at RH MS Q91 and RH MS R73. A quilt made by granddaughter Alice Fowler has also been physically separated and is located in Spencer's hanging storage for textiles.

The photographs of the Ethel Moore family, located at RH MS-P 559, consists largely of portraits, some unidentified, reflective of the Moore family genealogy; most of these subjects are not discussed in the manuscript collection. Also included are photographs of Lawrence, Kansas; churches and church groups; businesses; storm damage; and the early 20th-century Alexandria, Indiana, Power and Light Company, where Ethel Moore's father was employed from 1895-1906.

Physical Location

RH MS 559

Physical Location

RH MS-P 559

Physical Location


Physical Location


Physical Location

Hanging Storage

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Alice R. Fowler and Theron Wayne Brown; Denetta M. Foster, 2016.

Related Materials

First Regular Missionary Baptist Church Collection, Kansas Collection, RH MS 605, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Guide to the Ethel Moore family Collection
Ethel Moore family papers
Finding aid prepared by amc, 2004. Finding aid encoded by amc, 2004. Finding aid revised by cl, 2010; skt, 2010; eh, 2017; mwh, 2021.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Support for the processing of this collection was provided by the Dana and Sue Anderson African American Collecting Program Endowment Fund.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Ethel Moore family papers, Kansas Collection, RH MS 559, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States