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Mary Adeline Henderson Alexander Papers

Identifier: AppMs-0883

Scope and Contents

The Mary Adeline Henderson Alexander papers document African American history in Johnson City, Tennessee, and greater Washington County. The collection features materials pertaining to African American churches including Bethel Baptist Church, Friendship Baptist Church, Thankful Baptist Church, and St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church; materials pertaining to schools, such as Langston School, its principal J. Neil Armstrong, Dunbar School, and Warner Institute; and community organizations Mary Alexander was involved with, such as the Historic African American Site Preservation Society (HASP), which would later become Langston Heritage Group. In addition, the collection features materials pertaining to the activities of Mary Alexander as they relate to her deep interests in the community, such as her campaign for County Commissioner of Washington County in 2002; historic preservation and placement of historical markers; research files that form the basis for her 2001 Master of Arts in History thesis, "Black Life in Johnson City, Tennessee, 1856-1965: A Historical Chronology," which include historical census data, cemetery plats, and maps of Johnson City; and a syllabus for a history class she taught at East Tennessee State University. Of particular note are three spiral bound notebooks that contain thesis interview notes, two excerpts from her thesis regarding Black church history, and several publications related to regional history such as “The Formative Years of Johnson City Tennessee, 1885-1890: A Social History” by Ophelia Cope Daniels (1947), and “Boones Creek Church the Earliest Years” (2001). The collection consists of articles, census data, correspondence, deeds, design guidelines, directories, documents, grant proposals, maps, notes, plats, program books, syllabi, and a yearbook.


  • 1849 - 2003


Conditions Governing Access

The Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply.


1.75 linear feet

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

The bulk of the papers were donated by Mary Alexander's son, Alan Alexander, in May 2021, accession 2021-013. A scan of a photograph of the St. Paul AME Zion congregation was contributed by Tammie Glaspie Charlton on behalf of the family in June 2021, accession 2021-014.

Related Materials

Henderson-Alexander, Mary. “Black Life in Johnson City, Tennessee 1856-1965 : a Historical Chronology.” MA Thesis: East Tennessee State University, 2001.

Langston Heritage Group Collection, AppMs 0575

Digital Exhibit: Our History: Writings on Johnson City (Alexander's thesis included in digital exhibit)

Processing Information

With funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, project archivist Nick Shaner processed the collection in July 2022.

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Archives of Appalachia Repository

PO Box 70295
344 J.L. Seehorn Jr. Rd.
Johnson City TN 37614 USA