Precious Memories: Collectors' Passion: Selected Book List

Black Memorabilia and Collectibles

Resources for Children and Young People

Web Sites


Black Memorabilia and Collectibles


llustrated Books

Buster, Larry Vincent. The Art and History of Black Memorabilia. New York: Clarkson Potter, 2000. A fully illustrated overview of black memorabilia with more than two hundred color photographs. The author provides a historical and social context for this black experience in America.

Congdon-Martin, Douglas. Images in Black: 150 Years of Black Collectibles. West Chester, PA: Schiffer Publishing, 1990. Hundreds of images of black people, from slavery through the years of the civil rights movement, are gathered together in this volume and are illustrated in full color. The text helps the reader understand the historical context, while the price guide makes it useful for evaluating the market in black collectibles.

Gibbs, P. J. Black Collectibles Sold in America. Paducah, KY: Collector Books, 1987. A reference guide covering the trend and development of black memorabilia as a collecting category. 500 color photographs and descriptions of Black collectibles including political memorabilia, money, stamps, novelties/souvenirs, and figural images. This publication also includes a listing of museums with black memorabilia collectionsand/or exhibitions.

Huslofen, Kyle, ed. Black Americana Price Guide. Dubuque, IA: Antique Trader Books, 1996. A comprehensive, illustrated guide to African-American collectibles of the 19th and 20th centuries with an introduction by Julian Bond.

Perkins, Myla. Black Dolls Book II: An Identification and Value Guide. Paducah, KY: Collector Books, 1995. This second volume has no repeats from Book I. Color photographs of black dolls and rare advertisements for Negro dolls. Dolls are categorized by materials and artists.

Perkins, Myla. Black Dolls, 1820-1991: An Identification and Value Guide. Paducah, KY: Collector Books, 1993. Provides the whole scope of black doll collectibles and contains over 1,400 dolls, which are photographed, identified, documented, and described.

Reno, Dawn E. The Encyclopedia of Black Collectibles: A Value and Identification Guide. Radnor, PA: Wallace-Homestead Book, Co., 1996. The 16 chapters are divided into four sections: Art and Literature, Everyday Artifacts, Historical Artifacts, and Entertainment Memorabilia. It also provides the historical context for the materials

Social and Historical Perspective

Anderson, Lisa M. Mammies No More: The Changing Image of Black Women on Stage and Screen. Lanham, MD: Rowan and Littlefield, 1997. This book explores the ways in which mainstream American plays and films have reflected and helped to reinforce stereotypes of black women. It also shows how African American women playwrights and filmmakers have subverted those stereotypes by creating more realistic characters.

Boskin, Joseph. Sambo: The Rise and Demise of an American Jester. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. Sambo was the stereotypical image of the black male that developed during the Colonial period, extended to all regions and classes, and pervaded all levels of popular culture for over two centuries. The author shows how the stereotype began to unravel in the 1930s.

Foxworth, Marilyn Kern. Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, and Rastus: Blacks in Advertising, Yesterday,Today, and Tomorrow. With a foreword by Alex Haley. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1994.This volume examines the portrayal of black stereotypes in advertising from the turn of the 20th century to the present.

Gubar, Susan. White Skin, Black Face in American Culture. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. Acknowledging the legacy of the minstrel show, the author explores cross-racial impersonations and imitations in modern American film, fiction, poetry, painting, photography, and journalism.

Jewell, K. Sue. From Mammy to Miss America and Beyond: Cultural Images and the Shaping of USSocial Policy. New York: Routledge, 1993. The author shows that those with social powerconstruct disparate cultural images of diverse groups in society, but it is the media that is thepowerful force for the transmission and perpetuation of these images.

Pieterse, Jan Nederveen. White on Black: Images of African and Blacks in Western Popular Culture. New Haven: Tale University Press, 1992. A visual history of the development of Westernstereotypes of black people over the last two hundred years.

Roberts, Diane. The Myth of Aunt Jemima: Representations of Race and Region. New York: Routledege, 1994. Looks at the way in which three centuries of white women writers have tackledthe subject of race in Britain and America. This book discusses how cultural representations of black women and white women have influenced perceptions of gender and sexuality.

Sinnette, Elinor Des Verney, W. Paul Coates, and Thomas C. Battle. Black Bibliophiles and Collectors: Preservers of Black History. Washington, DC: Howard University Press, 1990. Examines those pioneers who devoted their resources to build collections that would ensure the preservation of the history of black people. It also chronicles the development of noted private and public black collections, investigates the state of contemporary collecting, discusses black-related memorabilia as collectibles and material culture and offers suggestion for establishing and preserving private collections.

Smith, Jessie Carney. Images of Blacks in American Culture: A Reference Guide to InformationSources. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1988. Each chapter of this handbook is written by a specialist and presents a survey and a bibliography on each topic. The topics range from the musical theater, the film and television industry to toys, games, and dolls, children's books, the images of the black woman, and of the black man.

African American Arts, Crafts, and Photography

Algotsson, Sharne. African Style Down to the Details. New York: Clarkson Potter, 2000. A hands-on guide to home decorating using African and African-inspired arts and artifacts. The extensive resources sections makes it easy for readers to locate hard-to-find specialty stores and suppliers of textiles, furniture, and accessories.

Allen, Ana M. The Beginner's Guide to Collecting Fine Art African American Style. Washington, DC: Positiv!, 1998. This guide is designed to teach the novice how to begin collecting AfricanAmerican art. It includes a bibliography, lists of museums and cultural centers, African American artists, and a glossary.

Barnwell, Andrea D. The Walter O. Evans Collection of African American Art. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1999. Features a broad selection of works from this private collection. Eighty color plates illustrate the aesthetic legacy created by African American artists over more than 150 years.

Britton, Crystal A. African-American Art: The Long Struggle. New York: Smithmark, 1996. An historical overview of African American art from the Colonial period the present day.

Driskell, David C. The Other Side of Color: African American Art in the Collection of Camille O. & William H. Cosby Jr. San Francisco: Pomegranate Communications, 2001. The Cosby collection of African American art is one of the most highly respected in the world. The text by Professor Driskell explores the historical, biographical, social, and political background for the works included.

Freeman, Roland L. A Communion of the Spirits: African-American Quilters, Preservers, and Their Stories. Nashville: Rutledge Hill, 1996. A national survey of African American quilt makers. It is also a personal record of how the author's life has intertwined with the world of quilt making for almost sixty years. This work covers 38 states and the District of Columbia.

Fry, Gladys-Marie. Stitched from the Soul: Slave Quilts from the Ante-bellum South. New York:Dutton Studio Books, 1990. This indispensable work is written by one of the leading scholars on African American quilts.

Higgins, Chester, Jr. Some Time Ago: A Historical Portrait of Black Americans, 1850-1950. Garden City, NJ: Anchor Press, 1980. Chronicles 100 years of the black experience in America. Some rare and beautiful documents depict the many roles blacks have had in shaping the national character and culture.

Mazloomi, Carolyn. Spirits of the Cloth: Contemporary African American Quilts. New York: Clarkson Potter, 1998. Although the African American quilting tradition dates back to Colonial times, contemporary pieces are highly valued because of their astonishingly vibrant creativity. The book highlights 150 beautiful contemporary African American quilts.

Myers, Walter Dean. One More River to Cross: An African American Photograph Album. New York: Harcourt Brace, and Company, 1995. Stunning photographs reflecting the diversity of African American life.

Patton, Sharon F. African-American Art. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. Explores significant issues such as the relationship between art and politics, the influence of galleries and museums, the growth of black universities, critical theory, the impact of artists' collectives, and an assortment of art movements since the 1960s.

Taha, Halima. Collecting African American Art. New York: Crown Publishers, 1998. Provides practical guidelines for becoming an informed collector and includes specific criteria for working with dealers. This guide presents both new and established artists and defines the role of the collector of African American art.

Thompson, Kathleen and Hilary McAustin. The Face of Our Past: Images of Black Women for Colonial American to the Present. Bloomington: University of Indiana, 1999. The images in this collection of drawings and photographs tell compelling stories of the struggles and triumphs of black women in America.

Wilson, Jackie Napoleon. Hidden Witness: African-American Images from the Dawn of Photography to the Civil War. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999. A comprehensives and significant collection of photographs of African Americans taken from 1840 until the Civil War.

African American Music, Film, and Theater

Bogle, Donald. Brown Sugar: Eighty Years of America's Black Female Superstars. New York: Harmony, 1980. Lavishly illustrated, Brown Sugar is filled with the individual and collective stories and legends of America's black female superstars form the 1900s to the 1970s.

Merlis, Bob and Seay. Heart and Soul: A Celebration of Black Music and Style in America, 1930-1975. New York: Stewart, Tabori, and Chang, 1997. This musical history is told in legends, facts and rumors, and is illustrated with more than 400 color photographs, publicity shots, posters, programs, advertisements, program covers, magazine covers, album covers and sleeves, sheet music, and record labels.

Woll, Allen. Black Musical Theatre: From Coontown to Dreamgirls. New York: Da Capo Press, 1989. Provides a comprehensive listing of the major black musicals and revues as well as significant insights into the influence that dictated the continuation of the negative and demeaning stereotypes of blacks on the stage that began earlier in the nineteenth century in minstrel shows.


Resources for Children and Young People


Picture Books (Ages 4 - 8)

Cosby, Bill. The Treasure Hunt. With illustrations by Varnette P. Honeywood. New York: Cartwheel Books, 1997. One rainy day, while his father listens to his old records, his mother polishes a silver platter, and his brother enjoys his baseball card collection, Little Bill discovers his own treasures, a loving great-grandmother and a talent for storytelling.

Daise, Ronald. Let's Go to the Gullah Gullah Island Market! With illustrations by Allan Eitzen. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996. When Miss Natalie and Shaina visit the Gullah Gullah Island Market there are all kinds of collectibles being sold, including baskets, dolls, chimes carved in the shape of animals, and quilts.

Howard, Elizabeth Fitgerald. Aunt Flossie's Hats (and Crab Cakes Later). With paintings by James Ransome. New York: Clarion Books, 1991. Sarah and Susan share tea, cookies, crab cakes, and stories about hats when they visit their favorite relative, Aunt Flossie.

Toyomi Igus, Toyomi. When I Was Little. With illustrations by Higgins Bond. East Orange, JN: Just Us Books, 1992. Five-year old Noel visits his grandfather in the country and learns what life was like when his grandfather was his age.

Johnson, Dinah. Sitting Pretty: A Celebration Black Dolls. With photographs by Myles C. Pinkney. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 2000. A collection of photographs and poems celebrating black dolls from around the world that includes some historical background.

Mitchell, Rhonda. The Talking Cloth. New York: Orchard Books, 1997. Aunt Phoebe collects many things, but when Amber and her father go to visit her, Amber wraps herself in cloth from Ghana and learns the significance of the colors and symbols of the Ashanti people.

Roslaes, Melodye Benson. Minnie Saves the Day. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 2001. Hester Merriweather's grandmother gives her a handmade rag doll that proves to be very special indeed. This book includes historical background and photographs of Chicago's African American community during the 1930s.

Illustrated History Books (Ages 9+)

American Girls Collection. Welcome to Addy's World 1864: Growing Up During America's Civil War. Middleton, WI: Pleasant Company Publications, 1999. This book tells the story of what it was like to be an escaped slave during the Civil War. The book contains letters and diaries of girls and boys and true stories about their courage.

Bolden, Tonya. Tell All the Children Our Story: Memories and Mementos of Being Young and Black in America. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2001. This scrapbook has accompanying excerpts from memoirs and diaries and other primary and secondary sources as well as advertisements, posters, photographs, and paintings.

Butler, Jerry. A Drawing in the Sand: A Story of African American Art. Madison, WI: Zino Press, 1998. Describes Jerry Butler's development as an artist and his discovery of the long tradition of African American art that preceded him.

Curry, Barbara K. and James Michael Brodie. Sweet Words So Brave: The Story of African American Literature. With illustrations by Jerry Butler. Madison, WI: Zino Press, 1996. A man and his granddaughter travel the long road of African American struggles to become not only literate, but writers as well.

Editors of Time-Life Books. African Americans Voices of Triumph: Creative Fire. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life, 1994. Drawing from private collections and the foremost archives of African American history, Creative Fire is filled with rare photographs, original art, and little-known detail culled from a major research effort.

Editors of Time-Life Books. African Americans Voices of Triumph :Perseverance. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life, 1994. Drawing from private collections and the foremost archives of African American history, Perseverance is filled with rare photographs, original art, and little-known detail culled from a major research effort.

Hudson, Wade and Cheryl Willis Hudson, eds. In Praise of Our Fathers and Our Mothers: A Black Family Treasury by Outstanding Authors and Artists. East Orange, NJ: Just Us Books, 1997. Features the work of more than forty distinguished writers and visual artists who share memories and images in praise of family and African American ancestors.

Thomas, Velma Maia. Freedom's Children: The Passage from Emancipation to the Great Migration. New York: Crown Publishers, 2000. A three-dimensional interactive book that features historical photograph and removable documents. This sequel to Lest We Forget is a collection of photographs and removable documents that bring to life the stories of freedmen and freedwomen during Reconstruction.

Thomas, Velma Maia. Lest We Forget: The Passage from Africa to Slavery and Emancipation. New York: Crown Publishers, 1997. A three-dimensional interactive book with photograph and removable documents from the Black Holocaust exhibit This book is a collection of historic papers, memoirs, personal effects, and photographs reflecting the lives of Africans from pre-slavery culture to their enslavement in America.

Family: Genealogy, Family History, and Family Reunions

Beasley, Donna. Family Pride: The Complete Guide to Tracing African-American Genealogy. New York: Macmillan Books, 1997. A Comprehensive resource designed to help unlock the mysteries of ancestral heritage. It provides step-by-step instructions on how to research African-American family history.

Burroughs, Tony. Black Roots: A Beginners Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree. New York: Fireside, 2001. Highlights some of the special problems, solutions, and sources unique to African Americans.

Howell, Barbara Thompson. How to Trace Your African-American Roots. Secaucus, NJ: Citadel Press, 1999. This is a practical guide that demonstrates how to use the basic resources of every genealogist to trace ancestors and more.

Sturdevant, Katherine Scott. Bringing Your Family History to Life through Social History. Cincinnati: Betterway Books, 2000. Shows you how to use social history-the study of "ordinary people's everyday live"-to add depth, detail, and drama to your family's saga.

Woodtor, Dee Parmer. Finding A Place Called Home: A Guide to African-American Genealogy and Historical Identity. New York: Random House Reference & Information, 1999. A comprehensive guide to finding African American roots. It shows you in a step-by-step fashion how to research black family history

General Resources

Braun, Bev Kirschner. Crafting Your Own Heritage Album. Cincinnati: Betterway Books, 2000. Shows you how to showcase and preserve the special people, stories, traditions and keepsakes of your ancestry.

Long, Jane S. and Richard W. Long. Caring for Your Family Treasures. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2000. Discusses the care and maintenance of objects for daily use as well as the preservation of more fragile objects. The text is complemented with many full-color illustrations as well as special information boxes and checklists for each category of treasure.

Muensterberger, Werner. Collecting: An Unruly Passion. San Diego: Harcourt Brace and Company, 1994. Explores the psychology behind the act of collecting, profiling individual collectors and their habits. The book also looks at the cultural and historical patterns of collecting.


Web Sites

Africans in America: America's Journey through Slavery

America's journey through slavery is presented in four parts. For each era, you'll find an historical Narrative, a Resource Bank of images, documents, stories, biographies, and commentaries, and a Teacher's Guide for using the content of the website and television series in U.S. history courses.


American Memory from the Library of Congress

American Memory is a gateway to rich primary source materials relating to the history and culture of the United States. The site offers more than 7 million digital items from more than 100 historical collections.


Antiques Roadshow with Philip J. Merrill

Tips of the trade on collecting African Americana


CoOL (Conservation OnLine)

A project of the Preservation Department of Stanford University Libraries that is a full-text library of conservation information, covering a wide spectrum of topics of interest to those involved with the conservation of library, archives and museum materials.


Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia

The Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia is both a real place and a virtual site. The actual museum is located on the campus of Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan. Dr. John Thorp, Social Sciences division head, schedules all tours. He can be contacted at (231) 591-2760, or at


Living with Black Americana

This article discusses different views on collecting Black Americana.

The Schomburg Collection at the New York Public Library

Digital images of African Americans from the 19th century