Scope and arrangement
The bulk of the Vulcan Society Collection (1961-1994) consists of minutes, correspondence, newsletters, souvenir journals, news clippings and other printed material. Included are files kept by Robert O. Lowery, the first black New York City Fire Department commissioner and president of the Society for several years, and his successor, Vincent Julius. Julius' files contain information on a 1986 lawsuit brought by the Vulcan Society on behalf of present and future black fire fighters against the NYCFD in order to redress employment discrimination based on race, along with his comments on the suit, correspondence files, and a chronology of the Society.
There is documentation and biographical information on pioneer black fire fighters consisting of a diary-type volume (1898-1899) kept by William H. Nicholson the first black fire fighter employed by the NYCFD listing routine activities in a fire station; and biographical information on Wesley Williams, the first black battalion chief. Also included in the collection are tributes and correspondence discussing Vulcan Society activities and the organization's involvement in the community (1962-1990), and printed material issued NYCFD.