Archives Division Collection

 Art and Artifacts Collection
The Archives Division collects, documents, preserves and interprets art and artifacts by and about peoples of African heritage throughout the world. Fine and applied art and material culture objects are collected from the seventeenth century to the present with emphasis on the visual arts of the twentieth century in the United States and Africa. The Division collects art and artifacts encompassing four broad areas: traditional African art; painting and sculpture; works on paper (i.e. drawings, prints, illustrations, posters and reproductions); and textiles and artifacts. The collection contains contemporary works by African American artists, including works by Romare Bearden, Charles White, James Van Der Zee and Ed Dwight.

Ephemeral Collection

Encompassing over 1,000 items, the Ephemeral Collection frequently provides the only source of information available on a given subject. The Ephemeral Collection contains resources in the following categories: calendars, dust jackets, family genealogical booklets, flags, maps, postcards, posters, sheet music, slave documents, yearbooks, vertical files, educational kits, black history month essays, funeral programs, coins, comic books, playbills, typescripts, buttons, recipes, autographs and stamps.

Archives and Manuscripts Collection

The Archives and Manuscripts Collection focuses on the history, literature, politics, and culture of peoples of African descent in Atlanta, the Southeast, the U.S. and the world. The Collection is complemented by a substantial number of manuscript collections on microfilm. Subject emphasis includes: performing and visual arts; women in the United States; African American religion; Atlanta social, cultural and political history; twentieth century writers from the United States and the Caribbean; education in Atlanta and the United States; civil rights and political organizations; research files of scholars and intellectuals; and, papers and records of individuals and organizations documenting political and social movements in Atlanta and the United States.

Moving Image and Recorded Sound Collection

The Moving Image and Recorded Sound Collection provides audiovisual resources which document and interpret African American experiences in the city of Atlanta, the state of Georgia, the southeastern region of the U.S. and throughout the nation. The collection includes radio programs, phonograph recordings, sports programs, educational documentaries, and historical presentations.

Oral History Collection

The Oral History Collection complements the Moving Image and Recorded Sound Collection. Preserved on videocassette tapes, audio cassette tapes and transcripts, and digital formats, this expanding collection seeks to enhance and make available collected oral histories of historical and significant cultural organizations, individuals, institutions and communities.

Pamphlet Collection

The collections includes works published before 1865 in the United States; first editions by African American authors before 1930 and during the Harlem Renaissance and works published before 1901 in Europe, Africa, South America and the Caribbean, and publications of Black private presses.

Photographs and Prints Collection

The Photographs and Prints Collection contains both documentary and fine art photographs which document the history and culture of peoples of African descent as well as the work of photographers of African descent.

Rare Periodical and Newspaper Collection

The Rare Periodical & Newspaper Collection contains mainly African American publications. A small percentage of the collection is composed of non-African American publications. The collection includes articles, photos, illustrations, newspapers and periodicals in bound volumes.

Reference and Research Division

Print, Digital and Microform Collections
The Reference and Research Division provides access to resources in many formats to support the information needs of scholars and the general public in the area of Africana Studies. The Division selectively collects information on people of African descent in Atlanta, the state of Georgia, the southeast, the United States, the Caribbean, Canada, South America, Africa, Europe, Asia and the rest of the world. Materials are collected in English, primarily, but includes other major colonizing languages, as well as selected African indigenous languages as available.

The Auburn Avenue Research Library provides limited physical access to its rich collection of books, microforms, media, journals and newspapers. To access research materials patrons use the online catalog to locate material, complete a call slip and present it to desk staff. The item is retrieved by library staff and delivered to the researcher for in-library use only.

The Reference and Research collection includes an impressive list of Africana resources that provide unlimited access to full-text articles from current and past issues of scholarly Africana journals, popular African American magazines and international African journals to in-library users. Selected online databases are available remotely with a valid Atlanta-Fulton Public Library card.


Collection Strengths:

  • Southern Civil Rights Movement
  • Southern African American Literature and History
  • General African and African American History and Literature
  • Atlanta and Georgia Vertical File Collections
  • Current and Historic African American Journals
  • Current and Historic African American Newspapers
  • Africana Children's Literature Collection
  • The Coretta Scott King Award Winning Children's Titles 1969 to current
  • Africana Cinema and Documentary Film Collections
  • Subject Bibliographies highlighting AARL resources

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