1909 Commencement – Straight University, New Orleans

1909 Commencement - Straight University, New Orleans

As May is the month for commencements, we decided to share from our files this listing of graduates from the 1909 Commencement of Straight University in New Orleans. Straight University was located on Canal Street, between North Tonti and North Rocheblave, the present site of the Pan-American Building. Founded in 1868, by the American Missionary Association of the Congregational Church, the university offered elementary, preparatory high school, and of course university courses. There were schools of law, industrial arts, music, theology, and a normal school for teachers. Straight University merged with New Orleans Univesity in 1934 to form Dillard University. The 1909 graduates were: Alice Corinne Butler, Pochahontas Adelaide Jackson, Estella Bertha Scott, John Ovid Catalan, Allison C. Pattillo, Joseph Antonio Thornton, Claudia Ethel Gates, Beatrice Cecelia Lewis, Gertrude Beatrice Moore, Inez Bart, Mary (Clementine) Thropay, and Anne K. Verret.


10 thoughts on “1909 Commencement – Straight University, New Orleans

    • Bonjour Mrs. Gervais! The university catalogs from each year are available on microfilm at the New Orleans Public Library. If you send the years he would have attended, we’ll be glad to check them for you.

  1. Estella Bertha Scott is my maternal grandmother. I was so excited to see her mentioned here. She married Rev. Arthur Buxton Keeling. My mother is Jerelyn Keeling Terry and I am Joann Terry Hughes. I enjoy genealogy. Thank you so much. May God bless you.

    • You are very welcome Joann. Your response is exactly what my team is hoping to elicit. Putting these documents online and sharing the names is how all of us put together the detailed lives of our ancestors (good or bad) and helps us get to know who they were.

    • I checked with the African American Department at the New Orleans Public Library. Following is information they sent to me, which I already know and you might also:
      Straight College (1870-1934) and New Orleans University (1874-1935).

      After the Civil War, the American Missionary Association (AMA) turned their energies to the newly emancipated freedmen in the devastated South. They formed schools and sent teachers from the North to teach and operate their schools. In 1870 the AMA formed Straight University in New Orleans. In its early period Straight College had Normal, and night school as well as schools of Law, Music, Theology. Later they added a college preparatory curriculum, and a primary and grammar school. When Straight merged with New Orleans University to form Dillard University, the records of both schools became a part of Dillard’s library collection. When the Amistad Research Center moved to New Orleans in the early 1970’s, they microfilmed the catalogues of both Straight and New Orleans University. The original catalogues, however, are still housed at Dillard.

      These “Catalogues” include names of the trustees, presidents, faculty, administration, students, various academic programs, course descriptions, and philosophy of the school. Scholars interested in education during Reconstruction and Jim Crow and genealogists looking for ancestors and or relatives who may have attended either school, would find this collection beneficial.

      From: http://www.neworleanspubliclibrary.org/~nopl/info/aarcinfo/aarcmf.htm#straight

      The research librarian there is checking to see if there was ever a Business School at Straight.

    • Hello again, I just received further information on Straight from La Von Williams, Head of the African American Resource Center at the New Orleans Public Library. She did further research of the Straight microfilm: “The university had a Commercial Department, which was developed in 1881. The president of that department was Rev. J. W. Healy, LL. D; the Principal was Col. E.W. Mason and the Instructor was A.T. Salver.” Hope this helps with your inquiry. For more details or related information feel free to contact La Von at 504-596-2598 or lwilliams@neworleanspubliclibrary.org.

  2. I’m so glad I ran across this information. My great grandmother Emma Elizabeth Merritt and her siblings all attended and graduated from Straight University. She attended from 1884-1888 and received her A.B. Her sister Sarah Alita Merritt attended from 1874-1880 and received her A.B and M.A. Her brother Charles G. Merritt attended from 1877-1883 and received his A.B. and M.A. as well. I have been trying to track down their records for years. Is this possible? Thanks.

  3. I am hoping to that you can confirm that my maternal grandmother, Blanche Hallback or Blanche Burnett, attended and graduated from Straight College / University somewhere between 1915 – 1925. The story goes that she was a music major. Any information you can provide is appreciated. Thank you

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