- Douglas, Aaron
- Call number
- Sc MG 308
- Physical description
- .4 linear feet
- Preferred Citation
- Aaron Douglas papers, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library
- Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division
- Access to materials
- Advance notice required. Request access to this collection.Restrictions apply
Born in Topeka, Kansas in 1898, Aaron Douglas became the most celebrated artist-illustrator to emerge from the Harlem Renaissance. He attended the University of Nebraska (F.B.A.), Columbia University Teachers College (M.A.) and l'Academie Scandinave in Paris. Douglas' career spanned sixty years of painting, drawing and illustrating. He created numerous murals, usually of allegorical scenes on the historical life or cultural background of African Americans. In 1937 Douglas became a professor of art and chairman of the Art Department at Fisk University (Nashville, Tenn.) where he remained until 1966, when he retired as professor emeritus. Fisk University bestowed an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts upon him in 1973. Douglas died in Nashville, Tenn. in 1979. Harlem Renaissance artist Aaron Douglas' Papers consist of personal correspondence, letters of introduction, invitations, programs, and printed material. Of particular interest are the 83 undated letters, which make up the bulk of the collection, that Douglas wrote to his future wife, Alta Sawyer. Most of the letters were written during an approximate two-year period while she was still married to her first husband and before she and Douglas were married in 1926. Douglas wrote Sawyer endearing letters that were also philosophical in tone and discussed his artwork, aspirations and the social scene in Harlem. Included are two letters to Douglas from writer Arna Bontemps and an open letter from Douglas on the letterhead of the short-lived magazine, "Fire!!.".
Source of acquisitionGift, Edgecombe Avenue Tenants Association
Using the collection
LocationSchomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division
515 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York, NY 10037-1801
Access to materialsAdvance notice required. Request access to this collection.
Researchers are restricted to photocopies of correspondence.
Alternative form available
Correspondence photocopies available