Research Catalog

135th Street Branch Records,

Title
135th Street Branch Records, 1905-1951.
Author
New York Public Library. 135th Street Branch.
Supplementary Content
Finding aid

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Vol/DateFormatAccessStatusCall NumberLocation
Box 1TextUse in libraryAvailableSc MG 219 Box 1Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 2TextUse in libraryAvailableSc MG 219 Box 2Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 3TextUse in libraryAvailableSc MG 219 Box 3Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 4TextUse in libraryAvailableSc MG 219 Box 4Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 5TextUse in libraryAvailableSc MG 219 Box 5Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 6TextUse in libraryAvailableSc MG 219 Box 6Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 7TextUse in libraryAvailableSc MG 219 Box 7Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 8TextUse in libraryAvailableSc MG 219 Box 8Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 9TextUse in libraryAvailableSc MG 219 Box 9Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives

Details

Additional Authors
Description
2.8 lin. ft. (6 archival boxes, 2 1/2 archival boxes, 1 flat box)
Subjects
Note
  • Photographs transferred to Photographs and Prints Division.
  • Book transferred to Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division.
Source (note)
  • 135th Street Branch, Countee Cullen Branch
Location of Other Archival Materials (note)
  • Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Records
Biography (note)
  • The 135th Street Branch of the New York Public Library (NYPL) opened in 1905 to serve, what was then a white, predominately Jewish neighborhood. By 1920 the demographics of Harlem had changed and the community was 50% black, requiring a refocusing of the scope of the collection. Ernestine Rose, a librarian who had successfully developed services in other ethnic neighborhoods, was assigned to adapt the 135th St. Branch's staff and resources to meet the needs of the burgeoning black community. In addition to integrating the collections and services, Rose hired Catherine A. Latimer, the first black librarian employed by the NYPL in 1920, and Regina Anderson, the second black librarian, in 1923. She also hired Nella Larsen Imes (1921) as a junior assistant in the Children's Room.
  • Under Rose's leadership the branch services flourished and by the late 1930s, the collections and services had outgrown the Branch building. In addition to the circulating functions for adults and children, the Branch housed the Negro Division of Literature, History and Prints, which was curated by Arthur Schomburg (1932-1938) and Lawrence D. Reddick (1939-1948), as well as the growing collection of paintings, sculpture and African artifacts that decorated the walls and floor space. Rose campaigned for and obtained funds to construct a new facility on 136th Street, and in 1942 the Branch moved into its new building.
  • Keeping the designation of the "135th Street Branch," the circulating collections occupied the first and second floors, and the now-renamed Schomburg Collection (following Arthur Schomburg's death in 1938) occupied the third floor. In 1951 the circulating library was renamed in honor of the poet, Countee Cullen, and in 1954 the Schomburg Collection moved back into its original location at 103 West 135th Street, officially separating the circulating collections from the Schomburg Collection, which was becoming known primarily as a scholarly research library.
Provenance (note)
  • Some of the records were interfiled with the Schomburg Center's administrative records and were transferred to the Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division in the late 1970s. Other files were transferred from the Countee Cullen Branch during renovation in the 1980s.
Call Number
Sc MG 219
Author
New York Public Library. 135th Street Branch.
Title
135th Street Branch Records, 1905-1951.
Summary
The 135th Street Branch Records document staff activities as they serviced the information needs of the Harlem community. There are eleven ledgers (1905-1935) containing lists of acquisitions, circulation statistics, library card registrations, and fines. There are also annual Children's Room reports from 1922 to 1950. The Correspondence, 1921-1951, includes a folder of correspondence between Ernestine Rose and Franklin F. Hopper, the Chief of the Circulation Department of the New York Public Library, and a file for Dorothy R. Homer, who became the Branch Librarian following Ernestine Rose's retirement in 1942.
The Subject Files, 1919-1951, include two scrapbooks dated 1919 and 1942, files for the Harlem Adult Education Committee, 1932-1937 as well as files dealing with programs, statistics, and routine staff activities. The 1919 scrapbook contains photocopies of photographs of the people and buildings surrounding the 135th Street Branch with commentary by Franklin F. Hopper. (The original scrapbook has been transferred to the Center's Photographs and Prints Division.) The 1942 scrapbook commemorates the May opening of the new Branch building and contains copies of invitation letters from Ernestine Rose to Harlem luminaries, NYPL officials, board members, staff, and supporters of the 135th Street Branch. Also included is a draft of the program for the day, and the addresses given by Thomas B. Dyett, Vice-Chairman of the Citizen's Committee of the 135th Street Branch Library and the guest speaker, journalist Claude Barnett, founder/director of the Associated Negro Press.
The Harlem Adult Education Committee (HAEC), which hosted adult education courses and other public programs at the Branch, is represented through meeting minutes, correspondence, and reports, 1921-1951. Two folders relate specifically to the Art Workshop, which was led initially by the African-American artist/photographer James Lesesne Wells, and later by the artist Charles Alston. There are news clippings about exhibitions, budgets, and articles about its purpose and accomplishments. There is also general information about the HAE program at the Branch.
Biography
The 135th Street Branch of the New York Public Library (NYPL) opened in 1905 to serve, what was then a white, predominately Jewish neighborhood. By 1920 the demographics of Harlem had changed and the community was 50% black, requiring a refocusing of the scope of the collection. Ernestine Rose, a librarian who had successfully developed services in other ethnic neighborhoods, was assigned to adapt the 135th St. Branch's staff and resources to meet the needs of the burgeoning black community. In addition to integrating the collections and services, Rose hired Catherine A. Latimer, the first black librarian employed by the NYPL in 1920, and Regina Anderson, the second black librarian, in 1923. She also hired Nella Larsen Imes (1921) as a junior assistant in the Children's Room.
Under Rose's leadership the branch services flourished and by the late 1930s, the collections and services had outgrown the Branch building. In addition to the circulating functions for adults and children, the Branch housed the Negro Division of Literature, History and Prints, which was curated by Arthur Schomburg (1932-1938) and Lawrence D. Reddick (1939-1948), as well as the growing collection of paintings, sculpture and African artifacts that decorated the walls and floor space. Rose campaigned for and obtained funds to construct a new facility on 136th Street, and in 1942 the Branch moved into its new building.
Keeping the designation of the "135th Street Branch," the circulating collections occupied the first and second floors, and the now-renamed Schomburg Collection (following Arthur Schomburg's death in 1938) occupied the third floor. In 1951 the circulating library was renamed in honor of the poet, Countee Cullen, and in 1954 the Schomburg Collection moved back into its original location at 103 West 135th Street, officially separating the circulating collections from the Schomburg Collection, which was becoming known primarily as a scholarly research library.
Location of Other Archival Materials
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Records
Connect to:
Added Author
Rose, Ernestine, 1880-1961.
Dyett, Thomas Benjamin, 1886-1971.
Barnett, Claude, 1889-1967.
Homer, Dorothy R.
Research Call Number
Sc MG 219
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