Zicafoose-O'Toole Papers

1931-1935, 1998
Manuscript Collection #258
Zicafoose, Richard C.; O'Toole family; Zicafoose family
Physical description
0.074 Cubic Feet, 17 items, 3 volumes , correspondence, reports, and photograph albums.
Preferred Citation
Zicafoose-O'Toole Papers (#258), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1931-1935) including correspondence, reports, photo albums, missionary work, etc.

Biographical/historical information

Miss Myrtle Zicafoose and Miss Ruth O'Toole were Methodist missionaries who served together in a leper colony in the Congo from 1931 to 1960. Miss Zicafoose, who was born in Asbury, West Virginia in 1903, attended Concord State Normal College, the University of West Virginia, and Scarritt College. She received A.B. and M.A. degrees from Scarritt before arriving in the Congo in 1931. Miss O'Toole, born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1899, attended Scarritt College, graduated from nursing training at City Hospital, St. Louis, and went to the Congo as a nurse in 1930. Since retirement, they have lived at Brooks-Howell Methodist Home in Asheville and maintain a summer home near Asbury, West Virginia.

Scope and arrangement

The collection consists of correspondence, reports and photo albums of African life in the Congo.

A report by Miss Zicafoose entitled "The African Family" reviews the tribal breakdown of Africa with various aspects of the daily lives of the natives discussed, including home life, children, marriage, diet, and religion (1931). Correspondence (1933-1935, undated) concerns the Wembo Nyama school, Congo, Africa, including curriculum, school layout, teaching of sewing, daily schedule, and kindergarten classes. Also of significance are commentaries on the Williams Girls Home, efforts to Christianize the natives, persistence of primitive marriage customs, the life and custom of the Batetela (Otetela) tribe, and the work at Minga Leper Colony, Ngelw K'Ongenongeno.

There are also three albums of photographs which picture the life of the African woman, missionary work, African scenes, and various types of illnesses (leprosy, elephantiasis, etc.) which afflict the natives.

Administrative information
Custodial History

March 8, 1974, 16 items and 3 volumes; Correspondence (1931-1935) and photograph albums reflecting missionary life in the Congo, Africa. Gift of Miss Myrtle Zicafoose and Miss Ruth O'Toole, Asheville, N.C.

May 13, 2015, (unprocessed addition 1) 1item, 0.03 cu. ft.; A photocopy of The Story of Myrtle & Ruth, The Triumphs and Trials of Two Methodist Missionaries in the Belgian Congo written and published (1998) by Richard C. Zicafoose. Gift of Ralph Scott.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Miss Myrtle Zicafoose

Gift of Miss Ruth O'Toole

Gift of Ralph Scott

Processing information

Processed by R. Faulkner, May 1975

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
O'Toole, Ruth, 1899-
Zicafoose, Myrtle, 1903-
Leprosy--Congo (Democratic Republic)
Methodist Church--Missions--Congo (Democratic Republic)
Missionaries--Congo (Democratic Republic)
Missions--Educational work--Congo (Democratic Republic)
Women--Congo (Democratic Republic)
Congo (Democratic Republic)--Social life and customs