Scope and arrangement
The Dowridge-Challenor Family Letters span the years 1904-1913, and illuminate various aspects of Aletha Dowridge's and Frederick Challenor's lives as immigrants in the United States. The letters cover a wide-range of subjects such as immigration, family support systems, employment, courtship, Barbadians in the United States, black families, Caribbean Americans, relationships, financial hardships and social customs in Barbados.
The letters are separated into three sections: letters from Frederick Challenor to Aletha Dowridge-Challenor (48); letters from J. L. and Harriet Dowridge to daughter Aletha (17); and letters from relatives and friends to Aletha (7). All letters are arranged by date. When no date is listed, the beginning of the first line of the letter is noted. Fragments of letters are treated as letters. Sixteen of the letters have been transcribed by Linda Burnham, granddaughter of Aletha and Frederick Challenor. These letters have been identified with an asterisk on the container list.
See also: Watkins-Owens, Irma. Blood Relations: Caribbean Immigrants and the Harlem Community, 1900-1930.Bloomington, IL: Indiana University Press, 1990 . This book focuses on the complex interaction of African Americans and African Caribbeans in Harlem during the first decades of the twentieth century. Dr. Watkins-Owens quotes from several letters in the Dowridge-Challenor Family Letters collection.