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Cherry Waldrep Clements Collection

Processed by Chris Ellis

Biographical Note

Evelyn Cherry Waldrep was born in Monroe County, Georgia on June 12, 1915 and grew up on a farm near Dublin, Georgia. After graduating from high school at age sixteen she enrolled in the Georgia State College for Women. After graduating in 1933, 18-year-old Cherry began her teaching career at a small school in rural Cabiness, Georgia. 

Cherry later attended Georgia Southern University as a prestigious Rosenwald Fellow, earning a B.S. in Education, before going on to earn a M.S. in Math Education at the University of Georgia (making her the first woman to do so). She married classmate Hal Clements in 1941, prior to his enlistment in the United States Navy. At the end of World War II the Clements' began their careers in public education. After stints in Guyton, Claxton, Waynesboro and Canton, they moved to Atlanta in 1958. 

Cherry began a 27 year career at Druid Hills High school in DeKalb County, Georgia, where she was chair of the of the Math Department. Throughout her teaching career she was acknowledged for her educational abilities, earning Student-Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) Awards in 1967 and 1971. In 1972 she was deemed Atlanta Woman of the Year in Education. In 1976, the year she retired, she received the Gladys M. Thompson Award for Distinguished Service in Mathematics Education from the Georgia Council of Teachers.  

After her retirement, Cherry dedicated herself to tireless volunteer work, and became involved in political and social activism, championing the homeless, the environment, world peace and nuclear disarmament. Along with her husband Hal, she was acknowledged by Georgia Southern University in 1989 for outstanding service to the community. They also received the coveted Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for Senior Citizens Active in Community Service in 1992. 

Cherry Waldrep Clements in the classroom. In 1999 Cherry received the "Unsung Heroines" award from the Metropolitan Atlanta Coalition of 100 Black Women. Cherry was active in the North Decatur United Methodist Church, and served ten terms as president of the United Methodist Women's Organization. 

Widely known for her cooking abilities, Cherry authored and published three cookbooks: Monga Ma's Legacy (a collection of her mother's recipes), Mama's Bequest: Fifty Years of Good Cooking and Simply Delicious: Quantity Cooking for Churches. She also operated her own catering business, aptly named Cherry's Jubilee.  

Cherry Waldrep Clements died on Jan. 5, 2006.

Provenance and Arrangement

The Cherry Waldrep Clements Collection contains notes, papers, correspondence, books, photographs and university publications from Cherry Clement's academic life at Georgia State College for Women from 1931 to 1933. Also included in the collection are documents, correspondence and awards from her years in the public school system and her various volunteer and public service activities. Following Mrs. Clements' death, her daughters Judy Clements and Cathy Clements Bradshaw donated the documents in the collection to the university on Feb. 2, 2006. The processed collection spans approximately five and one-half cubic feet of materials.

When the Clements papers arrived in Special Collections they were loosely organized. Most materials had been collected by Mrs. Clements into file folders. The papers may have been in chronological order at some point, but since not all the papers were dated, chronological arrangement proved difficult. The materials from her Alumni Association presidency were grouped together in two folders unordered.

Some bound notes and papers were removed from their respective binders. All photographs were scanned and preserved electronically.  Newspaper clippings were preserved as photocopies. 

To create some logical order in the collection, all the papers were arranged to reflect a chronology of events of Mrs. Clements's life, beginning with her stay at GSCW, her years as a teacher, and her post-retirement activism. Box 1 contains her personal and professional correspondence, photos etc., in chronological order; miscellaneous and/or unrelated items are included at the end of the file.  

         Box 1 – Correspondence, photographs and other printed materials

         Box 2 – College textbooks, cookbooks, awards

         Box 3 – Framed portrait, awards, class record books

         Box 4 – Scrapbooks

         Box 5 – Clothing

Scope and Content

Cherry Waldrep Clements and Bill Clinton at a Habitat for Humanity event The bulk of the collection is made up of Mrs. Clements's notes and course materials from GSCW, Georgia Southern University and the University of Georgia; her recognitions as a public school math teacher; a cookbook author; a church member; and community reformer and political activist. Her papers reveal a myriad of achievements and a lifetime of public service.

It is possible to see some aspects of her college social life from photographs and programs from various campus events she may have attended. There is no correspondence to shed light on her life at school. Later correspondence is of a more personal nature, comprised mainly of thank you cards and letters.  

The photos in her collection indicate that she was close friends with Mabel Ellis, Dorothy Ellis, Mary Jo Wilkes, Frances Laird, Helen Grace Phillips, Josephine Penn, Eleanor Johnson and Emily Johnson. Her correspondence also indicates a relationship with Bernice Brown McCullar and Eleanor McCullar Jennings.

Additional Information about the Cherry Waldrep Clements Collection

Box List (pdf)

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