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ARCHIVAL COLLECTIONS

Frederick and Edith L. Massiah Papers
1913-1990 (bulk 1917-1975)

UPT 50 M417

6.0 Cubic feet

Prepared by Joseph-James Ahern

March 2012

Access to collections is granted in accordance with the Protocols for the University Archives and Records Center.

PROVENANCE

The Frederick and Edith L. Massiah Papers were donated to the University Archives by Louis J. Massiah in August 2011 (Accession # 2011:048). 

 

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ARRANGEMENT

The Frederick and Edith L. Massiah Papers are organized into three series: Business Papers, Family Papers, and Awards and Certificates. The material within each series is arranged alphabetically. 

 

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BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

Frederick McDonald Massiah was born in Barbados, West Indies on December 12, 1886. After emigrating to the United States in the early part of the Twentieth Century, he started his career working as a laborer by day, and studying architecture at night. He attended the Pennsylvania School of Fine Arts, and earned a degree in Civil Engineering from Drexel Institute (now Drexel University). By the start of the 1920s Massiah had opened his own contracting business in Philadelphia. 

Massiah was one of the first successful African-American contracting engineers in the United States; establishing a business during a period when it was nearly impossible for minorities to obtain financing, insurance, and acceptance in the trade unions. At the time, Massiah became a leader in the use of reinforced concrete in building construction, starting with the Walnut Park Plaza Apartments in 1927. His work on this project led to Massiah wining the William E. Harmon Foundation Medal for Engineering in recognition of outstanding beam and girder work, and it was cited as a model by the Philadelphia city engineers to the University of Pennsylvania’s engineering program in the Towne Scientific School. Having established his firm’s reputation, Massiah went on to a 45 year career receiving numerous private and government contracts. This included the elliptical dome of the Ascension of Our Lord Church, the William Donner X-Ray laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania, the Trenton Sewage Disposal Plan, The Capehart Housing Project at Fort Meade, MD, and the Morton Housing Development. Massiah was a member of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the Masonic Order, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Massiah became a U.S. citizen on April 29, 1931. He died on July 7, 1975. 

Edith Lamarre Massiah was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on June 18, 1918. She was educated in Haiti at the Ecole Normal and was awarded an academic scholarship to study at Ohio State University in 1946. Mrs. Massiah went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in education from St. Joseph’s University and a master’s in social work from Temple University. Between 1965 and 1975 she taught French at the Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, PA. Mrs. Massiah also worked as a social worker in Philadelphia for the Department of Public Welfare, the North Central Philadelphia Mental Health and Mental Retardation Community Center, and Catholic Services. Her and Frederick married in 1950 and had two sons, Allen and Louis; and a daughter, Frederica. Edith Massiah died on May 5, 1991. 

 

 

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SCOPE AND CONTENT

The Frederick and Edith L. Massiah Papers documents the professional activities of Frederick Massiah as a contract engineer and business man, as well as the Massiah Family life in Philadelphia. The collection is organized into three series: Business Papers, Family Papers, and Awards and Certificates. Business Papers is the largest series of the collection – and documents Frederick Massiah’s professional activities – including financial matters, real estate properties, contracts, and construction projects. Documentation of his construction projects includes contracts, correspondence, and photographs – though the depth of documentation varies by project. The most extensively documented construction projects in the collection are Best of Life Park in Atlantic City, NJ, Brookville Apartments in Trenton, NJ, Capehart Housing Project in Ft. Meade, MD, and Trenton Sewage Treatment Plant Additions in Trenton, NJ. 

The Family Papers series provides a look at the life of an African-American family living in mid-Twentieth Century Philadelphia. Frederick’s funeral in 1975 with related condolences from family and friends is well documented. The collection also provides insight into the financial, education, and social aspects of the family. 

 

 

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CONTROLLED ACCESS HEADINGS

Geographic Name(s)

  • Philadelphia (Pa.)--Buildings, structures, etc.

Subject(s)

  • African American families--Pennsylvania.
  • Construction industry--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia.
  • Construction projects--United States.

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University of Pennsylvania Engineering class at Walnut Park Plaza, 63rd and Walnut, 1927

 

INVENTORY

 

Business Papers 

Box

Folder

A and E Hoffman 1968 

1

1

American Concrete Institute Directory 1929 

1

2

Arthur A. Kober Co., Inc. 1967 

1

3

Balance Sheets 1928-1930 

1

4

Blank Apartment Lease Agreement, n.d. 

1

5

Blank Contract Forms, n.d. 

1

6

Blank Forms, n.d. 

1

7

Blank Lease Agreement Form, n.d. 

1

8

Boardwalk National Bank, 1964, 1966 

1

9

Business Card Plate 1933 

1

10

Business Cards, n.d. 

1

11

Cash flow Statement 1960 

1

12

Cashbook 1913-1927 

1

13

Central-Penn National Bank 

 1953-1957 

1

14

 1954-1966 

1

15

1956, 1968 

1

16

 1961 

1

17

 1967-1971 

1

18

 1972 

1

19

Clark v. Massiah 1970-1972 

1

20

Comfort Heating, n.d. 

1

21

Cret, Paul Philippe 1942 

1

22

Financial Statements 

 1941 

1

23

 1942 

1

24

 1943-1950 

1

25

 1944 

1

26

 1947 

1

27

 1948-1949 

1

28

 1951-1955 

1

29

 1954-1966 

1

30

 1956-1960 

1

31

 1958-1969 

1

32

 1961 

1

33

 1961 

1

34

 1961-1968 

1

35

First Trenton National Bank 1964-1965 

1

36

Goodwin v. Massiah 1972 

1

37

Harold Rush Settlement 1953 

1

38

Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company 1965 

1

39

Jobs 1933 

1

40

Jobs Completed and Destroyed 1924-1925 

1

41

Lease Agreement 1968 

1

42

Massiah v. Pellegi and Sons 1962-1970 

1

43

Massiah v. Pellegi and Sons 1971 

1

44

Massiah v. Perkins 1971 

1

45

Mattia and Vallone 1968 

1

46

Miscellaneous Notes 1949-1970 

1

47

Monroe v. Massiah 1972 

1

48

Mosely et al vs. Massiah 1925 

1

49

New Jersey Division of Employment Security 1966-1968 

1

50

Notebook 1957 

1

51

Office Photographs, n.d. 

1

52

Office Photographs, n.d. 

1

53

Payroll Tax Documents [CLOSED] 1965 

1

54

Payroll Tax Documents [CLOSED] 1966 

1

55

Payroll Tax Documents [CLOSED] 1967 

1

56

Philadelphia Electric Company 1957 

1

57

Philadelphia Real Estate Appraisal Company 1936 

1

58

Project Cards 1955 

1

59

Projects 

1416-18 South Penn Square, n.d. 

2

1

1424 Walnut Street Building Inspection 1929 

2

2

1424 Walnut Street Photographs (1) 1929 

2

3

1424 Walnut Street Photographs (2) 1929 

2

4

16th and Chestnut Streets 1926 

2

5

1815 Spruce Street 1964 

2

6

2034-54 Waverly St, Photographs, n.d. 

2

7

2035 North Seventh Street 1945 

2

8

20th and Spruce Philadelphia 1962 

2

9

2115 Pemberton Street 1960 

2

10

214 South 15th Street 1946 

2

11

2291 North 53rd Street 1946 

2

12

2417-19 Washington Ave Philadephia Photograph 1948 

2

13

2856-58 Stouten Street, Philadelphia, n.d. 1947 

2

14

33rd and Daulphin, n.d. 

2

15

417 Walnut Street 1947 

2

16

5000 Richmond St. Bridesburg 1945 

2

17

5141-43 Chestnut Streets 1940 

2

18

5727-43 Walnut Street 1946 

2

19

60th and Ludlow Photographs, n.d. 

2

20

616-618 S. Broad Street 1946 

2

21

6th and Wood Streets 1948 

2

22

708 North 8th Street, Philadelphia 1941 

2

23

A. S. Beck Shoe Corp 10th and Market Street - Blueprint 1930 

2

24

Acme Store Ridley Township 1968 

2

25

Administration Building Ellis Country School 1951 

2

26

Administration Building S. Davis Wilson Airport Philadelphia 1939 

2

27

American Stores 1968 

2

28

Apartment Building 19th and Panama Sts Photographs, n.d. 

2

29

Archbishop Prendergast High School 1964 

2

30

Argo Lamp Company Philadelphia 1942 

2

31

Ashbourne Country Club 1941 

2

32

Atlantic County Hospital for Metal Diseases Northfield, NJ 1940 

2

33

Atlantic County Hospital for Metal Diseases Northfield, NJ, Photographs, n.d. 

2

34

Autocare Co. - Ardmore Covered Loading Platform 1946 

2

35

B. F. Goodrich Company Riverside, NJ Plant 1950-1951 

2

36

Baltimore Markets 27th and Girard Avenue 1942 

2

37

Bank Building S.E. Corner of Broad and South Streets, Philadelphia 1952 

2

38

Bell Telephone Cedar Lane Garage 1953 

2

39

Best of Life Park Atlantic City, NJ 

 1964 

2

40

 1964-1967 

2

41

 1965 

2

42

 1965-1966 

2

43

 1965-1970 

2

44

Photographs 1964-1965 

2

45

Photographs 1965 

2

46

Photographs 1965 

 OS 1

 

Plans 1965 

2

47

Betty Bacharach Home for Afflicted Children, Longport, NJ 1953-1954 

2

48

Blauner's Basement Store, 9th and Commerce Street 1931 

2

49

Broad Street Title and Trust Co. 1928 

2

50

Broad Street Title and Trust Co. Photographs 1928 

2

51

Brookville Apartments Trenton, NJ 

 1948-1950 

2

52

Photographs 1948 

2

53

Photographs 1948 

2

54

Photographs 1948 

2

55

Brown Instrument Company 1942 

2

56

Browning King Co. Photograph, n.d. 

2

57

Budd Co. X-Ray Laboratory and Repair Shop 1952 

2

58

Bureau for Colored Children Dormitory Pomeroy 1944 

2

59

C. S. D. Building Philadelphia Gas Works 1956-1957 

2

60

Capehart Housing Project, Ft. Meade, MD 

 1957-1961 

2

61

 1957-1961 

2

62

 1957-1961 

2

63

 1957-1961 

2

64

 1957-1961 

2

65

 1957-1961 

2

66

 1957-1961 

2

67

 1958-1963 

2

68

 1963 

2

69

Central Delaware County Joint School Authority 1955-1957 

3

1

Charles Lennig and Company, Inc., 1943, 1945 

3

2

Chester Tidewater Terminal 1946 

3

3

Children's Heart Hospital of Philadelphia 1927 

3

4

Church of St. John the Evangelist 1963 

3

5

Church of the Ascension F and Westmorland Streets 1925 

3

6

Church of the Ascension F and Westmorland Streets Photographs, n.d. 

3

7

Church of the Ascension F and Westmorland Streets Photographs, n.d. 

 OS 1

 

Church of the Holy Child Broad and Duncannon Street 1928 

3

8

Church of the Holy Child Broad and Duncannon Street Photographs 1929 

3

9

Cocktail Lounge Broad Street Suburban Station 1940 

3

10

Congregation Ezrath Israel Synagogue 1947 

3

11

Crucible Steel Co. 1956 

3

12

Cumberland County Courthouse 1954 

3

13

D. Newlin Fell Elementary School 1947 

3

14

Dave Reese Olds 1953 

3

15

Dave Reese Olds Photographs 1953 

3

16

Defense Housing Project Delaware County 1943 

3

17

Defense Plant Corporation 1942 

3

18

Delaware Ordnance Depot Pedricktown, NJ 1940 

3

19

Dick Crean Store 1949 

3

20

Donner Radiology Building University of Pennsylvania 1956-1957 

3

21

Engine Test Cells Building, Middletown Air Depot 1941 

3

22

Federal Building and Post Office Camden 

Photographs Photographs 1931-1932 

3

23

Photographs 1931-1932 

3

24

Printing Plate 1932 

3

25

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia 1963 

3

26

Felt Bros Store Building 1928 

3

27

Frankford Arsenal 1952-1953 

3

28

Fred Whitaker Co. Warehouse 1950-1951 

3

29

General Electric 3001 Walnut Street, Philadelphia 1967 

3

30

George C. Thomas High School 1947 

3

31

Germantown Fire Insurance Company 1953 

3

32

H. Swoboda and Son 1941 

3

33

Hamilton Sewage Treatment Plant Addition NJ 1954-1955 

3

34

Hamilton Township Sewage Disposal Plant Photographs, n.d. 

3

35

Holy Cross Convent 1954 

3

36

Imperial Type Metal Company 1946-1947 

3

37

Jeanne D'Arc Statue 1948 

3

38

Jefferson Hospital 1958 

3

39

John C. Jones Residence Mt. Ephraim, NJ 1945 

3

40

Joseph Kopperman and Sons 1945 

3

41

L. K. Downing Howard University Photograph 1948 

3

42

Lakeland Institution Power Plant 1938 

3

43

Lakeland Institution Power Plant Photographs, n.d. 

3

44

Levy Bros Office and Factory Photographs 1929 

3

45

Liberty Real Estate Bank and Trust Co. Broad and Arch 1955 

3

46

Majestic Garage Photographs 1922-1923 

3

47

Mastbaum Bros and Fleisher Photographs, n.d. 

3

48

McIver's Quality Shoppe 1946 

3

49

Met Opera House 1950 

3

50

Miscellaneous Notes 1950-1960 

3

51

Moose Home, Camden, NJ 1930 

3

52

Moose Home, Camden, NJ Photographs 1930 

3

53

Morton Housing Project Philadelphia 1961-1963 

3

54

Motion Picture Building, 1524-1534 South St. [Royal Theatre] 1919 

3

55

Mushroom Transportation Co. 1941 

3

56

Naval Boiler and Turbine Laboratory 1954-1961 

3

57

New Castle County Airport 1952 

3

58

Nike Defense Facility Lumberton, NJ 1954 

3

59

Northeast Service Building and Parking Facilities 1956 

3

60

Northern Metal Company 1942 

3

61

O. V. Catto Lodge No. 20 1944 

3

62

Our Lady of Grace Parochial School Penndel, PA 1949 

3

63

Parmentier Plywood Service, Inc. 1946 

3

64

Penn Metal Corporation 1945 

3

65

Penn Novelty Embroidery Co. 1940 

3

66

Pennypack Woods Store and Community Buildings 1943 

3

67

Philadelphia Electric Substation 32nd and Glenwood Ave. 1964 

3

68

Philadelphia Gas Works Station "B" 1961 

3

69

Philadelphia Gas Works Station "B" Photographs 1930 

3

70

Philadelphia Municipal Airport 1940 

3

71

Philadelphia Municipal Airport Photographs 1939 

3

72

Philadelphia Navy Yard Water Treatment Plant 1945 

3

73

Photograph Album (1) 1917-1926 

3

74

Photograph Album (2) 1917-1926 

3

75

Photograph Album (3) 1917-1926 

3

76

Plymouth Elementary School 1953 

3

77

Presentation B.V.M. Church 1966-1972 

3

78

Public Delivery Trestle Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Armat St. Germantown Photographs 1932 

3

79

Purchase Orders Harry R. Rust, Inc. 1948 

3

80

Purchase Orders J. B. Liebman and Co. 1939-1941 

3

81

Purchase Orders Wintz Bros, Inc. 1943-1950 

3

82

Quaker City Federal Savings and Loan Association 1945 

3

83

Record Building Garage Philadelphia 1945 

3

84

Reformed Church Home 1950 

3

85

Rialto Theatre Wilmington, DE. 1930 

3

86

Rittenhouse Square Giant Frog 1950 

3

87

Saint Carthage Roman Catholic Church 1924 

3

88

Saint Rita's Church 1940 

3

89

Salvation Army Corps Building 1950 

3

90

Salvation Army Corps Building Photographs 1951 

3

91

School of Chiropody Temple University 1939 

3

92

Scott-Tait Stores 1948 

3

93

Sellersville Elementary School 1962-1966 

3

94

Shipside Wilmington, DE Photographs, n.d. 

4

1

Shipside Wilmington, DE Photographs, n.d. 

 OS 4

 

Sidewalk Repair Projects 1940-1948 

4

2

Slides 1965 

4

3

Social Services Building, Philadelphia 1942 

4

4

Social Services Building, Philadelphia 1955 

4

5

South Bridge Extension Wilmington, DE 1952 

4

6

South Chester Tube Co. 1945-1947 

4

7

Southwestern National Bank Philadelphia, PA 1928 

4

8

Southwestern National Bank Philadelphia, PA Photographs 1929 

4

9

St. Gabriel's Church and School 1964 

4

10

St. Joseph's College Dormitory Building 1946 

4

11

St. Matthew's Roman Catholic Church Philadelphia 1941 

4

12

Steel and Reinforced Concrete Service Station Photograph, n.d. 

 OS 1

 

Stores and Office Building Garret Road Upper Darby Photographs 1929 

4

13

Sub-Depot Facility Millville Army Airfield 1944 

4

14

Sulgrave Manor Reproduction 1926 

4

15

Taubel Stocking Factory, Camden Photograph, n.d. 

 OS 1

 

Trenton Sewage Treatment Plant Additions 

 1959-1968 

4

16

Newspaper Article 1961 

4

17

Photographs (1), n.d. 

4

18

Photographs (2), n.d. 

4

19

U. S. Department of Agriculture, 1944, 1946 

4

20

Unidentified Photographs, n.d. 

4

21

Unidentified Photographs, n.d. 

 OS 1

 

United Air Lines Interim Air Freight Building, Philadelphia 1966 1967 

4

22

United States Testing Company 1951 

4

23

Universal Film Exchange Building 1948 

4

24

Upland Methodist Church 1953 

4

25

Vector United, Trevose PA Blueprints 1965 

 OS 2

 

Walnut Park Plaza 63rd and Walnut 

Photographs (1) 1927 

4

26

Photographs (2) 1927 

4

27

University of Pennsylvania Engineering Class Photograph 1927 

4

28

War Apartments, Dormitories and Community Facilities Wilmington, DE 1942 

4

29

Water Tower Reading Company Photograph, n.d. 

4

30

Wayne Title and Trust Co. Photographs 1930 

4

31

West Philadelphia High School 1939 

4

32

William Johnson Residence Lansdowne, PA 1947-1949 

4

33

William Johnson Residence Lansdowne, PA Photographs 1949 

4

34

Wilson-Martin Co., 1940-1941, 1947 

4

35

Property and Liability Insurance 1953-1960 

4

36

Property Insurance 1342 Cypress St. 1954-1958 

4

37

Real Estate 

1507 North 16th Street 1971-1972 

4

38

1509 Bainbridge Street 1968 

4

39

1510-1514 Poplar Street 1965 

4

40

2010-16 Pemberton Street 1970-1972 

4

41

2010-16 Pemberton Street Photographs, n.d. 

4

42

2042 Montrose Street 1970 

4

43

21st Street and Capitol Street 1960-1961 

4

44

2328 St. Albans Street 1971-1972 

4

45

4031 Spring Garden Street 1968-1972 

4

46

Barbados, WI 1962-1968 

4

47

Insurance Policies 1952-1960 

4

48

Miscellaneous 1967-1972 

4

49

Receipts 1951-1968 

4

50

Snow, James B. 1967 

4

51

South Philadelphia National Bankn 1948, 1952 

4

52

Southwestern National Bank 1930 

4

53

Sussman, Harold E. 1957 

4

54

Swayze, William B. 1969 

4

55

United States Fidelity and Guaranty Company 1957-1958 

4

56

Walker, Kenneth Q. 1965 

4

57

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Family Papers 

Box

Folder

Atlantic Richfield Company 1974 

4

58

Aunt Lulu 1943 

4

59

Automobile Policies 1954-1961 

4

60

Biographical Material 1966-1969 

4

61

Bust Photographs, n.d. 

4

62

Cadillac Motor Cars Catalog 1927 

4

63

Cards 1950-1967 

4

64

Children 1970-1971 

4

65

Downing, L. K. 1932 

4

66

Dutton, Benson Leroy 1990 

4

67

Elizabeth 1972 

4

68

Family 1970 

4

69

Frederick Massiah Funeral 

Death Certificate 1975 

4

70

Death Notices 1975 

4

71

Expenses 1975 

4

72

Memorial Friends Messages and Gifts, n.d. 

4

73

Memorial Guestbook 1975 

4

74

Memorial Service 1975 

4

75

Obituaries 1975 

4

76

Sympathy Correspondence (1) 1975 

4

77

Sympathy Correspondence (2) 1975 

4

78

Sympathy Correspondence (3) 1975 

5

1

Sympathy Correspondence (4) 1975 

5

2

Sympathy Correspondence (5) 1975 

5

3

Sympathy Correspondence (6) 1975 

5

4

Sympathy Correspondence (7) 1975 

5

5

Friends Select School 1961-1971 

5

6

Gray, Hazel Y., n.d. 

5

7

Jackmen, Enid 1969-1972 

5

8

Johnson, Alice 1963 

5

9

Jones, E. V. 1971 

5

10

Lincoln National Life Insurance Company 1959-1968 

5

11

Lincoln National Life Insurance Company 1970-1971 

5

12

Longstreth, Mrs. Thacher W. 1974 

5

13

Massiah, Lilian 1913 

5

14

Miscellaneous Cards 1950 

5

15

Miscellaneous Notes 1966-1971 

5

16

Newspaper Clippings 1929 

5

17

Newspaper Clippings 1935 

5

18

Newspapers 1963 1975 

 OS 3

 

Odom, Charles, H. 1975-1976 

5

19

Personal Finances 1968 

5

20

Photographs 

Celebrity Images, n.d. 

5

21

Celebrity Images, n.d. 

 OS 1

 

Frederick Massiah Portraits, n.d. 

5

22

Rolled Photograph, n.d. [too fragile to unroll w/out conservation] 

5

23

unidentified, n.d. 

5

24

Printing Plates Used for Harmon Award 1929 

5

25

Property Insurance 1507 N. 16th Street 1949-1957 

5

26

Provident Mutual Life Insurance Company 

5

27

Pyramid Club 

5

28

Recipes and Hospitality (1) 1945-1949 

5

29

Recipes and Hospitality (2) 1945-1949 

5

30

Recipes and Hospitality (3) 1945-1949 

5

31

Scrapbooks 

Harmon Award (1) 1929-1930 

5

32

Harmon Award (2) 1929-1930 

5

33

Newspaper Clippings (1) 1925-1933 

5

34

Newspaper Clippings (2) 1925-1933 

5

35

Newspaper Clippings (3) 1925-1933 

5

36

Supreme Life Insurnace Company 1971 

5

37

Tax Documents 1951-1970 

5

38

Tax Documents 1970-1971 

5

39

Twig Mother's Club (1) 1970-1972 

5

40

Twig Mother's Club (2) 1970-1972 

5

41

What is A Mason? Broadside 1921 

5

42

Will Codicil 1944 

5

43

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Awards and Certificates 

Box

Folder

Masonic Pins, n.d. 

5

44

National Technical Association Membership 1930 

 OS 1

 

Philadelphia Business League 1947 

5

45

Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce Membership, n.d. 

5

46

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