A’Lelia Walker’s Sterling Silver Flask and the Annual Howard-Lincoln Football Game

A’Lelia Walker’s Monogrammed Flask (from the Madam Walker/A’Lelia Walker Family Archives of A’Lelia Bundles http://www.aleliabundles.com)

A’Lelia Walker (1885-1931), the only daughter of entrepreneur and philanthropist Madam C. J. Walker, rarely missed a Howard-Lincoln football game between 1918 and 1931. This rivalry –as legendary among African Americans as the Harvard-Yale competition was to Ivy Leaguers–brought thousands of alumni and friends together each Thanksgiving Day, alternating between Philadelphia (the closest big city to Lincoln’s rural Pennsylvania campus) and Washington, DC.

 
The parties, the fashions, the parades and the cars were spectacular, just as they are today at HBCU homecoming celebrations.
 
Like most of the other revelers, A’Lelia Walker carried a flask, especially after Prohibition became the law of the land. In her case, of course, the flask was sterling silver, befitting her love of fine things. The monogram LWR–is for Lelia Walker Robinson–suggesting that she had it made before her marriage to Dr. Wiley Wilson (her second husband, whom she married in June 1919) and before she changed her name from “Lelia” to “A’Lelia.”
 
This treasure comes from the Madam Walker/A’Lelia Walker Family Archives of her great-granddaughter and biographer, A’Lelia Bundles. The Walker Family Archives is the largest privately owned collection of Walker photographs, business records, personal letters, clothing, furniture and memorabilia.
 
For more information about A’Lelia Walker and about the Walker Family Archives, contact A’Lelia Bundles.
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About A'Lelia Bundles

A'Lelia Bundles is an author, journalist, public speaker and president of the Madam Walker/A'Lelia Walker Family Archives. Her book, On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker, was a NY Times Notable Book. For more information visit www.aleliabundles.com
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