African art comprises a significant portion of the Spelman collection. This seed was planted when Mabel Murphy Smythe-Haith (1918–2006) gifted her collection of African art to the College. Smythe-Haith was a Spelman alumna and Trustee Emerita, the United States Ambassador to the Republic of Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, and a civil rights advocate. In 1979, Spelman President Donald M. Stewart invited her to teach an African issues seminar. Her gift is further augmented by donations from Drs. William and Jane Bertrand (1990), Mr. and Mrs. Gerard Nordman (1988), John and Carolyn Stremlau (1988), and Dobbs and Michelle Jordan (2009) to amass a core of over 200 traditional works of African art.