Finding aid for Charles H. Mahoney papers

Summary Information

Detroit Public Library. Burton Historical Collection.
Creator -
Mahoney, Charles H., 1886-1966
Charles H. Mahoney papers
Date [inclusive]
3.0 Linear feet (3 boxes, 5 volumes, 1 large manuscript)
Language of Materials
In English.

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Biographical/Historical note

Charles H. Mahoney, Detroit attorney and businessman, was the first African-American to serve as U.S. delegate to the United Nations, having been appointed in 1954 by President Dwight Eisenhower. Born in Decatur, Michigan in 1886 to Barney and Viora Simpson Mahoney, Charles finished his early education at Decatur. He attended Olivet College, distinguishing himself as an orator and an athlete. He later attended Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn, before entering the University of Michigan Law School, where he received his law degree in 1911. Charles Mahoney entered the practice of law in Detroit in 1912, and during the Sweet Trial, he was associate council to Clarence Darrow. In 1928, he was a founder of the Great Lakes Insurance Company in Detroit, serving as President and Board member from 1928-1959. In 1918 he ran unsuccessfully for Detroit's first nine man council. His later bids for Congress on the Republican ticket were also unsuccessful. Often an appointive public servant, he was the first African-American to serve on the Detroit City Plan Commission, the Wayne County Board of Supervisors, the Michigan Labor Commission, and during WW I, Governor Groesbeck's Michigan Interracial Commission. (from Margaret Ward, April, 1984) (blue index cards)

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Scope and Contents note

Contains family papers, papers relating to his education, dealings with the Great Lake Insurance Company, and scrapbooks (1907-1963).

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Detroit Public Library. Burton Historical Collection.

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Immediate Source of Acquisiton


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Charles H. Mahoney papers, 1907-1965 (OCLC record)


Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
  • Great Lakes Insurance Company.
  • Olivet College.


  • Awards
  • Biographies
  • Certificates
  • Correspondence
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks
  • Speeches

Geographic Name(s)

  • Detroit (Mich.)--Politics and government


  • African Americans
  • Ambassadors--United States
  • Lawyers--Michigan--Detroit

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General Note

See finding aids for complete listing.

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Collection Inventory

Box 1 



Speeches and Addresses 

Memorials and Awards 


Great Lakes Insurance Company 

Great Lakes Subdivision - Holley, Michigan 

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Box 2 

Photographs - Mahoney Family 

Photograph Album - Olivet College 

Photographs - Olivet College 

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity 

Photographs - unidentified 

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Box 3 

Honorary degrees 

Publications and Printed materials 

Scrapbooks (5 volumes) 

-v.1 1907-1940 

-v.2 1940-1949 

-v.3 1951-1955 

-v.4 1952-1959 

-v.5 1955-1963 

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