This is the first full biography of the pioneering black collector whose detective work laid the foundation for the study of black history and culture. Born in Puerto Rico in 1874, Arthur Alfonso Schomburg came to New York militantly active in Caribbean revolutionary struggles. He searched out the hidden records of the black experience and built a collection of books, manuscripts, and art that had few rivals. Today it forms the core of the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for research in Black Culture, one of the leading collections in the field.
At the center of the Harlem Renaissance, Schomburg was a generous friend of many of the writers, artists, performers, collectors, scholars, and political figures who made Harlem the capital of Black America. A contributor to the major black journals of the period, he went on to head the Negro Collection at Fisk University and became curator of his own collection in the New York Public Library until his death in 1938.