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Collection Title: Falk (Leslie A.) African American History Research Collection

Collection Number: M391

Dates: 1842-1999

Volume: 1.8 cu. ft.

Provenance: Materials in the collection were generated and/or collected by Leslie A. Falk

Donor: Donated by Leslie A. Falk in May of 2000

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


Leslie A. Falk, born on April 19, 1915, was reared in St. Louis, Missouri. By 1936, he graduated from the University of Illinois, entered Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and applied for a Rhodes Scholarship. From 1937 to 1940, the Rhodes Scholarship enabled him to attend Oxford University, work with Sir Howard Florey (and other scientists) in the development of a method for the extraction of penicillin from mold, and attain the Doctor of Philosophy in Medical Science.

In 1942, he obtained his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, started a one-year residency at Johns Hopkins, and married Joy Hume, a happy union, which later resulted in four children: Gail, Ted, Don, and Beth. From 1943 to 1946, he served in the U. S. Army, Medical Corps. In November of 1948, he accepted the position of Area Medical Administrator for the United Mine Works Welfare and Retirement Fund in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a position he would hold until 1967. But, while holding the position, he was also very active in the civil rights movement. In 1963, he was a member of the Medical Committee for Human Rights (MCHR), which served the medical needs of civil rights and other activists during the sixties, and for a short time, he served as the MCHR’s first field secretary in Mississippi. His daughter, Gail, also participated in Mississippi Freedom Summer 1964. After Freedom Summer 1964, he returned to his Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, position, where he formed a MCHR Pittsburgh chapter and attended national MCHR meetings.

On October 1, 1967, he accepted a faculty position with the Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. While at Meharry he served as an officer in the MCHR Meharry chapter, and as President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

In 1986, his wife, Joy, died of cancer. In 1987, he retired from Meharry, moved to Vermont, and energetically devoted more time to researching and writing about the Underground Railroad, African American heroes, and African Americans who pioneered in the field of medicine.


Contents of the Collection.

Other Finding Aids:

Box and Folder List
Photograph Log

Related Collections:

M388 Blumenthal (Daniel S.) Papers
M375 Martin (Josephine D.) Papers
M368 Miller (Michael J.) Civil Rights Collection

Scope and Content:

This collection contains materials on Dr. Leslie A. Falk’s medical career and on his Civil Rights activities in Mississippi, but the bulk of the collection consists primarily of African American history materials on the Underground Railroad, African American heroes, and African Americans who pioneered in the field of medicine. The collection should be of interest to researchers of Civil Rights activities, the Underground Railroad, African American heroes, or African Americans who pioneered in the field of medicine.

Box and Folder List

Box 1  
Folder 1 Leslie A. Falk—Biographical and Personal 1992-1993; undated
Folder 2 Falk Correspondence to Other People 1974; 1996; undated
Folder 3 Falk Handwritten Notes undated
Folder 4 Correspondence Written to Falk 1976, 1990-1996; undated
Folder 5 Falk-Related Correspondence—Leaving Pittsburgh ca. September-October 1967
Folder 6 Falk Writings (General) September 26, 1996; undated
Folder 7 Falk Writings (Published; General) 1940-1953; 1980
Folder 8 “The Rise and Decline of the UMWA Health and Retirement Funds Program 1946-1994” April 7, 1994
Folder 9 Highlander Research and Education Center 1971; undated
Folder 10 Final Report: Follow Up Survey of Coal Miners September 20, 1972
Folder 11 American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM) 1999; undated
Folder 12 American Association for the History of Medicine (AAHM) 1990
Folder 13 Photographs and Photocopies undated
Folder 14 Transparencies undated
Box 2  
Folder 1 “A Selective List of Books About Negroes” undated
Folder 2 “Directory of Afro-American Resources” undated
Folder 3 Kellogg-Hubbard Library—Books on Africa undated
Folder 4 African-American History (General) 1997; undated
Folder 5 African American Genealogy October-December 1996
Folder 6 African American Population Statistics (1790-1860) undated
Folder 7 “Black Pittsburgh: A social History, 1790-1840” Clarence Rollo Turner March 1974
Folder 8 “On Negro Historical Societies Here” October 1968
Folder 9 New York’s African Free School (1830-1840) undated
Folder 10 African American Occupations in New York city (1850) undated
Folder 11 African American Population in Middlebury, Vermont (1790-1860) undated
Folder 12 Nat Turner undated
Folder 13 Abolitionism 1969
Folder 14 Henry Highland Garnet undated
Folder 15 Wendell Phillips undated
Folder 16 William Lloyd Garrison Writings undated
Folder 17 Writings about William Lloyd Garrison undated
Folder 18 Harriet Tubman undated
Folder 19 Sojourner Truth undated
Folder 20 William Wells Brown undated
Folder 21 John Brown undated
Folder 22 Underground Railroad undated
Folder 23 Underground Railroad in New England 1976
Folder 24 Underground Railroad (Vermont) 1996; undated
Folder 25 African American Emigration to Africa ca. 1840s-1980s
Folder 26 “A Brief Bibliography of Early Healers and Doctors” September 11, 1989
Folder 27 Early African American Physicians (1740-1790) undated
Folder 28 “Negro Health on the ante Bellum Plantations” 1941
Folder 29 The Health and Physique of the Negro American 1906
Folder 30 The First Medical College in Vermont, Castleton, 1818-1862 (fragment) (Frederick Clayton Waite) 1949
Folder 31 The History of the Negro in Medicine (fragment) Herbert M. Morais 1968
Folder 32 “Ideals of Science and Their Discontents in Late Nineteenth Century American Medicine” September 1991
Box 3  
Folder 1 “A Bibliography of Minority Medical Students Black Medical Professionals” undated
Folder 2 Afro-American Healers: A Historical Perspective Sam Cameron 1987
Folder 3 Dr. John Shaw Billings undated
Folder 4 Dr. Zabdiel Boylston undated
Folder 5 Dr. Henry Ingersoll Bowditch undated
Folder 6 Writings by and about Dr. Martin R. Delany undated
Folder 7 Dr. Martin. R. Delany-Related Writings undated
Folder 8 Writings by Dr. Martin Delany undated
Folder 9 Dr. Martin R. Delany -- The Mystery l842, 1846
Folder 10 Dr. Martin R. Delany -- Harvard Medical School 1850-1851
Folder 11 Dr. Martin R. Delany -- Canada Years 1850-1856
Folder 12 Dr. Martin R. Delany -- African Colonization ca. 1850s
Folder 13 Dr. Martin R. Delany Newspaper Clippings (from Dorothy Sterling) undated
Folder 14 Dr. Bartholomew Fussell undated
Folder 15 Dr. Henry E. Handerson undated
Folder 16 Dr. Ephraim McDowell undated
Folder 17 Dr. F. J. Le Moyne undated
Folder 18 Dr. John S. Rock undated
Folder 19 Writings by Dr. John S. Rock undated
Folder 20 Dr. David Ruggles undated
Folder 21 Information on Dr. James McCune Smith undated
Folder 22 “Case of Ptyalism. Fatal Termination” (1840) James McCune Smith undated
Folder 23 James McCune Smith – First Black American to Graduate From a Medical School (Leslie A. Falk) undated
Folder 24 Dr. Charles D. Spivak undated
Folder 25 Early Efforts of African Americans to Attend Harvard Medical School 1847-1850
Folder 26 Harvard Medical Students’ Resolution Against Admittance of African Americans December 11-12, 1850
Folder 27 Harvard Medical School -- African American Graduates 1871
Box 4  
Folder 1 We Are Your sisters (fragment) Dorothy Sterling 1984
Folder 2 African American Nurses 1879-1891
Folder 3 African American Women Physicians 1860, 1870, 1977
Folder 4 Harriet Kezia Hunt – Denial of Attendance to Harvard Medical School 1847
Folder 5 Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell undated
Folder 6 “Sarah Parker Remond Abolitionist and Physician” Dorothy B. Porter 1935
Folder 7 Writings by Sarah Parker Remond undated
Folder 8 Ruth Cuffee, Doctoress undated
Folder 9 Dr. Mary Sargeant Nichols Gove undated
Folder 10 Crusader for Freedom (fragment) Deborah Pickman Clifford 1992
Folder 11 Isaac T. Hopper: a True Life (fragment) Lydia Maria Child 1853
Folder 12 Miscellaneous undated

Photograph Log

M391-1 Lady Holding Child
  4 X 3 b & w undated
  (Box 1, Folder 3)
M391-2 Japanese Building
  4 X 5 ½ b & w undated
  (Box 1, Folder 3)
M391-3 Grave Marker of Reverend John Braden, D. D.
  6 X 4 b & w undated
  (Box 1, Folder 3)
M391-4 Sketch of Dr. Martin R. Delany
  6 X 4 b & w undated
  Photograph of sketch
(Box 1, Folder 3)
M391-5 Dr. Martin R. Delany
  7 X 5 b & w undated
  Photograph of sketch
(Box 1, Folder 3)
M391-6 Sketch of Dr. John S. Rock
  6 X 4 b & w undated
  Photograph of sketch
(Box 1, Folder 3)
M391-7 Bishop Walden
  5 ½ X 3 ½ b & w undated
  Photograph of sketch
(Box 1, Folder 3)


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