May 27, 2022

The Chicago Librarian Who Created a Lauded Collection of African American History and Literature

From WTTW:

Vivian G. Harsh was a librarian who was also an historian, one who nurtured, collected, and disseminated African American history and literature on the South Side of Chicago at a time when few others did. Today, 60 years after her death, her work continues to bear fruit.

Harsh was the Chicago Public Library’s first African American branch head and the originator of a lauded collection of African American history and literature that contains everything from manuscripts by Langston Hughes and Richard Wright to the archives of Ebenezer Baptist Church and the personal papers of prominent Chicagoans such as Timuel Black—who grew up visiting Harsh’s library and remains involved in the management of the collection. Today housed at the Carter G. Woodson Regional Library in Washington Heights, the collection—the largest of its kind in the Midwest—is named in honor of its first collector: it is the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature.

Read the Complete Article (approx. 960 words)

See Also: Finding Aids For All CPL Archival Collections

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.