H I C A G O
R I B U T E
Harsh constructed a formidable black history
collection here, despitecriticism from central
library administrators. She traveled throughout
the country studying other collections and
gathering material for HallBranch. Her travel
and acquisition budgets were augmented by the
Rosenwald Foundation and her own savings.
Harsh created a resource
center and an environment that nurtured the
work of black artists and scholars, who used the library as a meeting
place. During the Depression, it became the unofficial center for the
Works Progress Administrations The Negro in Illinois study.
In 1934, Harsh began
a lecture series featuring such prominent writers
as Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes and
Gwendolyn Brooks. From them the library acquired more books,
manuscripts and original research.
In 1970, the Special
Negro Collection was renamed the Vivian G. Harsh
Collection of Afro-American History and Literature. In 1975, it was
moved from here to the Carter G. Woodson Regional Library at 95th