African American Library at the Gregory School

Christia Adair Collection MSS.0017

An Inventory of her Records at the African American Library at the Gregory School, Houston Public Library

Descriptive Summary

Creator Adair, Christia V.
Title: Christia Adair Collection
Dates: 1894-1985
Identification: MSS.0017
Quantity: 2.7 Linear feet
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: African American Library at the Gregory School

Biographical note

Christia V. Daniels Adair, a black civil rights activist and suffragist, was born on October 22, 1893, in Victoria Texas. She was one of four children of Hardy and Ada Daniels. She attended a small school in Edna, Texas. In 1910, along with her brother, she moved to Austin to attend high school at Samuel Huston College (now Huston-Tillotson College). She went on to attend Prairie View State Normal and Industrial College (now Prairie View A&M University) before returning to Edna to teach elementary school. In 1918 she married Elbert H. Adair, a brakeman for the Missouri Pacific Railroad. The couple moved to Kingsville, Texas where Christia Adair started a Sunday school and joined a group of women opposed to gambling. She also became one of the few African American suffragists in the state. Despite the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, giving women the right to vote, she was offended to find that she still could not vote in certain elections. In Texas at the time, laws prevented her from voting in primary elections because she was African American. This was an insult to Adair and prompted her to become an active member in the Civil Rights movement.

In 1925, the Adairs moved to Houston, where Mrs. Adair became an early member of the local branch of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Elbert Adair died in 1943, and for the next sixteen years Christia Adair remained active in the NAACP, which she served as executive secretary for twelve years. As a member of the NAACP, she became involved in Smith vs. Allwright, when the branch brought suit against a local election judge for denying the vote to a local black dentist, Dr. Lonnie Smith. The case, argued by NAACP special counsel Thurgood Marshall, was decided in favor of Smith by the US Supreme Court in 1944. This and similar NAACP activities made the chapter a target for its opponents. Bomb threats were not uncommon. In 1957 Houston police attempted for three weeks to locate the chapter’s membership list. While the official charge was barratry-the illegal solicitation of clients by attorneys-Adair believed the real purpose was to destroy and break up the organization and its advocacy of civil rights. She testified for five hours in a three-week trial over the attempted seizure of NAACP records.

She also helped desegregate the Houston Public Library, airport, veterans’ hospital, and city buses. With Frankie Randolph, she founded the Harris County Democrats, an integrated alternative to the county’s segregated Democratic organization.

Christia Adair was active in the Methodist Episcopal Church and was the first African American woman elected to its general board. She was chairman of the Christian Social Concern program at Boynton United Methodist Church and served on its national board of missions. She was also active in the Texas Club, part of the National Association of Colored Women’s and Girls’ Club. She was one of fifty interviewed for an oral history of black women conducted by the Radcliffe College Schlesinger Library of History of Women in America, and in 1974 the Houston chapter of the National Organization for Women honored her for her suffrage activism. She worked as a county clerk of absentee voting well into her eighties. On her eighty-fourth birthday a county park in Houston was dedicated in her name. Christia Adair died on December 31, 1989. (Source: Handbook of Texas Online, s.v.”,” (accessed April 7, 2010))

Scope and Contents

The Christia V. Adair Collection is comprised of newsclippings, photographs, programs, correspondence, publications, artifacts, and textiles which she had accumulated during her life. Many of the materials document her family history, her career in civil rights and suffrage for women, and also personal items that had special meaning to her.The collection is arranged by subject and material type.


Arrangement note

The collection is arranged by subject and material type.


Access Restrictions


Use Restrictions

Permission to publish or reproduce materials from the Christia V. Adair Collection must be obtained from the African American Library at the Gregory School or the appropriate copyright holder.

Index Terms

Adair, Christia V.
Christia V. Adair, Mrs. Christia V. Adair
African American Intellectuals
African American leadership
African American women
African Americans

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Christia Adair Collection. MSS0017. African American Library at the Gregory School, Houston Public Library

Acquisition Information

Donated by: The Heritage Society, December 2009

Processing Information

Processed by: Vince Lee. March, 2010

Detailed Description of the Collection



Box Folder
1 1 Newsclippings
"Mrs. C.V. Adair link to whites in pioneering rights" - Houston Chronicle(October 23, 1977)
"Adair Day - Activist honored at park dedication" - Houston Post (n.d.)
"Houston honors 2 women warriors for civil rights" - Houston Post (n.d.)
Southwestern Christian Advocate (part of front page)- May 11, 1911 (original and photocopy)



Box Folder
1 2 Photographs
MSS0017.001 Vivian Watkins-Christia Adair's niece (n.d.)
MSS0017.002 Walter Tapenter-cousin to Christia Adair-Aunt Amy's Son (n.d.)
MSS0017.003 Mrs. Julia Thompson-Christia Adair's girlhood friend (n.d.)
MSS0017.004 Simon Whitefield-Aunt Katie's boyfriend. Edna,Texas. (n.d.)
MSS0017.005 Katie Morris, cousin to Christia Adair & her mother's niece (n.d.)
MSS0017.006 Group photo. Christian Workers School of the Methodist Church. (1934)
MSS0017.007 Mr & Mrs Noah Hodge-friends of Christia Adair's mother Victoria, Texas (n.d.)
MSS0017.008 Group photo of unidentified family members of Christia Adair (n.d.)
MSS0017.009Unidentified young woman in bust pose (n.d.)
MSS0017.010 Photo of 4 people "Cousin Katie and friends" (n.d.)
MSS0017.011 Photo of baby laughing. Morris Watkins, Jr. (n.d.)
MSS0017.12 Baby standing in wicker chair. Ellen Mosby at 8 months. Kingsville, Texas (n.d.)
MSS0017.013 Martha Bellville. Christia Adair's cousin, (n.d.)
MSS0017.014 Photo of furniture (n.d.)
MSS0017.015 Webster Daniels in WWI uniform. Older brother to Christia Adair. (n.d.)
MSS0017.016Enlarged photo of Christia Adair (n.d.)
MSS0017.017 Christia Adair anf Tom Bass (n.d.)
MSS0017.018 Christia Adair, John Biggers, and unidentified woman looking at a picture of herself as a young girl. (n.d.)
MSS0017.019 Christia Adair mural at the Christia V. Adair Park on Cullen Street (n.d.)
Box Folder
1 3 Photographs
MSS0017.020-Hattie Mae White and Christia Adair (n.d.)
MSS0017.021-Christia Adair in front of mural at the newly dedicated Christia Adair Park (n.d.)
MSS0017.022-Christia Adair looking at mural done for her at park (n.d.)
MSS0017.023-John Biggers painting Christia Adair mural (n.d.)
MSS0017.024-Photo of little girl outside in someone's yard. Jackelyn(?) Watcks(?)
MSS0017.025-Family photo of Guy Daniels. Christia Adair's uncle. 4 children and mother ( photo torn in 2) (n.d.)
MSS0017.026-Photo of 3 men behind speaker during dedication of the Christia Adair mural at her park (n.d.)
MSS0017.027-Ola Lee Johnson in bush smiling at camera (born Feb.4, 1907-died Feb. 14,1927)(n.d.)
MSS0017.028-John Biggers and Christia Adair looking at trophy case in her house (n.d.)
MSS0017.029A-Home of Constance Houston-Granddaughter of Joshua Houston. a slave (exterior view) (n.d.)
MSS0017.029B-Home of Constance Houston-Granddaughter of Joshua Houston, a slave (exterior view) (n.d.)
MSS0017.029C-Home of Constance Houston Granddaughter of Joshua Houston, a slave (exterior view) (n.d.)
MSS0017.029D-Home of Constance Houston-Granddaughter of Joshua Houston, a slave (kitchen) (n.d.)
MSS0017.029E-Home of Constance Houston-Granddaughter of Joshua Houston, a slave (stove in kitchen) (n.d.)
MSS0017.029F-Home of Constance Houston-Granddaughter of Joshua Houston, a slave(kitchen pantry) (n.d.)
MSS0017.029G-Home of Constance Houston-granddaughter of Joshua Houston, a slave ( bathroom) (n.d.)
MSS0017.029H-Home of Constance Houston-Granddaughter of Joshua Houston, a slave(door)(n.d.)
MSS0017.029I-Home of Constance Houston-Granddaughter of Joshua houston, a slave (vanity)(n.d.)
MSS0017.029J-Home of Constances Houston-granddaughter of Joshua Houston, a slave(bathtub)(n.d.)
MSS0017.029K-Home of Constance Houston-Granddaughter of Joshua Houston a slave (exterior view) (n.d.)
MSS0017.029L-Home of Constance Houston-Granddaughter of Joshua Houston, a slave(dresser)(n.d.)
MSS0017.029M-Home of Constance Houston-Granddaughter of Joshua Houston,a slave (front exterior)(n.d.)
MSS0017.029N-Home of Constance Houston-Granddaughter of Joshua Houston, a slave(fine china)(n.d.)
MSS0017.029O-Home of Constance Houston-Granddaughter of Joshua Houston(fireplace)(n.d.)



Box Folder
1 4 Recitals
Mrs. E.L. Carethers Presents A Group of her piano pupils in a recital- July 9, 1936
Mrs. M.B. Smith presents The Pupils of the M. Smith Studios in recital-July 2, 1940
The Royal Light Gospel Chanters Present The Pupils of the M.B.Smith Studios in Recital-May 22,1941
Box Folder
1 5 Programs
Forty-Eight Annual Offical Program of the Congress of Christian Workers-August 20-23, 1963
The Dedication of Christa V. Adair Park Program-October 22, 1977 (original and photocopy)
Christia V. Adair Mural Dedication Program-June 12, 1983
Program of Oral History Project on Christia V. Adair-February 11, 1979



Box Folder
1 6 Letter
Letter from Christia Adair addressed to the Women Co-workers of the Church and Federated Club of Texas-September 30, 1964



Box Folder
1 7 Fair Housing Ordinance
Booklet on Fair Housing Ordinance issued by the City of Houston with letter-February 27, 1976
Box Folder
1 8 Parent-Teacher Assocation Yearbook
Parent-Teacher Association Yearbook 1961-1962
Box Folder
1 9 New Frontiers with Christ in Front
Inspirational Book: New Frontiers with Christ in Front-1963
Box Folder
1 10 Texas History Illustrated
Texas History Illustrated-1974
Box Folder
1 11 On the Homefront with Minimum Wage
On the Homefront with Minimum Wage Pamphlet-1942


Miscellaneous Artifacts

Booklet Folder
1 12 Certificate of Appreciation
The Houston Area Women's Center Certificate of Appreciation presented to Christia Adair-August 26, 1984
Books Folder
1 13 Course Cards
Course Card for: Christians and a New World Economy-August 28,1944
Course Card for: The Church Among Uprooted Americans-146b-August 11,1945
Box Folder
1 14 Greeting Cards
Valentine Greeting Card from Yvonne
Valentine Greeting Card from Jackie
Happy Easter Greeting Card from Baby
Greeting Card Envelope addressed to Christia V. Adair-1939
Box Folder
1 15 Foley's Bill of Sale
Foley's Accounts Receivable Return Envelope
Foley's Bill of Sale to Walter B. Lockhart-July 14, 19??
Box Folder
1 16 Handwritten Prayer Request
Sheet containing hand-written prayer requests by unknown author (n.d.)
Box Folder
1 17 Stationery and Envelope
Samuel Huston Summer Normal School Stationary with miscellaneous writings (n.d.)
Houston Independent School District Envelope addressed to Christia Adair (n.d.)
Box Folder
1 18 Scrapbook Page
Scrapbook Page commemorating Yvonne F. Watkins Piano Recital (January 1, 1939)

Realia 2
Personal effects
1987.37.82-Small yellow table cover with painted on flowers
1987.37.21-White badge and ribbon with Christia Adair as honoree (HL&P Black History Exhibit-1985)
1987.37.77-all metal brooch, flower motiff
1987.37.78-all metal brooch, large flower over intricate design
1987.37.79-blue flowers brooch
1987.37.80-brooch with purple flowers, green leaves and larger gold leaves. 3 pearls (one missing)
1987.37.81-brooch with several multi-colored stones and 2 gold leaves


Oversized Items

1987.37.45 Article "Women with a Purpose" in Houston Post's Times Magazine? (with group photo on reverse including Christia Adair in the front) (1971)
1987.37.71 A- Page from scrapbook containing 2 recital programs and 2 photos of little girls (Esther B. Daniels & Yvonne Watkins) (1937 and 1934)
1987.37.57B-8 page weekly newspaper-National Baptist-Union Review-Volume 73 Number 28 August 31, 1968