African American Studies at Beinecke Library

Manet Harrison Fowler and Manet Helen Fowler Papers

The Manet Harrison Fowler and Manet Helen Fowler Papers (JWJ MSS 59) are available for research.

A detailed description of the collection can be found online: Manet Harrison Fowler and Manet Helen Fowler Papers JWJ MSS 59.

Manet Harrison Fowler was an African American singer, musician, and educator from Fort Worth, Texas. She graduated from the Tuskegee Institute in 1913 and studied at the Chicago College of Music. She co-founded the Texas Association of Negro Musicians and in 1928 founded the Mwalimu School in Texas, later relocating it to Harlem. The school was associated with the Harlem Renaissance, providing educational opportunities in the arts for Harlem’s residents. Under the direction of Fowler, the Mwalimu School choir regularly performed and recorded. Fowler was also a painter whose style incorporated religious and civil rights themes. Manet Harrison Fowler was the wife of Stephen H. Fowler, and the mother of four children: Manet Helen (b. 1918), Stephen Hamilton (b. 1918), George Harrison (b. 1920), and Carroll Lacy (b. 1924). Manet Helen Fowler was the eldest daughter of Manet Harrison Fowler and Stephen H. Fowler. In 1952, she became the first African American woman to receive a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from a university in the United States.

The collection consists of material created and accumulated by Manet Harrison Fowler and her daughter Manet Helen Fowler. The Manet Harrison Fowler material documents her work as a singer, musician, and educator with the Mwalimu School and the Texas Association of Negro Musicians. The Manet Helen Fowler material documents her various research and professional activities with the Tarrant County Black Historical and Genealogical Society and other organizations. Material includes photographs; printed material relating to the Mwalimu School and sound recordings of the Mwalimu Festival Chorus; programs for performances by and sound recordings of Manet Harrison Fowler; and oil paintings by Manet Harrison Fowler. Also included are correspondence, research files, and personal papers of Manet Helen Fowler. The collection provides documentation of African American musicians and music education, particularly African American women musicians and teachers, during and after the Harlem Renaissance. (JM)

Image: Members of the New York City Mwalimu School Alumni Association, n.d.