Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Katherine Bell Banks Papers
Scope and Contents of the Collection
The colleciton consists primarily of fifteen letters and one telegram, all written by Du Bois to various members of the Bell family. The earliest was written in September 1926 to Katherine Bell and the latest was written in December 1960, three years before Du Bois's death, to Thomasina Bell Fitzroy.
These letters offer a unique perspective of Du Bois. Banks writes, "He was seen as a complicated and controversial figure. He seemed austere-and by his own evaluation shy and unrevealing about his private life." She continues, "Lacking is much information about his circle of friends-close friends that is. His letters help to fill that void."
The collection also includes two photographs and an invitation to Du Bois's seventieth birthday celebration at Atlanta University. The photographs feature Yolande Du Bois in her high school graduation dress and the Du Bois and Bell families at their home in Newark, New Jersey.