James Madison University
Libraries & Educational Technologies



Schomburg Clipping File

What Is It?

The Schomburg Clipping File is a massive collection of over 14,200 microfiche from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library. The Schomburg Center is a leading research institution for African-American studies in the United States.

Arthur Schomburg (1874-1938), a native of Puerto Rico, was a bibliophile, curator, scholar, lecturer, and author who amassed the most extensive collection of African-American research materials of his day.  In 1926, his collection was purchased and given to the New York Public Library.


Scope of the Collection

The collection is arranged into two sections covering the years 1) 1924-1974, and 2) 1975-1988. The earlier section includes material back into the late nineteenth century.

The clipping file of over one million pages is primarily taken from newspapers and periodicals; however, there is also material from typescripts, broadsides, pamphlets, programs, book reviews, and other ephemera.

Coverage is broad. Although the area of Black culture is emphasized, e.g. arts, music, dance, theater, most areas of human endeavor are represented. The collection is also strong in international topics dealing with African-American history and culture.

Accessing the Collection

The collections are on microfiche located in the Microform Area on the 1st floor of Carrier. The arrangement is alphabetical by subject, with chronological arrangement within each subject.


Separate indexes for the two sections, both entitled Index to the Schomburg Clipping File are available in the Microform Area to aid in accessing the collection. They are located in the index area at E 185 .S36 1986, index.  The 1924-1974 index has about 8,000 subject headings and the 1975-1988 index has about 3,400 headings. The 1924-1974 volume contains a separate "Africa Section" index, but these terms are also available in the main section of the index. The 1924-1974 index contains "See" and "See Also" references which the researcher should follow for the most comprehensive searching.


James Madison University Libraries & Educational Technologies