dorothy porter--master collector
I missed the Black Memorabilia show today at the Reginald Lewis Museum in Baltimore. bummer! I was hoping to luck up on a few 1968 items.
I learned today that Dorothy Porter, librarian extraordinaire at the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center @Howard, did a sweep of the campus in March 1968, picking up banners, bulletins and other memorabilia left behind from student protests. Read Mary Treacy's memories here.
Dorothy Porter did in 1968 what museums started doing after the recent Women's Marches in DC and elsewhere. This is very exciting! I've known about and revered Porter for decades. But I'd never thought about her as a field collector.
I also learned that Porter wrote a letter, in July 1968, to friends and colleagues inviting them to a workshop titled, "Bibliographic Resources for a Study of the American Negro.”
"The increasing requests of scholars, teachers, librarians and students for source materials on a variety of subjects relating to the Negro, the demands of black students for ‘Black Courses’ in all disciplines, the need of the white community to acquire a knowledge of the Negro and his past, the desire new programs of American Negro Studies to rapidly acquire materials on the Negro and the rush of established collections of Negro Americana to augment their collections indicate the need for this workshop." See paper written by Yale University student, Julie Botnick.
I'm going to follow up on this to see when it happened in 1968 and if there are photos.
Finally, one of the books I covet most in my collection is a first-edition copy of Porter's Early Negro Writing, 1760-1837 (1971). My friend Sherri White, also a collector, gave me this book. thx, again, Sherri! Above is a photo of her signing the book in March 1988. See record here.
The Beinecke Library @Yale, the source of both images, has a Dorothy Porter Collection. See it here.
Photograph Source: Dorothy Porter Wesley, 23 May 1951, Carl Van Vechten, photographer.