Ernelle Brooks Papers

1947-1960, undated
Manuscript Collection #341
Brooks, Ernelle, 1916-1976
Physical description
0.43 Cubic Feet, 487 items , consisting of correspondence, periodicals, church bulletins, newspaper clippings, miscellaneous, newspapers, and photographs.
Preferred Citation
Ernelle Brooks Papers (#341), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1947-1960, undated) consisting of correspondence, periodicals, church bulletins, newspaper clippings, miscellaneous, letters, lifestyles, transportations, education facilities.

Biographical/historical information

Lacy Ernelle Brooks (1916-1976), a native of Greenville, N.C., attended Mars Hill College and East Carolina Teachers College. She studied nursing at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, and subsequently became a supervisor of public health nursing in Alexandria, Virginia. The Baptist Foreign Mission Board appointed Miss Brooks as a nursing missionary in the Idi Aba Baptist Girls' School in Abeokuta, Nigeria, in 1947. Brooks taught and practiced at Idi Aba nursing until 1960.

Scope and arrangement

Correspondence (1947-1960, undated) reveals the day-to-day activities of a Baptist missionary to Nigeria.

Descriptions of the Idi Aba Girls' School are found throughout the correspondence; moreover, references by Miss Brooks to her nursing duties and experiences in the school infirmary are a major theme in the papers. Other letters refer to her work in a local leper colony (1949-1960) and such diseases as pneumonia (Sept., 1947), "guinea worms," (1948-1952), the itch (1948), leprosy, rabies (1949), and rheumatic fever (Feb., 1951). Letters also reflect the material needs of the infirmary and Miss Brooks' efforts to have an infirmary building funded by the Mission Board.

Much of the correspondence deals with Miss Brooks' teaching at Idi Aba school. Letters describe teaching duties, schedules, annual exams, inspections by British educational authorities (1947-1960), the introduction of television into Nigeria, and gifts of television sets to the school by the Nigerian government (19501, 1959). In addition, Miss Brooks describes her "children" : local Nigerian children whom she supported (1948-1960). Missionary conventions and mission meetings also receive comment (1948-1960).

Material relating to native Nigerian customs and lifestyle include descriptions of native villages (passira), process of preparing palm oil (Feb., 1948), a local funeral (April, 1948), Nigerians' abilities to fashion gold (Feb., 1950), effects of "ignorance and darkness" on the natives (Oct., 1951), idol worshipping (Nov., 1951), and "Iguniko" procession (Sept., 1952), and "goon-goon," or spirits of the dead.

Travel accounts include description of Miss Brooks' transatlantic travel aboard the S. S. TEMERAIRE, description of Casablanca (1947, undated) and Accra, vacations in British rest-houses (1949), and a motor trip through Nigeria (1949).

Political commentary includes discussions of Abeokutans' dissension over the taxation policies of their "Alake" (a mayor) Aug., 1948), the devaluation of the British pound (Sept., 1949), friction among missionaries as a result of government assistance to schools (April, 1950), comments on the presidential election of 1952 (1952), and the Nigerian election for independence (Dec., 1959).

Other topics of interest include comments on Mohammedan-Christian friction (April 1949, undated), comments about Southwestern Theological Seminary (Aug., 1953), an account of an attack by driver ants (Aug., 1953) and a description of transcontinental telephone call (May, 1960).

Also of interest are issues of "The Nigerian Baptist," (1948-1960), "The Little Commission," (1947-1949), and "The World Digest," (1950). Church bulletins (1947-1949), and "The World Digest," (1950). Church bulletins (1947-1958) report on Miss Brooks' speaking engagements while on furloughing the U.S. and newspaper clippings (1947-1958) reflect aspects of her career. Miscellaneous items include Miss Brooks' passport (1947), a poem written by a Nigerian native (undated), handouts (undated) giving information for new missionaries, and a detailed account of travel (undated) in Rio de Janeiro and Brazil, relating customs, lifestyles, transportation and education facilities.

Oversize material includes newspaper issues of "Nigeria Review" (1948, 1949) and the Lagos Daily Times (1949).

A series of oversize photographs gives views of the government leprosy clinic in Abeokuta, Nigeria; a Baptist Woman's College student embroidering; a W.M.U. leadership conference and a church under construction (undated). Also included is a 1966 pictorial calendar of Nigeria and 2 pages from a 1977 calendar.

Administrative information
Custodial History

July 15, 1977, ca. 300 items; Papers (1947-1960) of Baptist missionary to Nigeria, including correspondence, newsletters, bulletins, periodicals, photographs, clippings, and miscellaneous material. Gift of Dr. Nathan C. Brooks, Cary, N.C.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Dr. Nathan C. Brooks

Processing information

Processed by D. Lawson, May 1978

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Copyright notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Key terms
Personal Names
Brooks, Ernelle, 1916-1976
Corporate Names
East Carolina Teachers College--Alumni and alumnae
Women missionaries--Nigeria
Accra (Ghana)--Description and travel
Casablanca (Morocco)--Description and travel
Nigeria--Description and travel
Nigeria--Politics and government--20th century
Nigeria--Social life and customs--20th century

Container list
Box 1 Folder a Correspondence, 1947
Box 1 Folder b Correspondence, 1948
Box 1 Folder d Correspondence, 1950
Box 1 Folder e Correspondence, 1951
Box 1 Folder f Correspondence, 1952
Box 1 Folder g Correspondence, 1953 - 1954
Box 1 Folder h Correspondence, 1955 - 1956
Box 1 Folder i Correspondence, 1960, undated
Box 2 Folder a "The Nigerian Baptist," 1948 - 1950
Box 2 Folder b Miscellaneous Periodicals, 1949 - 1959
Box 2 Folder d Newspaper Clippings, 1947 - 1958
Folder os1 Folder a Broadside
Folder os1 Folder b Newspapers