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.
Condol's heritage is the focus of the collection, and the collection documents the family’s history as African American people in the United States from 1809 until 1972. With few exceptions, the materials he has collected and donated center around his family's early history as enslaved people in Maryland and Virginia and their gradual migration north in the nineteenth century. Apart from Condol and his wife, Virginia, the materials highlight the story of his great-grandmother, Mary Ann Cord.
"Auntie" Cord's life story as an enslaved person, 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.