Cover image for Arthur Alfonso Schomburg, black bibliophile & collector : a biography
Title:
Arthur Alfonso Schomburg, black bibliophile & collector : a biography
Author:
Sinnette, Elinor Des Verney.
Publication Information:
[New York, N.Y.] : New York Public Library ; Detroit, MI : Wayne State University Press [distributor], 1989.
Physical Description:
xiii, 262 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
General Note:
Spine title: Schomburg.

Includes index.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780814321560

9780814321577
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
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Z989.S36 S56 1989 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating
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Z989.S36 S56 1989 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

This is the first full biography of the pioneering black collector whose detective work laid the foundation for the study of black history and culture. Born in Puerto Rico in 1874, Arthur Alfonso Schomburg came to New York militantly active in Caribbean revolutionary struggles. He searched out the hidden records of the black experience and built a collection of books, manuscripts, and art that had few rivals. Today it forms the core of the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for research in Black Culture, one of the leading collections in the field.
At the center of the Harlem Renaissance, Schomburg was a generous friend of many of the writers, artists, performers, collectors, scholars, and political figures who made Harlem the capital of Black America. A contributor to the major black journals of the period, he went on to head the Negro Collection at Fisk University and became curator of his own collection in the New York Public Library until his death in 1938.


Author Notes

Elinor Des Verney Sinnette is Acting Director of Howard University's Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. A former staff member of The New York Public Library, a teacher of librarians from Central Harlen to Nigeria and Kenya, a consultant to UNESCO, Dr. Sinnette has long been a contributor to the study of the history and culture of black people throughout the world.


Reviews 2

Choice Review

Sinnette's book began at the school of Library Science at Columbia University as a doctoral dissertation and shares the strengths and weaknesses of that genre. It is primarily an account of Schomburg's life and career in New York City, especially his last three decades. Although Sinnette describes in considerable detail the efforts by Schomburg to collect materials on black life and letters, she does not delve very deeply into his motivation for such collecting, nor does she explain how he was able to afford his acquisitions. The chapters, although chronologically organized, jump back and forth in time and the author misses few opportunities to digress with short biographies of Schomburg's friends and acquaintances. Both these characteristics make the book difficult to follow. Despite this problem, the biographical and bibliographical data contained in this work make it a useful resource for those wishing to know more about Schomburg and about black life and the literary renaissance in New York City in the first years of the 20th century. D. W. Hoover Ball State University


Choice Review

Sinnette's book began at the school of Library Science at Columbia University as a doctoral dissertation and shares the strengths and weaknesses of that genre. It is primarily an account of Schomburg's life and career in New York City, especially his last three decades. Although Sinnette describes in considerable detail the efforts by Schomburg to collect materials on black life and letters, she does not delve very deeply into his motivation for such collecting, nor does she explain how he was able to afford his acquisitions. The chapters, although chronologically organized, jump back and forth in time and the author misses few opportunities to digress with short biographies of Schomburg's friends and acquaintances. Both these characteristics make the book difficult to follow. Despite this problem, the biographical and bibliographical data contained in this work make it a useful resource for those wishing to know more about Schomburg and about black life and the literary renaissance in New York City in the first years of the 20th century. D. W. Hoover Ball State University