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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 268: M-136

Papers of Flora Belle Surles, 1917-1973


Correspondence, photographs, etc., of Flora Belle Surles, WPA supervisor and publisher.


  • Creation: 1917-1973

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Originals are closed; use microfilm M-136.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Flora Belle Surles is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. 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.


.21 linear feet (1/2 file box)

This collection consists almost entirely of letters from Jeannette Rankin to Flora Belle Surles (#1-6); some are addressed to Surles and Anne King Gregorie. They contain little of political interest, but are mainly about the weather, friends and family, health, gardening, Rankin's house in Watkinsville, Georgia, and comments on her travels. There are several letters from Rankin to Esther R. Gregorie and to Surles from others and some miscellaneous items, clippings, and photographs.

These papers provide little information about Surles. Letters from Surles to Rankin appear in the Jeannette Rankin papers; see MC 246 in the Schlesinger Library and elsewhere on this microfilm.

Most clippings were discarded after microfilming.


Flora Belle Surles was born on October 20, 1887, in Crenshaw County, Alabama, the daughter of Mary Ellen (King) and Robert Lewis Surles. She attended business school in Montgomery and graduated from Alabama Girls Technical College. In 1917 she went to Washington, D.C., to represent the business interests of a group of southern lumbermen. After World War I she took a secretarial post with the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, where in 1924 she met Jeannette Rankin.

Surles returned to the south in 1927 and earned an A.B. at Alabama College. She then moved to South Carolina, where from 1935 to 1941 she was supervisor of WPA historical records and research projects. In 1968 she published a biography, Anne King Gregorie, Surles and Anne King Gregorie were close friends and shared a house in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. Esther R. Gregorie, Anne King Gregorie's sister-in-law, donated Surles's papers to the Schlesinger Library.

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 78-M14, 79-M67

The papers of Flora Belle Surles were given to the Schlesinger Library in February 1978 and April 1979 by Esther (Royall) Gregorie. The collection was reprocessed and microfilmed as part of a Schlesinger Library/University Publications of America project

Processing Information

Reprocessed: September 1992

By: Bert Hartry

Surles, Flora Belle, 1887-1971?. Papers of Flora Belle Surles, 1917-1973. A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description

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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