On Our Shelves
My youthful romance with the Harlem Renaissance awakens from a slumber with this wistful compendium of ephemera, collaborative documentation, and assemblage. Stories and souls lie here.— Doug
Gather Out of Star-Dust takes as its central premise that the Harlem Renaissance, known by its participants as the Negro Renaissance, relied heavily on “gatherings” of all kinds. Collaboration, friendship, partnership, and sponsorship were all central to the rise in prominence of African American publication, performance, and visual art. Most importantly, the act of collecting materials from this time subsequently enabled scholars to remember the movement. Gather Out of Star-Dust showcases fifty items from the James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection of African American Arts and Letters at Beinecke Library. Each of these objects—letters, journal entries, photographs, ephemera, artworks, and first editions—is accompanied by a mini-essay telling a piece of the story about this dynamic period. While numerous scholarly works have been written about this time of rebirth, this book returns us to the primary materials that have made that scholarship possible.
About the Author
Melissa Barton is curator of drama and prose for the Yale Collection of American Literature, which includes the James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection of African American Arts and Letters, at Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library.