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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Sarilda Phillips papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1913-1986
Creator: Phillips, Sarilda (1877-1971)
Extent: 5.00 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0671
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Mississippi schoolteacher who was forced into retirement in 1956 following desegregation.

Access: The papers are open for research.

Use: Copyright held by the donor has not been transferred to The University of Iowa.

Acquisition: The papers (donor no. 522) were donated by Ronald Langston in 1998 as part of the Gwendolyn Wilson Fowler papers.

Preferred Citation: Sarilda Phillips papers, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Address: 100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5068
Curator: Kären Mason

Sarilda C. Robinson was born in Holmes County at Pickens, Mississippi on September 23, 1877 to Isabella Marshall Robinson and Amos Griffin Robinson. Sarilda Robinson married S.K. (Samuel King) Phillips in 1905 during a double ceremony with her youngest sister Fannie Robinson and Dr. Cornelius M. Wilson. In 1910 the couple moved to Holly Springs, Mississippi. Sarilda Phillips attended Rust College and received her A.B. degree in 1931. Phillips taught at Rosenwald School in Holly Springs, and was also an instructor for adult education. She taught for thirty years and then served as the first Jeans Supervisor of Schools in Marshall County, a position she held for eighteen years. Phillips was forced into retirement in 1956 following desegregation. A few months after her forced retirement, Phillips had to go on welfare.

Phillips' husband, S.K. Phillips died in 1966 following 61 years of marriage. Sarilda and S.K. Phillips had no children but were close to their nieces and nephews. In 1970, Sarilda Phillips went to Des Moines, Iowa to live with her niece, Gwendolyn Wilson Fowler, who was the daughter of Fannie and Cornelius Robinson. Phillips died April 29, 1971.

The Sarilda Phillips papers date from 1913 to 1986 and measure 5 linear inches. The papers are arranged in two series: Biography and Financial. The bulk of the papers deal with Sarilda Phillips' conservatorship and estate as handled by her niece, Gwendolyn Wilson Fowler.

The Biography series contains handwritten notes, the Last Will and Testament of Sarilda Phillips' brother J.M. Robinson, correspondence from some of Phillips' siblings, a 1960 letter from her husband,S.K., the funeral program and funeral arrangements for her husband, and Phillips' own obituary, funeral program, funeral book, and sympathy cards sent to her sister Fannie Wilson Cooper and her niece Gwendolyn Wilson Fowler. Also included in the Biography series is the 1956 letter from the Mississippi State Board of Education requesting Phillips to retire.

The Financial series contains warranty deeds for property Sarilda Phillips owned in Mississippi, bank statements, bills and invoices, insurance papers, medical bills, and all the correspondence and records maintained by Phillips' niece, Gwendolyn Wilson Fowler, who served as both conservator for her aunt and executrix of Phillips' estate. A 1964 bank book ends with the words "Broke(used up)." Also included is a 1971 codicil to Gwendolyn Wilson Fowler's Last Will and Testament, a direct resultof the infighting she experienced with her cousins over Sarilda Phillips'estate.
Gwendolyn Wilson Fowler papers (IWA): Fowler was Sarilda Phillips' niece. Photographs of Sarilda Phillips can be found in boxes 11-12 of Fowler's papers.

Browse by Series:

  • Series 1: BIOGRAPHY
  • Box 1:
  • Newspaper article describing the Phillips 50th wedding anniversary - 1955
  • Sarilda Phillips obituary and funeral program - 1971
  • Sarilda Phillips funeral book - 1971
  • Sympathy cards sent to Phillips sister and niece - 1971
  • Handwritten notes, undated
  • Family addresses, undated
  • S.K. Phillips funeral program and funeral arrangements - 1966
  • Last Will & Testament of J.M. Robinson - 1970
  • Correspondence: From S.K. Phillips - 1960
  • Correspondence: From siblings - 1937, 1959, 1970
  • Correspondence: With sister Fannie Wilson Cooper and niece Gwendolyn Wilson Fowler - 1955-1968
  • Correspondence: Department of Education, State of Mississippi - 1956
  • Correspondence: Department of Health, Education and Welfare - 1956
  • Series 2: FINANCIAL
  • Box 1:
  • Warranty deeds - 1913, 1948
  • Assorted bank papers - 1964
  • Bank statements (2 folders) - 1963-1970
  • Bills and invoices - 1959-1970
  • Insurance papers - 1962
  • Conservatorship and estate (2 folders) - 1970-1986
  • Medical Bills - 1970-1971
  • Expenses and financial papers - 1970-1971
  • Correspondence between Gwendolyn Wilson Fowler and L.B. Bruce - 1970, 1975
  • Correspondence between Gwendolyn Wilson Fowler and Charles N. Cummings - 1970 1971
  • Codicil to Last Will & Testament of Gwendolyn Wilson Fowler - 1971