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Barbara Burg Coauthors Guide to African American and African Primary Sources at Harvard University

In September, Harvard enrolled its first graduate students in African American Studies. Although their program is new, these students are finding a wealth of African primary sources in Harvard's libraries, museums, and archival repositories. Those sources are easily accessible thanks to Harvard College Library (HCL) research librarian Barbara Burg and her recently published Guide to African American and African Primary Sources at Harvard University.

"The book intends to make primary sources more visible and easier to locate by giving detailed information about the sources in a single printed guide. It will be extremely helpful for the Afro-American studies graduate students who often need original materials for their work," said Burg, HCL research services liaison to the Afro-American studies and history departments.

Burg coauthored the book with Richard Newman, research officer for the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research, and Elizabeth E. Sandager, project archivist. The Guide lists over 845 primary source materials and gives the description, subject headings, call number or identifying information, location, summary, and historical notes for each item. The terms "African" and "African American" are defined widely to include papers of white Abolitionists and subject headings such as Free Southern Theater. The primary sources come in many forms: artwork, deeds, wills, diaries, engravings, maps, meeting minutes, photographs, plantation records, playbills, and sheet music. "These materials are in the HOLLIS catalog, but due to diverse styles of cataloging and generalized subject headings it would be very difficult to create a significant list of the sources without already knowing the titles or authors," said Burg.

In the January 2002 issue of Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, the book is listed as an Outstanding Academic Title (OAT). According to Choice editors, titles for OAT are selected for "being of permanent value or of such topical importance that they belong in every academic library." Burg's Guide to African American and African Primary Sources at Harvard University was distinguished, in part, for it's overall excellence and originality.

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Last modified on Thursday, April 18, 2002.