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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Beauford Delaney Letters

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
© 2007 – Dmadeo

The Schomburg Center in Manhattan holds an archive of twenty-four pieces of correspondence that pertain to Beauford. They date from 1958-1963. Eighteen of these are personal letters written by Beauford to Lynn Stone, a friend and supporter from his “New York Years.” Biographer David Leeming refers to Stone several times in Amazing Grace, citing that she visited Beauford in Paris during the summers of 1956 and 1962, and that she was the instigator of the idea that the Urban League sponsor an exposition of Beauford’s works. (This idea would never come to fruition.) He indicates that she gave Beauford a blanket and warm clothes to help him survive the cold winter of 1963 at his rue Vercingétorix studio, and that Beauford wrote to her about his love of reading “wisdom literature of the Far East.”

The Schomburg has many additional letters concerning the Urban League exposition. One was written by James Baldwin in his capacity as chairman of the committee charged with raising money for the show. Two were written by Edward C. Califano, the director of Galerie Internationale – an organization that was to be a partner in the exposition. Two others represent correspondence between Lynn Stone and Beauford’s dear friend Charlie Boggs.

The Schomburg archive presents a rare opportunity to view Beauford’s personal papers and to read firsthand his reflections about himself and others as well as his life philosophy. The library Web site lists call number Sc MG 217 as the reference for the archive.

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
515 Malcolm X Boulevard
New York, NY 10037-1801
Telephone: 212-491-2200
Closed Mondays

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