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Wednesday, 27 May 2015

BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY : AFRICAN AMERICAN " DOROTHY LOUISE PORTER WESLEY " WAS A LIBRARIAN, BIBLIOGRAPHER AND CURATOR WHO BUILT THE MOORLAND-SPINGHAM RESEARCH CENTRE AT HOWARD UNIVERSITY INTO A WORLD CLASS RESEARCH COLLECTION : GOES INTO THE " HALL OF BLACK HEROES "

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Dorothy B. Porter


Dorothy B. Porter
BornDorothy Burnett
May 25, 1905
WarrentonVirginia
DiedDecember 17, 1995 (aged 90)
Broward CountyFlorida
NationalityAmerican
Other namesDorothy Louise Porter Wesley
EthnicityAfrican-American
Alma materHoward University, 1928;Columbia University, B.S. 1931, M.S. in 1932 in library science
OccupationLibrarian
Bibliographer
Curator
EmployerMoorland-Spingarn Research Center,
Howard University
Known forFirst African American to graduate from Columbia's library school; built Moorland-Spingarn Research Center into a world-class collection
Spouse(s)James A. Porter (1929-1970)
Charles H. Wesley (1979-1979)
Children1
Dorothy Louise Porter Wesley (May 25, 1905 – December 17, 1995) was an African-American librarianbibliographerand curator, who built the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University into a world-class research collection.[1]

Early life

Porter was born in WarrentonVirginia, the first of four children of Dr. and Mrs. Hayes J. Burnett.
Porter received her early education in MontclairNew Jersey. After graduating from high school, she enrolled in Minor Normal School in Washington, D.C., in 1923. In 1926, she transferred to Howard University and began work as a student assistant in the Founders Library. She graduated from Howard in 1928 with an A.B. and went on to continue her education to become a librarian. After working at the Howard University Library as a cataloger, Porter enrolled in the Columbia University School of Library Science and in 1931 received a B.L.S. She received a scholarship to attend graduate school at Columbia from the Julius Rosenwald Fund and was awarded an M.L.S. in 1932, becoming the first African-American woman to do so.
Porter received a B.A. from Howard University in 1928. She studied at Columbia University, earning B.S. in 1931 and M.S. in 1932 in library science. She was the first African American to graduate from Columbia's library school.[2]

Career

Porter, librarian, bibliographer, scholar, historian and archivist, was for 43 years (1930-1973) the curator of the Moorland-Spingarn Collection at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Under her guidance a small special collection grew into a world-renowned research library. Today the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center is considered by many to be one of the world's most comprehensive repositories of information on the history and culture of people of African descent.
Porter's ambition during her life time was to "collect, codify Afro-American material and avail the collection to the public. Her motivation was partially due to her statement, 'I recall that not many years ago the African was said to lack all sense of history because African history was not available in the form of written language.'"

Honors

  • 1994 Charles Frankel Prize in the Humanities - given to "Americans who have brought the humanities to a wide public audience"[3]

Personal life

Porter's first husband was the historian and artist James A. Porter, author of Modern Negro Art.[4] They had a daughter, Constance "Coni" Uzelac (who was married toMilan Uzelac), and served as Executive Director of the Dorothy Porter Wesley Library, and "spearheaded the project to create the African American Research Library & Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale where she generously donated a portion of her family's collection."[5]
Porter's second husband was Charles Wesley, an American historian and educator.[6]
On her surnames: "Over the years, [she] was also known by the surname Porter and the double surname Porter Wesley."[6] But the name she published under was always Porter.[6]
She died in Broward CountyFlorida[7]

Selected publications

Dorothy Porter published numerous bibliographies and one anthology.[8]
  • Wesley, Dorothy Porter. Afro-American Writings Published Before 1835: With an Alphabetical List (Tentative) of Imprints Written by American Negroes, 1760-1835.[New York]: Columbia University, 1932. Thesis (M. Sc.)--Columbia University, New York, 1932. OCLC 12747472
  • Porter, Dorothy B. "A Library on the Negro." The American Scholar. Vol. 7, No. 1: pp. 115-117. 1938. ISSN 0003-0937 OCLC 5543366780
  • Porter, Dorothy B. "A Library on the Negro." The Journal of Negro Education. Vol. 10, No. 2: pp. 264-266. April 1941. ISSN 0022-2984 OCLC 5545408903
  • Forten, James, John T. Hilton, and William Wells Brown. "Early Manuscript Letters Written by Negroes." The Journal of Negro History. Vol. 24, No. 2: pp. 199-210. 1939. ISSN 0022-2992 OCLC 5545495349
  • Wesley, Dorothy Porter, and Arthur Alfonso Schomburg. North American Negro Poets, A Bibliographical Checklist of Their Writings, 1760-1944. Hattiesburg, Miss: Book farm, 1945. OCLC 382999
  • Moorland Foundation, and Dorothy Porter Wesley. A Catalogue of the African Collection in the Moorland Foundation, Howard University Library. Washington: Howard University Press, 1958. OCLC 577265
  • Porter, Dorothy B. The Negro in the United States; A Selected Bibliography. Compiled by Dorothy B. Porter. Washington, Library of Congress, 1970. Available at Project Gutenberg, 2011. OCLC 746985433
  • Wesley, Dorothy Porter. Early Negro Writing, 1760-1837. Boston: Beacon Press, 1971. ISBN 978-0-807-05452-9 OCLC 251341
    • An anthology rare documents of Negro history, including addresses, narratives, poems, essays and documents from fraternal and mutual aid organizations and educational improvement societies.
  • Porter, Dorothy B. "Bibliography and Research in Afro-American Scholarship." Journal of Academic Librarianship. Vol. 2, No. 2: pp. 77-81. 1976.OCLC 424794640
  • Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, and Dorothy Porter Wesley. Recent Notable Books: A Selected Bibliography in Honor of Dorothy Burnett Porter. [Washington]: Howard University, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, 1974. OCLC 1818615
  • Newman, Richard. Black Access: A Bibliography of Afro-American Bibliographies. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1984. ISBN 978-0-313-23282-4OCLC 9557811