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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1173

Papers of Gretchen L. Flippin Jackson, 1923-2010 (inclusive), 1954-1988 (bulk)


Correspondence, photographs, writings, and other material of journalist, radio personality, community activist, and business woman Gretchen Flippin Jackson.


  • 1923-2010
  • Majority of material found within 1954-1988


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in any unpublished material in the papers created by Gretchen L. Flippin Jackson is held by Toussaint Jackson during his lifetime. Upon his death, copyright will be transferred and assigned to the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


2.63 linear feet ((4 file boxes, 1 folio box) plus 7 folio folders, 17 folio+ folders, 2 oversize folders, 22 photograph folders, 1 folio photograph folder, 1 folio+ photograph folder, 1 oversize photograph folder, 151 slides, 2 objects)

This collection documents the personal and professional life of Gretchen Flippin Jackson. The papers include correspondence; photographs; clippings; her wedding scrapbook; and other material documenting the Gretchen Jackson Model Agency; Gretchen Jackson Public Relations; and her radio program, the Gretchen Jackson Show. These papers document Gretchen Jackson's experience as the first Black woman to host a radio show in Boston, Massachusetts, and as the owner of the first interracial modeling agency in the Greater Boston area. Material related to the Gretchen Jackson Show includes photographs; documents from the show's sponsor, Blair's Foodland Market; and articles about Gretchen Jackson. This collection also includes photographs, short biographies, and other personal details related to the models from the Gretchen Jackson Model Agency.

These documents also feature articles written by Gretchen Jackson for the Pittsburgh Courier and the Boston Chronicle, as well as material related to the social and professional organizations Jackson belonged to, such as American Women in Radio and Television, Girl Friends, Inc., the Jack and Jill Club, and the Friends of Frederick Douglass Square.

This collection features a small amount of material related to Clarence Noel "Doc" Jackson, including notes from classes taken at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy; the constitution and by-laws from the Sportsmen's Club of Greater Boston; and documents related to the founding and legacy of the Clarence Noel Jackson Book Award at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

The donor's original folder headings were maintained; titles in brackets were created by the archivist. The arrangement was created by the archivist. This collection is arranged alphabetically, with material related to Gretchen Flippin Jackson listed first, followed by material related to Clarence Noel "Doc" Jackson.

Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online.


Gretchen Lucinda Flippin Jackson, daughter of Clara Johnson and Robert J. Flippin, was born November 13, 1918, in New Rochelle, New York. She was a graduate of New Rochelle High School (1937) and Drake's Business School. She married Clarence Noel Jackson in 1940; they had two sons, Toussaint "Touie" and Carlton.

In 1963, Gretchen Jackson established the Gretchen Jackson Model Agency, which was the first modeling agency in New England featuring interracial models. Through her public relations firm, Gretchen Jackson Public Relations, she served as consultant for local politicians and organizations including the Cultural Record Company and the Glamour World Charm Academy. She wrote columns for the Boston Chronicleand Pittsburgh Courier and was an overseas correspondent for Fame Magazine of Bermuda.

The first Black woman to host a radio show in Boston, Gretchen Jackson considered herself a radio personality, not a disc jockey. Jackson hosted the Gretchen Jackson Show on two of Boston's AM radio stations, WVOM (1600 AM) and WBMS (1090 AM). Jackson's show was sponsored by Blair's Foodland Market on Dudley Street in Roxbury, where she led conversations with politicians, community leaders, and entertainers. Once a week, the Gretchen Jackson Show was broadcast remotely from the Market itself, and featured customer participation.

Gretchen Jackson was a member of several social and professional organizations including the New England Women's Press Association, American Women in Radio and Television, and Girl Friends, Inc. An active member of her community, Jackson was a founding member of the United Neighbors of Lower Roxbury and served on the board of directors of Freedom House. Gretchen Jackson retired as a radio personality and journalist in 1965, to care for her son, Carlton Jackson, after an accident. In 1977, Project Understanding bestowed its Recognition Award on Gretchen Jackson, and hosted a tribute at Estelle's Riviera Room in Boston's South End. Gretchen Flippin Jackson died on June 6, 2012, at the Rose Monahan Hospice Center in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Clarence Noel "Doc" Jackson (who went by Noel, and was called "Doc" by his customers) was born on August 25, 1911, to George Jackson and Mary (Lopez) Jackson in Kingston, Jamaica. In the 1920s, the Jackson family moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where Noel "Doc" Jackson attended Boston English High School (1930), and the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy (B.S. 1937). After graduating from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, Noel "Doc" Jackson worked at the Kornfield Pharmacy in Roxbury, Massachusetts. In 1941, the Jacksons purchased the Douglass Square Pharmacy, which they ran until 1988.

While attending the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, which is now called the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Noel "Doc" Jackson struggled to afford his textbooks, and often had to borrow the required books from his classmates. In 1988, the Jackson Family established the Clarence Noel Jackson Book Award at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. The award, which was the first Black endowed fund at the college, is intended to support minority students with the high cost of textbooks. Clarence Noel "Doc" Jackson died on August 30, 1988, in Brighton, Massachusetts.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2022-M25

The papers of Gretchen L. Flippin Jackson were given to the Schlesinger Library by her son, Toussaint Jackson, in 2022.

Processing Information

Processed: January 2023

By: Cat Lea Holbrook, with assistance from Yolande E. Bennett.

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.  Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

General processing procedures in place at the Library include the following:  books (when not heavily annotated) by and about the collection's creator and on subjects which fall within the Library's collecting area are removed and cataloged separately with information about their provenance; other books and serials are not retained.  Other material not normally retained include clippings that are not by or about the collection's creator.

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by the Zetlin Sisters Fund, Jane Rainie Opel ’50 Fund, and The Gerard Schlesinger Library Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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