Caroline Bond Day papers
- Majority of material found within 1918 - 1931
Conditions Governing Use
Extent32 linear feet (16 boxes; 10 flat file drawers )
The intent of the study, according to Day, was to develop a "cross-section of life among colored people of mixed blood in this country." The categories which she identified in her study were Negro, Indian, and White. She gathered sociological and genealogical data from at least 346 families, including 1,385 individuals born after 1860 and living in the East and in the South. Day conducted interviews with families in Atlanta, Boston, Washington, D.C., and other cities. The majority of the photographs in the collection are copies of originals sent to her, which she returned. Although she never completed the sociological and genealogical aspects of the study to her satisfaction, the papers contain significant information relating to family life, housing, occupations and salaries, religious affiliations, education, special interests, and political activities. Unfortunately, there are no interview notes included in the Papers. Variations in names observed throughout the finding aid are attributable to discrepancies and inconsistencies in the data itself. For example, the name "Braithwaite" appears on a questionnaire as "Braithwaite" and on a genealogical chart as "Branthwaite." Variations also occur for married women. Errors of transcription occur on the index cards, charts, correspondence, and forms, and no effort has been made to establish consistency or uniformity. Bracketed information indicates alternative spellings, married names, or other plausible variations.
In 1994, her niece Adele Logan Alexander, generously donated a photograph of Caroline Bond Day (c. 1897), and two of her Radcliffe yearbooks (1917, 1919) to the Peabody Museum Archives. These items were added to the Caroline Bond Day papers, although they are a separate accession (994-72).
Caroline Bond was introduced to the field of anthropology in a class at Radcliffe taught by Earnest A. Hooton. During her senior year, she began collecting the physiological and sociological information on 'mixed' families which would lead to her publication (1932). In her Radcliffe yearbook and alumna record, she listed social service work, not anthropology, as her ultimate career goal. Following graduation from Radcliffe, she was employed by a variety of institutions. In 1919, she worked briefly in New York City in relief and support services for black soldiers and their families, and also served as student secretary of the National Board of the YWCA. Later that year, she moved to Waco, Texas, where she taught English at Paul Quinn College and Prairie View College in Houston, Texas.
In March of 1920, Caroline Bond married Aaron Day, a chemistry teacher at Prairie View College. He had graduated from Prairie View in 1919, and served overseas during World War I. After his marriage, Aaron Day joined the National Benefit Life Insurance Company as a salesman. Caroline Bond Day's stepfather was also employed in this company. Because of Aaron Day's frequent promotions in the life insurance business, the couple moved several times during the next two decades. In 1922, they lived in Atlanta, Georgia, where she began teaching English and drama at her alma mater, Atlanta University. She remained there until 1929. During this period, she also published some essays and short stories, including an autobiographical tale "The Pink Hat."
The research that Day began with Hooton in her senior year at Radcliffe (1919) was "continued only in her spare time" over the next thirteen years. In 1927, when Hooton received a grant from the Bureau of International Research (BIR) of Harvard University and Radcliffe College, Day received funds to support her research. While working in Hooton's lab, she collected and analyzed physiological and sociological information on 346 families, with the help of her half-sister, Wenonah Bond. This information was compiled in the 1928 manuscript "Preliminary Notes on Sociological Data for Negro-White Crosses." Day took a leave from the project because of exhaustion and a rheumatic heart condition, and returned to Atlanta University for the 1928-29 school year. She again taught English and was said to have given the first class in anthropology ever offered at Atlanta University. With a graduate fellowship from the BIR, Day returned to Radcliffe in late 1929 to complete her study, which culminated in the award of the Master of Arts degree in 1930 Day's thesis was prepared for publication in the 1932 Harvard African Studies series Varia Africana.
In 1930, the Days moved to Washington, D.C., where she taught and did social work. About this time, she befriended a young boy, Bernard (b. 1926) whom the Days adopted (although not legally). Bernard took their name as his own, becoming Bernard Aaron Day. From 1930 to 1933, Caroline Bond Day taught English at Howard University. In 1934, she became director of a settlement house in Washington, D.C., and Aaron Day joined the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Co. In 1937, she was appointed general secretary of the Phyllis Wheatley Branch of the Washington, D.C., YWCA.
In late 1939, the Day family moved to Durham, North Carolina, where Aaron Day was promoted to the head office of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company. Caroline Bond Day taught English and drama at North Carolina College for Negroes (now North Carolina Central University), but was forced to resign due to recurrent illness. Apart from some unpublished writings and occasional brief teaching assignments, the rest of Day's life was devoted to, among other things, "gardening, specializing in the Hawaiian hybiscus [sic]." She read voraciously and participated in Durham's active club life. Although a stroke (with ensuing paralysis of an arm) hampered her bridge-playing, a friend fashioned a stand for her out of plywood to help in dealing cards. On May 5, 1948, Day died of cardiac complications. Her husband retired from North Carolina Mutual in 1960, two years after being elected Vice President and Agency Director. Aaron Day died in 1963.
- Alexander, AdeleLogan. "Day, Caroline Stewart Bond." Black Women in America: An HistoricalEncyclopedia, Darlene Clark Hine, ed. Brookly: Carlson Publishing, 1993.
- Alexander, Adele Logan. Interview of 10/17/1993, with Elizabeth E. Sandager.
- Boris, Joseph. "Day, Caroline Stewart Bond." Who's Who in Colored America: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Persons of Negro Descent in America. v.1.New York: Who's Who in Colored America Corp. 1927.
- Day, Bernard.Interview of 6/23/1993 with Elizabeth E. Sandager.
- Dubois, W.E.B., "A Studyof Some Negro-White Families in the U.S." The Crisis (December 1932) no. 2.385.
- Edmonds, Helen G. Interview of 6/23/1993 with Elizabeth E. Sandager.
- Hooton, Earnest A. "Radcliffe Investigates Race Mixture." HarvardAlumni Bulletin. (April 3, 1930) no. 27 : 768-776.
- Radcliffe CollegeArchives. Afro-American Students at Radcliffe. SC96
- Ross,Hubert B. "Caroline Bond Day: Pioneer Black Female Anthropologist." Paper presented at theAmerican Anthropological Association (November 1983).
- Sollors, Werner,Caldwell Titcomb and Thomas A. Underwood, eds., "Caroline Bond Day," Blacks atHarvard: A Documentary History of African-American Experience at Harvard and Radcliffe. New York: New York Univeristy Press, 1993: 177-180.
- Williamson,Joel. New People: Miscegenation and Mulattos in the United States. New York: Free Pres, 1980.
- I. Correspondence
- II. Anthropometry forms
- III.Questionnaires, tables and guides
- IV. Family histories
- V.Genealogical charts, index, photographs and hair samples
- VI. . Manuscripts
- VII. Print materials
- VIII. Photograph and ephemera (#994-22)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
These papers were received by the Peabody Museum shortly after Day completed her master's thesis with Harvard anthropologist Earnest A. Hooton.
- Day, Caroline Bond, 1889-1948. Caroline Bond Day papers, bulk, 1918-1931: A Finding Aid
- Peabody Museum Archives
- EAD ID
Part of the Peabody Museum Archives Repository
The Peabody Museum Archives contains primary source materials that reflect the Museum’s archaeological and ethnographic research and fieldwork since its founding in 1866. Archival collections contain photographs, documents, papers, and records of enduring value that were created or collected by the Museum, its individual affiliates, or other related entities. The collections also document the history or provenience, as well as the creation of many of the Museum’s artifact collections. To learn more about research visits at the Peabody Museum, please see https://www.peabody.harvard.edu/research-visits.
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