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Jeanne L. Noble papers

 Collection
Identifier: SSC-MS-00488

Scope and Contents

The Jeanne L. Noble Papers consist of 15.5 linear ft. dating from 1955 to 2002 and are primarily materials related to Noble's involvement in the National Council of Negro Women (specifically the Dorothy I. Height Leadership Institute) in the late 1990s, and the Delta Sigma Theta sorority in the 1980s and 1990s. In addition, there are some materials documenting Noble's work on several governmental commissions and committees in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as various community organizations. Also included are essays and speeches by Noble and drafts and typescripts for her book, Beautiful, Also, Are the Souls of My Black Sisters: A History of the Black Woman in America (1978). There is little personal material.

Types of materials include appointment books, audiotapes, awards, clippings, correspondence, essays, magnetic disks, memorabilia, notes, photographs, proposals, publications, reports, speeches, and videotapes.

Dates of Materials

  • 1955 - 2002

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Original AV and born-digital materials may not be used; research use copies must be made.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright to Jeanne Noble's unpublished works is unknown. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." Copyright to materials authored by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use" must also be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection as owners of the physical property.

Biographical / Historical

Jeanne Laveta Noble was born on July 18, 1926 in West Palm Beach, Florida, the first of four children of Floyd and Aurelia Noble. Floyd Noble left the family in the early 1930s, and Aurelia Noble moved the family to Albany, Georgia, where she operated a custom drapery business and taught drapery making at the Albany Area Vocational School. Aurelia Noble's mother, Maggie Brown, played an important role in helping to raise the Noble children.

Jeanne Noble earned a B.A. in psychology and sociology from Howard University in 1946, then an M.A. from Columbia University in 1948. She fell in love with teaching during a two-year appointment (1948-50) at Albany State College, in Albany, Georgia. From 1950 to 1952, Noble was dean of women at Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma. She returned to Columbia in 1952 to continue graduate study in educational psychology and counseling psychology, earning her Ph.D. in 1955.

For her dissertation and first book, The Negro Woman's College Education (published in 1956), Noble examined the lives of 1,000 African-American women graduates who had been out of college at least five years. An early nonfiction book written by an African-American woman about African-American women for a white audience, it was one of the first studies to consider gender in concert with race. The work won the Pi Lambda Theta, National Association for Women in Education Research Award.

Noble held various research assistant and administrative posts, including Assistant Dean of Students, at City College before joining the faculty at New York University around 1959, teaching first in the Department of Educational Sociology of the Center for Human Relations and later in the School of Education. In 1960 she and co-author Margaret Fisher published College Education as Personal Development, a book written to be used in college orientation courses by first-year college students.

Outside of the classroom, Noble served on many boards and commissions. From 1958 to 1963 she was national president of the sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., a public service organization she joined while an undergraduate at Howard University. Noble later served Delta as Chair of its Arts and Letters, and Rituals and Ceremonies Commissions.

From 1960 to 1963 Noble served on the Defense Advisory Committee of the U.S. Department of Defense. In 1962 she was part-time director of Training for the Harlem Domestic Peace Corps. She was appointed to the Committee on Federal Employment of the President's Commission on the Status of Women in 1963. In 1964 Sargent Shriver asked Noble to serve on a committee to develop plans for a Girls' Job Corps. She was also on the board of directors of the Urban League of Greater New York, the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., and the National Social Welfare Assembly.

In the late 1960s Noble began work on the book Beautiful, Also, Are the Souls of My Black Sisters: A History of the Black Woman in America. Described by Noble as a "psycho-social look at black women," the book was eventually published in 1978.

In 1972 Noble took a leave of absence from NYU to function as Executive Vice President of the National Council of Negro Women under a grant from the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Around 1975 Noble moved from NYU to Brooklyn College of the City College of New York where she taught in the education department, eventually becoming a professor of guidance and counseling in the graduate school.

Noble ventured into television, appearing on "The Learning Experience," a weekly educational show broadcast in New York City in 1977 and served as co-host of "Straight Talk" in the summer of 1979.

In 1996 Noble helped to launch the Dorothy I. Height Leadership Institute of the National Council of Negro Women with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The Institute was conceived to foster a cadre of young leaders to assist traditional African-American women's organizations to meet the challenges of the 21st century. For a variety of reasons, the Institute was not able to sustain funding once its initial three-year grant was exhausted.

In addition to her teaching, Noble also had a small fashion design business and worked as an educational and organizational consultant.

Jeanne L. Noble died of congestive heart failure after a long battle with breast cancer on October 17, 2002.

Extent

36 boxes (15.5 linear feet)

0.0581 Gigabytes

Language of Materials

English

Overview

Professor, Author. Papers consist primarily of materials related to Noble's involvement in the National Council of Negro Women (specifically the Dorothy I. Height Leadership Institute) in the late 1990s, and the Delta Sigma Theta sorority in the 1980s and 1990s. In addition, there are some materials documenting Noble's work on several governmental commissions and committees in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as various community organizations. Also included are essays and speeches by Noble and drafts and typescripts for her book, Beautiful, Also, Are the Souls of My Black Sisters: A History of the Black Woman in America (1978). There is little personal material.

Arrangement

This collection is organized into nine series:
  1. I. BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS AND PHOTOGRAPHS
  2. II. CORRESPONDENCE
  3. III. PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES
  4. IV. SPEECHES
  5. V. WRITINGS
  6. VI. SUBJECT FILES
  7. VII. AUDIOVISUAL MATERIALS AND COMPUTER MEDIA
  8. VIII. ARTIFACTS
  9. OVERSIZE MATERIALS

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

This collection contains materials received from the donor in digital form that are not currently available online. Please consult with Special Collections staff or email specialcollections@smith.edu to request access to this digital content.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Jeanne L. Noble Papers were donated to the Sophia Smith Collection in 2003 by Alma Noble and Charlice Noble-Jones.

Processing Information

Processed by Maida Goodwin, 2012

The contents of computer media in this collection has been copied to networked storage for preservation and access; the original directory and file structure was retained and file lists were created.
Title
Jeanne L. Noble papers
Subtitle
Finding Aid
Author
Finding aid prepared by Maida Goodwin.
Date
2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Sponsor
Processing of the Jeanne L. Noble Papers was made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (https://github.com/harvard-library/archivesspace-preprocessor)
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:21-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2020-07-13: Description added for born-digital content.

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Contact:
Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063