Scope and arrangement
The Arthur A. Schomburg Papers (1724-1938) reflect his activities as researcher and writer, collector and curator. The collection consists of correspondence, published and unpublished writings, articles about Schomburg and the Negro Collection at the 135th Street Branch, subject and reference files, and material relating to his many speaking engagements and activities in the community and on behalf of the Collection. The bulk of the papers date from 1932 to his death in 1938. The material from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries consists of transcriptions of historical documents and newspaper articles.
The Arthur Alfonso Schomburg papers are arranged in three series:
The CORRESPONDENCEis separated into three subseries: Letters to Schomburg,1904-1938, Letters by Schomburg,1914-1938, and Miscellaneous Correspondence,1909-1938. The first two subseries are arranged alphabetically by the correspondent's name or affiliation. The third subseries is subdivided by type, such as Invitations, Greeting Cards, and Miscellaneous Letters. Schomburg's correspondents included a number of prominent people in the fields of arts and letters, politics and civil rights, such as Henrietta Buckmaster, W.E.B. DuBois, W.C. Handy, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, J.A. Rogers, The Honorable Stenio Vincent (President of Haiti), Walter White, Carter G. Woodson, Charles S. Johnson, Nancy Cunard, Albert Smith, and fellow collectors and bibliophiles William C. Bolivar, Henry Slaughter and Arthur Spingarn (a more complete list of correspondents is available). The letters relate to Schomburg's position as Curator of the Schomburg Collection, as well as to his intellectual interests and personal life.
The series PROFESSIONAL AND LITERARY ACTIVITIESillustrates the broad scope of Schomburg's interests. Included in this series are typescripts and published articles written by Schomburg, although authorship of the manuscripts is not always clear as they are frequently unsigned. There are also articles about Schomburg's activities and the Collection, invitations, announcements and programs of events Schomburg participated in. Included in this section are minutes and reports for the Citizens Committee of the 135th Street Branch Library and the New York Urban League, the two organizations that consistently worked with Schomburg and Ernestine Rose, the Branch Librarian, to benefit the Branch in general, and the Schomburg Collection in particular. The folders in this series are arranged in alphabetical order by subject or type of material.
The SUBJECT AND REFERENCE FILEis arranged in alphabetical order by author or title and consists of a variety of material, including reference notes, transcriptions of articles from newspapers, transcriptions and translations of speeches, letters, and essays about historical figures and events, biographical essays, and manuscripts by other authors.