Finding Aids

Ames, Jessie Daniel Papers

Manuscript Collection Number:
Jessie Daniel Ames (1883-1972)
Jessie Daniel Ames Papers
Data Span:
n.d., 1930-1986
4 Linear Feet

  • Jessie Harriet Daniel was born on November 2, 1883 in Palestine, Texas. Her family moved in 1893 to Georgetown, where she completed high school and graduated from Southwestern University in 1902. In 1905 she married Roger Post Ames, a doctor and friend of her father. Over the years Roger Ames’ medical practice fighting yellow fever took him to remote locations, and Jessie eventually moved back to Georgetown to live near her family. The Ames had three children, the last of whom was born in 1914, the same year that Roger Ames died. Jessie Daniel Ames was a widow at age thirty-one with three small children. Her mother, widowed a few years earlier, was operating the Georgetown Telephone Company, and Jessie joined her in the family business.

    A suffragette and active member of civic groups, Ames became a leader in women’s rights and social reform. She organized the Georgetown Equal Suffrage League in 1916, was elected its first president, and also began writing weekly suffrage postings for the local newspaper. In 1919 with the ratification of the 19th amendment, she became an active participant in the newly formed League of Women Voters. Ames’s interest and activities then shifted to issues of race and anti-lynching, and in 1922 she was asked to lead a Texas branch of the Atlanta based Commission on Interracial Cooperation. In 1924 this turned into a salaried position, and in 1929 Ames moved to Atlanta, Georgia, to become the national director for the Commission’s women’s branch. While working at the commission, Ames formed the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching (ASWPL) in 1930. In all, she devoted over two decades to the front line fight against lynching. The effort was so successful that Ames dissolved the ASWPL in the early 1940s. 

    Jessie Daniel Ames retired in 1944 and moved to Tyron, North Carolina. Later she moved back to Texas to live with her daughter Lulu Daniel Ames. She died in Austin, Texas, on February 17, 1972 and was buried in Georgetown. 

    More information about Ames’ life is available at:

  • The papers, which are mostly from her retirement years, consist mainly of scrapbooks and clippings related to her political activities and subjects that interested her (e.g. politics, health care, race relations) as well as correspondence, reports, a family photograph album, and materials regarding her donation to Southwestern University. 

    The correspondence includes season’s greetings and birthday cards and letters from friends and family, as well as letters from editors, authors and politicians. There are also health reports and calendars. Of special interest relating to Ames’ private life is the extensive correspondence with her sister Lulu Daniel Hardy and her daughters, Mary A. Raffensperger and Lulu Daniel Ames, in the 1960s. 

    Jessie Daniel Ames donated her library of more than 1,200 books to Southwestern University. The collection has a strong focus on women’s rights, race relations and African-American history, but also include history, politics, art, travel, religions and fiction. These books can be located by searching the library’s online catalog.

  • Box 1: Scrapbooks, 1960
    Box 2: News clippings, 1942
    Box 3: Scrapbooks, 1946
    Box 4: Senate Resolution in Memory of J. D. Ames and scrapbooks, 1952
    Box 5: Magazines and scrapbooks, 1944
    Box 6: Magazines and scrapbook, 1940s
    Box 7: Scrapbooks, 1954
    Box 8: Magazine and scrapbook, 1961
    Box 9: Magazines and clippings, 1956
    Box 10: Photograph album, 1943
    Box 11: Correspondence
       Folder. Title
       1. Jessie Daniel Ames Collection, 1930
       2. Correspondence, Lulu and J. D. Ames, 1962
       3. Correspondence, Lulu and J. D. Ames, 1963-64
       4. Correspondence, Lulu and J. D. Ames, 1963-64
       5. Correspondence, J. D. Ames and Mary Raffensperger, 1962-1964
       6. Unanswered letters, J. D., Mary, and Lulu, 1966-67
       7. Letters to editors and authors
       8. Health reports, 1957-1962
       9. Religious bibliography, 1958
       10. Jessie Daniel Ames exhibition program, 1986 
       11. Dallas Historical Society & Tulane University, 1964
       12. University of North Carolina & Duke University, 1963
    Box 12: Bibliography Ames Gift
       Folder. Title 
       1. General, 1969
       2. 1973 Bibliography, n.d.
       3. Bibliography, 1986

    Note: Jessie Daniel Ames’ other papers are at the Southern Historical Collection at the Wilson
    Special Collections Library in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and the Dallas Historical Society.