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Josephine D. Martin Papers

Identifier: M375

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of materials generated and/or collected by child psychiatrist, Dr. Josephine D. Martin, and includes correspondence, publications, speeches, articles, newspaper clippings and other materials that document her life and work.

The Josephine D. Martin Papers should be of interest to researchers in the areas of social work, mental health, civil rights, and other social issues.


  • Creation: circa 1939-2000

Conditions Governing Access

Noncirculating; available for research.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical / Historical

Josephine Diaz Martin was born in Tampa, Florida, on December 31, 1915, the daughter of a cigar maker who emigrated from Spain. During her childhood, the family moved to New York City, where she completed her elementary and secondary education. She received her bachelor's degree from Hunter College in 1945; earned her M.D. from State University of New York College of Medicine in 1954; and did post-graduate work at West London Hospital School of Medicine from 1955-1956. She served as senior house officer in psychiatry at University College and St. Pancras Hospital in London, England in 1958, and she completed her residency in psychiatry at Bellevue Medical Center in New York in 1962.

As a teenager, Josephine was diagnosed with tuberculosis and spent two years in a sanatorium. While there, she met fellow patient and social worker, Earl Martin, whom she married when she was 19. Together, the two fought to secure better treatment for tuberculosis patients. She and Earl Martin later divorced, and Josephine married Cedric H. Belfrage, British-born founder and co-editor of the leftist weekly, "The National Guardian". In 1955, Belfrage was deported to England for refusing to tell Senator Joseph McCarthy's Committee whether he was or ever had been a Communist. Dr. Martin accompanied her husband to England, and while in London, she worked for the National Health System. She returned to New York in 1958 to help care for two nephews whose mother had died of cancer. After a lengthy separation, she and Cedric Belfrage were divorced, and in 1967, she married Dr. Robert J. Schwartz, a New York banker and longtime friend.

Dr. Martin served for ten years in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at New York University's Bellevue Hospital. In 1968 she left Bellevue to pursue more direct community work. In the ensuing years, she held a variety of positions in hospitals and organizations, including Director of Children’s Neighborhood Care Teams in the Department of Community Psychiatry of Roosevelt Hospital and then at William F. Ryan Community Health Center. She was also involved in a series of clinical community care programs for the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services (JBFCS), including a juvenile diagnostic center for court referrals (Geller House); an educational and clinical day care program for troubled adolescents (West Side School); and finally, a JBFCS-sponsored project for homeless families in a “welfare” hotel (Regent Hotel).

In the 1960s, Dr. Martin also developed a keen interest in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. In 1964, as a member of the Medical Committee for Human Rights (MCHR), she traveled to Mississippi, where she worked in the Mississippi Child Development Center (forerunner of the Head Start program). As a result, she developed lasting friendships with such Mississippi civil rights pioneers as Bob Moses, James Forman, and Unita Blackwell. In 1991 Dr. Martin was the recipient of the American Orthopsychiatric Association’s Vera S. Paster Award, which is given to people who have contributed significantly to the well-being of persons of color.

Dr. Josephine Martin died July 6, 2000 at the age of 84. At a memorial service held in her honor on September 12, 2000, her husband Dr. Robert Schwartz said, "Jo was an angel, and if there were enough like her, the lion would lie down with the lamb and the problems of world conflict, human and environmental destructiveness would be no more."


3.70 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



The collection has been divided into four series: Professional Materials, Civil Rights Materials, Religious and Political Materials, and Oversize Materials. Folder titles assigned by Dr. Martin have been preserved, but titles were created for loose materials and unnamed folders. Items within each series are arranged alphabetically.

Series I: Professional Materials is made up of items collected by Dr. Martin regarding her psychiatric practice. Materials in this series are primarily articles from various journals and newspapers, but several audiocassettes on psychiatric subjects are included as well.

Series II: Civil Rights Materials is comprised of materials relating to civil rights in general and civil rights issues and activities that are specific to Mississippi. Included are newspaper clippings, publications, and files on civil rights leaders Unita Blackwell, W.E.B. Du Bois, Fannie Lou Hamer, Martin Luther King, and Paul Robeson. A manuscript draft of "And Gently He Shall Lead Them: Robert Parris Moses and Civil Rights in Mississippi" by Eric R. Burner (1993) could be considered the centerpiece of this series.

Series III: Political and Religious Materials contains anti-war materials, campaign flyers, and a file on Greenham Common Peace Camp, among other things.

Series IV: Oversize Materials consists primarily of posters, newspapers and oversize articles gleaned from the previous three series and housed in a map case.


Materials generated and/or collected by Dr. Josephine D. Martin; donated by Dr. Robert J. Schwartz.


Contents of the Collection

Martin, Douglas. "Josephine Martin, Healer of Rights Workers, Dies at 84", "The New York Times", 23 July 2000.

Josephine D. Martin Papers
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Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Historical Manuscripts and Photographs Repository

118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001