White Wooden Beaded Clutch
- 20th century
- wooden beads, cotton, linen thread, metal zipper
- 3 15/16 × 6 1/4 × 13/16 in. (10 × 15.8 × 2 cm)
- White wooden beads cover this rectangular clutch. Linen thread stitches the beads into a grid held by a cotton support. The lining’s three seams are machine-stitched, as is the metal zipper spanning the purse’s top. The clutch belonged to renowned scholar-librarian Dorothy Porter Wesley (1905-1995). After finishing high school, Porter Wesley attended Miner Normal School, which trained teachers for the District’s then-segregated African American schools. However, Miner’s librarian, Lula Allen, encouraged her to pursue library science. Porter Wesley graduated from Howard University in 1928 and became the first African American to earn a master’s degree in library science from Columbia University in 1932. For over four decades, she worked to organize and develop an unparalleled collection rooted in African American history that would become the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University in Washington, DC.
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