Era Bell Thompson Papers, 1924-1986
Extent: 2.25 Linear Feet
Date Acquired: 07/28/2014
The Era Bell Thompson Papers include a poem she wrote in high school, articles from the Dakota Student, and a transcript of an interview from 1978.
Note that a large Era Bell Thompson collection (99 linear feet) is located at the Chicago Public Library in the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature.
Era Bell Thompson was born 10 August 1906 in Des Moines, Iowa. Her parents were Stewart Calvin "Tony" and Mary Logan Thompson. At about the age of nine, Era Bell and her family moved to Driscoll, North Dakota. After graduating from high school in Bismarck, Thompson attended the University of North Dakota (UND) where she participated in various sports and wrote for the Dakota Student newspaper. Thompson transferred from UND after two years to Morningside College in Iowa where she received her bachelor of arts degree in 1933.
She eventually moved to Chicago where she worked for a time with the Public Works Administration and took advanced classes in the School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Thompson completed her first book American Daughter, an autobiography, in 1946 and later became managing editor with Ebony magazine. She received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from UND in February 1969 and the Theodore Roosevelt Roughrider Award from the State of North Dakota in 1976. The multicultural center (formerly the Black Cultural Center) at UND is named in her honor. Thompson wrote another book Africa, Land of my Father and was co-editor of the book White on Black. She died 30 December 1986 in Chicago.
Access Restrictions: Open for inspection under the rules and regulations of the Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections.
Acquisition Source: Unknown, though some materials were deposited by the Era Bell Thompson Multicultural Center
Acquisition Method: Donation; 2014-3271
Preferred Citation: (Description of Item). Era Bell Thompson Papers. OGLMC 1636, Box #, Folder #. Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections, Chester Fritz Library, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks.
Processing Information: Processed by Heather Hopkins, Special Collections work study student
Browse by Box:
[Oversize Folder 1: Oversize photograph of a young Era Bell Thompson],
- Box 1
- Folder 1: Poem, 1924
- Folder 2: Dakota Student and Alumni Review articles plus Dacotah yearbook entries, 1925-1981
- Folder 3: Book and newspaper articles (various) and memorial service program, 1987
- Folder 4: Transcript of an interview with Era Bell Thompson, March 1978
- Folder 5: Photographs
1636-1: Era Bell Thompson as a young woman standing outside a building (date and location unknown)
1636-2: head shot of Era Bell Thompson, ca. 1979
1636-3: similar photograph as 1636-2
- Folder 6: Correspondence, 1978-1979