Finding aid for the Henry Lee Moon Family Photographs

Repository: Western Reserve Historical Society
Creator: Moon, Henry Lee Family
Title: Henry Lee Moon Family Photographs
Dates: 1885-1962
Extent: 0.20 linear feet (1 container)
Abstract: Henry Lee Moon (1901-1985) was public relations director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) at its New York headquarters (1948-1960). Mollie Lewis Moon, his wife, was a social worker, public relations executive, founder and chairman of the National Urban League Guild (1942-1962), and trustee and secretary of the National Urban League (1955-1962). Roddy K. Moon (1868-1952) was an organizer of the Cleveland chapter of the NAACP. The collection consists of group and individual and group portraits of Henry Lee Moon, his family, friends and associates.
PG Number PG 187
Location: closed stacks
Language: The records are in English

Biography of the Henry Lee Moon Family

The Henry Lee Moon Family was a prominent twentieth century Cleveland, Ohio, family involved in civil rights and community organizations. The patriarch of the family, Roddy K. Moon, was born in Newberry, South Carolina, on January 6, 1868, the fourth child of Richard and Mary Moon. He graduated from Claflin College in 1890. In 1891 Moon married Leah Anna Himes, aunt of writer Chester Himes. Roddy Moon taught school in Pendleton, South Carolina, before accepting employment with the United States Department of Agriculture as a meat inspector in 1903. He was first assigned to St. Joseph, Missouri, and was transferred to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1906. In 1912 he helped form the Cleveland Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), serving as its founding president from 1912 to 1916. In addition, Moon was on the board of the Negro Welfare Association, supported the Phillis Wheatley Association, and in 1933 organized the Palmetto Club, composed of fellow South Carolinians living in Cleveland. Roddy K. Moon died in Cleveland on May 5, 1952.

Leah Anna Himes was born August 4, 1868, in Tenal, Georgia. She attended Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia, and afterwards taught school in Newberry, South Carolina. She was a fifty-year member of the Cleveland Branch NAACP. Leah and Roddy K. Moon were founding members of the Forest City Garden Club. The Moons were avid gardeners and received awards for their work. Roddy and Leah had five children with three surviving infancy. The surviving children were Joseph Herbert (1891-1944), Ella Elizabeth (1899-1967), and Henry Lee (1901-1985). Leah Himes Moon died in Cleveland on May 3, 1962. Joseph Herbert Moon was born in Newberry, South Carolina. He moved with his family to Cleveland in 1906 and died in Portland, Maine, in 1944. Ella Elizabeth Moon was born in Newberry, South Carolina, in 1899 and attended the Cleveland Public Schools, graduating from Glenville High School in 1917 and Kent State University in 1922. She taught at Wilberforce University and was an elementary school teacher as well. Like her parents, Ella Moon was an active member of the Forest City Garden Club, serving as a recorder. She married Clyde Smith in 1959. Ella Elizabeth Moon Smith died in Cleveland in 1967. Henry Lee Moon was born in Pendleton, South Carolina, in 1901. He graduated from Glenville High School in 1919, Howard University in 1922, and the Ohio State University in 1924. Moon was the editor of the Cleveland Call newspaper in the early 1920s and subsequently edited the Cleveland Herald, the Amsterdam News [New York] and worked on assignments for the Chicago Defender. He was press relations secretary for Tuskegee Institute under President Robert R. Moton from 1926 to 1931 and edited the Tuskegee Messenger. While working at the Amsterdam News, Moon and twenty-two other African Americans, including his future wife, Mollie Lewis, and fellow Clevelander Langston Hughes traveled to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics for consultations concerning a government sponsored film project on the history of black America. However, no film was produced. During the 1930s he worked for the Federal Writers Project of the Works Progress Administration. From 1938 to 1944 Henry Moon was race relations advisor for the Federal Public Housing Authority. He then worked as assistant director to the Political Action Committee of the Congress of Industrial Organizations. He helped organize the World Federation of Trade Union meeting in London in 1945. Moon was very active with the NAACP, becoming the director of public relations in 1948 and remaining with the organization until his retirement in 1974. Moon authored two books, Balance of Power: The Negro Vote in 1948 and The Emerging Thought of W.E.B. Dubois in 1972. Henry Lee Moon died in 1985. Mollie Virgil Lewis was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in 1908. She graduated from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1929 with a pharmaceutical degree and pursued further studies at Columbia University, New School for Social Research in New York City, and University of Berlin. In 1932 Lewis accompanied Henry Lee Moon on the trip to the Soviet Union. Returning to the United States Mollie worked as a pharmacist in various cities including New Orleans, Louisiana; Gary, Indiana; and New York City, New York. She married Henry Lee Moon in 1938. From 1938 to 1972 she was a social worker with the Department of Social Services in New York. She also owned and operated a public relations firm in New York City. In community activities she served on the boards of the Dance Theater of Harlem and the Coalition of 100 Black Women. She also initiated the Beaux Arts Ball in 1942 as a fundraiser for the National Urban League. From this social event grew the Urban League Guild for which Moon served as president until her death in 1990. After World War II Mollie interested herself in the "brown-babies" of Germany campaign, which attempted to provide relief for orphaned or abandoned children of mixed African and European or American ancestry. Mollie Moon died in 1990. For more biographical information about Mollie Moon see Notable Black American Women, Jessie Carney Smith, editor, 1992 and Black Women in America, Darlene Clark Hine, editor, 1993.

Scope and Content

The Henry Lee Moon Family Photographs, ca. 1885-1962, consist of group and individual and group portraits of Henry Lee Moon, his family, friends and associates.

The collection includes 99 black and white photographs that measure 8 x 10 inches and smaller.

This collection will be useful to researchers studying the history of the African American community in Cleveland, Ohio, and the history of the NAACP.

Statement of Arrangement

The collection is arranged by subject.

Restrictions on Access


Related Material

The researcher should also consult MS 3628 Henry Lee Moon Family Papers; MS 4823 Henry Lee Moon Family Papers, Series II; and PG 509 Henry Lee Moon Family Photographs, Series II.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


African Americans -- Ohio -- Cleveland -- Photographs.
Hines family -- Photograph collections.
Moon family -- Photograph collections.
Moon, Henry Lee, 1901- -- Photograph collections.
Moon, Leah -- Photograph collections.
Moon, Mollie Lewis -- Photograph collections.
Moon, Roddy K., 1868-1952 -- Photograph collections.
Wiggins family -- Photograph collections.

Preferred Citation

[Container ___, Folder ___ ] PG 187 Henry Lee Moon Family Photographs, Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio

Acquisition Information

These photographs were removed from MS 3628 Henry Lee Moon Family Papers. Gift of Henry Lee Moon in 1971.

Detailed Description of The Collection

Henry Lee Moon Family Photographs ca. 1885-1962

Box Folder
1 1 Individual portraits, Henry Lee Moon 1931-1962
1 2 Group portraits, Henry Lee Moon and friends 1931-1962
1 3 Group portraits, Mrs. Mollie Moon and friends 1939-ca. 1950
1 4 Individual portraits, Mollie Lee Moon 1947-1955
1 5 Group portraits, Mr. and Mrs. Roddy K. Moon 1921-1958
1 6 Views, Roddy K. Moon home, 10818 Bryant Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 1916-1950
1 7 Group portraits, Moon family ca. 1920-1930
1 8 Group portraits, Moon friends and family ca. 1900-1945
1 9 Group portraits, Hines family ca. 1910-1930
1 10 Group portraits, Wiggins family 1929-1945