Oct. 16, 2006
Fellowships and catalog to support Carter Woodson collection; exhibit now open
BY kim Urquhart
The opening of the Carter Woodson exhibit in Woodruff Library is being commemorated by the release of a printed catalog and the creation of two new fellowships in Woodson’s name. The exhibit, “The Mind of Carter G. Woodson as Reflected in the Books He Owned, Read and Published,” is on view in the Schatten Main Gallery through Dec. 20.
Several noted historians and authors, as well as more than 200 members of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History Library (ASALH), visited Emory for a special pre-opening of the exhibit on Sept. 29. Emory acquired the Woodson collection in collaboration with the organization, founded by Woodson in 1915 to foster the scholarship and teaching of African American history.
“I had no idea 35 years ago, as the first African American faculty member of Emory College, that we would come to this historic moment,” said Delores Aldridge, Grace T. Hamilton Professor of Sociology and African American Studies, to her ASALH colleagues. “I take personal pride in this exhibit as a life member of ASALH. Please know that Emory will take great care of the Carter G. Woodson Collection.”
One of Emory’s most distinguished holdings, the Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History Library contains rare volumes, many produced by African American authors. The collection also includes Woodson’s works published through Associated Publishers, which during his lifetime became the most important black-owned publishing house in the United States.
Woodson “was surpassed by no other individual of the twentieth century in acting on his belief in the importance of the printed word. Emory University is honored to be the permanent repository of this distinguished collection,” wrote Randall Burkett, curator of African American collections, in the acknowledgments section of the catalog chronicling Emory’s Woodson holdings.
The printed catalog provides full bibliographical citation to each item in the collection, which features both antislavery and proslavery texts, as well as books on economics, literature, politics, art, culture and world history. The catalog indicates the presence of bookplates, dust jackets and other distinctive features. It also notes inscriptions to, and marginal comments by, Woodson.
The catalog is now available for a minimum contribution of $25, with all proceeds going to establish fellowships to encourage research in the Woodson collection in Emory’s Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library. The funding will help cover the costs of travel and lodging while at Emory. “Our goal is to raise sufficient money to support a scholar to work in the Woodson collection and related African American collections,” Burkett said. An additional fellowship will target teachers, and support educational uses of the Woodson library and related collections.
The two fellowships honor Woodson’s dual interest in “teaching and the importance of introducing African American history not only to scholars, but to the general public and young adults and children,” Burkett said.
Known as the “Father of Negro History,” Woodson’s many accomplishments include organizing the first Negro History Week, now celebrated each February as Black History Month.
“It is my hope that in reading this catalog and accessing this collection the reader comes away with a deeper appreciation of the multiple fronts on which blacks fought for their place as citizens,” wrote Provost Earl Lewis, an African American historian, in a foreword to the catalog.
Catalog order forms are available from Mayfred Nall at 404-727-2245.