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Readex Announces Exciting New Collections for the Study of African and African-American History, Literature and Culture

Created from the renowned holdings of the Library Company of Philadelphia, America’s oldest cultural institution

January 21, 2015

(Naples, FL)  In partnership with the Library Company of Philadelphia, Readex will launch three new collections in March 2015: African History and Culture, 1540-1921; Black Authors, 1556-1922; and Caribbean History and Culture, 1535-1920. Spanning more than three centuries, each of the collections is based on the Library Company’s preeminent Afro-Americana collection, which itself was an ambitious attempt to gather all printed information about African and African American history, literature and culture. 

“These thematic collections highlight the amazing depth and diversity of the Library Company’s holdings in African and African American history,” says Richard S. Newman, Director of the Library Company of Philadelphia. “By making them available in these easy to use and more affordable formats, scholars, students and members of the informed public will now have a chance to study black history from new and exciting perspectives. We are really proud to work with Readex on such a great initiative!”

African History and Culture, 1540-1921: Imprints from the Library Company of Philadelphia is the most important and comprehensive collection of its kind. Through more than 1,300 fully searchable books, pamphlets, almanacs, broadsides and ephemera—both from and about this continent—this new resource covers the history of Africa and its diverse peoples over a span of nearly 400 years. Works of all kinds are included, from historical narratives, social histories, maps, navigational logs and military reports to government documents, demographic studies, anthropological studies, personal memoirs and more.

Black Authors, 1556-1922: Imprints from the Library Company of Philadelphia is the most complete collection of works by authors of African or African-American descent. More than 550 printed items reveal how the creative efforts of black authors evolved over three centuries. Found within are wide-ranging genres, including personal narratives, autobiographies, histories, expedition reports, military reports, novels, essays, poems, musical compositions and more. Following the American Civil War, black authors branched into a broad range of fields, resulting in a diverse and compelling collection.

Caribbean History and Culture, 1535-1920: Imprints from the Library Company of Philadelphia covers the dynamic history of this region over a span of nearly 400 years. More than 1,000 works of all kinds are included: multi-volume histories of the Caribbean, letters, diaries, trial records, confessions, ship logs, military reports, government documents and others. Their places of publication include primarily England, France, Spain, the Netherlands and the United States, though there are works published in the Caribbean itself as well as other European countries. These books, pamphlets, almanacs, broadsides and ephemera provide an invaluable complement to Caribbean Newspapers, 1718-1876: From the American Antiquarian Society.

“Readex is delighted to extend its partnership with the Library Company of Philadelphia,” says Jim Draper, Executive Vice President, Readex. “Together, we are bringing essential materials to students and researchers across the globe, in formats that will lead to new discoveries in many fields of interest.”

Available individually or in a single cross-searchable platform, these three new collections will offer significant teaching and research opportunities across the humanities and social sciences, including such fields as Africana studies, colonialism, economic history, ethnicity and gender studies, Latin America studies, literature, slavery and diaspora studies, transatlantic studies and more. 

About the Library Company of Philadelphia
Founded in 1731 by Benjamin Franklin, The Library Company of Philadelphia is an independent research library specializing in American history and culture from the 17th through the 19th centuries. The Library Company is America's oldest cultural institution and served as the Library of Congress from the Revolutionary War to 1800. Open to the public free of charge, the Library Company houses an extensive collection of rare books, manuscripts, broadsides, ephemera, prints, photographs, and works of art, and one of the world's largest holdings of early American imprints. Particular strengths of the collection include economic history, women's history, African American history, history of medicine, history of philanthropy, and visual culture. The Library Company promotes access to these collections through fellowships, exhibitions, programs, and online resources. To find out more, please visit

About Readex, a division of NewsBank
For more than 60 years, the Readex name has been synonymous with research in historical materials and government documents. Recognized by librarians, students, and scholars for its efforts to transform academic scholarship, Readex offers a wealth of Web-based collections in the humanities and social sciences, including the Archive of Americana, a family of historical collections featuring searchable books, pamphlets, newspapers, and government documents printed in America over three centuries, and the World Newspaper Archive, created in partnership with the Center for Research Libraries. Also available are theForeign Broadcast Information Service Daily Reports and the Joint Publications Research Service Reports, two of the U.S. government’s fundamental sources of foreign intelligence gathered from publicly available media during the second half of the 20th century.

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