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Langston Hughes ephemera collection

Identifier: MSS 0567

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains advertisements, programs, and other printed material related to the literary career of Langston Hughes. The first series contains items documenting Hughes’s many poetry readings, lectures, addresses, and other public appearances. The second series contains items related to performances of Hughes’s works, chiefly his plays, musicals, and operas.

Throughout his career, Langston Hughes frequently traveled across the United States to lecture and to read his poetry at schools, colleges, and other venues. The first series provides information not only about these appearances themselves but also about how they were publicized and marketed. In addition, the short biographical notes on Hughes that appear in many of the programs document his public image throughout four decades of his literary career.

Langston Hughes was also a prolific playwright. The second series of this collection illustrates the range of Hughes’s dramatic achievement. The works represented include plays, gospel musicals, and the libretti to several operas and cantatas composed by Jan Meyerowitz. Some items in this series document several productions of a single show.

Where possible, likely years have been provided for items listing only month and day. By consulting published correspondence, biographical information, and a perpetual calendar, it was often possible to determine the year with near certainty. Dates that can be conjectured from available evidence but not definitively established are noted with a question mark.


  • Creation: 1932-1967

Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Restrictions on Access

The collection is open for research.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library,

Biographical Note

Langston Hughes, a prominent African American author, was born in Joplin, Mississippi, in 1902. He began his career in the 1920s as part of the Harlem Renaissance. In his 1926 essay “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain,” Hughes criticized African American poets who chose to adhere to White literary conventions. In contrast, much of Hughes’s poetry is written in the language of the African American lower class or in the rhythms of the blues, jazz, and bebop. While Hughes is best known for his poetry, he was also an accomplished writer of fiction, drama, and essays. He worked as a translator, edited volumes of African American poetry and fiction, and wrote two autobiographies. Langston Hughes died of congestive heart failure in 1967.

Contemporary Authors, s.v. “(James) Langston Hughes,” Literature Resource Center, (accessed January 30, 2007). Donald C. Dickinson, A Bio-bibliography of Langston Hughes 2nd ed. (Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, 1972).


.25 linear foot (1 box)


Programs and advertising materials for personal appearances of American author Langston Hughes and for dramatic productions of his works.


Purchase, 2007.

Materials Available in Alternative Format

Access to digitized versions of the Langston Hughes ephemera is available at

OCLC Number

Processing and Encoding

Processed and encoded by Kate Hand, January 2008.

Finding aid for Langston Hughes ephemera collection
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
2008 January 29
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Delaware Library Special Collections Repository

181 South College Avenue
Newark DE 19717-5267 USA