The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is one of the world’s leading research facilities devoted to the preservation of materials on the global African and African diasporan experiences. It is located in the heart of Harlem and within the 135th branch of the New York Public Library.
The Schomburg Center first won international acclaim in 1926 when the personal collection of the distinguished black scholar and bibliophile Arturo Alfonso Schomburg was added to the Division of Negro Literature, History and Prints of the 135th Street Branch of The New York Public Library. Schomburg subsequently served as curator of the division from 1932 until his death in 1938. The division was renamed in his honor in 1940, and in 1972 it was designated as one of the Research Libraries of The New York Public Library.
New York Public Library’s Negro Division Sign, 1925
Today, the Schomburg Center contains over 10,000,000 items and provides services and programs for constituents from the United States and abroad. The Center’s collections include art objects, audio and video tapes, books, manuscripts, motion picture films, newspapers, periodicals, photographs, prints, recorded music discs and sheet music. Highlights include:
- One of the nation’s most comprehensive collections of paintings, sculptures, works on paper and textiles, and material culture from Africa and the African Diaspora. Featured artists include Aaron Douglas, Edward Mitchell Bannister, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller, Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence, and Romare Bearden.
- A extensive collection of photographs from the mid-18th century to the present day, including portraits of many prominent 19th- and 20th-century black artists, political figures, actors, musicians, athletes, and social activists. Among the photographers represented are James VanDerZee, Gordon Parks, Edward Steichen, Coreen Simpson, Bert Andrews, and Chester Higgins.
- Books and manuscripts it contains more than 3,900 rare books, 580 manuscript collections, and 15,ooo pieces of sheet music and rare printed materials. These include the original manuscript of Richard Wright’s Native Son;
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
515 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York, NY 10037
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