Randolph Linsly Simpson African-American Collection
Scope and Contents
Note that there is some overlap between the series, and that images can be found not only in Series I. Visual Material, but in Series II. and III. as well. In Series II. Printed Material, several printed documents and booklets include illustrations or postcards. In Series III. Artifacts, images are often incorporated into objects.
- 1728 - 1991
- Majority of material found within 1850 - 1970
- Simpson, Randolph Linsly, 1927-1992 (Collector)
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Immediate Source of Acquisition
30 Linear Feet ((95 boxes) + 6 broadsides, 5 artwork)
Language of Materials
Randolph Linsly Simpson (1927-1992)
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.
Prior to its acquisition by the library, the collection was organized by format, and the subseries titles in this guide represent the format designations on the inherited list. The library further organized these format groupings into series. Three addenda consisting of multiple formats were originally filed at the end of the collection, reflecting the collector's acquisition of material after an initial organization and numbering scheme was complete. The items in these addenda were interfiled into Series I-III by the library in order to facilitate digitization, intellectual access, and appropriate physical housing.
For some years after acquisition by the library, items in the collection were identified only by the item numbers assigned by Simpson; during processing box and folder numbers were additionally assigned. Simpson's item numbers are retained in a note for each item, and material is arranged by item number within each subseries. Gaps in the item number sequence most often reflect removal for separate cataloging (for example, items 1758-1814, 1889-1931) but a few gaps represent items that were not received by the library.
- African American photographers
- African Americans -- 19th century -- Portraits
- African Americans -- 20th Century -- Portraits
- African Americans -- Pictorial works
- Ambrotypes (photographs)
- Cabinet photographs
- Card photographs (photographs)
- Daguerreotypes (photographs)
- Ephemera (general object genre)
- Photographic prints
- Simpson, Randolph Linsly, 1927-1992
- Tintypes (prints)
- Guide to the Randolph Linsly Simpson African-American Collection
- by Beinecke Staff
- May 1996
- 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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