Armwood Family papers
Scope and Contents
The collection provides a general overview of the Armwood family’s numerous accomplishments and professional and personal activities. Birth, marriage, and death certificates are included as well as photographs, correspondences, legal documents, military service records, newspaper clippings, brochures and other printed materials, diaries, manuscripts, and speeches.
- Created: 1866-1991
- Armwood (family) (Family)
Conditions Governing Use
None. The contents of this collection may be subject to copyright. Visit the United States Copyright Office's website at http://www.copyright.gov/for more information.
Biographical or Historical Information
In 1866, the Armwood family settled near the Alafia River in Seffner, FL. Over the years, the family played a major role in the social and political development of Hillsborough County, especially as related to the area’s African American community.
In 1878, family patriarch Levin Armwood (1854 - 1936) married Margaret Holloman (1862 - 1936), the daughter of Hillsborough County pioneer Adam Holloman. Levin and Margaret Armwood had five children: Walter Adam (1879 - 1944), Idella (1881 - 1968), James (1883 - 1889), Henry (1884 - 1885), and Blanche (1890 - 1939).
A citrus-grower by trade, Levin Armwood, Jr. served as Hillsborough County’s first African American deputy sheriff, Supervisor of County Roads, and Postmaster; he was also the first African American police officer for the city of Tampa. In 1914, along with his son Walter, Levin Armwood opened the Gem Drugstore on Central Avenue, the first African-American owned drugstore in Tampa.
One of the most widely recognized members of the Armwood family, Blanche Armwood, is regarded as one of Hillsborough County’s most prominent women of the early 20th century. An educator and speaker who rose to national heights, Blanche Armwood began her professional career as a teacher for Tampa’s African American schools. In 1914, the same year that her family opened the Gem Drugstore, Blanche was contacted by the Tampa Gas Company to serve as a demonstrator. Later that year, Blanche Armwood established the Tampa School of Household Arts, where African American women and girls learned domestic science skills. She served as principal, instructor, and course developer for the school and eventually established a sister school, the New Orleans School of Domestic Science, in Louisiana. Based on Armwood’s success, other domestic science schools were established in Georgia, Virginia, and South Carolina. Other significant accomplishments of Blanche Armwood include appointment as Supervisor of Negro Schools for Hillsborough County (1926 - 1934) and co-founder and first executive secretary of the Tampa Urban League. In 1985, Armwood Senior High School was dedicated in her honor.
Walter Armwood III died on September 30, 2009.
12.39 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
Contains records and related materials documenting the professional and personal lives of the Armwood family, a pioneering African American family in Hillsborough County, Florida.
The collection is divided into two record groups: (1) Armwood Family papers; (2) Armwood Family photographs.
Record Group (1) is further subdivided into three sub-groups: (1) General Family papers; (2) Blanche Armwood papers; (3) Walter Armwood.
Within each subgroup, items are arranged alphabetically by name, by type of material, or chronologically.
Source of Acquisition
Hazel Armwood Orsley, Burnie H. Orsley, and John H. Armwood
Method of Acquisition
Other Descriptive Information
- African American business enterprises -- Tampa Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- African American families Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- African American pioneers -- Florida -- Hillsborough County Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- African Americans -- Politics and government Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Armwood family -- Correspondence Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Armwood, Blanche (1890-1939)
- Armwood, Levin N. (1854-1936)
- Armwood, Walter (1879-1944)
- Tampa (Fla.) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Tampa School of Household Arts
- Armwood Family papers
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description