Guide to the Papers of Maude Hawkins, 1944-1988

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Digital Research Library, University Library System

Summary Information

Repository
Detre Library & Archives, Heinz History Center
Title
Papers of Maude Hawkins
Creator
Maude Hawkins
Collection Number
MSS#171
Date [inclusive]
1944-1988
Extent
.5 cubic feet (1 box)
Language of Materials
The material in this collection is in English.
Abstract
Little is known of Maude Young Hawkins besides what may be taken from these papers. An African-American woman, Maude Hawkins led an active career in the insurance and food industries in Pittsburgh. The papers consist of biographical materials, correspondence, financial materials, newspaper clippings, and other sundry items documenting Maude Hawkins' role as an employee of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company and owner of the Metropolitan Sausage Company and the Hawkins Sausage Company.
Sponsor Note
This finding aid has been encoded as a part of the Historic Pittsburgh project a joint effort of the University of Pittsburgh and the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania. Funding for this portion of the project has been donated by the Hillman Foundation.

Preferred Citation

Papers of Maude Hawkins, 1944-1988, MSS# 171, Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania

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Biographical Sketch of Maude Y. Hawkins (-1993)

Little is known of Maude Young Hawkins besides what may be taken from these papers. An African-American woman, Maude Hawkins led an active career in the insurance and food industries in Pittsburgh. Hawkins served as Staff Manager for the Pittsburgh district of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company from 1938 to 1961 and later, as owner of the Metropolitan Sausage Company, later the Hawkins Sausage Company, in Pittsburgh from January 1967 to January 1975. Hawkins lived in the Hill District neighborhood of Pittsburgh at 3159 Ewart Drive, Pittsburgh. She also gained notoriety in the Pittsburgh African-American community by standing up to unfair housing policies in November 1958.

Hawkins worked in the Pittsburgh office of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company of Durham, North Carolina, one of the largest black-owned businesses in the country at the middle of the 20th century. Hawkins worked for North Carolina Mutual for 23 years, from 1938 to 1961. She spent her first two years as a probationary employee and 21 years as a full representative of the company. In 1944, Hawkins was appointed assistant manager (a title that was changed to staff manager in 1955) for the Pittsburgh district. She was the first female to hold this managerial position for North Carolina Mutual. While at North Carolina Mutual, Hawkins took several non-degree classes in insurance at the University of Pittsburgh in the early 1950s and also completed the Life Underwriter Training Council two-year training program. Hawkins resigned from North Carolina Mutual in November 1961. While there is no clear indication of what precipitated her resignation from North Carolina Mutual, her letter of resignation states that she wished to "...enter an area of work where I feel that the practice of merit employment policy is the rule rather than the exception."

Upon leaving North Carolina Mutual, Hawkins became involved with the Metropolitan Sausage Company, a Pittsburgh sausage producing company founded in 1948. Hawkins joined the company in the early 1960s to help revive the organization after it was forced to move from the location in the 2800 block of Centre Avenue to 1842 Fifth Avenue, both in the Hill District. Hawkins became the major stockholder in the company and began working full-time at Metropolitan in 1965. Since Hawkins was the only stockholder willing to invest more money and help operate the business, the Metropolitan Sausage Company was dissolved and the business reopened as the Hawkins Sausage Company, owned and operated by Maude Hawkins.

The Hawkins Sausage Company processed pork trimmings and beef navels into sausage rolls, links, and beef links. The company flourished under Hawkins' direction with outlets in the Hill District and Homewood neighborhoods of Pittsburgh in Giant Eagle supermarkets, Thorofare, the New Diamond Market, and Balsamos Market. The civil disturbances of 1968, however, took their toll on the company. Sixty per cent of the stores that carried Hawkins Sausage products were burned or looted. After the disturbances, white merchants began leaving the Hill District neighborhood, cutting into the number of outlets distributing Hawkins' products. In the 18 months between May 1969 and November 1971, Hawkins suffered additional losses through seven burglaries. Because of the location in the Hill District, Hawkins could not find an insurance company for her business and had to absorb all of the losses from these burglaries. Finally, in April 1972, a fire in the upstairs apartment at the plant location on Fifth Avenue gutted the upper floors of the building. In June of that year, federal and state meat inspectors informed Hawkins that if she was to remain in business she would have to find a new location as the Fifth Avenue building was now unacceptable.

The setbacks of the late 1960s and early 1970s forced Hawkins to seek additional loan money. She sought financial, management, and technical assistance from the Small Business Administration, Volunteers for International Technical Assistance, and the Business Resource Center. A new location for the company was found in the Business Job Development Corporation Building at 7800 Susquehanna Street. Specifications and architect's drawings for the space were prepared and the company did move to this location, though it is not clear when the move was made. The company's financial difficulties continued, however, and Hawkins ceased operations in January 1975. Hawkins tried unsuccessfully to revive the business over the next two years by contacting the Pennsylvania Bureau of Minority Business and attending a Small Business Management Seminar at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Business.

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Scope and Content Notes

The papers consist of biographical materials, correspondence, financial materials, newspaper clippings, and other sundry items documenting Maude Hawkins' role as an employee of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company and owner of the Metropolitan Sausage Company and the Hawkins Sausage Company. These papers primarily document Hawkins' business concerns in Pittsburgh and provide relatively little information about her personal life. Biographical materials consist primarily of Hawkins' certificates and report cards from non-degree courses. These courses include insurance management (University of Pittsburgh, 1951-1954), "Principles of Management" (Duquesne University School of Business Administration, 1965) and a Small Business Management Seminar (University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Business, 1976). Also included is material relating to Hawkins' ownership of a 3-flat rental property in Philadelphia.

The bulk of these papers document the operation and finances of the Hawkins Sausage Company and its predecessor, the Metropolitan Sausage Company. The correspondence primarily consists of letters from the early 1970s relating to the poor financial condition of the Hawkins Sausage Company and Hawkins' efforts to use the resources of the Small Business Administration and other agencies to save her business. Also included with the correspondence are the by-laws of the Metropolitan Sausage Company, 1956, and a 1964 shareholder list of the Metropolitan Sausage Company. Of note is a handbill from the 1960s that asks people to support the Metropolitan Sausage Company so it can support civil rights. The financial materials consist of balance sheets and reports, ledgers, and general financial materials of both companies. Material dating from the Metropolitan Sausage Company includes one balance sheet and report from 1962-1963. The remainder of the material dates from the early 1970s. With the general material is a description and brief history of the Hawkins Sausage Company, written in the early 1970s and included in a financial report of the company that was prepared in an effort to obtain a loan. Financial summaries prepared for the Small Business Administration in 1972 are also included. Other general financial materials include employment tax documents, employer reports for unemployment coverage, which lists the names of the employees of the Hawkins Sausage Company, and other financial materials related to the operation of the Hawkins Sausage Company. Ledgers were kept for both accounts received and accounts payable and sporadically document the years from 1962 until 1974. Though not comprehensive, these papers provide strong documentation of the commercial life of a Hill District business during the second half of the 20th century.

North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company materials include correspondence, newspaper clippings, publications and other sundry items. The correspondence includes incoming and outgoing letters written in relation to Hawkins' employment with North Carolina Mutual as assistant manager in Pittsburgh, 1944-1963. The correspondence also includes several letters of congratulations on Hawkins good job performance, and a letter confirming Hawkins' completion of the Life Underwriter Training Council training program in July 1960. Of note are a V-Mail letter written by James Davis during World War II to congratulate Hawkins on being appointed assistant manager in 1944 and Hawkins' letter of resignation (November 1961) after 23 years of employment. Other materials include a copy of Hawkins Staff Manager agreement with the company from 1956 and other North Carolina Mutual materials. While small in size, these papers provide strong documentation of the African-American community in Pittsburgh's Hill District, and the role of minority women in the business community in the second half of the 20th century.

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Arrangement

The Maude Y. Hawkins Papers are housed in one archival box and are arranged alphabetically by folder title.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Digital Research Library, University Library System  Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, Summer, 2001

Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center
1212 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
library@hswp.org

Revision Description

 Converted from EAD Version 1.0 to EAD Version 2002 July 1, 2006

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research.

Restrictions on Use

Property rights reside with the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permissions to reproduce or publish, please contact the curator of the Archives.

Acquisition Information

These materials came in one accession in 1993.

Acc# 1993.0089 Gift of Wendell Wray, (Papers).

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Susan Clendenin in February 20, 1995.

Revision and rearrangement for the encoded version of the finding aid provided by Doug MacGregor on June 2, 2001.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Hawkins Sausage Company (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
  • Metropolitan Sausage Company (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
  • North Carolina Mutual Insurance Company (Durham, N.C.)

Geographic Name(s)

  • Pittsburgh (Pa.) -- Commerce

Personal Name(s)

  • Hawkins, Maude Y.(-1993)

Subject(s)

  • Afro-American Business Enterprises -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Afro-American Women -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Afro-Americans -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Food Industry and Trade -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Hill District (Pittsburgh, Pa.) -- Commerce
  • Hill District (Pittsburgh, Pa.) -- Social Life and Customs
  • Insurance -- Agents
  • Insurance -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Meat Industry and Trade -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Pittsburgh (Pa.) -- Commerce
  • Riots -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Women -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Women in Business -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh

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Collection Inventory

  boxfolder
Biographical Materials  1951-1988 11

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Hawkins Sausage Company 
  folder
Correspondence  1963-1978 2
Financial Materials 
  folder
General  1963-1977 3
  folder
Balance Sheets  1962-1973 4
Ledgers 
  folder
 1962-1963 5
  folder
 1967-1968 6
  folder
 1973-1974 7-8

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  folder
North Carolina Mutual Insurance  1944-1963 9

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