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Series III: Teaching and Professional Work
At a Glance
This collection is arranged in six series.
Scope and Contents
Contents of the collection include professional papers such as manuscripts from Boone's graduate studies and from her several book projects, research journals, correspondence, course materials and syllabi, and lecture notes. The collection also contains many personal papers, including correspondence, photographs, notebooks, calendars and datebooks, and magazine and newspaper clippings. Finally, the collection contains materials collected by Vera Wells after Boone's death, including dissertation manuscripts from the recipients of Yale's Sylvia Ardyn Boone Prize. Audiovisual materials are also present in the collection, including slides from research trips as well as VHS tapes and cassette recordings of interviews with Maya Angelou, Gwendolyn Brooks, and "Mrs. DuBois" (Yolande?).
The collection as a whole presents a complex and intimate picture of Sylvia Boone's intellectual life and personality. In particular, it illuminates the challenges she faced and connections she forged as one of the few scholars of color in her academic community. Letters, memos, and course materials explicitly speak about these challenges, while many personal papers such as guidebooks for black businesses in New Haven imply a search for connection within the community. The collection also includes many papers related to Boone's work on the commemoration events for the 150 th anniversary of the Amistad affair.
Whenever possible, folders created and labeled by Sylvia Boone have been maintained with Boone's handwritten title. The titles of these folders are preceded with "Personal File," "Office File," or "File." Though the contents of these particular folders usually match Boone's title, in some cases the contents do not match.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
Folder-level restrictions are marked in the container list if apply.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Sylvia Boone Papers; Box and Folder (if known); Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Collection-level record describing unprocessed material made public in summer 2018 as part of the Hidden Collections initiative.
This collection was processed by Rachel Finn, Pratt Institute '13 (MLS) and Emily Hawk, Columbia University (PhD student), under supervision of Carolyn Smith, archivist. Finding aid written by Emily Hawk in June 2019.
Note that an additional unprocessed accession of Boone's papers is held by the RBML. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Sylvia Ardyn Boone (1940-1993) was an African-American art historian specializing in African art, particularly focusing on the Mende people of Sierra Leone, female imagery, standards of beauty, and masks. She graduated from Brooklyn College and received a Master's from Columbia before completing her Ph.D. in Art History at Yale. She taught at the University of Ghana before joining the faculty at Yale in 1979, ultimately becoming the first African-American woman to receive tenure at Yale in 1988.