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Hattie Aiken Robinson Family Correspondence

Identifier: MSN/MN 5017

Scope and Contents

The collection includes 33 items, primarily personal letters directed to Hattie Robinson by family members. The main correspondents are Hattie's estranged husband Clarence (2 letters, March-October 1935); her son Lloyd and Lloyd's wife, Bernice (9 letters, 6 February-12 November 1936); and her daughter Eva (19 letters, 31 January-13 December 1936). The letters were occasioned by the Robinson children's recent departure from the area around Texarkana, where the family had lived for several generations.


  • Creation: 1934-1936


Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Biographical / Historical

The recipient of the letters in this collection, an African-American woman named Hattie Aiken Robinson, was born ca. 1887-1890 in Bossier Parish in northwest Louisiana. She was the daughter of William and Nancy Aiken, both of whom were born in the Antebellum period, most likely as bondsmen. According to the 1910 Federal census the couple had 15 children over the course of their marriage, ten of whom were then living. The same census identifies William Aiken as a farmer, working his own land (near Plain Dealing in Bossier Parish). Hattie Aiken, then in her early 20s and living on the family farm, is identified as a laundress. Shortly thereafter Hattie married Cleveland C. Robinson (b. 1884); by the late 'teens the couple was living in Texarkana, Miller County, Arkansas, with a son (Lloyd, b. ca. 1912) and a daughter (Eva Vashti, b. ca. 1915). Cleveland Robinson was employed by the St. Louis Southwestern Railway, as porter, brakeman, and perhaps in other capacities. At some point, probably before 1930, Cleveland separated from the family in Texarkana, for reasons which are alluded to (but can scarcely be confirmed by) the letters. In 1934 he was living in St. Louis. By 1935 the two children had also left Texarkana. Eva Robinson attended college in Houston prior to beginning work as an elementary school teacher, first in the small town of Tollette in Howard County, Arkansas (Spring 1936) and subsequently in the larger town of Osceola, across the state in Mississippi County. In 1935 Lloyd Robinson followed the Great Migration north to Chicago, settling on the city's South Side and marrying an Arkansas woman named Bernice. At the end of 1936 Hattie Robinson was still in Texarkana.


.25 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



A group of 33 letters recording the personal affairs of a Depression-era African-American family. The letters are directed to Mrs. Hattie Aiken Robinson of Texarkana, Arkansas, by family members in Arkansas, St. Louis, and Chicago.


The collection consists of one series; materials are arranged chronologically, one item per folder.

Hattie Aiken Robinson Family Correspondence
Mairead O'Malley
November 2012
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Rare Books & Special Collections Repository

102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556