Thomas A. Webster (1907-1988) Papers (1019kc)
Thomas A. Webster was born to Charles and Annie Webster in Wilmington, Delaware on March 2, 1907. He received his A.B. in Sociology from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania in 1931 and came to Kansas City in 1932 to become Industrial Relations Secretary for the Urban League. He was named Executive Director of the League in 1935 and served in that capacity for 23 years, retiring in 1958. In 1949, he earned a Master’s degree in of Social Work from the University of Kansas in 1949. From 1959 to 1960, he was an instructor in Sociology at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, after which he joined the faculty of Avila College and served as Chairman of the Social Science Department until 1975.
Throughout his life, Webster was a community activist, receiving numerous awards and serving on many committees, commissions, and boards, including: The Kansas City Housing Authority, the Jackson County Charter Commission, the Jackson County Advisory Commission on Human Relations, the Missouri Housing Development Commission, the Jackson County Charter Review Commission, the Governor’s Advisory Council for Housing and Neighborhood Investment Study, the Santa Fe Outreach Project. He was a life member of the Urban League and received awards from the Ivanhoe Club, the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, the Kansas City Regional Council, and the NAACP Harold L. Holliday, Sr. Civil Rights Award. Webster was an active member of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church.
Webster’s personal research interests included the culture of the Cuna Indians of San Blas, Panama, as well as other, Pre-Columbian societies, and he made several study trips in the 1960s and 1970s. He was also a prolific writer of articles and book reviews which appeared frequently in the Kansas City Star, the Kansas City Call, and other publications throughout the country.
Webster married Fern Araminta Beck on March 2, 1935, and they had one daughter, Carolyn. Fern Webster was an early childhood educator herself, receiving an award from the Missouri State Board of Education in 1982. Thomas Webster died on October 7, 1988.
The collection chiefly consists of Webster’s files related to his research and writing. Folders may include notes, clippings, preliminary and final drafts of articles, correspondence, and printed material. The collection also contains his personal and professional correspondence from 1976-1986. Boxes 7 and 8 contain materials related to Fern Webster’s profession as an educator. 1921-1988.
Nine cubic feet, 5 oversize volumes.
© State Historical Society of Missouri
Monday, February 07, 2011
State Historical Society of Missouri Research Center-Kansas City
(816) 235-1543 WHMCKC@umkc.edu