Guide to the Dr. James Earle Stuart Papers 1917-1980 (Bulk Dates 1928-1931) MG 1541
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Contact: NJHS Library
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The New Jersey Historical Society, Publisher
Inventory prepared by Stephen Yautz.
Finding aid encoded by Julia Telonidis. February 2005. Production of the EAD 2002 version of this finding aid was made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Finding aid written in English.
Dr. James Earle Stuart, an African-American physician, was born in York, Pennsylvania on January 24, 1894. He attended the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, and graduated from that school in 1916, becoming a registered pharmacist. In 1918, Dr. Stuart’s World War I military service was as a member of the Student’s Army Training Corps (SATC). Afterwards, he continued his education at Temple University, studying Pre-Medicine, and received his doctoral degree in Medicine from The Howard University College of Medicine in 1925. In 1932, he earned a Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University. Later, he would continue his military service in the New York National Guard; with the outbreak of World War II, Dr. Stuart served in the United States Army from 1940 to 1943 as a member of the Medical Corps of the 369th Infantry Regiment, in which he attained the rank of captain.
Dr. Stuart, a chest specialist, located his private practice at 522 East Second Street, in Plainfield, New Jersey. Additionally, he was professionally affiliated with Muhlenberg Hospital, Plainfield, New Jersey, and was the Director of the Clinic for Tuberculosis at the John E. Runnells Hospital in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. He also was a member of the American Medical Association, the American College of Chest Physicians, and the New Jersey Medical Society.
Dr. Stuart was married to Alice Jackson (b. 1913), who gained notoriety in 1935 for challenging the University of Virginia’s rejection of her graduate school application on the basis of her race. Her efforts, with Thurgood Marshall (later a U.S. Supreme Court Justice) as one of her attorneys, resulted in the State of Virginia enacting legislation requiring the state to provide financial support for African-American students to attend college out-of-state. With this financial support, she was able to attend Columbia University, graduating in 1937. She had a son, Julian T. Houston, Jr., from a previous marriage. Alice Jackson Stuart died in June, 2001.
Dr. Stuart went on to become Chairman, and later Chairman Emeritus, of the Housing Authority of Plainfield, New Jersey. He died in December, 1980.
The papers consist largely of Dr. James Earle Stuart’s personal letters to his fiancée, Alice Taylor, and date from December 20, 1928 to approximately July 6, 1929.
The correspondence to Alice Taylor pertains to part of Dr. Stuart’s courtship of her, and chronicles much of his daily life. Included are his comments about his patients, ranging from a person with a cut finger awaking him at 12:30 a.m. to a Polish woman who nearly died as a result of a self-inflicted abortion. A number of letters also discuss Dr. Stuart’s attendance at social functions in order to “advertise” himself, and refer to his participation in the New Jersey Medical Society’s Surgical Committee. Many of the letters make considerable mention of Dr. Stuart’s quest to purchase an engagement ring, in which he ultimately succeeded. His correspondence to Alice Taylor mentioned a November, 1929 wedding date; however, no indication is given as to whether or not they married, since this collection of letters ends in July, 1929.
The collection also contains three photographs, two of which are dated August 26, 1928, and are identified as “Quebec,” and a “Meadowlarks” cartoons from 1929.
There are also liner notes from Dr. Stuart’s collection of classical music albums, as well as various programs from musical performances in 1917 and 1972. The liner notes include works such as Brahms’s Symphony No. Two in D Major, and many pieces by composers such as Chopin, Schubert, and Schumann. Additionally, there is also a musical score of Romberg’s The Lay of the Bell, and a program from a medical conference of the American College of Chest Physicians held in Vienna, Austria, in 1961.
The papers also contain a poster advertising a 1971 lecture by Julian Bond, and four copies of the 1980 Zoning Map of the City of Plainfield, New Jersey. A French textbook and other miscellaneous pamphlets are also included in the papers.
A copy of a newspaper article profiling Dr. Stuart’s wife, Alice Jackson Stuart from the Richmond Times – Dispatch completes the collection.
This collection should be cited as: Manuscript Group 1541, Dr. James Earle Stuart Papers, The New Jersey Historical Society.
This collection was purchased from Crown Collectibles, Richmond, Virginia in November, 2001.
Who’s Who Among Black Americans, 2nd ed., 1977-1978.Northbrook, Illinois: Who’s Who Among Black Americans, Inc., 1978.
Who’s Who Among Black Americans, 3rd ed., 1980-1981. Northbrook, Illinois: Who’s Who Among Black Americans, Inc., 1981.
Who’s Who Among Black Americans, 4th ed., 1985. Lake Forest, Illinois: Educational Communications, Inc., 1985.