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Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary’s Stitt Library joins Social Welfare History Image Portal partnership

September 19, 2018

VCU Libraries welcomes Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary’s Stitt Library as the Social Welfare History Image Portal’s newest partner.

The Social Welfare History Image Portal presents archival materials related to the history of social reform and social welfare in the United States. These images include photographs, pamphlets, placards, handbills, and comics pages drawn from the collections of VCU Libraries and other participating institutions. The Image Portal was awarded the Center for Research Libraries 2018 Primary Source Award for Access.

Stitt Library, on the campus of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Austin, Texas, supports the study and research needs of the seminary community, and serves as a resource to local clergy and the general public.

Along with historical materials that document Presbyterianism in Texas and the Southwest, the Austin Seminary Archives at Stitt Library holds a number of publications from the Atlanta-based Commission on Interracial Cooperation (CIC) and the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching (ASWPL) as part of their Jesse Daniel Ames collection.

The Southern Frontier, a monthly CIC newsletter from the 1940s

Stitt Library’s first Image Portal contributions include issues of The Southern Frontier, a monthly CIC newsletter from the 1940s that published stories of social progress, as well as stories of racial injustices faced by African Americans across the American South.

Kristy Sorensen, the Associate Library Director and Head of Archives and Records Management at Austin Seminary says, “There is a long history of overlap between the work of the church and social welfare work, and our collections at the Austin Seminary Archives reflect that. Today our students continue to be involved in improving social welfare, including those who are working towards a dual degree with Austin Seminary and The University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work.”

Alice Campbell, project manager for the Image Portal, reflected, “Public education is a huge part of any social reform movement and Stitt Library’s issues of The Southern Frontier demonstrate that so clearly. They give us a fascinating look into very early efforts at interracial cooperation in the days before desegregation. There are stories about African-American education, public health, and social justice across the South, and notices about the contributions of African-Americans to society. In the first issue, there’s a great story about the young pianist, Josephine Harreld, playing at the White House for Eleanor Roosevelt and guests.”

Welcome to the Social Welfare History Image Portal, Stitt Library!

The Image Portal is a collaborative project encouraging the use of primary sources and directing students and scholars to the institutions that hold these materials. If you have questions, or would like to learn more about becoming a partner institution, please contact Alice W. Campbell, digital outreach and special projects librarian for VCU Libraries at

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