Arthur W. Mitchell Papers

Institution: Chicago History Museum
1601 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60614
Phone: (312) 642-4600
Date: 1898-1968
Extent: 31 Linear Feet
Finding Aid
Access to this collection is restricted; please contact the holding institution for details.

Biographical/Historical Note:
Arthur Wergs Mitchell--teacher, lawyer, Congressman and farmer--was born in Roanoke, Alabama, on December 22, 1883, to Taylor and Ammar Mitchell. Both of his parents had been born into slavery, and his father worked as a farmer. From these modest beginnings, Mitchell became the first African American Democrat elected to the United States Congress (on November 6, 1934, representing the First Congressional District in Chicago, Illinois) and remained in office for four terms. He retired in 1942 and moved to Petersburg, Virginia, to work on his farm and to advance racial harmony in the South.

Access Note: This collection will be unavailable for several months while it is copied for online presentation. Chicago History Museum regrets the inconvenience to researchers. Please email to to learn if this material is still available for research use.

Scope and Content Note:
The Arthur W. Mitchell Papers consist primarily of 73 boxes of chronologically arranged correspondence, newspaper clippings, speeches, political advertisements, programs, and magazines. The bulk of this material is correspondence and newspaper clippings from Mitchell’s work in Congress, but a significant amount of Mitchell’s personal correspondence with family members and friends also is present. The collections includes stenographer’s notes on various court cases involving Mitchell; two microfilm reels of undated newsclippings from Mitchell scrapbooks; financial records; lists of names and addresses of some of the congressman’s correspondents and constituents; and copied notes from the files of the NAACP.

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