Family Photos and Serendipity

When it comes to my research about Madam Walker and A’Lelia Walker, I have had many incredibly serendipitous moments. Sometimes the stars align and long lost items seem to find their way back home.

Lost Walker family photos that made their way back to A'Lelia Bundles

Last fall, out of the blue, I received an email message from a man who had purchased these photos at auction. My best guess is that they’d been left in a dresser that once belonged to my grandmother.

I actually already had most of the photos among items I had inherited from my grandfather in my personal Walker Family Archives. Among them were photos of my grandmother Mae Walker Perry’s wedding photo from her 1923 marriage to Dr. Gordon Jackson, her first husband; A’Lelia Walker seated at her gold-trimmed piano in the music room at Villa

Walker Perry’s baby photo by Harlem photographer R.E. Mercer circa 1927

Lewaro; two wonderful 1924 photos of the Walker agents’ convention at Villa Lewaro taken by R. E. Mercer. But the new treasure was a photo of my uncle Walker Perry (nee Walker Gordon Jackson and the son of Mae and Gordon Jackson) as a toddler. Too cute for words.


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
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2 Responses to Family Photos and Serendipity

  1. Terri says:


    Thank you for sharing the personal memories of your family history. I was moved by the pictures and the historic impact. I am a big fan of MCJW. I am also a storyteller.
    I was curious as to what happened to MCJW’s brothers, did they help her with her business? Did they have children? Did Louvenia have children? Did they visit her in New York when she lived in Harlem and VIlla Lewaro?

    Thank You!

    • Hi Terri,
      Thank you for your kind comments. I am so glad you are interested in learning more about Madam Walker. In my book,
      On Her Own Ground, I write about Madam Walker’s relationship with her siblings and their children. You can order it on my website ( or on It also is in many public libraries. You can read an excerpt on my wesite and at
      Her brothers were barbers in St. Louis. Sadly they died before she started her business.
      Best wishes,

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