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Simpson, Randolph Linsly, 1927-1992



  • Existence: 1927-06-01 - 1992-01-06


The collector Randolph Linsly Simpson was born on June 1, 1927, and grew up both in Rochester, New York, where his father, Charles A. Simpson, worked in banking, and in Northford, Connecticut, at the family home of his mother, Eunice Hall Linsly Simpson. After graduating from the Harley School in Rochester in 1945, he served two years in the U. S. Navy, and later worked as a voice teacher. Simpson lived the latter part of his life at the Linsly homestead in Northford.

The Linslys were among the first to settle Northford, Connecticut, and many generations of the family attended Yale, from Noah Linsly, Yale 1791, to Simpson's older brother Josiah J. L. Simpson, Yale 1948. Simpson's interest in the material record of black history in America was apparently inspired by his family's abolitionist history, and by the proximity of his childhood home on Mount Hope Avenue in Rochester to the cemetery in which Frederick Douglass is buried.

Simpson's large collection of images, artifacts, and other memorabilia documenting the African-American experience drew a great deal of interest during his lifetime. In January, 1984, NBC television aired a one-hour special on the collection, "Blacks: Present and Accounted For." A portion of the collection was exhibited at the Connecticut Governor's Mansion in February 1985 and at the Wadsworth Atheneum in February 1987. In 1989 the Wadsworth Atheneum, through the then titled Amistad Foundation, purchased approximately 7,000 items from Simpson.

Simpson died on January 6, 1992.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Randolph Linsly Simpson African-American Collection

Call Number: JWJ MSS 54
Abstract: The Randolph Linsly Simpson African-American Collection consists chiefly of photographs dating from circa 1850 to 1970, but also includes printed illustrations, original artwork, documents and printed ephemera that provide a record of black history in the United States for the period circa 1770 to 1970. The focus is on African-American subjects, but the collection also includes the work of black photographers, as well as images of white men and women, many of whom were associated with the...
Dates: 1728-1991, bulk 1850-1970