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Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963

W.E.B. Du Bois Papers

1803-1984
328 boxes 168.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 312
Depiction of W.E.B. Du Bois
W.E.B. Du Bois

Scholar, writer, editor of The Crisis and other journals, co-founder of the Niagara Movement, the NAACP, and the Pan African Congresses, international spokesperson for peace and for the rights of oppressed minorities, W.E.B. Du Bois was a son of Massachusetts who articulated the strivings of African Americans and developed a trenchant analysis of the problem of the color line in the twentieth century.

The Du Bois Papers contain almost 165 linear feet of the personal and professional papers of a remarkable social activist and intellectual. Touching on all aspects of his long life from his childhood during Reconstruction through the end of his life in 1963, the collection reflects the extraordinary breadth of his social and academic commitments from research in sociology to poetry and plays, from organizing for social change to organizing for Black consciousness.

Acquired from Shirley Graham Du Bois, 1973

Subjects

African Americans--Civil rightsAfrican Americans--History--1877-1964Crisis (New York, N.Y.)Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Views on democracyNational Association for the Advancement of Colored PeoplePan-AfricanismUnited States--Race relations

Contributors

Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963

Types of material

Photographs
Buckley, Kerry W.

Kerry Buckley Collection on the W. E. B. Du Bois Exhibit and Documentary Film

1961-2021 Bulk: 1979-1983
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1155

Kerry W. Buckley is an American History writer and artist. He graduated from Samford University in 1969 but continued his studies at the University of Georgia to get his Masters in 1971 and then completed his Ph.D. in American Social and Intellectual History at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Buckley wrote and edited several books and articles, including “Mechanical Man”, a biography of the psychologist, John Broadus Watson. He’s a veteran from the Vietnam era and has taught and lectured at many different colleges and universities. Buckley became fascinated by Du Bois after writing a research paper, and eventually his thesis, on him. Throughout his life, he worked on a few projects centered around Du Bois, including a biographical travelling exhibit that contained some of Du Bois’s pictures and selected writings. Buckley also worked in the University of Massachusetts Archives to help process and create a guide for the W.E.B.Du Bois Papers.

The collection contains drafts, letters, publications and documents that focus on the creation of the Du Bois traveling exhibit , the production of the published guide to the papers, and the effort to create a Du Bois documentary by Black Flame Productions.

Gift of Kerry Buckley, 2021.

Subjects

Documentary filmsDu Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963

Contributors

Buckley, Kerry W.

Types of material

CorrespondenceGrant proposals
Du Bois, David Graham

David Graham Du Bois Papers

1972-1996
7 boxes 6.5 linear feet
Call no.: FS 034

David Graham Du Bois was a visiting lecturer in the Journalism and African-American Studies Departments from 1983 until his retirement in 2001. Du Bois was the son of activist and artist Shirley Graham Du Bois, who married W.E.B Du Bois in 1961. Du Bois earned his B.A. at Hunter College in 1950 and a Masters in American Civilization from New York University in 1956. After studying at Beijing University, he traveled to Cairo, Egypt, fell in love with the city, and settled there in 1961, working as a foreign correspondent for the Pacific News Service, Variety, and as an assistant editor for several Egyptian news publications. An activist, like his step-father and mother, Du Bois became the spokesperson for the Black Panther Party, and agitated for racial liberation throughout his life. After his mother’s death in 1977, he became the custodian of W.E.B Du Bois’ legacy and founded the W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation to continue working toward his step-father’s goals. While at the University, Du Bois played an essential role in naming the University Library after his step-father. Du Bois died on January 28, 2005.

The David Graham Du Bois Papers document his later life and his managing of W.E.B. Du Bois’ estate. The papers include a selection of David Du Bois’ correspondence, speech manuscripts, clippings describing his step-father, as well as seleced personal financial records from his time in Amherst, Massachusetts. Additional Du Bois materials remain with the family.

Transferred by the Department of Journalism, 2007

Subjects

Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963University of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Afro-American StudiesUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of JournalismW.E.B. Du Bois Foundation
Du Bois Homesite

Du Bois Homesite Dedication Video

1969
1 item

As a child, W.E.B. Du Bois lived for several years on a five acre parcel of land on the Egremont plain near Great Barrington, Mass. Although barely five when his family moved into town, Du Bois never lost his feeling for this property that had been in his family for six generations, and when presented with the opportunity to reacquire the site in 1928, he accepted, intending to build a house there and settle.

Walter Wilson and Edmund Gordon purchased the Du Bois homesite in 1967 with the intention of erecting a memorial to Du Bois’ life and legacy. On October 18, 1969, the site was formally dedicated as the W. E. B. Du Bois Memorial Park, with civil-rights activist and future Georgia legislator Julian Bond giving the keynote address and Ossie Davis presiding as master of ceremonies. Nineteen years later, the Du Bois Memorial Foundation donated the property to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, designating the University of Massachusetts Amherst as custodian.

Narrated by Davis and including Bond’s keynote address, this documentary (originally shot on 16mm motion picture film) depicts the 1969 dedication ceremonies. For additional information, please visit the website for the Du Bois boyhood homesite.

Subjects

Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Homes and hauntsGreat Barrington (Mass.)

Types of material

Motion pictures (Visual works)
Jaffe, Bernard

Bernard Jaffe Papers

1955-2016
4 boxes 2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 906
Depiction of W.E.B. Du Bois at home in Accra, 1963
W.E.B. Du Bois at home in Accra, 1963

A New York native with a deep commitment to social justice, Bernard Jaffe was an attorney, confidant, and longtime friend of W.E.B. Du Bois and Shirley Graham Du Bois. In 1951, Jaffe joined Du Bois’s defense team at a time when the civil rights leader was under indictment for failing to register as a foreign agent. Forging a close relationship through that experience, he was retained as a personal attorney, representing the Du Bois family interests after they settled abroad. Jaffe was later instrumental in placing the papers of both W.E.B. Du Bois and Shirley Graham Du Bois and served on the executive board of the W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation, set up by Shirley’s son, David Graham Du Bois.

This rich collection centers on the close relationship between attorney Bernard Jaffe and his friends and clients, Shirley Graham Du Bois and W.E.B. Du Bois. Although there is little correspondence from W.E.B. Du Bois himself, the collection contains an exceptional run of correspondence with Shirley, from the time of her emigration to Ghana in 1961 until her death in China in 1977 and excellent materials relating to David Graham Du Bois and the work of the W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation.

Gift of Jonathan Klate and Bernard Jaffe, Apr. 2016

Subjects

Ghana--History--1957-

Contributors

Du Bois, David GrahamDu Bois, Shirley Graham, 1896-1977Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963W. E. B. Du Bois Foundation

Types of material

Photographs
Davis, Chester

Chester Davis Papers

ca. 1945-2016
24 boxes 36 linear feet
Call no.: FS 201

Chester Davis was a scholar of African American education and media, one of the first core faculty members of the Afro-American Studies Department at UMass Amherst and a major architect of that department’s development, and an avid photographer. Davis was born in Gary, Indiana and attended Roosevelt High School. He was among the first African American graduates of the University of Chicago, where he earned his BA and MA, and then earned his PhD from Syracuse University. After several positions in academia, Davis joined the African American think tank Institute of the Black World, right after its establishment by Coretta Scott King in 1969. His work there influenced the growth of Black Studies programs across the US and he was soon recruited by the University of Massachusetts to help build its newly founded Afro-Am. department. Davis retired from the University in 1992 and moved to Tallahassee, Florida, where he passed away in 2016.

The Chester Davis Papers reflect his research, teaching, and administrative work as a member of the Afro-American Studies Dept. at UMass. In addition to UMass-related lecture notes, correspondence, and research materials, the collection documents his post-retirement activities in Tallahassee and a longstanding research project on Roosevelt High School, which includes a rich cache of historical materials. There is also a significant collection of Davis’s photographs, including prints, negatives, and slides. Davis was an avid amateur with an artistic eye and his topics range from family photographs to concerts, demonstrations, and other activities at the University.

Gift of Penny Ralston, 2019

Subjects

African Americans--Study and teachingJazz musicians--PhotographsUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst . FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst . W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies

Types of material

Photographs
Latimer, Catherine A.

Catherine A. Latimer Collection

1854-1953 Bulk: 1915-1948
ca.130 vols. 12 linear feet
Call no.: RB 031

A friend and associate of W.E.B. Du Bois, Catherine A. Latimer became the first African American librarian at the New York Public Library, when she was hired at the 135th Street Branch in 1920. Born in Tennessee and raised in a relatively well to do family in Brooklyn , Latimer studied librarianship at Howard University, graduating in 1918. From early on, she had a keen interest in the burgeoning cultural scene in Harlem in the 1920s and in African American history more generally, and she played a pivotal role in acquiring Arturo Schomburg’s outstanding African American collection in 1926. Latimer worked at the NYPL for 28 years, up until her death in 1948.

The collection contains a remarkable assemblage of books by African American writers and on African American subjects collected by Catherine Latimer during the 1920s through 1940s. Amoing the books are scarce titles in African American history, poetry, and literature including signed volumes by W.E.B. Du Bois (5 titles), Claude McKay, Langston Hughes, and James Weldon Johnson.

Gift of Ruby C. Latimer with the assistance of Dario Bosley, Sept. 2015.

Subjects

African Americans--HistoryAmerican literature--African American authors

Contributors

Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963McKay, Claude, 1890-1948

Types of material

Books
Paynter, Robert

Robert Paynter Papers

ca. 1970-2015
17 boxes 25.5 linear feet
Call no.: FS 175

After graduating from Brown University with an A.B. in 1971, Robert “Bob” Paynter received his M.A. (1975) and Ph.D. (1980) from the Anthropology Department at UMass Amherst. He taught at Queens College and the Graduate Center at CUNY before returning to UMass in 1981 as an Assistant Professor, where he conducted research and taught for the remainder of his career. Paynter studied and practiced historical archaeology on sites throughout Western Massachusetts, most notably Deerfield Village and the W. E. B. Du Bois Homesite in Great Barrington. Throughout his tenure at UMass, he was active on several university and departmental committees, including service to the Massachusetts Society of Professors (MSP), as well as a member of the Historic Northampton Board of Trustees and a member of the Academic Advisory Board of Historic Deerfield. Bob Paynter retired from the Anthropology Department in 2015.

The Robert Paynter Papers span the length of his career from early articles and presentations given in the 1970s to his more recent research, writing, and teaching. Materials include grant applications, lecture notes, drafts of articles, and committee work, including contributions to the Massachusetts Society of Professors (MSP). Paynter’s ongoing efforts to preserve the Du Bois homesite in Great Barrington are also documented, both his archeological site work and his service on the Advisory Board of the W. E. B. Du Bois Foundation.

Gift of Robert Paynter, 2016

Subjects

Archaeology--MassachusettsDu Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Homes and haunts--Massachusetts--Great BarringtonUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Anthropology

Contributors

Paynter, Robert
Lewis, David L., 1936-

David Levering Lewis Papers

ca.1955-2012
54 boxes 81 linear feet
Call no.: MS 827
Depiction of David Levering Lewis
David Levering Lewis

The historian David Levering Lewis is the author of eight remarkably diverse monographs. Raised in an academic family, his father was president of Morris Brown College, Lewis enrolled at Fisk University at the age of 15 and was only 26 when he was awarded a doctorate in modern European history from the London School of Economics (1962). Through an academic career that has included numerous stops, including Morgan State, Notre Dame, Howard, the University of the District of Columbia (1970-1980), and Rutgers (1985-2003), Lewis remained consistently productive. Author of the first academic biography of Martin Luther King (1970) and a history of the Dreyfus Affair (1974), he wrote an influential study of the Harlem renaissance (1981) and important works on colonialism in Africa (1987) and Islamic Spain (2008), but he is best known for his two monumental biographies of W.E.B. Du Bois (1993, 2000), each of which was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. One of the most lauded African American historians of his generation, Lewis was recipient of the Bancroft Prize, the Francis Parkman Prizes, the 2009 National Humanities Medal, and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and he was elected as a Fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. Lewis was Julius Silver University Professor in History at New York University from 2003 until his retirement.

The papers of David Levering Lewis document a long and productive career as an academic historian and scholar of African American history and culture. Beginning with his years in college and graduate school, the collection offers a rich perspective on the evolution of his career. Lewis’s essential biographies of W.E.B. Du Bois are particularly well documented, however the collection includes abundant materials for each of his earlier projects, including correspondence, research notes, and drafts.

Subjects

African Americans--HistoryColonies--Africa--HistoryDu Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963Harlem RenaissanceHistorians--United StatesKing, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968United States--History--20th century

Types of material

Photographs
Meier, August, 1923-2003

August Meier Collection

1837-1984
3 boxes, 329 titles 34.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 844
Depiction of

A pioneer in African American history, August Meier was a model of an engaged academic, a prolific writer, active participant in the civil rights struggle, and staunch member of the NAACP, SNCC, and CORE. While pursuing graduate work at Columbia under Henry Steele Commager, Meier taught at a succession of Historical Black Colleges, including Tougaloo (1945-1949), Fisk (1953-1956), and Morgan State (1957-1964). His dissertation, completed in 1957, became the first of eleven books he wrote or edited, Negro Thought in America, 1880-1915 (1963), with much of later work conducted in collaboration with Elliott Rudwick and John Bracey. Meier joined the faculty at Kent State University in 1967 and remained there until his retirement in 1993. His much-anticipated monograph on the history of the NAACP had not been completed at the time of death in 2003.

Organized in two discrete parts, the Meier collection bookends a long career in the study of African American history. The first part of the collection is centered on Meier’s association with the Pioneer Youth summer camp in Rifton, N.Y., and his growing consciousness of the fundamental problems of race and class in American society, with some materials from his wartime years as an undergraduate at Oberlin College. The second part of the collection includes books collected by Meier during his academic career, mostly on African American history and culture. Titles range from works on the Civil Rights movement to literature and poetry of the late nineteenth century and Harlem Renaissance, works on slavery and antislavery, race theory, the South, and African American education and religion.

Subjects

African Americans--HistoryAntislavery movementsCamps--New York (State)Civil rights movementsCommunists--United StatesDepressions--1929Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt),1868-1963Oberlin College--StudentsPioneer Youth of AmericaRace relationsWorld War, 1939-1945

Contributors

Braunthal, Gerard, 1923-

Types of material

NewslettersSongbooks