Among the items in the Archives at Queens Library’s collection of original sources, documenting the history of the four counties of Long Island, are personal correspondence, financial records, memorabilia, sketches and blueprints of noted African-American inventor and author Lewis Latimer. Visit the Archives in person to see his apparatus for cooling and disinfecting, patents, an original diary documenting his working days and a signed copy of the book he authored about Thomas Edison’s invention—Incandescent Electrical Lighting: a Practical Description of the Edison System.

The Archives also contains original newspaper clippings (like the one pictured below) and pamphlets on a range of range of topics relating to the African-American experience over the years. You might discover gems such as original news coverage of the proposal to create the African American Hall of Fame in Jamaica’s Roy Wilkins Park or what programs Queens Library and other Queens cultural institutions hosted for Black History Month in 1989 (for instance, “Two Centuries of Black American Art” was held at Queens Library at Central at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, February 27, 1989).

Visit in person: Open during Queens Library at Central’s hours of service; obtain a pass from the information desk located at the Library’s main entrance.

View the full Black History Tour

Incandescent Electric Lighting

Black History Month headline