Logo and link to University of Massachusetts Amherst
Special Collections and University Archives : University Libraries

Latimer, Catherine A.

(Not fully processed)

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

Comments are closed.