Research in American and African American Literature at Beinecke Library: Getting Started
Archival research is fascinating and fun – but it can be complicated and sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start. The following information is intended to introduce students and scholars of American and African American literature using Yale Library collections to basic tools and research strategies.
Subject Searching in the Yale Collection of American Literature and James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection
Most of the Library’s search tools work best when used to look for names and titles – they don’t often describe the content of specific works in detail…An archive can contain thousands of pieces of paper and just as many subjects.
Work in Progress: Notes, Drafts, Revision, Publication
Literary archives include all kinds of writings – from loose notes and notebooks to edited typescripts to nearly complete works written by an author for her typist. These documents allow us to see something of a writer’s thought processes, writing habits. and imaginative flights; they also provide an opportunity to track a piece of writing from its very beginning as an idea in a writer’s mind through to publication or performance.
In Pieces: Lives of Literary Archives
Students and scholars often wonder about how literary archives take shape, how they come to have their particular gaps and depths, how we might understand their organization and structure.
Though the Yale Collection of American Literature and James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collections include many copies of books with “distinguished provenance” – that is, books that belonged to writers, prominent readers, and other individuals of note – the personal libraries of individual writers have not always been maintained intact.
YCAL-JWJ Ready Reference
Quick research resources for the Yale Collection of American Literature (YCAL) and the James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection (JWJ).