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Kelly-Twiggs Family Papers

Identifier: HQBCA-008


This collection includes the personal works and objects of John Wesley Kelly, Guinevere (Gwen) Kelly-Twiggs, Evelyn Kelly-Robinson, and John Twiggs. John, Gwen and Evelyn were heavily involved in church clubs and organizations relating to various churches in Saint Paul and in Seattle. John Twiggs was a photographer who took many photographs of people in the Twin Cities. This collection includes photographs, personal notes, and many religious texts and realia.

Other notable persons featured in this collection are various members of the Murphy-Taylor family and women's suffrage activist, Nellie Fancis.


  • 1883 - 2005
  • Majority of material found within 1940 - 1980

Conditions Governing Access

Restrictions regarding access to the physical materials are in place due to COVID precautions.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and obtain all necessary permissions and determining the nature of any liabilities prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

Fielding Combs Sr., moved to Saint Paul circa 1870 and worked at the Union Depot in a service position. He died in 1896 at the age of 112, with property valued at 40,000 USD (at that time). His son, Fielding Combs Jr., was married to Pricilla Giles, daughter of Hamiliton Giles, who founded St. James AME church. He and Priscilla had six children: Andrew, Leroy, Joseph, Mamie, Clara and Jennette.

Joseph Combs married Ida Mae Sheperd and they had a son, Lionel Charles Combs and a daughter, Elizabeth Combs. Jennette married John Wesley Kelly and they raised three children, Evelyn, Guinevere, and John Wesley (Bud) Kelly.

Guinevere Kelly Twiggs, also known as Gwen, was born in St. Paul on February 6, 1908. Her father was Rev. John Wesley Kelly, making Gwen and her family one of St. Paul's pioneer families. Gwen grew in St. Paul and, in March of 1928, graduated from the School of Agriculture on the St. Paul Farm campus. She also played the tuba and toured the country in an all girls band during the 1920s and 1930s.

For many years, Gwen K. Twiggs worked in the Fabricating Plant of Farwell Ozmun Kirk and company, located at 73 W. Fairfield ave. She also was a charter member of the Cameo Social Club, first organized in September 1925, and a long-time member of St. James A.M.E. Church.

Gwen Kelly Twiggs died August 5, 1963 at Bethesda Hospital. She lived at 1048 Fuller Avenue, and 950 St. Anthony Ave prior to the destruction of the Historic Rondo Neighborhood. She died the same week as Larry Hickman. Her other, notable relations include her only son, John William Twiggs; a cousin, Antoinette Perteet; and her two aunts, Mrs. Ida Combs and Mrs. Clara Parker.

Gwen's sister, Evelyn Kelly, was born in 1906. She was a staff member in Hallie Q. Brown's Nusery. Before that, she and Hallie Q. Brown's first Director, I. Myrtle Carden, were members of the Women's Auxiliary of the St. Paul Urban League [St. Paul Recorder. Pub. Date. Oct. 26, 1934]. She was also a junior board member of The St. Paul Miniature Cameo club. Later in life, she served as the President of Hallie Q. Brown Community Center's Golden Agers Club. Evelyn married a man named John Robinson, on Feb. 22, 1947 and they lived together in St. Paul, MN and Seattle, WA over many years[St. Paul Recorder. Pub. Date. Feb. 28, 1947].

John Twiggs, Gwen Twiggs' son and Evelyn Kelly's nephew, graduated highschool in 1954. He served three years in the United States Military, from approx. 1955 to 1957. He then attended the Minneapolis School of Art. [St. Paul Recorder. Pub. Date Feb. 14, 1958]. He later became a member of Hallie Q. Brown Camera Club [Minneapolis spokesman. Pub. Date May 30, 1963] and enjoyed riding horses at Shady Valley Riding Stables [St. Paul Recorder. Pub. Date Aug. 29, 1958].


5.2 Linear Feet ((5 containers). Collection primarily contains the following: Three Bibles (c.1883-1940), two meeting minutes books (c. 1910), photographs in black and white as well as color (various dates). As well as handwritten and typed correspondence and personal admin. files. ) : Two letter-size, black, hollinger boxes and two, cream-colored clamshell boxes.

Language of Materials



This collection consists of 2 letter-size boxes and 2 clamshell boxes, divided into 3 series:

Series I: Photographs

Series II: Religious Works

Series III: Biographical Works


Hallie Q. Brown Community Center. "Collection Overview: Twiggs Family Papers". Hallie Q. Brown Community Archives.
Kelly-Twiggs Family Papers
Created and described by Kayla T. Jackson, 2022.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Hallie Q. Brown Community Archives Repository

270 N. Kent Street
Saint Paul MN 55102 USA