Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Margaret B. Young papers, 1921-2010, bulk 1965-2000

Summary Information

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#1622
Bib ID 9503889 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Young, Margaret B
Title Margaret B. Young papers, 1921-2010, bulk 1965-2000
Physical Description 12.26 linear feet (6 record cartons and 6 flat boxes)
Language(s) English .

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.



The collection is arranged into 7 series.



This collection is made up of Margaret Young's professional papers, writings, personal and professional correspondence, biographical material, and photographs. A significant portion of the material, including a number of photographs, documents the career and commemoration of Whitney M. Young, Jr. There are several oversized items including photo albums, awards, and scrapbooks that relate to Margaret Young's professional activities and travels. The files span Margaret Young's lifetime, but most of the material documents her activities after Whitney Young's death in 1971.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Margaret B. Young Papers; Box and Folder (if known); Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Related Materials

Whitney M. Young, Jr. Papers. Columbia University Libraries.

National Urban League Records. Columbia University Libraries.

Whitney M. Young, Jr. Memorial Foundation Records. Columbia University Libraries.


No addition material expected

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Papers processed Mary Freeman, Columbia University GSAS 06/--/2012.

Finding aid written Mary Freeman, Columbia University GSAS 07/10/2012.

Revision Description

2012-07-11 xml document instance created by Carrie Hintz

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
African Americans -- History Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Carter, Jimmy, 1924- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Charitable uses, trusts, and foundations Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Charities Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Children's literature Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Civil rights Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Johnson, Lyndon B (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Kennedy, Robert F., 1925-1968 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
National Urban League Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Philip Morris USA Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Public welfare -- Societies, etc Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Social problems Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Social service -- Societies, etc Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Sociologists Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Sociology, Urban -- Societies, etc Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
United Nations Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Whitney M. Young, Jr. Memorial Library of Social Work Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Young, Margaret B Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Young, Whitney M. (Whitney Moore), 1921-1971 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note


Margaret Buckner Young was born in Campbellsville, Kentucky on March 29, 1921. After receiving her primary and secondary education in Aurora, Illinois, Young went to Kentucky State Industrial College where she graduated with majors in English and French and met Whitney M. Young, Jr. The couple married in 1944 before Whitney left for Europe to serve with the army in World War II. During Whitney's absence, Margaret Young continued her education, earning a master's degree in educational psychology at the University of Minnesota in 1946. Whitney joined her in Minnesota, beginning his work with the National Urban League there. In 1953 the Youngs moved to Atlanta where Whitney served as the Dean of the Atlanta School of Social Work. Margaret was a professor of educational psychology at Spelman College. During the family's time in Atlanta, Margaret was frustrated by her inability to actively protest the dramatic segregation there without endangering her young children.

In 1961, the Youngs moved to New Rochelle, New York, and Whitney took on the role of Executive Director at the National Urban League. As her husband gained prominence, Margaret Young retained a more private role concentrating on raising their two daughters. She began a career as a writer, publishing articles including "A Negro Mother Speaks of her Challenging Role in a Changing World" for Parents' Magazine (1964) and the Public Affairs Pamphlet "How to Bring Up Your Child Without Prejudice" (1965). She also published several children's books including The First Book of American Negroes (1966), and The Picture Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. (1967). While Margaret Young's writings echo her husband's goals of racial equality, Young used her writing and her work with school children to make an independent mark on education practices in the United States regarding race, racism, and African American history.

Whitney Young drowned off the coast of Lagos, Nigeria in 1971. His death brought about abrupt changes in Margaret Young's personal and professional life. As Whitney Young's widow, Margaret Young dedicated herself to activism for racial equality by taking on numerous professional positions. She continued her husband's efforts to improve relations between the United States and Africa, traveling to Nigeria alone in 1974 and again with President Jimmy Carter on a state visit in 1978. She served in the United Nations as a member of the United States delegation to the 28th General Assembly in Yugoslavia in 1974. There she presented a paper on "The Promotion and Protection of Human Rights of National, Ethnic and Other Minorities." Young also was a member of a panel for the United Nations Association of the United States of America considering United States relations with China in 1978 and 1979. In the 1980s she served lengthy terms on the boards of directors at several corporations including Philip Morris and New York Life. Her work in these positions reflected her ongoing dedication to achieving racial equality, but she also gained experience and recognition beyond her input on racial issues.

Margaret Young was also deeply involved in the commemoration of her husband as the head of the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Memorial Foundation and through her involvement with the National Urban League. She also worked with many other institutions that sought to preserve the memory of Whitney Young including Columbia University, Kentucky State University, the Clark Atlanta School of Social Work, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

In 1990, Margaret Young moved to Denver, Colorado and dissolved the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Memorial Foundation. In her retirement she continued to write stories for children that featured African American characters. She died at age eighty-eight on December 5, 2009 of complications from cancer.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only CU affiliates may view materials on-site. YOU MUST REQUEST AN APPOINTMENT BEFORE PLACING REQUESTS. Email rbml@library.columbia.edu to request an appointment. You may submit a request for materials once your appointment is confirmed. Affiliates will login with their uni and password, and need to register the first time they make a request.

Series I: Whitney M. Young, Jr. Files, 1921-2009

Box 1 Personal papers (Includes birth certificate, military discharge documents, death certificate, press clippings), 1921-1971

Professional papers

Box 1 White House events, 1964-1968

Box 1 General, 1965-1970

Box 1 Writings, speeches, and publications, 1963-2003

Box 1 Lagos, Nigeria, 1971

Box 1 Whitney M. Young, Jr. Memorial Library-Lagos, Nigeria, 1974

Box 1 Whitney M. Young, Jr. Memorial Foundation, Inc.-Dissolution, 1991-1992

Box 1 National Urban League, 1980-2010

Box 1 National Urban League Conference tapes, 2004

Box 2 Clark Atlanta Graduate School of Social Work, 1971-2000

Box 2 Kentucky State University, 1977-1998

Box 2 Lincoln Foundation, 1979-1992 (Includes some correspondence with Margaret Young), 1979-1992

Box 2 United States Postal Service, 1981-1998

Box 2 Columbia University, 1982-1998

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Box 2 Whitney M. Young, Jr. Professorship, 1996

Box 2 Whitney M. Young, Jr. Memorial Conference, 1999

Dennis Dickerson-Whitney M. Young, Jr. Biography

Box 2 Correspondence with Margaret Young regarding biography, 1992-1999

Box 2 Chapters 10 & 11 with Margaret Young annotations, 1994

Box 2 Whitney M. Young, Jr. commemoration-General, 1971-2009


Box 7 Nixon/Agnew Inaugural, ca. 1969

Box 7 Kennedy for Equality, ca. 1960

Box 7 Drawing of Chair

Box 7 United States Postal Service-Whitney M. Young, Jr. Black Heritage stamp first day of issue covers,, 1981


Box 7 The Stars Salute Dr. Martin Luther King , ca. 1968

Box 7 In Memoriam Whitney Moore Young, Jr. 1921-1971 , 1971

Series II: Professional Activities, 1964-1996

Box 2 White House events, 1964-1990

Box 2 Visit to Lagos, Nigeria, 1974

United Nations

Box 2 Decade for Action to Combat Racism and Seminar on Human Rights-Yugoslavia & Eastern Europe,, 1973-1975

Box 3 National Policy Panel to Study U.S.-China Relations-East Asia travel,, 1978-1979

Box 3 Jimmy Carter-State visit to Brazil, Liberia, and Nigeria, 1978

Box 3 Philip Morris-Board of directors, 1972-1996 (Mainly regarding Berlin trip), 1972-1996

Box 3 New York Life Insurance Company-Board of directors, 1980-1995

Series III: Writings and Publications, 1953-1997

Box 3 "A Negro Mother Speaks of her Challenging Role in a Changing World"-Parents' Magazine, 1964

Box 3 "How to Raise a Child Without Prejudice"-Public Affairs Pamphlet, 1965-1977

Box 3 The First Book of American Negroes & The Picture Life of Martin Luther King, Jr., 1966-1967 (cover only), 1966-1967

Box 3 Franklin Watts, Inc. Publishers, 1966-1984 (Includes press clippings, royalties, contracts), 1966-1984

Box 3 Writings-General, ca. 1953-1997 (Includes articles, speeches, poetry, essays, and notes; 2 folders), ca. 1953-1997

Box 4 Institute of Children's Literature-Correspondence course, 1982-1995

Box 4 Notes for a children's story, ca. 1990s

Series IV: Correspondence, 1945-2009

Letters from students

Box 4 Books & classroom visits, 1967-1979

Box 4 Condolence, 1971


Box 4 Regarding books & articles, 1964-1971

Box 4 United Nations-Mainly regarding trip to Yugoslavia, 1974-1979

Box 4 United States Military Academy Board of Visitors, 1978-1981

Box 4 Dissolution of the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Memorial Foundation, 1990-1992

Box 4 General, 1958-2004 (Includes professional activity at New York Life, Philip Morris, Spelman College; 4 folders), 1958-2004


Box 5 White House and big names, 1945-2001 (Includes a photocopied letter written by Whitney Young during World War II), 1945-2001

Box 5 General, 1959-2005

Box 5 Greeting cards, ca. 1970-2009

Box 9 Birthday greeting, 1972 (oversized; signed by Nelson Rockefeller, Spiro Agnew, James L. Buckley, and Terence Cardinal Cooke), 1972

Box 9 Letter from Lyndon B. Johnson, 1972 (oversized; concerns Civil Rights Symposium), 1972

Box 9 Letter from Jackie Kennedy Onassis, 1968 (oversized), 1968

Series V: Personal Papers, 1921-2010

Box 5 General, 1921-1993 (Includes birth certificates, transcripts, passports), 1921-1993

Biographical information

Box 5 Columbia University oral history, 1975-1984 (Three copies including a copy of the original transcript with annotations; 3 folders), 1975-1984

Box 5 Who's Who biographies and transcript of an interview with Chris Wilkins,, 1989-1997

Box 5 Address books & planners, 1994-2000

Box 5 Newspaper clippings and articles, 1974-2003 (Includes writings by and about family members), 1974-2003

Box 5 Obituaries & commemoration, 2009-2010

Box 9 Scrapbook, 1962-1965 (Mainly items related to Lyndon B. Johnson's inauguration), 1962-1965

Series VI: Photographs, 1930s-2003

Subseries VI.1: Margaret Young Photographs, 1930s-2003

Box 6 Family and friends, ca. 1930s-2000 (Includes some childhood photos; 3 folders), ca. 1930s-2000

Box 6 Headshots, ca. 1974-1991 (Includes some related correspondence), ca. 1974-1991

Box 6 Lagos, Nigeria, 1974 (Includes newspaper clippings), 1974

United Nations

Box 6 Poland & Yugoslavia, 1974

Box 6 China album, 1979 (Includes newspaper clippings), 1979

Box 10 Professional activities and events, ca. 1963-2003

Box 10 Souvenir photograph plate-Rio de Janeiro, 1978

Box 10 Philip Morris Nigeria album, 1974 (album and folder of loose photos), 1974

Box 10 Headshots and professional activities, ca. 1970s (oversized), ca. 1970s

Box 10 China trip, ca. 1978-1979 (oversized), ca. 1978-1979

Box 11 Nigeria, Ghana, and Spain album, 1974

Box 11 Philip Morris Board of Directors Meeting album-Berlin, 1993

Subseries VI.2: Whitney M. Young, Jr. Photographs, 1943-1996

Box 6 Family and friends, ca. 1943-1971

Box 6 Headshots, ca. 1960s

Box 6 Professional activities and events, ca. 1962-1971

Box 6 Lagos, Nigeria, 1971

Box 6 Commemoration, ca. 1974-1998

Box 6 The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania album-Whitney M. Young, Jr. Professorship,, 1996

Box 8 Professional activities and events-White House and Lyndon B. Johnson, 1967 (oversized, includes attached correspondence), 1967

Box 8 Photo with children, ca. 1960-1971 (oversized), ca. 1960-1971

Box 8 Headshots, ca. 1960-1971 (oversized), ca. 1960-1971

Box 8 Photo with Pope Paul VI, 1970 (oversized), 1970

Box 8 Photo with Martin Luther King, Jr., ca. 1963 (oversized), ca. 1963

Series VII: Awards and Recognition, 1971-1993

Box 6 New York Service Award-John V. Lindsay, 1971

Box 7 Whitney M. Young, Jr.-Family of Man Award, 1971

Box 9 Urban League of Metropolitan Denver-McKinley Harris Distinguished Warrior Award,, 2000

Box 9 Letter of recognition from the YWCA Salute to Women in Business, 1977

Box 9 Letter of recognition upon retirement from the Board of Directors of New York Life,, 1992

Box 9 Letter of recognition from the Board of Directors of Altria Group, Inc, 2010

Box 9 Letter of recognition from the Board of Directors of New York Life, 2009

Box 10 Los Angeles Urban League medal, 1991

Box 12 Lady Bird Johnson-Recognition for Lyndon B. Johnson Civil Rights Symposium,, 1972

Box 12 Philip Morris Minority Advisory Committee Plaque, 1993

Box 12 United States Military Academy Board of Visitors Plaque, ca. 1978-1981

Box 12 Dollars & Sense Top 100 Black Business and Professional Women Plaque

Box 12 Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Drum Major Memorial Award-New Rochelle Community Action Agency,, 1979