Small Collections – Georgia Douglas Johnson

December 5, 2007

The James Weldon Johnson Collection includes small archival collections documenting the lives and work of numerous African American writers and artists; a list of many of these collections can be found on line at: Small Collections in the James Weldon Johnson Collection.

The Georgia Douglas Johnson Collection, which appears in Small Collections in the James Weldon Johnson Collection, includes correspondence and writings documenting the work of writer and salon hostess Georgia Douglas Johnson.

During the early decades of the twentieth century, Johnson studied music and wrote several collections of poetry, but today she may be best remembered as the hostess of the influential Washington, D.C., literary salon known as the Halfway House. She called her salon the Halfway House because she prided herself on bringing together people with different views of politics and art who might find in her salon a “halfway” point where their ideas could be discussed, debated, and challenged. Johnson’s salon was, for years, the center of conversation and exchange among African American artists and thinkers in Washington.

The Georgia Douglas Johnson collection at the Beinecke Library includes correspondence between Johnson and Harold Jackman and James Weldon Johnson, as well as manuscripts of several works by Johnson, including poems, songs, and dramatic work.

Images: Georgia Douglas Johnson on the cover of the Crisis, March 1919; copy of draft song, “Tomorrow’s World,” with words by Georgia Douglas Johnson and music by Lillian Evanti.