Scope and arrangement
The Gwendolyn Bennett Papers (1914-1981) document the personal and professional life of Gwendolyn Bennett, from her adolescence in the mid-1910's to the late forties. The collection has been divided into the following series: PERSONAL PAPERS, PROFESSIONAL AND LITERARY ACTIVITIES and the FRANK HORNE LITERARY ESTATE.
The Gwendolyn Bennett papers are arranged in four series:
The PERSONAL PAPERSconsist of a small amount of correspondence between 1926 and 1946; educational, financial and employment records from the early 1920's to the late 1930's; fragmented diaries for the years 1925, 1936 and 1958; two scrapbooks and some miscellaneous items. The correspondence file includes one letter from George Picken of the American Writers' Congress (9 March 1937) informing Bennett of her admission to that organization, and two letters from A. Philip Randolph, president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters Association (28 April 1941) and Lester B. Granger, chairman of the Citizen's Sponsoring Committee for the Harlem Community Art Center (23 April 1941) to the commissioner of the W.P.A., on behalf of Bennett who had been suspended as director of the Harlem Community Art Center for alleged subversive activities. The employment records include many resumes written between 1934 and 1943 that provide detailed information both on her teaching and literary career. Of special interest are Ms. Bennett's diaries. Spanning four decades, they are very intimate and informative, particularly the one kept during 1936, a very painful and decisive period in her life. Of the two scrapbooks in the collection, the earliest one kept by Bennett during her adolescence, is a diary-like document, highly original and diversified, which reveals with a great richness of detail Bennett's artistic and versatile personality. The second scrapbook catalogues her published work between 1924 and 1931.
PROFESSIONAL AND LITERARY ACTIVITIES.This series consists of research material and clippings of newspaper and magazine articles written by and about Bennett and the Welfare Council of New York, class notes and printed matter from the School for Democracy and the George Washington Carver School, typescripts of her poems and book reviews written between 1928 and 1941, and printed matter.
THE FRANK HORNE LITERARY ESTATE.The poet Frank Horne was a life-long friend of Gwendolyn Bennett and her husband Richard Crosscup. The responsibility of Horne's literary estate, consisting of the typescripts of his published and unpublished poems between 1926 and 1963, was entrusted to Bennett, and is included in the collection along with letters sent to Bennett requesting permission to publish some of Horne's poems.