Williams College Receives Rare Collection of African-American Writings

20070918_Wms_seal_600_color_300pxThe Chapin Library of Rare Books at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, has received a large collection of writings from hundreds of famous and less well-known African American writers of the 20th century. The collection was donated by Paul Breman, a London collector of rare books and manuscripts.

The collection includes poetry, plays, prose, anthologies, recordings, and personal correspondence from scholars such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Gwendolyn Brooks, Countee Cullen, Nikki Giovanni, Langston Hughes, and Sterling Brown. The collection encompasses over 4,000 volumes and includes the complete works of many lesser known Black writers.

Bob Volz, Custodian of the Chapin Library, calls the Breman Collection, “one of the most focused and skillfully crafted collections of printed sources that I have encountered in over 45 years as a rare book librarian.”

Peter Murphy, dean of the faculty and professor of English at Williams College, stated, “The Bremen Collection is extraordinarily rich and beautifully conceived, and so presents a wonderful opportunity to explore a set of closely related materials in one setting. I anticipate that this collection will find an immediate place in the ongoing work of several faculty members and students, and that it will, by its simple presence, inspire future projects, as scholars and students discover what is here.”


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  1. Dr. P. Crumlin Kempton says:

    How wonderful that the British rare book collector decided to donate his collection to an American college. Now American scholars can have access to the writings of these Af. Am. writers without crossing “the pond.”

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