Rocky Simmons Photographs

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Rocky Simmons photographs
Creator:
Call Number: D.353
Dates: 1920s-2008 ; 1940-1970 [bulk]
Physical Description: 1 Cubic feet
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

Table of Contents:

Biographical/Historical Note
Scope and Content
Subject(s)
Access
Use
Citation
Content List
Series I: Rocky Simmons and family
Series II: Athletics
Collection Overview
Title: Rocky Simmons photographs
Call Number: D.353
Dates: 1920s-2008 ; 1940-1970 [bulk]
Physical Description: 1 Cubic feet
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

Biographical/Historical Note
Steven Wynder "Rocky" Simmons (1915-1994) was born in Magnolia, MS to Irvine and Gladys Simmons. The family moved to Bogalusa, LA where Rocky spent much of his youth. A gifted athlete, he was recruited by Wiley College in Marshall, TX to play football and baseball. He became a professional baseball player and played in the Negro Leagues for several teams, including the Bogalusa Tigers (LS) and the Utica Monarchs (NY). He played with such notables as Satchel Paige and Jackie Robinson. With the coming of World War II, Simmons served his country in the US Army.

When the War ended, Simmons opted for greater opportunities in the North and he made a new home for himself in Rochester, like so many others from the South. Here he managed the Rochester American Giants baseball team and coached many youth teams. He married Miss Beatrice Dawkins in 1954. Together they had four children: Wynder, Roxie, Michelle and Dwayne.

Simmons became involved in Republican Party politics when he lived on Scio St. in Rochester's 7th Ward. He was a powerful campaigner, encouraging voter registration, and participation. Simmons campaigned for Caroline Branch to be the first local female judge and when she won the election in 1964, she appointed Simmons to the position of Monroe County Family Court Attendant in 1964. He was the first African American to hold the position. He remained in this position until his retirement in 1988.

Simmons sought to improve the lot of Rochester's African American community by organizing youth activities and agitating for positive change. He also became a professional photographer, documenting, with his business partner George Mitchell, the lives of the community of which he had become so vital a part.

From the online exhibit: "Rocky Simmons (1915-1994) was a dynamic presence in Rochester and an iconic figure in the black community for several decades. He was a gifted athlete, an astute politician, the first African-American Court Attendant in Monroe County, an organizer of youth activities, a professional photographer and much more. He was a man who made things happen for the better. Everyone knew Rocky. He described himself as "the last rock standing." "

Scope and Content
The Rocky Simmons photographs (1920s-2008) are comprised of photographs originally assembled by Simmons in an album, plus additional materials donated by his children and family. The photos feature Simmons, his family and friends, and various locations central to his life. It also contains photographs he took as a professional photographer, featuring local events, weddings, musicians, sports teams, beauty contests, award ceremonies, and new businesses. The photographs are a unique window on the lives of Rochester's African American community at mid-20th century.

In addition to the photographs, there are newspaper clippings about Rocky's activities, cards and other ephemera.

Subject(s):
New York (State)--Monroe County
New York (State)--Rochester
African American photographers
African Americans
African American women
Sports
Baseball players
Musical groups
African Americans--Social life and customs
Photographs
Social reformers
Access
The Rocky Simmons photographs is open for research use. Researchers are advised to contact Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation prior to visiting. Upon arrival, researchers will also be asked to fill out a registration form and provide photo identification.Use
Reproductions are made upon request but can be subject to restrictions. Permission to publish materials from the collection must currently be requested. Please note that some materials may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the researcher's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information contact rarebks@library.rochester.eduCitation
[Item title, item date], Rocky Simmons photographs, D.353, Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester
Administrative Information
Author: Melissa Mead, Lev Earle.
Publisher: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester
Address:
Rush Rhees Library
Second Floor, Room 225
Rochester, NY 14627-0055
rarebks@library.rochester.edu
URL:

Finding aid publication date: 05-10-2020
Content List
Series I: Rocky Simmons and family
Series II: Athletics
From the online exhibit: "italic">"In his early years living in the south, he and all other African Americans were not allowed to play in established baseball leagues. He played on the Negro league teams Bogalusa Tigers, and the Chicago American Giants as a catcher. He once caught for the great Satchel Paige. Rocky became manager of the Atlantic City Foley All-stars and the Utica Monarchs. He also managed the New York Black Yankees which finished its last season in 1948 in Rochester. The Rochester American Giants, a Negro minor league team was also managed by Rocky." --Roxie Simmons Sinkler



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