About the collection:

The Archie Givens, Sr. Collection of African American Literature consists of over 10,000 books, magazines, and pamphlets by or about African Americans. Included are novels, poetry, plays, short stories, essays, literary criticism, periodicals, and biographies that span nearly 250 years of American culture. It has particular strength in the areas of the Harlem Renaissance and the Black Arts Movement.

The collection also holds a significant number of books that relate to African American art, education, social sciences, sports, and entertainment, as well as works by or about continental Africans and Africans in diaspora.

With tens of thousands of archival and manuscript materials that document the history of black literature and culture—correspondence, pamphlets, screenplays, newspaper clippings, photographs, sheet music, ephemera, including the Penumbra Theatre Company Archives—the Givens Collection is an invaluable community and scholarly resource.

Detailed finding aids are available online and in 213 Andersen Library.


Umbra Search
Umbra Search is a freely available search tool for hundreds of thousands of digitized African American materials across University of Minnesota collections as well as over a thousand other libraries and archives across the country. Follow us on Twitter (@UmbraSearch) and on Tumblr!

Annotated Bibliophila
This digitized version of the Givens Collection's Bibliophilia: Collecting Black Books exhibit celebrates the beauty, romance, and workmanship of African American material culture, and demonstrates how the act of collecting African American literature is is tied to placing African American history at the center of America's history and culture.