HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library (2017)

by Carole Boston Weatherford

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations
1926107,939 (4)None
Where is our historian to give us our side? Arturo asked. Amid the scholars, poets, authors, and artists of the Harlem Renaissance stood an Afro-Puerto Rican named Arturo Schomburg. This law clerk's life's passion was to collect books, letters, music, and art from Africa and the African diaspora and bring to light the achievements of people of African descent through the ages. When Schomburg's collection became so big it began to overflow his house (and his wife threatened to mutiny), he turned to the New York Public Library, where he created and curated a collection that was the cornerstone of a new Negro Division. A century later, his groundbreaking collection, known as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, has become a beacon to scholars all over the world.… (more)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
I enjoyed learning about Arthur Schomburg very much. As the daughter of a historian, I take history incredibly seriously and applaud Schomburg's efforts to reclaim African history from the racist attempt to bury it in oblivion. Obviously it's important for black children to have a history to look back on, but as a white person I can't stress the importance of white people acknowledging black and African history. I was amazed to learn while *reading this book* that Audoban's mother was Creole. I had no idea! Which is appalling. I didn't know about Dumas until a few years ago. Whitewashed history is fake history and we all deserve better. Arthur Schomburg dedicated his life to that mission and I applaud him.

I received a free electronic ARC of this book via Netgalley from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. ( )
  g33kgrrl | Feb 10, 2020 |
Beautiful picture book about Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, a Puerto Rican/African immigrant to New York City in the nineteenth century, whose quest for knowledge about African history led him to collect books and develop a world-class African American book collection (as well as art, prints, and sculpture) that became the Schomburg Collection. The Carnegie Corporation bought it for $10,000 in 1926 and donated it to the New York Public Library, where Mr. Schomburg was the "guardian" of it. I loved the detail that he had it arranged by size and color--and even fired a librarian there for daring to use the Dewey Decimal system on it! He was a bank supervisor all his life, but managed to travel to Europe and South America, was a civic leader, and wrote many articles and encyclopedias on African American history. The oil painting illustrations in the book are really nice, colorful and realistic. Has bibliography and sources for all of the direct quotes. Timeline too. ( )
  GoldieBug | Jan 23, 2019 |
Briefly tells the story of Arthur Schomburg (1874-1934), who believed strongly that Africans had an important history, and that knowing of the accomplishments of past Blacks would give the younger generation pride.
While I was very interested in reading this, as I had heard nothing about Schomburg, or about the Harlem Renaissance, I have a hard time imaging what age group this was written for. The book is oversize, like many picture books, and does have many full or 1/2 page illustrations. Yet the language is much more complex than one would use for pre-schoolers. It could work if the person reading it aloud just paraphrased the words, using the text as a guideline. The language would be appropriate for middle-school, if they were interested enough to learn new vocabulary, but I'm not sure if the "picture book" appearance would be too embarrassing for them to be seen looking at.
Written with phrasing that at times seems contrived or the type of backward phrasing poems might use to fit words to a desired rhyme or meter.
Contains a chronology, bibliography, and source notes. Points librarians to a resource (NYPL Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture) for patrons inquiring about Black History. ( )
  juniperSun | Aug 3, 2018 |
This book begins with a quote by Arturo Schomburg: "The American Negro must remake his past in order to make his future. . . . History must restore what slavery took away.”

The book not only tells how Schomburg helped with that restoration, but gives a great deal of background on works he discovered. Thus, it is actually a short survey of black history couched within the guise of a biography.

Schomburg, an Afro-Puerto Rican born in 1874, longed to read histories of his own people, but there were few materials available in either the schools of Puerto Rico where he grew up, or in New York, the city to which he immigrated at age seventeen. He felt an insatiable curiosity about Africana, however, and he haunted rare books stores in New York to find materials by and about black men and women. He was able to purchase the materials cheaply, because they were not considered to be valuable by white collectors.

Much of the book is given over to descriptions of the accomplishments of the heros and heroines of color whose writings and artwork Schomburg uncovered, including Phillis Wheatley, Benjamin Banneker, Paul Cuffee. He even found a 1573 book of poems by Spaniard Juan Latino, “perhaps the first printed book by a black person.”

Schomburg became actively involved in the activities of Harlem's intellectuals, and his acquaintances, the author reports, were a “Who’s Who” of the Harlem Renaissance. In addition, he corresponded with important intellects around the U.S. such as Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois.

The author also reveals how Schomburg “navigated a maze of misinformation” to find out about other artists with black heritage whose origins had been whitewashed, including John James Audubon, Alexandre Dumas, Alexander Pushkin, and Beethoven.

In later years, Schomburg traveled all around the country and the world, not only to collect new materials, but to advocate for more attention to and resources for black history and culture.

Eventually, Schomburg's large library was purchased by the Carnegie Foundation, which donated it to the New York Public Library in 1926. The collection, called “matchless,” became the cornerstone of the NYPL’s Division of Negro History, Literature and Prints. Schomburg served as curator of the collection from 1932 until 1938, when he died.

At the end of the book, there is a time line, source notes, and a bibliography.

Award-winning illustrator Eric Velasquez adds richly detailed oil paintings that display his usual meticulous attention to historical detail.

Discussion: For the most part this book doesn't focus on Schomburg as much as on the historical figures whose materials he collected. Their stories are of course important as well as interesting, but I was very intrigued by Schomburg and wanted to know more. For years I have followed the excellent website of the Schomburg Center online but never took the time to learn about the founder. But clearly he should be more well-known and appreciated for the massive contributions he made to black scholarship. It is worth noting here more about the Center - his legacy - from its website:

"The Center consists of three connected buildings: The Schomburg Building, the Langston Hughes Building, and the Landmark Building. It is recognized as one of the leading institutions focusing exclusively on African-American, African Diaspora, and African experiences. Begun with the collections of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg 92 years ago, the Schomburg has collected, preserved, and provided access to materials documenting black life in America and worldwide. It has also promoted the study and interpretation of the history and culture of people of African descent. In 2015, it won the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. Today, the Schomburg continues to serve the community not just as a center and a library, but also as a space that encourages lifelong education and exploration."

Evaluation: This book is full of interesting information about black history generally. I hope teachers and librarians will help this book gain wider attention than it might have as "just" a biography of one man; it is much more. ( )
  nbmars | May 12, 2018 |
In-depth picture book biography of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, an intellectual, bibliophile, activist, historian, writer, curator, and protector of knowledge. The story is told in verse, with beautiful illustrations, a thorough timeline, source notes and a small bibliography.

Also, apparently he filed the books in his collection by size and color.

This is a must-have for school libraries. ( )
  Critterbee | Apr 16, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
The American Negro must remake his past in order to make his future. . . . History must restore what slavery took away. --Arturo Schomburg
Dedication
Be curious. Be determined. Be proud. Curiosity is the seed of discovery. Discovery is the root of progress. --C.B.W.
Para Arturo Alfonso Schomburg. Gracias, maestro.--E.V.
First words
Arturo Schomburg was more than a book lover, more than a mailroom clerk at Bankers Trust, where he supervised eleven white men, unheard-of-authority for a black man at the time.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Where is our historian to give us our side? Arturo asked. Amid the scholars, poets, authors, and artists of the Harlem Renaissance stood an Afro-Puerto Rican named Arturo Schomburg. This law clerk's life's passion was to collect books, letters, music, and art from Africa and the African diaspora and bring to light the achievements of people of African descent through the ages. When Schomburg's collection became so big it began to overflow his house (and his wife threatened to mutiny), he turned to the New York Public Library, where he created and curated a collection that was the cornerstone of a new Negro Division. A century later, his groundbreaking collection, known as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, has become a beacon to scholars all over the world.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4)
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
3 5
3.5 1
4 12
4.5 1
5 5

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 157,967,704 books! | Top bar: Always visible