About the Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division

The JBH Research and Reference Division holds and provides access to books, serials, and microforms containing information by and about people of African descent throughout the world, concentrating on the humanities, social sciences, and the arts. No appointment is necessary to consult the resources and utilize the space for reading and studying. 

The division acquires monographs and serials (newspapers, newsletters, periodicals) and microforms. English is the predominate language of the division's holdings supplemented by works in French, Portuguese, Spanish, German, and other European languages, including Russian. The division has works in over two hundred indigenous African languages and creole languages and dialects. Works in non-Roman scripts are not acquired except for Ethiopian language materials (Amharic and Ge'ez), bilingual texts, dictionaries, and translations of African American literary classics in Asian languages such as Japanese and Chinese.

The Schomburg Center acquires materials from areas with substantial populations of African origin including the African continent and surrounding islands and regions of the African diaspora. The diasporan emphasis is on the Western Hemisphere including the Caribbean, South America (notably Brazil), Central America, and North America. Resources are also collected from the major cities of Europe where large groups of immigrants from the Caribbean and Africa reside.

The division's holdings cover disciplines within the arts, humanities, and social sciences as well as the presence and role of people of African descent in the natural and pure sciences. Works on the history of Harlem and Blacks in New York and the Northeast region; texts on Harlem and Blacks in the performing and visual arts; and African, Caribbean and African American literature holdings are particularly strong. Additionally, the division maintains a strong retrospective and current collection of African American, Caribbean, and African newspapers and other serials.

Consult the Guide to the Jean Blackwell Hutson Research & Reference Division for more information. 

Unique Collection

Information contained in flyers, newspaper and magazine clippings, pamphlets, and ephemera is available in the Center's Vertical File, a reference tool with nearly 7,000 subject headings. Items through 1988 are on microfiche.

One of the Schomburg Center's most unique finding aids is the Ernest D. Kaiser Index to Black Resources, a file of nearly 200,000 citations to articles in thousands of issues of Black magazines and newspapers, some of which ceased publication decades ago. 

The Jean Black Hutson Research and Reference Division develops and maintains a variety of subject bibliographies.