Dorothy B. Porter

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Dorothy B. Porter
Born Dorothy Burnett
(1905-05-25)May 25, 1905
Warrenton, Virginia
Died December 17, 1995(1995-12-17) (aged 90)
Nationality American
Ethnicity African-American
Alma mater Howard University, 1928; Columbia University, B.S. 1931, M.S. in 1932 in library science
Occupation Librarian, bibliographer and curator
Employer Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University
Known for First African American to graduate from Columbia's library school; built Moorland-Spingarn Research Center into a world-class collection
Spouse(s) James A. Porter

Dorothy Burnett Porter (May 25, 1905 – December 17, 1995) was an African-American librarian, bibliographer and curator, who built the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University into a world-class research collection.

Porter received a B.A. from Howard University in 1928. She studied at Columbia University, earning B.S. in 1931 and M.S. in 1932 in library science. She was the first African American to graduate from Columbia's library school.[1]

Her husband was the historian and artist James A. Porter, author of Modern Negro Art.

Selected publications[edit]

Dorothy Porter published numerous bibliographies and one anthology.[2]

  • "A Library on the Negro", in American Scholar (1938)
  • "Early Manuscript Letters Written by Negroes" in Journal of Negro History (1939)
  • North American Negro Poets: A Bibliographical Checklist of Their Writings 1769-1944 (1945)
  • A Catalogue of the African Collection in the Moorland Foundation Howard University Library (1958)
  • Early Negro Writing 1760-1837 - anthology (1971)
  • "Bibliography and Research in Afro-American Scholarship", in Journal of Academic Librarianship (1976)
  • Black Access: A Bibliography of Afro-American Bibliographies (1984).


  1. ^ A. Madison and D. Wesley, "Dorothy Burnett Porter Wesley: Enterprising Steward of Black Culture", The Public Historian 17 (1995), pp. 15-40.
  2. ^ SallyAnn H. Ferguson, "Porter, Dorothy", in William L. Andrews, Frances Smith Foster & Trudier Harris (eds), Oxford Companion to African American Literature, New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997, pp. 596=597.

Further reading[edit]

  • Esme E. Bhan, "Dorothy Porter", in Notable Black American Women, ed. Jessie Carney Smith, 1992, pp. 863-864.
  • Arthur C. Gunn, "Dorothy Burnett Porter Wesley", in Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, 1993, pp. 1246-1248.