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Aaron Douglas papers, 1921-1973

Douglas, Aaron, 1899-1979

Muralist, Painter, Illustrator


Collection Information

Size: 4 Microfilm reels

Summary: This microfilm collection of the papers of African American painter, muralist, and illustrator Aaron Douglas primarily concern Douglas' years at Fisk University, the development of the art department, and the management of the Stieglitz art collection. The collection consists of biographical material; correspondence; artwork including prints, drawings, and sketchbooks; and teaching material including drafts of lectures and teaching notes. Also included are printed material such as exhibition catalogs and clippings; reports and printed material concerning the Sigma Pi Phi fraternity; and photographs of Douglas and his works of art.
Among the correspondents are Charles Alston, Claude Clark, John Cowles, William Dawson, Jeff Donaldson, Cedric Dover, David Driskell, Mary Beattie Brady of the Harmon Foundation, John Davis Hatch, William C. Haygood of the Julius Rosenwald Fund, and Walter Pach.

Biographical/Historical Note

Aaron Douglas (1899-1979) was an African American painter, muralist, and illustrator in Nashville, Tennessee. He is commonly regarded as a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance. In 1937 Charles S. Johnson, the first African American president of Fisk University, invited Douglas to develop the university's art department. He served as the department head until his retirement in 1966.


Lent for microfilming 1991 by Special Collections Department, Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee.

Related Materials

Fisk University Special Collections holds the Aaron Douglas collection, 1921-1973 and the Aaron Douglas Collection Addendum, 1937-1974. The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library holds the Aaron Douglas papers, 1924-1939.

Language Note

English .

Location of Originals

  • Originals and master negative in: Fisk University, Special Collections Department.

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

35mm microfilm reels 4520-4523 available at Archives of American Art offices, at Fisk University and through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Access

The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.

How to Cite This Collection

Aaron Douglas papers, 1921-1973. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.