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Overview

George Washington Carver, the man who referred to himself simply as a "creative chemist," accomplished much in his lifetime to promote racial harmony and black achievement as realities in American life. This historical archive traces the remarkable career of this slave-turned-scientist, providing a primary source for studies in African-American history.

The Papers of George Washington Carver is the most complete collection of Carver's public and private papers available to libraries. The collection includes memorabilia, correspondence to and from Carver, Carver's writings, writings about Carver, and miscellaneous materials relating to his life and work collected both by Carver and the Carver Foundation.

Carver received a master of science degree in agriculture from Iowa State and spent the better part of his professional life affiliated with Tuskegee Institute, then a struggling black trade school administered by Booker T. Washington. At Tuskegee, he chose to serve his race and Southern agriculture by teaching and demonstrating the application of scientific knowledge rather than by devoting his life to pure science.

Ever an experimenter, Carver's projects during these years were directed toward increasing the utilization and production of agricultural commodities. His contributions to Southern industry and agriculture made him respected and renowned, and his fame was not limited to the United States. He became one of the leading authorities on subtropical agriculture and was consulted by individuals and governments in Latin America, Africa, and southern Asia.

Through this collection, researchers can explore in depth the many directions of Carver's career:

 

  • his early chemurgic experiments with the peanut and the resulting manufacture of approximately 300 peanut products ranging from wallboard to cosmetics to cough syrup
  • Carver's role in the Commission on Inter-Racial Cooperation, the Y.M.C.A, and numerous prayer institutes to promote racial harmony and cooperation
  • Carver's controversial statements on his religious beliefs and his interest in mysticism
  • historical information on Tuskegee Institute and Carver's relationship with Booker T. Washington
  • the founding and growth of the George Washington Carver Foundation for Agricultural Research at Tuskegee Institute

This collection will enhance library holdings in the areas of American history and African-American studies and provide students and researchers with a unique perspective into the life of a man whose legacy to America is invaluable.

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