The Man Who Built A Library

Book - 2017 | First edition, Reinforced trade edition
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Where is our historian to give us our side? Arturo asked. Amid the scholars, poets, authors, and artists of the Harlem Renaissance stood an Afro-Puerto Rican named Arturo Schomburg. This law clerk's life's passion was to collect books, letters, music, and art from Africa and the African diaspora and bring to light the achievements of people of African descent through the ages. When Schomburg's collection became so big it began to overflow his house (and his wife threatened to mutiny), he turned to the New York Public Library, where he created and curated a collection that was the cornerstone of a new Negro Division. A century later, his groundbreaking collection, known as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, has become a beacon to scholars all over the world.
Publisher: Somerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press, 2017
Edition: First edition, Reinforced trade edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780763680466
Branch Call Number: CJ 002.075 SCH649W 2017
Characteristics: 37 pages : color illustrations ; 31 cm


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FPL_StephanieP Dec 21, 2020

This picture book, which is geared towards 4th-7th graders, tells the story of Arturo Schomburg, whose life's work was to find and collect books, art, and artifacts that revealed previously uncelebrated achievements of people of African heritage. Schomburg's work led to the establishment of New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Brilliantly designed and written, this book is both a biography of Schomburg's life and a survey of some of the Black history Schomburg's work revealed.

Jul 22, 2020

Read for 2nd grade

Apr 04, 2020

The American Negro must remake his post in order to make his future…History must restore what slavery took away.
-Arturo Schomburg

Arturo Schomburg was an Afro-Puerto Rican born in 1874. As a child he loved the written word. He read books about inventors, astronomers and draftsmen. In 1891 at the age of seventeen he landed in New York. He learned English and taught Spanish. He found work as a messenger and clerk at a law firm. It was then that a spark ignited in him and drove him to want to know about Africana. He learned about Phillis Wheatley, Frederick Douglas and his boyhood hero Toussaint Louverture. Not only did he collect books, letters and art he also learned that slaves did rise up to fight for freedom. Arturo learned that African roots spread through may supposed white family trees such as John James Audubon, Alexandre Dumas, Alexander Pushkin and even Ludwig van Beethoven.

Overtime, Arturo’s need to collect information grew to the point his home had been overflowing with book collections. This resulted in his collections becoming a part of the New York Public library, better known as the Division of Negro History, Literature and Prints. Soon art, etchings, paintings and sculpture collections grew as well.

Parents and teachers will find that sharing this book and all of its glory with children. It will enlighten and encourage them to learn more about their heritage. The imagery found on these pages is vibrant art and depicts Arturo throughout his life’s work as he moved through the history he cultivated.

Mar 04, 2019

A unique contribution to history, I was fully delighted to learn about this very special collector and his contribution to libraries. I am so glad he chose to look high and low, over land and sea, for the other side of the story. What began with a single person grew into one of the most important library collections, preserved for many generations to come.


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