By Randy Gue, Kayla Annan, Jonathan Coulis, and Jennifer Gunter King.
The new school year has arrived, and the Rose Library has a variety of new collections available for use, research, and teaching. These exciting acquisitions span our collecting strengths—African American history and culture, Emory Oral History Program, Emory University Archives, literary and poetry collections, and political, cultural, and social movements collections.
The Rose Library is open for in person appointments Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The Rose Library is free and open to the public. To make an appointment to see materials, visit our website.
African American History and Culture Collections
Jim Alexander is a Black documentary photographer who has documented politicians, activists, athletes, authors, and artists of the African American community. His career began after he earned a degree at the New York Institute of Photography. In 1968, following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Alexander started a project he called Spirits/Martyrs/Heroes to document African Americans pursuit of justice in political, arts, and culture. He continues to work on the series today. Alexander landed in Atlanta in 1976. He served as photographer-in-residence at The Neighborhood Arts Center and Clark College. These significant additions to the collection include photograph prints, negatives, contact sheet, slides, and printed materials.
Augustus Baxter Sr. was an urban planner and community activist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was born on December 25, 1928. Baxter attended Morgan State College and married Delores Hill. He worked for the Model Cities Program and the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation; his agency’s designs can be seen across Philadelphia and his concepts for urban design received honors from the International Institute of Architects and the American Institute of Architects. The collection includes correspondence and printed material.
Doris Derby was an African American civil rights activist, educator, and photographer. While attending CUNY’s Hunter College in the 1960s, she became active in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Derby moved to Mississippi to teach in an adult literacy program at Tougaloo College in Jackson. There she co-founded the Free Southern Theater, a community theater group with the goal of bringing theatre to the black communities of Mississippi and the South. Derby remained in Mississippi until 1972. After receiving her Master’s and Ph.D., Derby taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Georgia State University where she founded the Office of African-American Student Services and Programs. The papers include organizational, subject, teaching, and personal files. The collection also contains a significant number of photographs Derby took in Mississippi and the South documenting her involvement with SNCC, the Free Southern Theatre, Liberty House Cooperative and the Poor People’s Corporation, health and educational initiatives, and Democratic politics.
Carmen de Lavallade is an actress, choreographer, and dancer. She made her debut on Broadway in the musical “House of Flowers” in 1954 and went on to receive acting roles in films Carmen Jones and Odds Against Tomorrow. In 1962, de Lavallade and dance partner Alvin Ailey toured Southeast Asia as the de Lavallade-Ailey dance company. She went on to choreograph and perform in a number of musicals, plays and operas and became a performer in residence of the Yale School of Drama. De Lavallade papers can be found within the Geoffrey Holder and Carmen de Lavallade papers held by Rose Library. The collection consists of teaching files, scripts, sheet music, and administrative papers.
Kathy Perkins is a lighting designer, theatre historian, and educator. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Howard University in 1976 and her Master of Fine Arts in Lighting Design from the University of Michigan. Perkins began her career at the Sound in Motion Studio in 1978. She has taught at Smith College, Columbia University, the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has worked on theatre productions all over the world and is recognized for her work in lighting design. This collection includes books, lighting plots, playbills, and printed material.
William Henry Robinson was born in 1942 in Seaford, Delaware. As a child, he played the piano in church and performed with various gospel artists. Robinson later relocated to Providence, Rhode Island. There he became a licensed Elder of the Church of God in Christ (C.O.G.I.C) and served as the pastor of the Prayer Temple Church of God in Christ. Robison later became the pastor of the Calvary Temple Faith Church of Deliverance in Salisbury, Maryland. The collection consists of correspondence, printed material, and photographs. The printed material includes flyers, programs, newsletters, church bulletins, and membership and delegate cards pertaining to various evangelical churches and gospel music events. An audio recording of an organ solo by Robinson is also included in the collection.
Emory Oral History Program
The Mirabel Pictures/WeOwnTV oral history project consists of interviews conducted with West African Ebola survivors, their family members, and other community members who lived through the Ebola outbreak in 2014-2016. WeOwnTV created these interviews to document the experiences through video testimonials of people’s experiences during a major public health crisis. The team was motivated to preserve these stories to promote the inclusion of African voices and the telling of African history. They hoped that the interviews will aid to a deeper level of understanding of the impact of the outbreak on people’s lives and ensure that West Africans contribute directly and significantly to the historical record of this global health crisis.
Emory University Archives
The town of Oxford, Georgia was chartered in 1839 and established by the Methodist Episcopal Church. The town’s name was inspired by Oxford University in England, and it was the site of Emory College. The Oxford City Council are an elected governmental body with responsibilities such as passing ordinances, creating city budgets, and voting on and implementing plans for city projects. The collection contains meeting minutes and meeting related administrative material documenting the activities of the Oxford City Council, Oxford Planning Commission, and various committees from circa 1888-1999, as well as a map of Oxford from 1837.
The Transforming Community Project (TCP) at Emory University was a multiyear initiative to increase communication about race and the history of race relations at the University. The project stemmed from a series of incidents on campus in 2003 and 2004 involving both faculty and students that brought to light issues of racism at Emory. The program was developed in 2004 by a group of faculty, staff, and students. It created a series of Community Dialogues through which faculty, staff, students, and alumni engaged in community-driven conversations about race. TCP also supported research projects to explore issues of race and the history of race at Emory, including awarding mini-grants, sponsoring events, supporting the creation of creative works, and developing pedagogical seminars for faculty. The collection consists of project records, audiovisual materials, and born digital materials. Project records contain materials related to the administration of TCP and the events, programs, and projects sponsored by them. Audiovisual materials include video recordings of TCP-sponsored events including Founders Week events and pedagogical seminars for faculty, as well student projects and interviews with Emory community members about the history of the University.
Literary and Poetry Collections
Major Jackson, the host of the Slowdown podcast and the author of six books of poetry, including Razzle Dazzle: New & Selected Poems (2023), The Absurd Man (2020), Roll Deep (2015), Holding Company (2010), Hoops (2006) and Leaving Saturn (2002), which won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize for a first book of poems, placed his papers in the Rose Library in 2022. Jackson, along with other artists whose papers are in Rose like Kevin Young, Tracy K. Smith, Natasha Tretheway, was a member of the Dark Room Collective during his student years at Harvard.
The collection consists of the final writing chapters Derek Mahon’s life. He was regarded as one of the most talented and innovative Irish poets of the late 20th century. A visitor to Emory University during his lifetime, Mahon’s creativity continues to inspire researchers today through his papers, originally acquired in 1999 and greatly expanded through this major addition – making Emory the home for Mahon’s extensive literary archives. See also “In Memorium: Remembering Derek Mahon” by Geraldine Higgins.
Carolyn Rodgers, a Chicago-based poet, was the founder of one of America’s oldest and largest black presses, Third World Press, est. in 1967. She got her start as a young woman studying under Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gwendolyn Brooks. Her work grappled with black identity and culture in the late 1960s and she was a leading voice of the Black Arts Movement. Her papers include correspondence, personal and professional papers, and writings reflecting her life and career. The collection also includes correspondence with friends, writers, collaborators, and editors such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Margaret Walker Alexander, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, and Hoyt Fuller.
Aram Saroyan was born in New York City in 1943 to the author and playwright William Saroyan and actor Carol Grace. He published his first poem in 1964. While he is known for his minimalist poetry, he writes and publishes across genres. He received the Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams Award for his volume Complete Minimal Poems in 2008. The collection includes manuscript drafts of poems, plays, correspondence, photograph albums, and a memoir documenting Saroyan’s life and career.
Political, Cultural, and Social Movements Collections
Gary Monroe is a documentary photographer. He studied art and photography at the University of South Florida and earned an MFA in fine arts from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1977. His work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Florida Humanities Council, and the Fulbright Foundation, among others. His early work documented the unique Jewish community in South Beach. In 1980 he received permission at the Krome Detention Center for Haitian refugees, and he began photographing the Haitian diaspora in Florida. Outside of America, his images explore the realities of daily life in Haiti, Cuba, India, Israel, Egypt, and Poland. Monroe’s photographs were featured in the 2018 documentary, The Last Resort. The collection includes photograph prints, work prints, contact sheets, negatives, correspondence, and printed material.
Dr. Pemmaraju Venugopala Rao grew up in the Indian town of Eluru, Andhra Pradesh. He joined Emory’s physics faculty as a specialist in nuclear physics in 1967. He served as Associate Professor at Emory until his retirement in 2012 and was an important contributor to the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative. With his wife, Lakshmi Rao, he was a leader of the South Asian American community in the Atlanta area. In 1975, he was elected as the first president of the India American Cultural Association and played an important role in the establishment of numerous South Asian community organizations not only in Atlanta but throughout the United States. A noted Telugu poet, he and his family hosted numerous Telugu and Indian literary figures and celebrities during their visits to Atlanta. The collection consists of materials related to the cultural life of South Asian Americans in the Atlanta area from circa 1950-2012. Materials produced by South Asian American community organizations between 1970-2010 make up the bulk of these materials.