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McKay, Claude, 1890-1948



  • Existence: 1889-09-15 - 1948-05-22

Claude McKay was a Jamaican-born writer who spent most of his adult life in the United States, Europe and North Africa. He wrote several collections of poetry, novels, short stories, non-fiction and two autobiographical books. He is best known for an early poem, "If We Must Die" (1919), and his first novel, Home to Harlem (1928). He lived in the United States, primarily in New York, from 1913-1919, and then spent most of the next 15 years in England, Russia, France, Spain and Morocco before returning to New York in 1934. He contributed to many liberal and socialist journals, including Sylvia Pankhurst's Worker's Dreadnaught and Max Eastman's The Liberator, and he is commonly identified among the major writers of the Harlem Renaissance. He converted to Catholicism in 1944 and died in Chicago in 1948. See the standard biographical print resources for additional information.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Letter : Albuquerque, N.M., to Charlie Smith, May 24

 Part of Collection — Box: 3, Folder: GROUP 51, F-1
Call Number: YCAL MSS MISC
Scope and Contents: ALS dated at Saint Joseph's Sanatorium, briefly discussing his health.
Dates: May 24

Letter : to Arthur B. Spingarn, 1942 June 29

 Part of Collection — Box: 3, Folder: GROUP 37, F-1
Call Number: JWJ MSS MISC
Scope and Contents: One TLS in which McKay asks Spingarn if he could get him a job with the United States Office of War Information (which at that time was directed by Elmer Davis).
Dates: 1942 June 29