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PREFACE


For the second year in a row, Broward County Library's Bienes Center for the Literary Arts is proud to present an exhibition in celebration of Black History Month.

This year's display honors the memory of one the most prominent African-American librarians and bibliophiles of the twentieth century: Dorothy Porter Wesley (1905-1995). It does so by showcasing sixty-nine books, pamphlets, post cards, photographs, drawings, ephemera, awards and memorabilia from her vast personal collection.1 Also included are a selection of books and art works by James A. Porter (1905-1970), her first husband, and a selection of books by Charles Harris Wesley (1891-1987), her second husband.

Dorothy Porter Wesley was born in Virginia in 1905, went to high school in Montclair, NJ, graduated in 1928 with an A.B. degree from Howard University, Washington, D.C., and in 1932, became the first African American woman to receive a Master of Library Science degree from Columbia University, New York City.

For forty-three years, from 1930 to 1973, she was the curator of Howard University's Moorland-Spingarn Collection, and was almost single handedly responsible for building the library into a world-class research facility relating to the history and culture of people of African descent. She was a prolific author and

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bibliographer yet only a very small selection of her work is included in the exhibition. She was also a prominent member of many professional organizations, including the American Library Association, the Bibliographical Society of America and the Society of American Archivists. She also served as a consultant to the National Library of Lagos, Nigeria, and received honorary doctorate degrees from Susquehanna University, PA, 1971; Syracuse University, NY, 1989, and Radcliffe College, MA, 1990.

Constance Porter Uzelac, daughter of Dorothy Porter Wesley, is the guardian and keeper of the numerous books, papers and art works that once belonged to her parents and from which a very small selection is currently on display in the Bienes Center. She labored long and hard to ensure that the exhibition and accompanying printed catalog properly represented the extensive and distinguished accomplishments of her remarkable parents, and for that I am deeply indebted. I would like to also thank Margaret (Peggy) Bing, cataloger/curator of the Bienes Center for her always wise and able assistance, and Samuel F. Morrison, director of Broward County Library, for his professional support and encouragement in bringing this exhibition to the viewing public.

James A. Findlay, Librarian
Bienes Center for the Literary Arts


1) The Archives of Dorothy Porter Wesley include: a collection of nearly 10,000 volumes of works primarily in African-American specialties of art, bibliography, history, literature, poetry, reference works, short stories, women's studies, ephemera, figurines, sculpture, African art, Oriental art, slave documents, manuscripts, memorabilia, Afro-diasporian prints and artifacts; the art collection and art of James Amos Porter, and the papers and publications of Charles Harris Wesley.

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