The printed collections at the Amistad Research Center encompass over 20,000 books, 30,000 pamphlets, and over 2,000 periodical titles which provide access to both primary and secondary sources in the areas of the abolitionist movement, the history of the American Missionary Association and the United Church of Christ, race relations and the Civil Rights Movement, and various aspects of racial and ethnic history in the United States. The Center's acquisitions are governed by its collection development policy
See the Research Page for information on locating and accessing Amistad's library holdings.
Books and Pamphlets
The Center’s collections are especially strong in government and organizational reports on civil rights legislation, housing and education discrimination, and other legal issues. Amistad also holds numerous works on the topic of African American art, which complement the Center’s manuscript and art holdings. In addition to significant holdings in the area of African American literature, Amistad holds works from the personal libraries of authors Countee Cullen, Chester Himes, and Tom Dent. Of significance to the Amistad Case, the Center’s collections include Lewis Tappan’s bound volume of contemporary pamphlets on the legal proceedings.
The Center’s periodical holdings include newspapers, scholarly journals, literary magazines, organizational newsletters, and general magazines, such as The Crisis and Jet, with a focus on ethnic minority issues. Amistad also holds a number of newspapers and other periodicals published throughout the continent of Africa, as well as by various African and Africanist organizations and committees in Europe.
African American School Newspapers Collection
The African American School Newspapers Collection contains 160 titles from 121 African American elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, community colleges, universities, and professional schools - almost exclusively from Southern institutions. The bulk of this collection is from the 1930s and 1940s, and together the collection chronicles African American campus life, educational developments, and more widely, American social history at this crossroads in American history - through the Great Depression and into World War II. Titles from this collection can be searched in the online catalog by searching the keyword phrase "African American School Newspapers Collection".
Janette Faulkner Ethnic Notions Collection
Beginning in the 1950s while still in college, Janette Faulkner began collecting African Americana materials that portrayed racial stereotypes or caricatures. Over the next forty years, she would amass one of the largest collection of such material, which included everything from advertisements to cookie jars to children’s toys to sheet music. Her collection was cited by museums, scholars, fellow collectors, and the media as providing a haunting look into how African Americans have been viewed through the lens of American popular culture. Ms. Faulkner passed away in June 2008. Prior to her death, she had worked to disperse her collection, and Amistad was fortunate to acquire over 500 titles of sheet music from her Ethnic Notions Collection in early 2009. This collection, dating from the 1860s to the 1960s, is a valuable research tool on the topic of 19th and 20th century race relations. An inventory of the collection is available for consultation at Amistad, and the collection will be fully cataloged in the near future.
Comics and Graphic Novels Collection
The Comics and Graphic Novels Collection at the Amistad Research Center was launched in 2011 and is intended to be a continuing collection. The scope of this collection mirrors that of the Center's overall collection development policy in that it focuses on the histories and cultures of racial and ethnic communities in the United States, race relations, civil and human rights, and the African Diaspora. The collection is intended to provide a varied and broad view of the history of racial and ethnic communities through the lens of comic and graphic art. In as such, titles may depict these communities and individuals in either positive or stereotypical fashions; however, both are essential aspects of the history of how these communities have been illustrated and written about in comic books, comic strips, and graphic novels. The goal of this growing collection is to become a leading resource for scholars and general readers interested in how these formats have chronicled and illustrated the history of underrepresented peoples. Titles from this collection can be searched in the online here.
The Zine Collection at the Amistad Research Center was launched in 2011 and is intended to be a continuing collection. The scope of this collection mirrors that of the Center's overall collection development policy by focusing on zines written and published by individuals of color or whose topics focus on racial and ethnic culture and history, civil rights, race relations, and related topics. The goal of this collection is to provide a research collection that addresses the issues of diversity (and non-diversity) within the zine community, illustrates that diversity by collecting and preserving zines of color, and exists as an archive that chronicles the intersection of identify formation, self-expression, and print culture. Titles from this collection can be searched in the online here.
For more information regarding the Center's library resources, please contact the Reference Desk via email at reference @ amistadresearchcenter.org or by calling 504-862-3222.