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Collection Inventory

Series I. The Pittsburgh Courier, 1936-1969

Scope and Content Notes:

This series contains memos, financial reports and statements, story leads, and photographs created during Prattis’ tenure at the Pittsburgh Courier and the period directly after, covering the years 1936 to 1969. It is further divided into four subseries: Administrative Materials, Financial, Photographs, and Writings.

Subseries 1. Administrative Materials, 1936-1967

Scope and Content Notes:

Administrative Materials are files that were created during Prattis’ tenure at the paper. Prattis was very involved in the day-to-day operations of the Courier. He began as an editor in 1936 working his way from city editor to managing editor and later executive editor in 1948. Prattis retired from the Pittsburgh Courier in 1965 after it was bought by John Sengstacke, owner and publisher of the Chicago Defender. He also was a regular columnist for the paper. Included in this subseries are By-Laws of the Pittsburgh Courier Publishing Company and various press passes granted to Mr. Prattis. There is also information on the trust of Mrs. Vann’s estate and the management of the Pittsburgh Courier. Recently added material can be found under the section "New Material Added." The subseries are arranged chronologically by year.


Box 1
Folder 1 Invitations and Press Passes, 1936, 1949, undated
Folder 2 By-Laws of the Pittsburgh Courier Publishing Company, 1941
Folder 3 Newspaper clippings regarding P.L. Prattis, 1948
Folder 4 Press cards and Invitations from United Nations Conference on International Organization, San Francisco, 1945
Folder 5 U.S. State Department Credentials for United Nations Conference in San Francisco, 1945
Folder 6 Assorted Pittsburgh Courier Materials, 1948, undated
Folder 7 Program for Birthday Testimonial in honor of Mrs. Robert L. Vann, 1953
Folder 8 Our World Publishing Company, Inc., Resolutions adopted by the Board of Directors, 1954
Folder 9 Publication of the Cleveland Courier, 1957-1958
Folder 10 Pittsburgh Courier Memos and Envelope Letterhead, 1956-1958
Folder 11 P.L. Prattis Testimonial Banquet Program, 1961
Folder 12 Petition to Terminate Trust of Estate of Jessie M. Vann, 1967
Folder 13 Proposed Itinerary of P.L. Prattis, undated
Folder 14 Letter from Robert L. Vann (half-page torn) undated

Section: New Material Added, 2011


Box 2
Folder 69 "Race Newsman (at long last) Admitted to Senate and House Press Galleries," clipping, 1947
Folder 70 "Prattis' Column on Dr. DuBois Prompts Many Courier Readers to Pen Letters" clipping, 1950s

Subseries 2. Financial, 1939-1964

Scope and Content Notes:

Included in the Financial subseries are copies of the Pittsburgh Courier Publishing Company stock certificates issued to P.L. Prattis. Mr. Prattis had invested his own personal money into the paper and was committed to its success. As the newspaper entered the 1960s, it began to lose money and was no longer profitable. Prattis made a series of personal loans to keep the Pittsburgh Courier solvent. Of particular interest, are a series of cancelled checks Prattis wrote to the Pittsburgh Courier and Robert L. Vann's widow, Jessie, that document the loans. The Financial subseries is arranged chronologically by year and include comptroller's reports and financial statements that chart the fiscal health of the organization during this time period.


Box 1
Folder 15 Pittsburgh Courier Publishing Company Stock Certificates and List of Shareholders, 1939-1941, 1955-1956
Folder 16 Checks written by P.L. Prattis to Robert L. Vann Memorial Fund, 1941
Folder 17 Checks written by P.L. Prattis to the Pittsburgh Courier Publishing Company, 1941,1944,1946,1963-1964
Folder 18 Pittsburgh Courier Publishing Company Audit Report, March 31, 1944
Folder 19 Resolution to Dispose of Our World Publishing Company Stock, 1946
Folder 20 Shareholders of Our World Publishing Company Stock, 1947
Folder 21 Our World Publishing Company Financial Report, October 31, 1948
Folder 22 Checks written by P.L. Prattis to Jessie M. Vann, 1948-1949
Folder 23 Our World Publishing Company Stock Certificate, 1949
Folder 24 Pittsburgh Courier Publishing Company Financial Report, May 31, 1955
Folder 25 Pittsburgh Courier Publishing Company Financial Report, September 30, 1955
Folder 26 Pittsburgh Publishing Company Financial Report, October 31, 1955
Folder 27 Pittsburgh Courier Publishing Company Financial Report, November 30, 1955
Folder 28 Pittsburgh Courier Publishing Company Comptroller's Office Report, January 1956
Folder 29 Pittsburgh Courier Publishing Company Comptroller's Office Report, April 1957
Folder 30 Legal Resolution with Marshall S. Leff for Financial and Management Control, 1958
Folder 31 Pittsburgh Courier Publishing Company Comptroller's Office Report, January 1958
Folder 32 Pittsburgh Courier Publishing Company Comptroller's Office Report, February 1958
Folder 33 Pittsburgh Courier Publishing Company Comptroller's Office Report, March 1958
Folder 34 Pittsburgh Courier Publishing Company Comptroller's Office Report, April-June 1958
Folder 35 Pittsburgh Courier Publishing Company Comptroller's Office Report No. 9, September 14-19, 1959
Folder 36 Pittsburgh Courier Publishing Company Comptroller's Office Report No. 10, September 26, 1959
Folder 37 Pittsburgh Courier Publishing Company Balance Sheet, September 30, 1960
Folder 38 Pittsburgh Courier Publishing Company Financial Report, December 31, 1960
Folder 39 Pittsburgh Courier Publishing Company Financial Report, February 28, 1961
Folder 40 Pittsburgh Courier Publishing Company Financial Report, June 30, 1963
Folder 41 Pittsburgh Courier Publishing Company Balance Sheet, September 30, 1963
Folder 42 Pittsburgh Courier Publishing Company Financial Statement, June 30, 1964
Folder 43 Pittsburgh Courier Publishing Company Yearly Financial Statement, December 31, 1964

Subseries 3. Photographs, 1936-1961

Scope and Content Notes:

This subseries contains the photographs of P.L. Prattis taken while traveling on assignment for the Pittsburgh Courier. The subseries features images of the United States Armed Forces during World War II, which includes a photograph taken at a press conference with General George Marshall and Colonel Benjamin O. Davis. The Photographs subseries also features images of Prattis being honored at banquets, along with some photographs of Robert L. Vann, the Pittsburgh Courier's long-time editor, and his wife Jessie. Recently added material can be found under the section "New Material Added." The subseries is arranged by year with many images undated.

Folder 44 P.L. Prattis at Professional Events, 1936-1940s, undated
Folder 45 Organizing Committee of the War Bond Savings Club, ca.1942
Folder 46 Blair House Press Conference for Edwin Barclay, President of Liberia, 1943
Folder 47 P.L. Prattis and Robert L. Vann with unidentified man, 1940s
Folder 48 P.L. Prattis with African American Soldiers in Army Mess Hall, 1940s
Folder 49 The Pittsburgh Courier's Frank Bolden as a War Correspondent, 1940s
Folder 50 Colonel Benjamin O. Davis, Sr., and Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., at Press Conference for African American Press, 1940s
Folder 51 General George Marshall addressing the African American Press, 1940s
Folder 52 P.L. Prattis and Jessie M. Vann with group, 1950s
Folder 53 P.L. Prattis in group with President Eisenhower, 1950s
Folder 54 P.L. Prattis in Tel Aviv, 1954
Folder 55 P.L. Prattis as speaker for National Insurance Convention, Durham, North Carolina, 1954
Folder 56 Wilhelmina Butler, Jessie M. Vann, P.L. Prattis, Patricia Prattis, Ethel Ramos, and Paquita Harris, 1960s
Folder 57 Testimonial dinner in honor of P.L. Prattis, 1961
Folder 58 Roy Wilkins and P.L. Prattis, undated
Folder 59 Lester Granger, Reba Schinault, and P.L. Prattis at Press Conference, undated
Folder 60 P.L. Prattis at a shrine in Jerusalem, Israel, undated
Folder 61 P.L. Prattis in Europe while on assignment for the Pittsburgh Courier, undated
Folder 62 P.L. Prattis with unidentified men, undated
Folder 63 P.L. Prattis, Rev. Toliver, Dr. Eugene Younge, Jr., and two other unidentified men, undated

Section: New Material Added, 2011


Box 2
Folder 71 P.L. Prattis and unidentified man (possibly related to Community Chest and Councils of America), 1960s

Subseries 4. Writings, 1945-1969

Scope and Content Notes:

The Writings subseries features story leads and drafts of articles, notes, and journal entries. Prattis wrote for the Pittsburgh Courier and other publications during this time period. Recently added material can be found under the section "New Material Added." The subseries is arranged chronologically.


Box 1
Folder 64 Journal entries for the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco, 1945
Folder 65 Writings by P.L. Prattis while on assignment in India, 1949
Folder 66 "Statement to General Lucius D. Clay," 1949
Folder 67 "Issues: Good and Bad." Draft for article in Associated Negro Press, 1954
Folder 68 Report on Courier Caravan, October 2- December 1957
Folder 69 Draft of the Courier Church Supplement, 1958
Folder 70 "The People of the Earth: History Special for Children," 1968-1969
Folder 71 Writing Assignment on Josephine Baker, undated
Folder 72 Story Lead on Draft of Constitution of Latin-Bloc Countries, undated
Folder 73 Book review on "The First Circle," undated
Folder 74 "Homewood- Brushton- Belmar Boomtown, '68," undated
Folder 75 "The Horizon," Writing Assignment from the ship Argentina, undated
Folder 76 Writing Assignment on Gaston Monnerville from Paris, undated
Folder 77 "Must We Surrender?" undated
Folder 78 "Over the Shoulder History," Lead for Pittsburgh Courier series, undated
Folder 79 "Poverty of the Negro, Prosperity of the Whites," undated
Folder 80 Profile of Virginia Paris, undated
Folder 81 "Road to Freedom," undated
Folder 82 "Reference to Maso Tse," undated
Folder 83 Story Lead on Wilkinsburg Coalition, undated
Folder 84 Writing Assignment from Cairo, undated
Folder 85 Writing Assignment from London, undated
Folder 86 Writing Assignment from Paris, undated
Folder 87 "Peace Prospects in the Holy Land," undated
Folder 88 "Thirteen Years under Nazi Terror: as told to P.L. Prattis," Third and Final Drafts, undated
Folder 89 "Truth is Delight," Review for the Pittsburgh Courier, undated
Folder 90 Story Lead on the death of Jessie M. Vann, undated
Folder 91 Story Lead on Dr. Euguene Younge, undated
Folder 92 Untitled Writing, undated
Volume 1 United Nations International Conference, San Francisco, Scrapbook, 1945

Section: New Material Added, 2011


Box 2
Folder 72-73 "The Horizon" newspaper clippings of column, 1943-1944

Box 2
Folder 85 "Autobiography", fragmentary undated

Series II. Correspondence, 1935-1979

Scope and Content Notes:

The Correspondence series consists of letters written and received by P.L. Prattis. It is divided into two subseries, professional and personal.

Subseries 1. Professional Correspondence, 1935-1979

Scope and Content Notes:

The correspondence in this subseries chronicles issues relating to Prattis’ career at the Pittsburgh Courier and after his retirement his involvement with organizations such as Frontiers International, YMCA, and the Yorkfellows. Of particular interest is a folder of correspondence from famous people which contains a handwritten letter from Lena Horne in 1971. Also found in this subseries is a copy of a letter Prattis wrote to then Senator John F. Kennedy on August 18, 1950. The letter is regards to a previous meeting the two had and developing possible series of articles on Kennedy’s efforts on behalf of African Americans. Recently added material can be found under the section "New Material Added." The correspondence is arranged by year.


Box 1
Folder 93 Correspondence from Notable People, 1935-1979
Folder 94 Correspondence regarding the financial situation of the Courier, 1950, 1958, 1965
Folder 95 Correspondence, 1945-1954
Folder 96 Correspondence, 1955-1957
Folder 97 Correspondence, January- July 1958
Folder 98 Correspondence, August-December 1958
Folder 99 Correspondence, 1959-1966
Folder 100 Correspondence, 1967-1968
Folder 101 Correspondence, 1969-1979, undated

Section: New Material Added, 2011


Box 2
Folder 74 Correspondence from Notable People; Richard J. Daley and W.E.B. DuBois, 1957-1958

Subseries 2. Personal Correspondence, 1919-1976

Scope and Content Notes:

The Personal Correspondence subseries consists of letters and postcards Prattis wrote to his wife and daughter during frequent trips while on assignments for the Pittsburgh Courier in the 1940s. There is also a folder of letters between Prattis and Rudolph Dunbar, a close friend and an African American symphony conductor living and working in Europe. The letters offer a glimpse into race relations in Europe and the United States. The personal correspondence subseries offers insight into Prattis’ feelings regarding the issues of the day. He was a voluminous correspondent and often candid in expressing his feelings. Recently added material can be found under the section "New Material Added." The subseries is arranged chronologically.


Box 2
Folder 1 Post cards to family, 1941-1954
Folder 2 Correspondence to family, 1941
Folder 3 Correspondence to family, 1942-1943
Folder 4 Correspondence to family, 1944-1945
Folder 5 Correspondence with Rudolph Dunbar, 1946-1971
Folder 6 Correspondence to family, 1956-1975
Folder 7 Helen Prattis Correspondence and notes, 1963, 1998, 2004
Folder 8 Condolence Letters to Helen Prattis, 1980
Folder 9 Correspondence, 1939-1964
Folder 10 Correspondence, 1965-1967
Folder 11 Correspondence, 1967-1976, undated

Section: New Material Added, 2011


Box 2
Folder 75 Correspondence in French, 1919
Folder 76 Courtship letters between Prattis and wife, Helen (Sands) Prattis, 1937-1939
Folder 77 Correspondence to Helen Prattis on board the S.S. Argentina on the way to Paris, 1945
Folder 78 Correspondence from P.L. Prattis to Helen Prattis, 1948-1966
Folder 79 Correspondence to Patricia Prattis while at Deerwood Music Camp in the Adirondacks, 1956-1957
Folder 80 Correspondence to Patricia Prattis while atthe Marlboro (Vt.) Festival, 1962
Folder 81 Correspondence to Patricia Prattis during the Pittsburgh Symphony's tour of Europe and the Middle East, 1964

Series III. Personal, 1916-1980

Scope and Content Notes:

This series contains an assortment of materials that document P.L. Prattis’ life and career outside the Pittsburgh Courier. Included in the Personal Series is his 1916 yearbook from the Ferris Institute, an honorable discharge certificate from the Army, and the Prattis family’s World War II war rations stamp book. There are biographical materials such as his Last Will and Testament, along with obituaries. Also present is assorted writings and copies of speeches, scrapbooks, and photographs of Prattis and his family. Recently added material can be found under the section "New Material Added." The series is arranged by date.


Box 2
Folder 12 Certificate from the Ferris Institute with Prattis' final credit in spelling, 1916
Folder 13 Civil Service Exam Results, 1921
Folder 14 Contracts with Holt Construction for the Prattis Home, 1939
Folder 15 Assorted newspaper clippings on P.L. Prattis, 1943, 1966, 1975, 1980
Folder 16 War Ration Stamp Book for the Prattis Family, 1945
Folder 17 Loendi Club 50th Anniversary Exercises Program, 1947
Folder 18 Tuskegee Institute material on Rural Housing in the South, 1947
Folder 19 Renunciation, a short story written by P.L. Prattis, 1948
Folder 20 H-M Club of America Membership materials, 1948
Folder 21 Observation of Jews in the International Scene, speech given before the NCJW Pittsburgh, 1949
Folder 22 Certificate presented by the Group Work Division, Health and Welfare Federation of Allegheny County, 1951
Folder 23 Schlitz Beer Ad featuring P.L. Prattis, 1951
Folder 24 Journey to the Soviet Union, 1959
Folder 25 Appointment to Board of Trustee of Pennsylvania Training School at Morganza, 1959
Folder 26 Honorable Discharge Certificate, 1960
Folder 27 Newspapers clippings on Banquet Honoring P.L. Prattis, 1961
Folder 28 Budget for Pittsburgh Chapter of Frontiers International, 1963
Folder 29 Prattis Household expenses and family budget, 1964-1964, 1968-1969
Folder 30 Writings and Newspaper clippings on YMCA Youth Corps, 1965
Folder 31 Friends or Foes? Forward or Backward? Speech delivered at the Annual Convention of Frontiers International, 1966
Folder 32 The Newcomen Society in North America, memos and correspondence, 1966
Folder 33 Department of Health, Education, and Welfare letter regarding Employment Opportunities Unlimited booklet, 1967
Folder 34 Employment Opportunities Unlimited booklet authored by P.L. Prattis, 1967
Folder 35 Frontiers International, 1967
Folder 36 Draft of story on Martha Brown, Prattis' Aunt, 1967
Folder 37 YMCA Leaders' Fellowship Certificate, 1967
Folder 38 Certificate of "Outstanding Civic Leaders of America," 1967
Folder 39 "Cabbie's Honesty Pays Off," Newspaper clipping, 1967
Folder 40 Diary pages and handwritten notes, 1967-1968
Folder 41 "William A. Arvin: A man without gall- without guile," speech delivered at Arvin Testimonial Reception, 1969
Folder 42 Certificate from Central Baptist Church for work as Black History Instructor, 1969
Folder 43 Certificate of Honor from the U.S. Selective Service, 1969
Folder 44 Certificate of Appreciation from the Moorland-Springarn Research Center, Howard University, 1974
Folder 45 Last Will and Testament and Veterans Administration Benefits, 1975, 1978,1980
Folder 46 Funeral Service Program, 1980
Folder 47 Biographical Information and Obituary, 1980 and undated
Folder 48 Condolence Proclamation from the State of Pennsylvania, 1980
Folder 49 Trees for Israel Certificates, undated
Folder 50 "At the Crossroads," undated
Folder 51 "Profile of Robert T.McEnheimer, District Manager with Unity Mutual Life Insurance Company, undated
Folder 52 "Social Justice is the Battle Cry," written for Frontiers International, undated
Folder 53 Assorted handwritten notes, undated
Folder 54 Notebook, undated
Folder 55 "Insurance and Integration," speech delivered at National Negro Insurance Association, undated
Folder 56 "Some Things to Think About for Economic Advancement," speech delivered to Unnamed Chamber of Commerce, undated
Folder 57 Assorted Writings, undated
Folder 58 "Complacency, Concern, Frustration, Opportunity," undated
Folder 59 Untitled writings, undated
Folder 60 Personal Photographs, 1919-1960s
Folder 61 Helen Prattis at Cheyney State Teachers College, ca.1930
Folder 62 P.L. Prattis aboard the Queen Mary, 1936
Folder 63 Pennsylvania Master of Men Award Presentation Photograph, 1938
Folder 64 Patricia Prattis photographs, ca.1943
Folder 65 YMCA Centre Avenue Board of Directors Photograph, ca.1945
Folder 66 YMCA Centre Avenue Kickoff Event Photograph, 1947
Folder 67 P.L. Prattis with wife, Helen and daughter, Patricia on front porch of home, undated
Folder 68 Photograph at a dinner in Nashville, Tennessee, undated
Volume 2 Scrapbook, 1940s-1970
Volume 3 "History: Day by Day," 1945-1968
Volume 4 Crimson & Gold Ferris Institute Yearbook, 1916

Section: New Material Added, 2011


Box 2
Folder 82 Army Registration Certificate, 1917
Folder 83 P.L. Prattis in Army Uniform, 1918
Folder 84 Inscriptions in books (photocopies) from W.E.B. DuBois, Nehru, and Langston Hughes, 1940s