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Dorothy Porter Wesley (1905-1995), a librarian and bibliographer, was largely responsible for the development of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. This center, located in Founders Library at Howard University, is one of the largest collections of African Americana in the world. She was also an avid writer and researcher. Her 1936 publication, A Selected List of Books by and about the Negro, published by the U.S. Government Printing Office, was one of the seeds of the field of African American Studies.

Dorothy B. Porter was born in Warrenton, Virginia, and was raised in New Jersey. A 1928 graduate of Howard University, Porter was the first African American woman to receive a master's degree in library science from Columbia University (1932). She began working for the Howard University Library in 1928. In 1930 she took charge of the Negro Collection, developing it into the unparalleled Moorland-Spingarn Research Collection, so named in 1973 in honor of the two important collections at its core. Over the next 43 years, she devoted herself to developing a modern research library that served an international community of scholars. As a scholar, she developed a wide variety of research tools and authoritative bibliographies based on her vast knowledge in the field that would become known as Black Studies.


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