From the Collections of the Amistad Research Center
Countee Cullen (1903-1946), a leading figure of the Harlem Renaissance, was a lyric poet, playwright, and novelist as well as a devoted teacher of French, English, and creative writing for eleven years at New York City's Frederick Douglass Junior High School. His papers document his life and work and provide valuable documentation on the Harlem Renaissance and for prominent figures in the history of Afro-American literature. In addition to manuscript copies of his own writings, there are some unpublished poems and other literary works by Cullen's contemporaries.
The voluminous correspondence in the collection provides significant biographical information on Cullen and many other well-known persons. There are letters from approximately 1,200 individuals in the collection. Among these are Gwendolyn Bennett, Mary McLeod Bethune, Pearl S. Buck, Witter Bynner, Mercer Cook, Will Marion Cook, W.E.B. DuBois, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Douglas Fairbanks, Jessie Fauset, Langston Hughes, Zoro Neale Hurston, Helen Keller, Fiorello La Guardia, Jacob Lawrence, Clare Booth Luce, Henry L. Mencken, Mary White Ovington, Ezra Pound, Muriel Rahn, A. Philip Randolph, Lawrence D. Reddick, Eslanda Goode Robeson, Henry O. Tanner, Margaret Walker, and Richard Wright. The correspondence of some of these is extensive.
In addition to correspondence and literary manuscripts, the collection includes accounts, legal papers, certificates, a diary, teaching plan books and other teaching records, scrapbooks, clippings, photographs, and other memorabilia. Also documented is the work of Cullen's widow in keeping his name and works before the public through lectures and readings and the promotion of the publication of his writings.
Number of reels: 7