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Langston Hughes ephemera collection

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Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Langston Hughes, a prominent African American author, was born in Joplin, Mississippi, in 1902. He began his career in the 1920s as part of the Harlem Renaissance. In his 1926 essay "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain," Hughes criticized African American poets who chose to adhere to White literary conventions. In contrast, much of Hughes's poetry is written in the language of the African American lower class or in the rhythms of the blues, jazz, and bebop. While Hughes is best known for his poetry, he was also an accomplished writer of fiction, drama, and essays. He worked as a translator, edited volumes of African American poetry and fiction, and wrote two autobiographies. Langston Hughes died of congestive heart failure in 1967.

Contemporary Authors, s.v. "(James) Langston Hughes," Literature Resource Center, http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC (accessed January 30, 2007). Donald C. Dickinson, A Bio-bibliography of Langston Hughes 2nd ed. (Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, 1972).

This collection contains advertisements, programs, and other printed material related to the literary career of Langston Hughes. The first series contains items documenting Hughes's many poetry readings, lectures, addresses, and other public appearances. The second series contains items related to performances of Hughes's works, chiefly his plays, musicals, and operas.

Throughout his career, Langston Hughes frequently traveled across the United States to lecture and to read his poetry at schools, colleges, and other venues. The first series provides information not only about these appearances themselves but also about how they were publicized and marketed. In addition, the short biographical notes on Hughes that appear in many of the programs document his public image throughout four decades of his literary career.

Langston Hughes was also a prolific playwright. The second series of this collection illustrates the range of Hughes's dramatic achievement. The works represented include plays, gospel musicals, and the libretti to several operas and cantatas composed by Jan Meyerowitz. Some items in this series document several productions of a single show.

Where possible, likely years have been provided for items listing only month and day. By consulting published correspondence, biographical information, and a perpetual calendar, it was often possible to determine the year with near certainty. Dates that can be conjectured from available evidence but not definitively established are noted with a question mark.

Access to digitized versions of the Langston Hughes ephemera is available at http://udspace.udel.edu/handle/19716/23687.

Purchase, 2007.

Processed and encoded by Kate Hand, January 2008.

Publisher
University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2008 January 29
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library, http://library.udel.edu/spec/askspec/

Collection Inventory

Scope and Contents

Programs and advertising materials for lectures, readings, and other public appearances by Langston Hughes. Items are arranged chronologically.

Physical Description

70 items

Appearances, 1932-1938.
Box 1 Folder F1
Scope and Contents

Items include three programs for "Lecture-Readings" in 1932, a travel brochure for a 1937 trip to Europe and the Soviet Union led by Langston Hughes, materials related to the 1938 lecture series "A Negro Poet Looks at the World," and an advertisement for the Harlem Suitcase Theatre.

Physical Description

12 items

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of Items
Appearances, 1940-1945.
Box 1 Folder F2
Scope and Contents

Items include materials documenting one series of appearances from March to May 1944 and another from April to May 1945.

Physical Description

12 items

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of Items
Appearances, 1946-1949.
Box 1 Folder F3
Scope and Contents

Items include materials documenting a series of southern appearances in February 1946 and an advertisement and program for Katherine Dunham's staging of "A Cuban Evening" with Langston Hughes, Eusebia Cosme, and Eartha Kitt performing the poems of Nicolás Guillén.

Physical Description

16 items

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of Items
Appearances, 1950-1958.
Box 1 Folder F4
Scope and Contents

Items include materials for appearances with pianist Margaret Bonds and a program for an appearance with singer Mahalia Jackson.

Physical Description

18 items

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of Items
Appearances, 1960-1967.
Box 1 Folder F5
Scope and Contents

Items include programs for the 1962 MBARI Writers Conference in Kampala, Uganda, and for the Library of Congress's National Poetry Festival held in October 1962.

Physical Description

9 items

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of Items
Appearances, undated.
Box 1 Folder F6
Scope and Contents

Programs for lectures at Tougaloo College and the Moorland Branch Y.M.C.A. whose years cannot be determined.

Physical Description

2 items

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of Items

Scope and Contents

Programs, playbills, and advertising materials for plays, musicals, operas, and cantatas written by Hughes as well as for miscellaneous performances of his poetry and prose. Items are arranged alphabetically unless otherwise noted.

Physical Description

70 items.

Performances B, 1950-1963.
Box 1 Folder F7
Scope and Contents

Performances of

The Ballad of the Brown King, The Barrier, and Black Nativity (Wasn't That a Mighty Day). Physical Description

15 items

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of Items
Performances D-P, 1937-1965.
Box 1 Folder F8
Scope and Contents

Performances of

Don't You Want to Be Free, Drums of Haiti, Esther, Front Porch, The Glory around His Head, Gospel Glow, Jerico–Jim Crow, Joy to My Soul, Mulatto, Port Town, and The Prodigal Son. Physical Description

24 items

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of Items
Performances S-T, 1936-1965.
Box 1 Folder F9
Scope and Contents

Performances of

Shakespeare in Harlem, Simply Heavenly, Soul Gone Home, Street Scene (including a dual advertisement for Street Scene and Shakespeare in Harlem), Tambourines to Glory, and Troubled Island. Physical Description

22 items

Miscellaneous performances of poetry and prose, 1949-1967.
Box 1 Folder F10
Scope and Contents

Performances include various musical settings of Hughes's poetry as well as other dramatic interpretations of his work such as

Just a Little Simple, a musical based on Hughes's book, Simple Speaks His Mind. Items are arranged chronologically. Physical Description

9 items

Materials Viewable Online
  1. PDF of items

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