Beinecke Top Tens: The Great Depression

June 5, 2013

By Melissa Barton

John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath limited edition with lithographs by Thomas Hart Benton Za St345 +939Gb

Langston Hughes, Don’t You Want to Be Free? manuscript drafts JWJ MSS 26 Box 292 Folders 4780-4784

Woody Guthrie, Bound for glory, illustrated with sketches by the author Zab G983 943B

Walter Lowenfels Papers YCAL MSS 367

The Walter Lowenfels Papers document the life and work of the writer, journalist, editor, activist, and member of the Communist Party USA, Walter Lowenfels. The papers consist of correspondence, writings, writings of others, photographs, personal papers, printed material, and other papers spanning the years 1897-1979, with the bulk of the material dating from 1930-1976. Correspondence, writings, and writings of others comprise the bulk of the papers. The correspondence records his personal and professional relationships and chronicles his 1953 and 1954 trials for sedition and conspiracy and his publication process. Writings document Lowenfels’s work as a writer, editor and anthologist, including drafts of his prose, poetry, drama, essays, and articles. The writings also document his work for the Pennsylvania edition of the Daily Worker. 

Richard Wright, Native Son manuscript drafts, JWJ MSS 3 Boxes 43-46 

League of American Writers, “A National Congress of American Writers” conference announcement BrSides 1998 30

James Agee and Walker Evans, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men Za Ag32 941L

Federal Writers Project Negro Group Papers, JWJ MSS 40

This collection consists of drafts and transcriptions of essays by African American authors on the history and culture of African Americans in the United States and on African American contributions to the arts. Essays documenting historical experiences of African Americans cover religion in the Colonial era, the anti-slavery movement, and the underground railroad. Essays documenting African American cultural forms cover dance, literature, and theater, and feature several pieces on music, including songs of protest, spirituals, and folk music. Many essays in the collection also document contributions of individual African Americans, including James Weldon Johnson, Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Paul Robeson, and William Christopher Handy. Contributing authors include Wesley Curtwright, Ralph Ellison, Lawrence Gellert, Abram Hill, Claude McKay, Henry Lee Moon, Ted Poston, and others.

Federal Writers Project, American stuff: An Anthology of Prose & Verse by Members of the Federal Writers’ Project, with Sixteen Prints by the Federal Art Project JWJ Zan2 937F

Posters for the Indian Court, Federal Building, Golden Gate International Exposition, San Francisco, 1939 BrSides Zc12 939in

Beinecke Top Tens gather (approximately) ten related items to give an at-a-glance look at some of the Library’s interesting, important, strange, compelling, beautiful holdings. To see more lists, click here: Beinecke Top Tens. To suggest a list subject, contact us: Top Ten Ideas.