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Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection: Rare Books

Collection Highlights

Rare books, prints, photographs, slave narratives, manuscripts, letters, sheet music, foreign language publications and ephemera comprise the impressive special collections component of the Blockson Collection. The Collection's rare books section is particularly strong in its first editions, as well as its holdings in African, African-American and African-Caribbean publications dating back to the sixteenth century.Among the rare works in the Collection are Leo Africanus' Ioannis Leonis Africani Africae descriptio IX lib. absoluta (1632); Phillis Wheatley's Poems on various subjects, religious and moral (1773); Olaudah Equiano's The life of Olaudah Equiano (1789); Robert Benjamin Lewis' Light and truth (1844); William Wells Brown's Clotel (1853); The Confessions of Nat Turner (1831) and David Walker's Appeal (1829). In addition, the Collection boasts first editions of works by Jacobus Elisa Joannes Capitein, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Dubois, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, George Washington Williams, Carter G. Woodson and others. There is also an extensive African Bibles collection.