Historian Arturo Schomburg is born. He would go on to receive the William E. Harmon award for his outstanding work.
1874 (Jan 24)
Bibliophile, curator, writer, and mason Arturo Alfonso Schomburg was born to Carlos and Maria Schomburg in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He attended public schools in San Juan and graduated from the Instituto de Instruccion and the Institute de Ensenanza Popular. Schomburg attended St. Thomas College in the Virgin Islands and began to collect books and photographs about Puerto Ricans of African descent. (The passion for collecting material sprang from an incident in grade school—a teacher asked him to write an essay on his heritage and he was unable to find any material.) Schomburg expands his collection to include all people of African descent—by 1926 his collection included over 5,000 books, 3,000 manuscripts, 2,000 etchings, and several thousand pamphlets. In April 1891, he went to New York City and became a member of the Puerto Rico Revolutionary Party. He became a mason a year later. Schomburg wrote "Racial Integrity": A plea for the establishment of a chair of Negro history in our schools, colleges, etc., and magazine articles and brochures on masonry. In 1927, he received the William E. Harmon award for his outstanding work. He served as curator in 1932 for the division of Negro literature, history, and prints at the New York public library. Schomburg died June 10, 1938.