Langston Hughes Papers, 1862-1980

Letters, manuscripts, and photographs that document the life of the African-American poet.
Langston Hughes, 1940, by Carl Van Vechten

The career of James Langston Hughes (1902-1967), a central figure during the Harlem Renaissance, spanned five decades. He wrote poetry, short stories, plays, newspaper columns, children's books, and pictorial histories. He also edited several volumes of prose and fiction by African-American and African writers. Through his writing and through his extensive travels and lecture tours he came into direct contact with an amazing array of writers, artists, activists, and performers of the twentieth century. The Langston Hughes Papers span the years 1862-1980. A view of the life and work of the poet and American literary icon as seen through personal snapshots, pages of manuscripts, printed items, sheet music, and ephemera documenting his wide travels and public appearances.

History of the Collection

Gift of Langston Hughes and bequest of the estate of Langston Hughes, ca. 1940-67.

The Collection

The Langston Hughes Papers contain letters, manuscripts, personal items, photographs, clippings, artworks, and objects that document the life of the well-known African-American poet. Currently, only a portion of these papers are available online.

African Americana
American Literature
Call Numbers
These materials may be under copyright. Permission from the Langston Hughes Estate is required to publish materials by Langston Hughes in any format. Contact information for the Estate may be found in the WATCH File ( To learn more, contact the appropriate curator.
Langston Hughes Papers. James Weldon Johnson Collection in the Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University


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