Vivian Harsh Research Center

When: Tuesday, August 23, 1 p.m.-2 p.m.

Capacity: Maximum 30, Minimum 3

Description: The Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature is the oldest and largest African American studies repository in the Midwest. Founded in 1932 by Vivian G. Harsh, the first black librarian to head a branch of the Chicago Public Library system, the “Special Negro Collection,” became a community focus of the surrounding “Bronzeville” neighborhood and one of engines of the Chicago Renaissance of the 1930s and 1940s. While developing this collection as a research and programming center for Chicago’s community of black scholars and activists, Harsh won the support and assistance of such leaders and writers as Richard Wright, Margaret Walker, Arna Bontemps, Gwendolyn Brooks, Langston Hughes and Horace Cayton. Assisted by the pioneering black children’s librarian Charlemae Hill Rollins, the collection became an extraordinary meeting place that helped develop the work of many black thinkers. The “Special Negro Collection” was moved to Carter G. Woodson Regional Library in 1975, and re-named in honor of Vivian G. Harsh. Today it holds more than 200 archival and manuscript collections, totaling nearly 4,000 linear feet.

Directions: The Vivian G. Harsh Society will provide a bus to pick up those who have signed up for the tour in front of the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Carter G. Woodson Regional Library is located at 9525 S. Halsted. Those who ride the bus are asked to donate $10 toward the cost of the bus charter. For further directions, visit

Contact: Beverly Cook,