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Leon Washington Condol papers

 Collection 0077-MDHC
The Leon Washington Condol papers consist of photographs, family documents, and news clippings. Also included in the collection, and of particular interest, is a rare, autographed copy of Sketches Old and New (1875), a collection of Mark Twain stories. One of the sketches in the volume is said to be based on the life of Leon Condol's great-grandmother, a woman who endured slavery, family separation and reunion, and who eventually worked for Mark Twain at Quarry Farm in Elmira, NY. Much of the Condol papers, in fact, centers on the family's history in slavery in Maryland and Virginia, a period before Leon Washington Condol's birth in 1887. There is, however, some information on Condol's life with his family in upstate New York, New York City, and Washington, D.C.

Dates

  • 1809-1972

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.

Duplication and Copyright Information

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.

Extent

1.50 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Leon Washington Condol papers are composed of family photographs and materials associated with a rare Mark Twain collection of sketches.

Mr. Condol's heritage is the focus of the collection. With few exceptions, the materials he has collected and donated center around his family's early history as slaves in Maryland and Virginia and their gradual migration north in the nineteenth century. Apart from Leon and his wife, Virginia, the materials highlight the story of his great-grandmother, Mary Ann Cord.

"Auntie" Cord's life story as a slave, her separation from her children, surprising reunion with her youngest son, and eventual employment with the Samuel L. Clemens family was captured by Clemens in his sketch entitled "A True Story. Related Word For Word As I Heard It." A rare copy of the collection of sketches, entitled Sketches Old and New (1875), autographed by the author, was handed down through the family and is included in the collection.

Biography

Leon Washington Condol was born on January 6, 1887, the son of William Henry and Louise Washington Condol in Elmira, New York. The oldest of two sons, Condol grew up in Elmira. He later worked in New York City for a representative of a French cloth manufacturing firm (possibly Victor Galaup Inc.). He joined the Navy in 1913, serving throughout the First World War as a cook. During 1917 and 1918, Condol served on the U.S.S. Agamemnon and the U.S.S. Wilhelmina, naval transport ships that carried thousands of troops from New York to France. In 1914, Condol married Marie Erienne Stent, a dressmaker from Charleston, SC, with whom he had two children, Louise (1915-1998) and Willfred (1917-1920). After his divorce from Stent, Condol was employed again in New York City between 1924 and 1927, this time as a valet, cook and general houseman to Mr. Robert Angles. Around 1930, he worked as a servant in the home of Henry Ufford, a stockbroker living in Montclair, NJ. Condol moved to Washington, D.C. in the early 1930s and married Virginia Lewis Callaway, a graduate of Howard University and great niece of the Banks family from Baltimore, on October 31, 1931. In Washington, D.C., he was employed by the Freedman's Hospital as chief storekeeper from the time of his marriage to his retirement, while Virginia worked as a public school teacher. The Condols moved to Elmira, NY, around 1953 and remained there through the 1960s. Leon W. Condol died October 22, 1986, while living in a retirement home in Olney, MD.

Arrangement

This collection is organized as six series:
Series 1
Family Documents
Series 2
Newspaper clippings
Series 3
Photographic Material
Series 4
Portraits
Series 5
Oral Histories
Series 6
Memorabilia

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The Leon Washington Condol papers were donated to the University of Maryland Libraries by Mr. and Mrs. Leon Condol in February 1986, after they were made aware of the University's interest in the material through solicitations carried out by Professors Emory Evans and J. Kirkpatrick Flack of the History Department. Dr. Flack donated additional materials in 2001.

Processing Information

The order of the collection was maintained as much as possible as received from Mr. Condol in 1986. All duplicates and materials not directly related to the collection were discarded. Photographs were separated and the remaining material sorted according to type and organized. The collection originally contained a copy of the Centennial issue of the Elmira Star- Gazette and Advertiser, from which relevant articles were clipped. A leather letter case, and picture frames for some of the photographs were discarded. All materials were placed in acid-free folders and labeled, reboxed and the guide was written. The volume of Twain's Sketches was removed from the collection and transferred to the Marylandia and Rare Books Department.
Title
Guide to the Leon Washington Condol papers
Status
Completed
Author
Processed by Betsy Parkin.
Date
1986
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

Contact:
University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742
301-405-9212