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Collection Title: Maurer (John B.) Freedom Summer Photographs

Collection Number: M358

Dates: ca. 1964

Volume: ca. .25 cu. ft.

Provenance: Donated by John Maurer via Jim Kates on December 6, 2002

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

On July 7, 1925, John B. Maurer was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to B. Frank and Florence Bailey Maurer. He had one brother, B. Frank Maurer, Jr. His early schooling in Philadelphia included Lowell School, Wagner Jr. High, Olney High School, and finally Standard (?) Even High.
Maurer entered into World War II and was placed in a Navy "Seabees" unit in the South Pacific. The Seabees are construction battalions renown for fighting and building at the same time. On September 10, 1947, he married Jean Greenawalt in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They had six children, Joyce, John, James, Judith, Jacqueline and Jeffery.

Mr. Maurer graduated in 1950 with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Orsinus College and went on to receive a master's degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1953. He did post graduate work at the University of Connecticut.

From 1953 to 1971, he worked as a Presbyterian Minister. His work included drug counseling in a methadone program in Hartford, Connecticut and 22 years of service in the Connecticut Prison System as a counselor, therapist, and teacher.

His work during the 1960s for Civil Rights is one of his most noted achievements. In the summer of 1964, he and other volunteers from around the nation participated in the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project. The goal of the project was to educate and register to vote the oppressed African Americans of Mississippi. Mr. Maurer worked in Panola County. "It was an honor to serve in Mississippi during Freedom Summer, 1964," Maurer writes. He notes that his motivation for going was to "observe, [to] hear and witness and save lives. As the prophet said, 'Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God' [Micah 6:8]." He also helped in the voter registration campaign in Montgomery, Alabama after the Selma March (1965), where his Princeton classmate, James Reeb, was murdered.

John Maurer now lives in Waterbury, Connecticut. His hobbies include photography, reading, philosophy, culture and music, especially jazz, blues, classical, and choral singing.


Information from questionnaire completed by John Maurer.

Scope and Content:

This collection consists of photographs documenting John Maurer's activities as a volunteer worker in Panola County, Mississippi, during Freedom Summer. The majority of the photographs were taken in the cities and townships of Batesville, Crenshaw, Como, Ruleville, and Sardis, Mississippi in the summer of 1964, and they depict local people, various buildings, and other volunteers in the area. The images are arranged in the order in which they arrived.

Other Finding Aids:

Photograph Log

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