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Sat, 01.24.1874

Arthur Schomburg, Historian born

Arthur Schomburg

*Arthur A. Schomburg was born on this date in 1874. He was an Afro Puertorican historian.

Arthur Alonzo Schomburg was from San Juan, Puerto Rico; he attended San Juan's Institute of Instruction to become a teacher and studied in the Danish West Indies, doing a great deal of research on Negro literature. Schomburg came to America in 1891 and ten years later moved to New York City, working at a law firm as a researcher. During this time, he actively supported Cuban and Puerto Rican Independence and served as secretary of Las dos Antillas, an organization working for this cause.

In 1924, while in Europe, he searched for and acquired valuable information on Negro history.  In Seville, Spain, he dug into the original, loosely collected records of the Indies and was able to shed new light on Negro history. In 1929 Schomburg retired from the Bankers Trust Company and took a position at Fisk University as curator of his vast collection of papers, which now bears his name. The collected works consist of more than 5000 volumes and thousands of pamphlets, old manuscripts, prints, and bound sections of newspaper and magazine clippings and are the largest and finest of its kind in existence.

He ranks as the foremost historian and collector of books on Africans in America. Arthur Alfonso Schomburg died in 1938. In 1940, the New York Public Library renamed its division of Black history, literature, and prints after him.


The Schomburg Library of Black culture, NYPL
515 Malcolm X Boulevard, at 135th Street,
New York, N.Y.

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