African American Collections in Special Collections

The Special Collections Research Center at Syracuse University holds a variety of rare books, manuscripts, and other archival materials related to the African American experience. Among those collections include works by Gwendolyn Brooks, Amiri Baraka, Langston Hughes, Booker T. Washington, and a range of other noted writers, scholars, activists, and performers. One of the collections available is the African Americans in Performing Arts Ephemera Collection.

Spanning 1925 to 1945, African Americans in the Performing Arts: Ephemera Collected by Carl Van Vechten comprises programs and other printed material relating to musical, theatrical and dance performances as well as political events. Assembled by American writer and photographer Carl Van Vechten (1880-1964), the items in this collection offer a glimpse at the careers of such noted artists as Paul Robeson, Langston Hughes, Ethel Waters, and Katherine Dunham.

Comprising announcements, broadsides, flyers, invitations, and programs, the ephemera collection is arranged by event, and includes concerts, dance performances, opera performances, political events and theatrical performances, and a small amount of miscellaneous material.

These and other works in the collection can be found by browsing the collections at:

For any additional information, contact the Special Collections and Research Center at


Contributed by Megan Threats

Photo credit: African Americans in the Performing Arts Ephemera Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Library

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