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African American Studies

Primary and selected secondary sources for research in African American Studies at Princeton University.

Toni Morrison Papers

The Papers of Toni Morrison Come to Princeton

For more information about the Papers of Toni Morrison, which will not be available until cataloging and selective digitization are done, please email Don C. Skemer, Curator of Manuscripts, at For questions about the author, please email her Administrative Assistant, Rene Boatman, at

Finding Aids

American Minstrel Show

Collector: American Minstrel Show

Title: American Minstrel Show Collection, 1854-1943 (bulk 1850s-1920s): Finding Aid

Abstract: The bulk of the American Minstrel Show Collection consists of advertisement material promoting minstrel performances from the 1850s through the 1920s. The collection includes broadsheets, posters, newspaper clippings and programs, as well as pictures and photographs of minstrel show performers. In addition, a small portion of the collection contains sheet music and song and joke books.

Location: Rare Books Division. The Department of Special Collections.

Call number: TC050

Beach, Sylvia.

Creator: Beach, Sylvia.

Title: Sylvia Beach Papers, 1887-1966 (bulk 1920s-1950s): Finding Aid

Abstract: The Sylvia Beach Papers consists of a complete personal archive of Sylvia Beach (1887-1962), the American author, publisher, and proprietress of the Paris bookshop Shakespeare and Company, the Paris bookshop which was a meeting-point for French, English, Irish and American writers during the 1920's and 1930's. Included are family, personal, and professional correspondence; manuscripts by Beach and others; materials relating to the publication of James Joyce's Ulysses; materials relating to Shakespeare and Company; photographs; artwork; phonograph records; memorabilia; and other miscellanea.

Photograph of Richard Wright in Box 278B and manuscript of his unpublished novel Man Underground, in Box 276, of the Sylvia Beach Papers, C0108.

Location: Manuscripts Division. The Department of Special Collections.

Call number: C0108

Brown, Francis C. (Francis Cabell), 1936-

Collector: Brown, Francis C. (Francis Cabell), 1936-

Title: Francis C. Brown Collection on Slavery in America, 1779-1868 (bulk 1820-1865): Finding Aid

Abstract: The Francis C. Brown Collection on Slavery in America consists of printed and manuscript documents related to slaves and the slave trade collected by Francis C. Brown. Much of the collection concerns the World Council of Churches, the Fellowship of St. Alban and St. Sergei, and the Parisian Russian émigré community.

Records of the history of slavery in Kentucky, Tennessee and Louisiana, most numerous of which are bills of sale, but also including the discharge papers of a black Union soldier, deeds of manumissions and other documents, in the Francis C. Brown Collection on Slavery in America.

Location: Manuscripts Division. The Department of Special Collections.

Call number: C0605

Charles Scribner's Sons.

Creator: Charles Scribner's Sons.

Title: Archives of Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1786-2003 (bulk 1880s-1970s): Finding Aid

Abstract: This collection consists of virtually all of the surviving records of Scribners (1846-1984), the New York City publisher, and reflect aspects of all of its publishing functions (soliciting and acquiring books, editing manuscripts, printing and manufacturing books, advertising and publicizing publications) and business concerns (book and magazine publisher, retail bookstore, subscription books department, educational books department, printing press and bindery, rare books department). Included are files of editorial correspondence with authors, manufacturing records about book production, advertising records, author contracts, a collection of dust jackets, book catalogs, ledgers, and photographs. While there are gaps in most of the series or record groups, there are records representative of all of the firm's former permutations: Baker & Scribner, Charles Scribner & Co., Scribner, Armstrong & Co., Scribner, Armstrong & Welford, Scribner & Co., Charles Scribner's Sons. The bulk of the material (1880s-1970s), however, dates from the period when the publisher bore its most familiar name, “Charles Scribner's Sons.” There is also material related to early publishers' organizations and international copyright.

Papers relating to Zora Neale Hurston’s relationship to her editors at Charles Scribner’s Sons Publishing House, Author Files III, Box 44.

Location: Manuscripts Division. The Department of Special Collections.

Call number: C0101

Federal Theatre Project (U.S.).

Creator: Federal Theatre Project (U.S.).

Title: Federal Theatre Project Collection, 1935-1939: Finding Aid

Abstract: The Federal Theatre Project Collection consists of bulletins, reports, speeches, catalogues, play programs, information releases, notices and reviews, clippings, protest leaflets, performance details, and other materials of the Federal Theatre Project established by the Works Progress Administration during the Depression, with Hallie Flanagan as the national director.

Records of Negro Theatre in the Federal Theatre Archives, TC015, Box 3, Folder.

Location: Rare Books Division. The Department of Special Collections.

Call number: TC015

Harper & Brothers.

Creator: Harper & Brothers.

Title: Selected Records of Harper & Brothers, 1909-1960 (bulk 1939-1955): Finding Aid

Abstract: The Selected Papers of Harper & Brothers consist primarily of the editorial and business correspondence of Harper & Brothers, a distinguished publishing firm, between 1909 and 1960.

Papers pertaining to the discovery of Gwendolyn Brooks as a poet, in Boxes 5 and 6 of the Harper Bros. Archive.

Location: Manuscripts Division. The Department of Special Collections.

Call number: C0103

Louisiana Slavery and Civil War.

Collector: Louisiana Slavery and Civil War.

Title: Louisiana Slavery and Civil War Collection, 1722-1872: Finding Aid

Abstract: The Louisiana Slavery and Civil War Collection consists of documents concerning the estate of the manumitted slave Marie Claire, a selection of Benjamin F. Butler correspondence, correspondence and documents concerning claims against the Union Army, and miscellaneous materials relating to Louisiana history.

Records of the history of slavery in Louisiana, the bulk of which relate to a manumitted slave named Marie Claire and are in French.

Location: Manuscripts Division. The Department of Special Collections.

Call number: C0033

Miller, Samuel, 1769-1850.

Creator: Miller, Samuel, 1769-1850.

Title: Samuel Miller Papers, 1754-1898 (bulk 1800-1849): Finding Aid

Abstract: Contains writings and correspondence of and relating to Samuel Miller, a nineteenth-century American Presbyterian clergyman and author.

Presbyterian clergyman involved in African-American education.

Location: Manuscripts Division. The Department of Special Collections.

Call number: C0277

Miscellaneous Slavery Collection, 1804-1885.

The material is arranged by accession number.

Summary note: Consists of an open collection of correspondence and documents related to slavery inAmerica in the 18th and 19th centuries. Included are a manuscript copy (1830) of the 1st census conducted in 1790, which includes statistics for slaves in each state; a bill of sale dated March 24, 1819, of a Negro woman named "Hannah," signed by Jacob Cozine, John Thomas, and Elizabeth Sprouls; a document dated November 2, 1821, about the division of slaves once owned by Berrald Innes, signed by James, Elizabeth, and Harry Innes; a bill dated December 10, 1861 about the sale of a slave named "Sam"; a bill from South Carolina dated December 19, 1845, about a slave named "Neptune," signed by Jas. E. Hogg and witnessed by John H. Howard; an agreement dated 1804 for the sale of cargo of a Capt. Wickham’s ship, which includes eighty slaves; and an autograph document (6 leaves) titled "List of Slaves on Three Mile River Estate [Westmoreland, Jamaica] 1st January 1830." The correspondence includes an autograph letter from the abolitionist Frederick Douglass to William B. Sprague, dated May 1, 1861, and another, dated April 15, 1885, to Frank B. Sanborn regarding Capt. John Brown and the events leading to the raid on Harper’s Ferry. There is also correspondence regarding "Negro Soldiers" in Tennessee dated from September to December 1865. Other correspondents include A. J. Alexander, J. P. Pryor (to President Andrew Johnson), Robert H. Ramsey, John E. Smith, Edwin M. Stanton, Maj. Gen. George Stoneman, and George H. Thomas.

An additional accession consists of receipts & accounts, 1829-1841, documenting puncheons of corn meal purchased at specified prices to maintain Africans and/or African-Antiguans held in slavery (or until abolition in 1834) by John Lavicount, Sr., on Lavicount’s Plantation, Antigua.

Provenance: The collection was formed as a result of a Departmental practice of combining into one collection material of various accessions relating to a particular person, family, or subject.

Location: Rare Books: Manuscripts Collection (MSS)

Call number: C1210

New York Urban League.

Creator: New York Urban League.

Title: New York Urban League Correspondence, 1922-1979 (bulk 1922-1933): Finding Aid

Abstract: The New York Urban League was founded circa 1913. Its stated goals were to “promote sympathetic understanding between white and colored people” and to improve the economic status of African-Americans through health, housing, and recreation programs as well as an effort to increase the number and the quality of jobs for minorities. The League's motto: “Not alms, but opportunity.” This collection is comprised mainly of the correspondence of Arthur C. Holden, president of the N.Y. Urban League from 1922-1931, and a member of the executive board until 1943. It contains general files of the organization's correspondence predominantly spanning the years 1922-1933, with a few items from the years 1968-1979.

Location: Manuscripts Division. The Department of Special Collections.

Call number: C0869

Padmore, George, 1903-1959.

Creator: Padmore, George, 1903-1959.

Title: George Padmore Collection, 1933-1945: Finding Aid

Abstract: Consisits of original letters, essays, and articles of George Padmore, one of a number of talented West Indians who helped shape African events in the 20th century. Padmore played a crucial role in developing the Fifth, and most important, Pan African Congress, intended to address the issues facingAfrica due to European colonization of much of the continent., and he was also instrumental in organizing black labor movements from the 1930s onwards.

Location: Manuscripts Division. The Department of Special Collections.

Call number: C1247


Collector: Slavery

Title: Miscellaneous Slavery Collection, 1830-1885: Finding Aid

Abstract: Consists of an open collection of correspondence and documents relating to slavery in Americain the 18th and 19th centuries.

Location: Manuscripts Division. The Department of Special Collections.

Call number: C1210

Slavery documents, 1688-1865.

Arranged in rough chronological order.

These privately owned manuscripts are available through the Department of Special Collections, Firestone Library.

Consists of documents relating to slavery in America. States include Georgia, Louisiana, Ohio,Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Included are many receipts of sale for slaves, slave manumissions, appraisals of property, an insurance policy for 100 slaves, a manifest from a slave ship, a demand for extradition for a man charged with stealing a slave, advertisements for reward for runaway slaves, tax receipts, and other miscellaneous documents and printed matter referring to slaves and the slave trade.

Location: Rare Books: William H. Scheide Library (WHS)

Call number: Scheide (32.6.8)

Tate, Allen, 1899-1979.

Creator: Tate, Allen, 1899-1979.

Title: Allen Tate Collection, 1931-1978: Finding Aid

Abstract: Allen Tate, American poet, edited The Fugitive (1922), wrote interpretive biographies of Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis, and published numerous collections of poems and literary criticism. Papers consist primarily of letters and postcards by Tate to various friends, fellow poets, and associates.

Letter from Alain Locke to Allen Tate in Box 27, Folder 50, in the Allen Tate Papers.

Location: Manuscripts Division. The Department of Special Collections.

Call number: C0648

United States. Navy. African Squadron. Order book for the African Squadron, 1855-1857.

Jamestown sailed as flagship of the African Squadron under Commodore Crabbe, departing Key West 9 June and returning to Philadelphia 2 June 1857. One of the main functions of the African Squadron was the enforcement of American laws against slave trading.

Order book, in unknown hand, listing officers of the vessels composing the African Squadron in the years 1855-1857 and the orders for the same; abstract journal of U.S. Jamestown, flagship of Commodore Crabbe during the years 1855-1857; reports of inspection of the vessels composing the African squadron during the years 1855-1857; abstract of the cruise of the U.S. Jamestown, 1856-1857; and a copy of a letter appointing John E. Taylor as Acting Consul of the United States for the colony of Sierra Leone.

Location: Rare Books: Manuscripts Collection (MSS)

Call number: C0199 (no. 1068)



For assistance contact the Department of Special Collections