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Yale Collection of American Literature

The James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection of American Negro Arts and Letters was founded in 1941 by Carl Van Vechten in honor of James Weldon Johnson (1871 – 1938). The collection celebrates the accomplishments of African American writers and artists, with a strong emphasis on those of the Harlem Renaissance.
February 22, 2013
Noted for its bibliographic strength in nineteenth-century writings, the Collection includes first and other significant editions of virtually every major work of American literature published by prominent authors of the period, often in copies of distinguished provenance, for example Henry David Thoreau’s inscribed copy of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essays.
February 22, 2013
In 1911 Owen F. Aldis donated his outstanding collection of American Literature to the Yale University Library, where it has since been maintained as a separate entity with its own curators.
February 22, 2013
The Collection documents filmmaking, with a particular emphasis on experimental projects, through the medium’s various paper trails: scripts, treatments, production materials, journals, stills, publicity ephemera such as posters and lobby cards, and, occasionally, rare footage of short films and home movies.
February 19, 2013
The work of the prolific American writer Henry Miller, an iconoclastic figure made famous by his “banned” book Tropic of Cancer (Paris, 1934; New York, 1961) and his relationship with the French writer Anaïs Nin, is represented in the Beinecke’s holdings by a 900-page, four-volume, bound draft of Tropic of Cancer, ca. 1930 – 1932, a gift of Frederick R. Koch, Yale School of Drama, 1961 MFAD, (Frederick R. Koch Collection, 1640 – 1983, GEN MSS 601).
February 19, 2013
Building upon the Harlem Renaissance strengths of the James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection, later archives and small collections of notable authors such as Richard Wright, Chester Himes, James Baldwin, and Amiri Baraka document the creative output of writers forging new artistic ventures in regard to African American life at home and abroad.
February 19, 2013
Unique manuscripts written by nineteenth-century African American writers exemplify the richness and historical significance of materials in the James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection.
February 19, 2013

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