I recently reread a series of essays, Black Bibliophiles and Collectors: Preservers of Black History (1990), resulting from the 1983 Black Bibliophiles and Collectors Symposium at Howard University. In this collection of essays, I am continually drawn to an essay by Bettye Collier-Thomas, Present Programs and Future Needs. Collier-Thomas posed three essential questions that were being addressed by historians, archivists, and collectors interested in documenting the black experience in America. Those questions are still pertinent today and follow:
- What areas of black life and history have not been documented and are not now being documented?
- What types of materials are necessary to document neglected areas of black life and history?
- What methodology is necessary to identify and collect these materials?
This link will lead you to a small portion of what has been collected to date. This simply represents a small percentage of my existing collection: inventory
In upcoming posts, I will continue this discussion, focusing on the trend of book collecting today; the publishing trends in the area of the visual arts; why collect; and what to collect. Who were some of the historical bibliophiles? Who are some of the black bibliophiles of the 21st and what are they collecting? Stay tune as I venture into further discussions into this largely neglected collecting field of print materials relating to black art/artists.