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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 879

Papers of Deborah Wolfe, 1945-1970


Publications, speeches, Congressional documents, and a curriculum vitae of educator and minister Deborah Wolfe. Includes one portrait photograph of Wolfe.


  • 1945-1970

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Deborah Wolfe as well as 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)

The papers of Deborah Wolfe are primarily composed of her professional publications as a professor of education at Tuskegee Institute and Queens College of the City University of New York and as Education Chief for the United States House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor. There is no material related to her personal life. The collection includes a list of publications by Wolfe; a curriculum vitae; articles, Congressional documents, and speeches written by Wolfe; articles and press releases about Wolfe; and one black and white portrait photograph of Wolfe.

Materials are arranged alphabetically.

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


Educator and minister, Deborah (Cannon) Partridge Wolfe was born in Cranford, New Jersey, in 1916, to Reverend David Wadsworth and Gertrude Moody Cannon. She attended New Jersey State Teachers College (BS 1937) and Columbia University (MA 1938, EdD 1945). From 1938 to 1950 she was on the faculty at Tuskegee Institute, serving as head of the Department of Elementary Education and as director of the graduate studies program. In 1950 she was appointed Professor of Education at Queens College of the City University of New York, a position she held for over thirty years. She was a postdoctoral scholar at Union Theological Seminary (1950) and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (1952-1953).

From 1962 to 1965, Wolfe served as Education Chief for the United States House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor. Her publications appeared widely in professional, religious, and government journals. In 1970 she became the first black woman ordained by the American Baptist Church and served as associate minister in the First Baptist Church of Cranford, New Jersey.

In 1940 Wolfe married Henry Roy Partridge, a specialist in agricultural economics and commercial dietetics at Tuskegee Institute. They had one son (Henry Roy Partridge, Jr.) and separated in 1950. Wolfe later married Estemore Alvis Wolfe, a business executive, in 1959. Their marriage ended in 1966.

Wolfe was the Vice-President of the National Alliance for Safer Cities, an official nongovernmental organization represented at the United Nations, and was active in Delta Kappa Gamma, Zeta Phi Beta, and Kappa Delta Pi sororities. She died in 2004.

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 98-M104

The papers of Deborah Wolfe were given to the Schlesinger Library in June 1998 by Deborah Wolfe.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Wolfe's oral history in the Interviews of the Black Women Oral History Project, 1976-1981 (OH-31; T-32) and an additional photo of Wolfe in the Biographical files of the Black Women Oral History Project, 1879-2011 (MC 916).

Processing Information

Processed: July 2017

By: Jehan Sinclair, with assistance from Margaret Dalton.

Wolfe, Deborah, 1916-2004. Papers of Deborah Wolfe, 1945-1970: 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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