In spring 2021, the VHL and RAI agreed to create the Alain Locke Collection with support from the Association of American Rhodes Scholars (AARS). Named after the first African American Rhodes Scholar, the collection aims to focus on research monographs in the areas of African American history, politics, biography and culture, alongside notable gaps in material not produced by commercial publishers.
The Bodleian is committed to providing students and researchers with world class access to resources to enable them to fulfil their scholarly ambitions. We are therefore hugely grateful to the AARS for pledging a gift of $25,000 over five years supporting the Alain Locke Collection. This supports our intention for the VHL to become a leading centre for the study of African American history, politics, and culture.
This ambitious vision the VHL will be achieved by enhancing our current collections through the focused and strategic purchase of African American research material, including valuable electronic database collections which will support students and researchers in their studies. Reflecting our commitment to maintain and promote our African American-based collection, this vision sits within the current strategic aims of the Bodleian Libraries and alongside the work of the RAI, whose mission is to promote ‘greater public and academic understanding of the history, culture and politics of the United States’.
About the Collection
The collection will be created through consulting bibliographies recommended by the Frederick Douglass Book Prize Board (Gilder Lehrman and Yale); recommendations by Professors Eddie Glaude at Princeton and Henry Louis Gates at Harvard; and gaps identified by the VHL Librarian.
The establishment of the Alain Locke Collection will allow the VHL to expand the purchase of African American focused research monographs, without affecting expenditure on other research areas. It will build on the VHL’s current holdings and run alongside the continued intake of research monographs via the legal deposit agreements and e-book packages. It will allow the VHL to identify and address potential gaps in some of the older materials. Most significantly, it will demonstrate our commitment to representing African American history and culture within our collections.
You can see above a selection of some of the titles that have been selected for our first intake for the Alain Locke Collection. You can view the full list here.
About the display area
Readers will be able to see the first selection for the Alain Locke Collection on the Ground Floor of the Library. This area, as part of our agreement with the AARS, will be dedicated to displaying and promoting the Collection. Alongside works by Locke, on display are items related to African American political history from our Philip and Rosamund Davies U.S. Elections Campaigns Archive. These items show the breadth of the Archive.
If you have any further questions about the Alain Locke Collection, or the display below, please contact Bethan Davies. To find out more about supporting the Vere Harmsworth Library and the Alain Locke collection please contact Jenny Haimes