Divisions

The Library Division

With more than one hundred and seventy-five thousand books, pamphlets, periodicals and microforms in numerous languages in its collections, the Library Division provides extensive documentary evidence of the history, lives and struggles of people of African descent. Among the library’s holdings are many rare works, going back to the sixteenth century, by such notables as Juan Latino, Jacobus Capitein, Gustavus Vassa, Phillis Wheatley, Jupiter Hammon, David Walker, Frederick Douglass and Martin Delaney. The collections are particularly strong in the first editions and first works by early twentieth century contemporary writers, including W.E.B. Du Bois, Richard Wright, Alice Walker, Nicolas Guillén, Wole Soyinka, James Baldwin, Chinua Achebe, Toni Morrison and Amiri Baraka. Special resources within the division’s collections include: theses and dissertations written on Black-related topics by students of other colleges and universities; English and foreign language
newspapers, journals and magazines which provide current and retrospective examination of the Black diasporic experience; and an extensive vertical file collection consisting of thousands of folders of biographical and subject-related ephemeral materials which often serve as the sole source of information on obscure as well as better known people and events. Current and rare titles are added regularly to the collection to enhance its growth and development.

Manuscript Division

With more than one hundred and seventy-five thousand books, pamphlets, periodicals and microforms in numerous languages in its collections, the Library Division provides extensive documentary evidence of the history, lives and struggles of people of African descent. Among the library’s holdings are many rare works, going back to the sixteenth century, by such notables as Juan Latino, Jacobus Capitein, Gustavus Vassa, Phillis Wheatley, Jupiter Hammon, David Walker, Frederick Douglass and Martin Delaney. The collections are particularly strong in the first editions and first works by early twentieth century contemporary writers, including W.E.B. Du Bois, Richard Wright, Alice Walker, Nicolas Guillén, Wole Soyinka, James Baldwin, Chinua Achebe, Toni Morrison and Amiri Baraka. Special resources within the division’s collections include: theses and dissertations written on Black-related topics by students of other colleges and universities; English and foreign language newspapers, journals and magazines which provide current and retrospective examination of the Black diasporic experience; and an extensive vertical file collection consisting of thousands of folders of biographical and subject-related ephemeral materials which often serve as the sole source of information on obscure as well as better known people and events. Current and rare titles are added regularly to the collection to enhance its growth and development.

The Howard University Archives and Museum

The Howard University Archives serves as a secure repository for the official records of the University, including the administrative files of schools, colleges and departments, university publications, Howard theses and dissertations,
as well as materials illustrating the contributions of Howard alumni to society. The Archives provides information on the history of Howard University and its important personages and utilizes the Howard University Museum to showcase University artifacts and memorabilia.  The Museum emphasizes the visual documentation of Black history and culture. It exhibits the myriad resources of the Research Center’s many special collections and acquires artifacts useful for a broad interpretation of the Black experience.

Digital Production Center

In 2013, the MSRC began a new chapter when it established an official digitization program. Through the Digital Production Center, MSRC preserves and shares its historic records with the world. The digital program also manages the Digital Howard online repository. The platform currently hosts the digital collections from the MSRC. Digital Collections include the archives of Anna J. Cooper and Howard University namesake Oliver Otis Howard as well as the Thomas Montgomery Gregory Military Collection and the 6,000 image Negatives Collection.