Walter Tobriner papers
Collection Scope and Content
This collection contains correspondence, greeting cards, index cards, newspaper clippings, speeches, statements, publications, and various types of memorabilia. The bulk of the collection consists of the six scrapbooks constructed by Tobriner between 1961 and 1968. These scrapbooks were taken apart and preservation photocopied, then placed in their original order, along with the different kinds of memorabilia. The materials in this collection range in date from 1949 to 1968, with the bulk of the material dating between 1961 and 1968. Most of these records represent the period in which Tobriner served on the Board of Education and Board of Commissioners.
The predominant subject material within this collection relates to Desegregation/Integration in public schools, especially in the context of Washington D.C. Area public school systems. Many of the publications, news clippings, and statements reflect Tobriner's strive for educational equality. The scrapbooks provide a chronological record of Tobriner's political and social activities in the years they cover. Much of the this material deals with topics such as civil rights, school reforms, transportation issues in the Washington Metropolitan Region, and city beautification. In addition, limited material exists from the time that Tobriner served as the United States Ambassador to Jamaica. There is also a good selection of presidential memorabilia, especially from John F. Kennedy's term in office, as well as numerous other types of memorabilia which comes from various civic and private functions.
- Creation: 1949-1968
- Tobriner, Walter (Person)
Restrictions on Access
Some records may be restricted.
Restrictions on Use
Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.
Walter Nathan Tobriner (1902-1979) was born to Leon and Blanch Tobriner on July 2, in Washington D.C. After attending the Sidwell Friends School up through the eleventh grade, he went on to study at Princeton University. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1923, and later received his law degree from Harvard University in 1926. In 1927, Tobriner was admitted to the bar and began to practice law in the Washington, D.C. area. From 1927 to 1950, he was also a professor of law at the National University School for Law. On July 20, 1933, he was married to Marienne Smith. His only lapse in teaching was from 1943-46, when he served as a Lt. Colonel in the Army Air Force. Tobriner served as the president of the board of the Garfield Memorial Hospital from 1952 to 1955. In 1954, he also was president of the board of the Lisner Home for Women. Tobriner acquired the position as director of the Blue Cross Plan in 1953 and maintained this position until 1961. He also headed the board of the Washington Hospital Center from 1959 to 1961.
Tobriner's work also earned him a spot on the Washington Board of Education from 1952-1961. He served as president of the board from 1957 to 1961, during which time was responsible for carrying out the 1954 Supreme Court decision which required the desegregation of public schools. He also served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in the years 1956, 1960, and 1964. Then in 1961 President Kennedy appointed him to the Board of Commissioners for Washington D.C. where he served from 1961 to 1967. In fact, he served as the last president of the Board of Commissioners in 1967 when the government of Washington, D.C. underwent reorganization. During this same time, as Chairman of the National Housing Authority, Tobriner brought about fair housing and employment ordinances, aimed at ending racial discrimination. He was a trustee of the National Cultural Center from 1964-67. From 1966 to 1967 he was also the chairman of the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority, when the first contracts for the new subway system contracts were awarded. In the period from 1967 to 1969, Tobriner was appointed as the United States Ambassador to Jamaica. In addition, the U.S. Department of State needed his help as a consultant in 1969. Tobriner had also been a member of the Committee of 100 on the Federal City from 1974 up until his death in 1979.
9.25 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
Collection contains correspondence, greeting cards, index cards, newspaper clippings, speeches, statements, publications, and various types of memorabilia. The bulk of the collection consists of the six scrapbooks constructed by Tobriner between 1961 and 1968. These scrapbooks were taken apart and preservation photocopied, then placed in their original order, along with the different kinds of memorabilia. The materials in this collection range in date from 1949 to 1968, with the bulk of the material dating between 1961 and 1968. Most of these records represent the period in which Tobriner served on the Board of Education and Board of Commissioners.
The collection is organized into five series: Correspondence, Newspaper clippings, Speeches/statements/remarks, Publications, and Scrapbooks.
The collection was donated to the Gelman Library in 1969 by Mrs. Walter Tobriner.
This finding aid was revised in 2022 to address harmful descriptive language. During that revision staff edited the description in the Scope and Contents notes of Series 1 and 2. To see the description prior to revisions, please view the previous version of the Walter Tobriner papers finding aid.
- Guide to the Walter Tobriner papers, 1949-1968
- Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English