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.

Series 8
Dorothy Porter Wesley papers, 1867-2002 (bulk 1926-1995)
Boxes 80-88 and OP 21

Biographical Note

Dorothy Burnett Porter Wesley (1905-1995) was born in Warrenton, Virginia, to Hayes Joseph Burnett, a physician, and Bertha Ball Burnett, a tennis player. She was the oldest of four siblings and was raised in Montclair, New Jersey, where her father was the first African American physician to practice medicine. In 1928, Dorothy graduated from Howard University (Washington, D.C.) and completed a master's degree in Library Science at Columbia University (New York, New York) in 1932. She was the first African American to graduate from the University's library school. Wesley was appointed "librarian in charge of the Negro collection" at Howard University in 1930; her career there spanned over 40 years, during which time she was extremely influential in building the collections of what became the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. She retired in 1973.

Dorothy married James Porter in 1929 and the couple had one daughter, Constance Porter Uzelac. After James's death, Dorothy eventually married historian and educator Charles Wesley in 1979; the couple were married until his death in 1987. Dorothy Porter Wesley died in 1995 at the age of 90.

Scope and Content Note

The series consists of papers of Dorothy Porter Wesley from 1867-2005 and includes personal papers as well as documents relating to her work at Howard University's Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. Personal papers contain appointment books, correspondence, notebooks, files documenting her work with the Phelps-Stokes Fund and the Smithsonian Institution, files documenting her art and book collections, and files relating to the death and estate of James Porter. Correspondence is personal in nature and is comprised primarily of condolence letters following the 1970 death of James Porter, including one letter from the artist Romare Bearden. Of particular note among Wesley's papers is a small collection of letters to Glenn Carrington from Ophelia Settle Egypt in which she discusses her marriage and children, financial troubles, working at Howard University, and mutual friends and acquaintances. The Howard University Moorland-Spingarn Research Center files are minimal and contain a small amount of correspondence, receipts documenting book acquisitions, notes, a notebook, and a small amount of other records relating to Wesley's work as a librarian.

Arrangement Note

Arranged by reecord type, then in alphabetical order.

Personal papers
Box Folder Content
80 1 "250 Years of Afro-American Art: An Annotated Bibliography," 1981 [fragment]
80 2 Address books, undated
80 3 African American Museums Association (Washington, D.C.), 1982-1998
80 4 African American Women's Association (Washington, D.C.), 1987
80 5 Appointment books, 1969
80 6 Appointment books, 1971-1974
80 7 Appointment books, 1978-1980
80 8 Appointment books, 1983
80 9 Art collection, circa 1970-1979
80 10 Arts and Humanities Awards Ceremony, President Clinton remarks about Dorothy Porter Wesley, 1994
80 11 Associated Publishers, "A Reprint of Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson's Major Publications," 1992
80 12 Biography, undated
80 13 Bookplate, circa 1995
80 14 Business cards and place cards, undated
80 15 Business cards of others, undated
80 16 Carrington, Glenn, 1955-1975
80 17 Carrington, Glenn, letters from Ophelia Settle Egypt, 1926-1945
80 18 Correspondence, undated
80 19 Correspondence, 1923, 1934-1937, 1943
80 20 Correspondence, 1954-1960, 1969
80 21 Correspondence, circa 1970
81 1 Correspondence, 1970 February
81 2 Correspondence, circa 1970 March
81 3 Correspondence, 1970 March 1-7
81 4 Correspondence, 1970 March 8-14
81 5 Correspondence, 1970 March 15-31
81 6 Correspondence, 1970 April-November
81 7 Correspondence, 1971-1979
82 1 Correspondence, 1980-1986
82 2 Correspondence, 1987-1989
82 3 Correspondence, 1990-1991
82 4 Correspondence, 1992-1993
82 5 Correspondence, 1994-1995
82 6 Correspondence, empty envelopes, circa 1974-1995
82 7 Curricula vitae, circa 1960s-1993
83 1 Donations to Howard University, 1959-1995
83 2 Early Negro Writing, 1760-1837, undated
83 3 Financial records, circa 1971-1995
83 4 Fragments, undated
83 5 Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts), circa 1989-2002
83 6 Institute on the Preservation and Administration of Archives, 1957
83 7 Introduction to Afro-American Studies, Yale University, circa 1971
83 8 Legal records, circa 1990
83 9 "Links to Our Past A National Conference on Black Museums: Interpreting the Humanities" (Chicago, Illinois), 1980
83 10 Los Angeles County Museum of Art (California), 1974-1976
83 11 Los Angeles County Museum of Art (California), loan of Head of a Negro Boy by William E. Artis for exhibition, 1993-1996 William E. Artis for exhibition, 1993-1996
OP21 - Marriage certificate, James Y. Harper, Jr. and Leonie Burnett, 1942
83 12 Marriage certificate, James Y. Harper, Jr. and Leonie Burnett, 1942
83 13 Marriage certificate, William Neale and Catherine Glavin, 1869 [certified copy made 1977]
83 14 Medical records, 1993
83 15 National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center (Wilberforce, Ohio), 1982-1993
83 16 National Association of Colored Women's Clubs (Washington, D.C.), 1992
84 1 National Endowment for the Humanities (Washington, D.C.), 1966-1995
84 2 National Portrait Gallery (Washington, D.C.), 1993
84 3 The Newark Museum (New Jersey), loan of Head of a Negro Boy by William E. Artis for exhibition, 1988-1990 Newark Museum (New Jersey), loan of
84 4 Notebooks, undated [1 of 4]
84 5 Notebooks, undated [2 of 4]
84 6 Notebooks, undated [3 of 4]
84 7 Notebooks, undated [4 of 4]
84 8 Notebooks, circa 1950s
84 9 Notebooks, 1964
85 1 Notebooks, circa 1968
85 2 Notebooks, circa 1974-1976
85 3 Notebooks, 1981-1982
85 4 Notebooks, circa 1988
85 5 Notebooks, conference, 1993
85 6 Notes and lists, undated
85 7 Omari, Mikelle Smith, 1980
85 8 Peyton, Thomas Roy, undated
86 1 Phelps-Stokes Fund (New York, New York), Emergency Service for African Students, 1974-1976
86 2 Poem, "To Ellen and Jim with Love," 1967
86 3 Porter family Christmas cards, undated
86 4 Porter, James A., artwork conservation reports, 1983-1985
86 5 Porter, James A., artwork inventories, undated
86 6 Porter, James A., biographical information, circa 1965-1987
86 7 Porter, James A., Colloquium on African American Art, Howard University (Washington, D.C.), 1990-1992
86 8 Porter, James A., exhibition, "James Amos Porter, Artist and Art Historian: The Memory of the Legacy," Howard University (Washington, D.C.), 1989-1993
86 9 Porter, James A., funeral, American Cancer Society memorial contribution cards, 1970
86 10 Porter, James A., funeral, floral arrangement cards, 1970
86 11 Porter, James A., interview, undated
86 12 Porter, James A., memorials and obituaries, 1970
86 13 Porter, James A., Modern Negro Art, circa 1980-1989
86 14 Porter, James A., Modern Negro Art, 1992 [1 of 2]
86 15 Porter, James A., Modern Negro Art, 1992 [2 of 2]
86 16 Porter, James A., Print typesetting instructions, undated
86 17 Printing, 1992
87 1 Recipes, undated
87 2 Smithsonian Institution (Washington, D.C.), 1976
87 3 Smithsonian Institution (Washington, D.C.), National African American Museum project, 1991-1994
87 4 Smithsonian Institution (Washington, D.C.), National Museum of American Art, 1992-1994
87 5 Stationery, undated
87 6 Trevor Arnett Library, Atlanta University (Georgia), excerpts from the librarian's annual report, 1965
87 7 Unidentified speech, undated
87 8 Wesley, Charles H., 1973
87 9 Westport Gallery, notes, undated
87 10 Women's Africa Committee (New York, New York), 1969
Howard University Moorland-Spingarn Research Center files
87 11 Atlantica Foundation (Washington, D.C.), 1950-1961
87 12 Black Abolitionist Papers editorial project, 1978
87 13 Book acquisition receipts, circa 1965-1974
87 14 Catalog cards, undated
87 15 Correspondence, 1929-1973
87 16 Final report, Ford Foundation processing grant, 1972
87 17 Gifts to Moorland-Spingarn, 1936-1967
87 18 Guidelines and procedures, undated
87 19 Library Staff Bulletin, March 1941
88 1 Minutes of the Board of Trustees, summaries relating to library business, 1867-1900
88 2 Moorland-Spingarn research guides, circa 1970s
88 3 Notes and notebook, undated
88 4 Reference question, 1965
88 5 Resumes, 1963-1978
88 6 Subject headings used for Howard University material, undated
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