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Edith R. White Papers

Collection ID: MG 109

Scope and Contents

The Edith R. White collection contains of a variety of documents relating to women’s activism and educational activity in the city of Norfolk, Virginia. Some of the organizational materials contained in the collection include the Fortnightly Study Club, Women's Council for Interracial Cooperation, and the Norfolk Story League. An oral history interview with Edith R. White can be fournd in the Old Dominion University Libraries Digital Collections.


  • circa 1923-2010, undated
  • Other: Date acquired: 09/10/2010



4.80 Linear Feet

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from Special Collections and University Archives, and the holder of the copyright, if not Old Dominion University Libraries.

Biographical or Historical Information

Edith R. White was born in New Jersey in November 4, 1923. Upon graduating from Vassar College, she became a member of the U.S. Navy’s WAVES, Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service. For her first operation with WAVES, she trained in cryptography, specifically breaking Japanese codes, and worked in Washington DC. Her second appointment was at Sampson Hospital, a tuberculosis hospital in New York, where she met her husband, Forrest. Shortly after their marriage, they moved first to California for some time, bringing their first child into the world, then to Richmond where Edith gave birth to another child, thenceforth moving to, and settling in Norfolk until this day. Norfolk had a vastly different political setting than Edith’s previous residences. There were on-going issues not only involving racial segregation, but also women’s rights. Edith previously had black officers in the Navy and black friends in college, and she believed that this was no way for anyone to live, let alone her children. Being the natural born fighter for civil rights that she was, Edith decided to get involved with as many activist groups that she could. Such groups were the League of Women Voters, Women’s Interracial Council, American Association of University Women, and the Norfolk Committee for Public Schools, the latter of which Forrest White would become president.

Note written by James Detterman

Language of Materials



This collection contains of a variety of documents relating to women’s activism and educational activity in the city of Norfolk, Virginia.

Arrangement Note

The collection is organized into four series: Series I: The Fortnightly Study Club; Series II: Women of Norfolk; Series III: Norfolk Story League; and Series IV: Other Organizations.

Source of Acquisition

Edith R. White

Method of Acquisition

Gift. Accession #A2010-20

Accruals and Additions

An addition to the collection was received in January 2016.

Related Materials

Forrest P. White Papers (MG 5); Forrest R. "Hap" White Papers (MG 96); Women's Council for Interracial Cooperation Papers (MG 54). Oral Histories in the Perry Library: Edith White

Processing Information

The finding aid was created by James Detterman in February 2014.

A Guide to the Edith R. White Papers
James Detterman, February 2014; Kathleen Smith, July 2014
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the ODU Community Collections Repository

3000 Perry Library
4427 Hampton Blvd.
Norfolk VA 23529 US