Obituary - Dr. Eliza Atkins Gleason

GLEASON, ELIZA ATKINS, 100, passed away on December 15, 2009, leaving daughter, Joy Gleason Carew; son in-law, Jan Carew; and granddaughter, Shantoba Eliza Kathleen Carew. She was born on December 15, 1909, the ninth child of Simon Green and Oleona Pegram Atkins. She grew up on the campus of the Slater Industrial and Normal School, which would later become Winston-Salem State U. She earned her A.B. degree from Fisk U. in 1930 and a B.S. in Librarianship from the U. of Illinois in 1931. Her first job in 1931 was at Municipal College for Negroes in Louisville, KY, where she served as Assistant Librarian and then Head Librarian, following in the footsteps of her older sister Olie Atkins Carpenter. In 1934, she reentered the university and received an MA degree in Library Science from the U. of California, Berkeley in 1936. Subsequently, she served as Head of the Reference department at Fisk University library. In 1937, she entered the U. of Chicago and in 1940 became the first African American to acquire a Ph.D. degree in Library Science. In 1941, she established the Atlanta U. School of Library Service, also serving as its first Dean. She married Dr. Maurice Francis Gleason in 1937 and after World War II, joined him in Chicago, IL in 1946. Their daughter, Joy was born in 1947, and they were married 61 years before Maurice passed away in 1998. Her passing represents more than the passage of a simple individual, but of a long family legacy, started by her father Simon Green Atkins in 1863, but carried on through his many children and descendents. Two of Simon Green's expressions set the tone by which Eliza and her siblings lived. One, still used as a motto for the school he founded and which Winston-Salem State U. carries into the present: "Enter to learn, depart to serve." The other was a motto which she remembered fondly and which spoke to her fortitude and moral fiber, no matter the obstacle, "I can buy a pound at any price." She chose cremation and her remains will be interred with her family in Winston-Salem, NC. In lieu of flowers, people may honor Dr. Eliza Atkins Gleason by donating to the "Atkins, Gleason, Carew Fund for International Education" at Winston-Salem State University. Please make check payable to the WSSU Foundation and note Atkins Gleason Carew Fund. Send your memorials to Mrs. Michelle Cook, Vice Chancellor for University Advancement, Winston-Salem State University, 601 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, Winston-Salem, NC 27110. Arrangements handled by A.D. Porter & Sons, 1300 W. Chestnut St.