James Weldon Johnson collection files
Scope and Contents
The James Weldon Johnson Collection Files contain letters, literary works and other documents arranged alphabetically by the name of author, recipient, or subject, and dating from 1809 to 1979.
The Files contain several letters, accompanied by poems, that were sent to James Weldon Johnson. Correspondence sent to Langston Hughes, Harold Jackman, Grace Nail Johnson and Carl Van Vechten is also prominent in the Files. Broadway actress Rose McClendon's scripts, used when performing in various productions, can also be found in Files.
Some early documents relate to slavery. These include correspondence and related materials dating from 1809 concerning Samuel Osborn who was accused of cutting off his slave's ear. The Files also include bills of sale and an estate inventory, which includes a list of slaves, dating from 1856.
Writings by a number of prominent twentieth century African-American intellectuals are included in the Files, such as Sterling Allen Brown, George Washington Carver, Ralph Ellison, and J. Saunders Redding.
Prominent African-American women authors are also represented, as seen in documents relating to Elizabeth Ross Haynes and Margaret Walker.
- 1809 - 1979
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
The James Weldon Johnson Collection Files is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Acquired from various sources. For more information see catalog cards filed in the collection.
Arranged alphabetically by the name of author, recipient, or subject.
8.54 Linear Feet (21 boxes)
Language of Materials
The James Weldon Johnson Collection Files contain manuscript correspondence, literary works and other documents relating to African Americans, dating from 1809 to 1979. The collection contains several letters to James Weldon Johnson from aspiring poets asking for feedback on their writing. Correspondence sent to Langston Hughes, Harold Jackman, Grace Nail Johnson, and Carl Van Vechten is also prominent in the collection. The collection includes broadway actress Rose McClendon's scripts used when performing in various productions. Some early documents relate to slavery; these include bills of sale and an estate inventory dating from 1856. Writings by Sterling Allen Brown, George Washington Carver, Ralph Ellison, and J. Saunders Redding can be found in the collection. African-American women authors are also represented; most notably in writings and correspondence of Elizabeth Ross Haynes and Margaret Walker.
Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections [as they are acquired], and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.
This finding aid was produced from a previously existing card set in the Manuscripts Catalog, or from another inventory. All pertinent bibliographical information has been retained.
This collection includes materials previously identified by the following call numbers: Uncat JWJ Files, JWJ MSS Small Collections.
This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.
- African American authors -- 20th Century -- Archives
- African American poets -- 20th Century
- African American women authors
- African Americans in literature
- American literature -- 20th century
- American poetry -- African American authors
- Authors -- United States -- 20th century
- Authors, American -- 20th Century -- Archives
- Baraka, Amiri, 1934-2014
- Brown, Sterling A., 1901-1989
- Carver, George Washington, 1864?-1943
- Douglass, Frederick, 1818-1895
- Dumas, Alexandre, 1802-1870
- Dunbar, Paul Laurence, 1872-1906
- Ellison, Ralph, 1914-1994
- Haynes, Elizabeth Ross, 1883-1953
- Jackman, Harold, 1901-1961
- Johnson, Georgia Douglas, 1886-1966
- Johnson, Grace Nail, 1885-1976
- Johnson, James Weldon, 1871-1938
- Jones, LeRoi
- McClendon, Rose, 1884-1936
- Poets -- United States -- 20th century
- Poets, American -- 20th Century -- Archives
- Redding, J. Saunders (Jay Saunders), 1906-1988
- Slave bills of sale -- United States
- Slave trade -- United States
- Slavery -- United States
- Van Vechten, Carl, 1880-1964
- Walker, Margaret, 1915-1998
- Washington, Booker T., 1856-1915
- Guide to the James Weldon Johnson Collection Files
- Under Revision
- by Beinecke Staff
- May 1998
- Description rules
- Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository
P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
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