Moorland–Spingarn Research Center

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Moorland-Spingarn Research Center located in Howard University Founders Library (2008)

The Moorland–Spingarn Research Center (MSRC) is recognized as one of the world's largest and most comprehensive repositories for the documentation of the history and culture of people of African descent in Africa, the Americas, and other parts of the world. As one of Howard University's major research facilities, the MSRC collects, preserves, and makes available for research a wide range of resources chronicling the Black experience.

The MSRC is named after Jesse E. Moorland, an alumnus and trustee of Howard, and Arthur B. Spingarn, learned bibliophile of writers of Jewish descent. In 1914, Moorland gifted his collection of some 3,000 books, pamphlets, and other historical items to the University

because it is the one place in America where the largest and best library on this subject [of the Negro and slavery] should be constructively established. It is also the place where our young people who have the scholarly instinct should have the privilege of a complete reference library on the subject.[This quote needs a citation]

Howard's board of trustees created the Moorland Foundation, a Library of Negro Life, and housed it as a special collection in the new library building recently donated by Andrew Carnegie.

Dorothy Porter Wesley was named, in 1930, librarian of what was to become the Moorland-Spingarn center's collection (she remained librarian until she retired in 1973). At the time, it was called the Moorland Foundation because it consisted chiefly of a books donated by Dr. Jesse Moorland, a Howard trustee.

In 1946, the Moorland Foundation purchased the private library of Spingarn and named it the Arthur B. Spingarn Collection of Negro Authors. The Spingarn Collection is maintained separately from the Moorland Foundation's other collections. The collection contains many rare editions, and is expansive in its coverage of Afro-Cuban, Afro-Brazilian, and Latin American writers of African descent.

Among the most important foundations for the MSRC are the collections of Lewis Tappan, a noted abolitionist who organized the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society and served as treasurer of the American Missionary Association; some 70 bound newspapers and several scrapbooks donated by John Wesley Cromwell.[1] The center preserves the archives of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity founded for African Americans, and the papers of one of the fraternity's seven founders, Henry Callis.[2]

The center's current director is Howard Dodson.[3]


  1. ^ "Founders Library and Moorland-Spingarn Research Center". Archived from the original on 2006-09-30. Retrieved 2006-10-06. 
  2. ^ "The Callis Papers". Retrieved 2006-10-06. 
  3. ^ "A Plan for Howard University's Moorland Spingarn Center". 

External links

Coordinates: 38°55′03″N 77°01′15″W / 38.9176°N 77.0208°W / 38.9176; -77.0208