Scope and arrangement
The W. Joseph Black Papers document his research and architectural projects, particularly Visions of Harlem and the Harlem Music Center. There is little personal information in the collection, although his vita provides both personal and professional data. A good portion of the material is not original, but has been kept because of its integral relationship to Black's work.
The papers have been arranged into the following series: CORRESPONDENCE, WRITINGS, RESEARCH MATERIAL and PROJECTS. The last is the most extensive series. A large number of photographs of Harlem street scenes and architecture are also part of the collection. These have been transferred to the Photograph and Prints Division.
The Joseph Black papers are arranged in five series:
CORRESPONDENCE, 1961-1977, has been arranged into outgoing and incoming letters. The letters for the most part deal with Black's efforts to find employment and support for his various professional plans and ideas, such as the Music Center, and the Park Avenue Walkway.
WRITINGS consist primarily of several undated drafts of Visions of Harlem: Past, Present and Future. It is not clear whether the manuscript was completed or if the manuscript in the collection is the final version. There are also manuscripts for at least two other books or articles on Harlem, from an architectural perspective.
RESEARCH MATERIAL, n. d. This series is composed of photocopies of materials Black apparently collected for his various projects and general knowledge. The types of materials included are articles, reports, bibliographies, and photographs covering a variety of subjects focused on Harlem. Among them are Harlem street scenes, architecture, landmarks, and Harlem pre- and post-1960. Some of the photographs can be found in the Schomburg Center's Joseph Black Photograph Collection, while many others appear to be photocopies he received from repositories and individuals while doing research.
PROJECTS include the Harlem Music Center records, 1968-1974, and Harlem Urban Development Corporation projects, as well as materials from other projects.