Dempsey Travis Papers

Institution: Chicago History Museum
1601 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60614
Phone: (312) 642-4600
Date: 1949-1977
Extent: 7.5 Linear Feet
Finding Aid

Biographical/Historical Note:
Dempsey J. Travis was an African-American World War II veteran, real estate developer, and mortgage broker, and author from Chicago. Travis founded the Travis Realty Company in 1949 and Sivart Mortgage Company in the early 1950s, which focused on revitalizing real estate in Chicago’s South Side. "Sivart" is a reverse spelling of "Travis." In addition, Travis served two terms as president of the Dearborn Real Estate Board (1957-1958, 1966-67) and in 1961 founded the United Mortgage Brokers of America, a professional organization geared towards minority mortgage bankers. Travis was also president of the Chicago branch of the NAACP (1959-1960) and served on several presidential commissions on urban development and renewal during the Johnson and Nixon administrations. He wrote several books and commentaries, including An autobiography of Black Chicago (1981) and Real estate is the gold in your future (1988). He also was a member of the board of trustees of Chicago Historical Society.

Scope and Content Note:
Correspondence, newspaper clippings, meeting minutes, journals and magazines, legal documents, and other papers of Dempsey J. Travis, a African-American real estate developer, mortgage broker, author, and civil rights advocate. The collection largely consists of correspondence regarding the United Mortgage Brokers of America (UMBA), which Travis established and served as president (ca. 1961-1970). Also included are correspondence and administrative files of Sivart, Travis’ mortgage company headquartered in Chicago’s South Side, and materials on Travis' service on boards and commissions. Newspaper clippings, magazines, and other materials regarding real estate, urban development, economics, race relations and racial discrimination, civil rights, politics, and other topics are also present.

Related Material: None