Archives and Special Collections
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Boston, MA 02115
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Collection Overview

Historical Note

Scope and Content Note


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Collection Overview
Creator:Snowden, Muriel S. (Muriel Sutherland), 1916-1988.
Title:Muriel S. and Otto P. Snowden papers
Dates:1911-1990 (bulk 1947-1985)
Call Number:M17
Location:71/1, 72/4, FF1/D1
Volume:6.33 cubic ft. (7 boxes)
Scope and Content Abstract:The collection documents family, education, employment and community work prior to the founding of Freedom House, as well as service on boards of outside organizations, and personal awards. Highlights include: speeches given by Muriel S. Snowden, materials concerning, and correspondence between, Muriel S. Snowden and her brother William Sutherland, a peace activist in the U.S. and Africa, materials that document the Snowden's efforts to create a democratic parent teachers association as members of the Higginson School's Home and School Committee, and personal photographs of the Snowden and Sutherland families, including daughter, Gail Snowden.
Historical Abstract:Muriel S. and Otto P. Snowden were the founders and co-directors of Freedom House, a center for neighborhood improvement and community activism in the racially mixed neighborhood of Roxbury, Massachusetts. From 1949 until their retirement in 1984, the Snowdens were influential leaders in Boston's African American community. Muriel S. Snowden was raised in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, graduated from Radcliffe College in 1938, and attended the New York School of Social Work from 1943-1945. She married Otto P. Snowden in 1944 and moved to Boston where she became active in many civic organizations. She was executive director of the Cambridge Civic Unity Commission. Otto Phillip Snowden lived in Boston for most of his life. He graduated from Dorchester High School, attended Howard University from 1933-1937, and was a special graduate student at Boston University School of Social Work. He was director of St. Mark's Social Center before and after his military service in World War II. He was active in many professional and civic associations and was co-recipient of numerous awards with his wife.
Arrangement:Organized into 3 series: 1. Muriel S. Snowden Papers; 2. Otto P. Snowden Papers; and 3. Muriel S. and Otto P. Snowden Papers.
Subjects and Contributors:
  • Snowden, Gail
  • Snowden, Muriel Sutherland, 1916-1988
  • Sutherland, William, 1918-
  • Snowden, Otto Phillip, 1914-1995

  • Freedom House, Inc. (Roxbury, Boston, Mass.)
  • Cambridge Civic Unity Commission (Cambridge, Mass.)
  • St. Mark Social Center (Roxbury, Boston, Mass.)

  • African American civic leaders -- Massachusetts -- Boston
  • African American women political activists -- Massachusetts -- Boston
  • African Americans -- Political activity
  • Boston (Mass.) -- Race relations
  • Community Development, Urban -- Massachusetts -- Boston

Restrictions:The collection is unrestricted.
Processor:Finding aid prepared by Nancy Richards, Ellen Lassiter, December 1997, November 2005