Regenia Perry papers, circa 1920-2017

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322


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Collection Stored Off-Site

All or portions of this collection are housed off-site. Materials can still be requested but researchers should expect a delay of up to two business days for retrieval.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Perry, Regenia.
Title: Regenia Perry papers, circa 1920-2017
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 1312
Extent: 36.625 linear feet (34 boxes) and 1 oversized papers box (OP)
Abstract:Papers of African-American art historian Regenia Perry including art and artist files, photographs, printed material, and slides.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Collection stored off-site. Researchers must contact the Rose Library in advance to access this collection.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Separated Material

The Rose Library also holds publications formerly owned by Regenia Perry. These materials may be location in the Emory University online catalog by searching Perry, Regenia, former owner.


Purchased from Regenia Perry, 2016. Additions were purchased from Perry in 2017 and eight photographs by James Van Der Zee were a gift from Perry in 2018.

Custodial History

The collection was originally acquired from Regenia Perry in 2014 and in Rose Library's custody until the execution of a deed of sale in 2016. At that time, Perry made additions to the collection, including James Van Der Zee photos. The deed for the additions made in 2016, excluding some of the Van Der Zee photos, was executed in 2017. The remaining Van Der Zee photos were held in the library's custody until execution of the deed of gift in 2018.


[after identification of item(s)], Regenia Perry papers, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Appraisal Note

Acquired by Curator of African American Collections Pellom McDaniels III as part of the Rose Library's holdings in African American art and art history.


Arranged and described at the collection level by Sarah Quigley and Faiza Rahman 2017-2019. Material in the collection is primarily described by record type. Some material is described by creator or subject due to its volume or uniqueness.

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Collection Description

Biographical Note

Regenia Alfreda Perry, African American art historian, was born in 1941 in Virgilina, Virginia. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Virginia State College (now Virginia State University) in 1961, and went to Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve University) in Cleveland, Ohio, where she received a Ph.D. in Art History in 1966. Perry is the first African American woman to hold doctorates in art history and American art. She has published books on African American art, including James Van Der Zee, Photographer (1973), The Folk Tradition in Black American Art (1975), Black Folk Art in America (with John Beardsley, 1982), and Harriet Powers Bible Quilts (1994). She also has taught at numerous colleges and universities, including Howard University (Washington, D.C.), though the majority of her professorial career was spent at Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, Virginia). Perry also founded Raven Arts, an art consulting firm that represents African American folk artists.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the papers of Regenia Perry from circa 1920-2017 and includes art and artist files, photographs, printed material, and slides documenting her scholarship in the field of African American art history. There is also some correspondence and writings by Perry, as well as artwork by several African American artists, including Phillip Lindsay Mason and James Wells. There are numerous prints of photographs by James Van Der Zee, all of which are annotated by Perry. Eight of these prints are signed by Van Der Zee and were part of the 1974 Graphics International Portfolio. The prints in this collection were originally produced between 1910-1940.

Arrangement Note

Arranged in alphabetical order.

Selected Search Terms

Personal Names

Topical Terms

Form/Genre Terms

Container List

Box Folder Content
21 - Art and artist binders
22 - Art and artist binders
24 - Art and artist binders
25 - Art and artist binders
26 - Art and artist binders
2 - Artist files
3 - Artist files
4 - Artist files
5 - Artist files
6 - Artist files
7 - Artist files
8 - Artist files
9 - Artist files
11 - Artist files
28 - Awards
33 - Awards
19 - Correspondence
20 - Correspondence
33 - Mason, Phillip Lindsay, prints [3 prints]
26 - Mignon, Francois and Melrose Plantation binders
27 - Photograph albums
8 - Photographs
10 - Photographs
11 - Photographs
14 - Photographs
15 - Photographs
18 - Photographs
19 - Printed material
20 - Printed material
28 - Printed material
33 - Printed material
34 - Printed material
1 - Slides
8 - Slides
9 - Slides
11 - Slides
12 - Slides
13 - Slides
14 - Slides
15 - Slides
16 - Slides
17 - Slides
18 - Slides
19 - Slides
20 - Slides
21 - Slides
27 - Slides
33 - Stokes, Willie, paintings [5 paintings]
23 - Van Der Zee, James, binders
29 - Van Der Zee, James, photographs [reproductions]
30 - Van Der Zee, James, photographs [reproductions]
31 - Van Der Zee, James, photographs [reproductions]
32 - Van Der Zee, James, photographs, Graphics International Portfolio [signed by Van Der Zee; 8 photographs]
33 - Wells, James, prints [3 prints]
19 - Writings/notes
20 - Writings/notes
OP1 1 Printed material and certificates, 1959-1987