The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Center for the study and promotion of the histories and cultures of peoples of African descent.

  • Time Periods: All US History | Themes: African American, Art & Music, Education, World History/Global Studies | Resource Types: Websites

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a research unit of The New York Public Library, is generally recognized as one of the leading institutions of its kind in the world. The Center collects, preserves, and provides access to materials documenting black life, and promotes the study and interpretation of the history and culture of peoples of African descent.

The Schomburg Center’s collections first won international acclaim in 1926 when the personal collection of the distinguished black scholar and bibliophile Arturo Alfonso Schomburg was added to the Division of Negro Literature, History and Prints of the 135th Street Branch of The New York Public Library.

Schomburg subsequently served as curator of the division from 1932 until his death in 1938. The division was renamed in his honor in 1940, and in 1972 it was designated as one of the Research Libraries of The New York Public Library.

A focal point of Harlem’s cultural life, the Center also functions as the national research library in the field, providing free access to its wide-ranging non-circulating collections. It also sponsors programs and events that illuminate and illustrate the richness of black history and culture.

The Center provides access to and professional reference assistance in the use of its collections to the scholarly community and the general public through five research divisions, each managing materials in specific formats but with broad subject focus. The Center’s collections include art objects, audio and video tapes, books, manuscripts, motion picture films, newspapers, periodicals, photographs, prints, recorded music discs, and sheet music.

Library materials at the Schomburg Center are housed in five collection divisions, according to format:

[Description from Schomburg Center website.]

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