Chesnutt's Works | Reviews | Bibliography | Manuscripts | Site Info

"I think I must write a book. I am almost afraid to undertake a book so early and with so little experience in composition. But it has been a cherished dream, and I feel an influence that I cannot resist calling me to the task. . . . The object of my writing would not be so much the elevation of the colored people as the elevation of the whites--for I consider the unjust spirit of caste which is so insidious as to pervade a whole nation, and so powerful as to subject a whole race and all connected with it to scorn and social ostracism--I consider this a barrier to the moral progress of the American people: and I would be one of the first to head a determined, organized crusade against it."
--Charles W. Chesnutt, written May 1880 in his journal at age 22

Introduction

Launched in 1997, The Charles Chesnutt Digital Archive offers works by Chesnutt (fiction, essays, reviews, and poems) and hundreds of reviews of Chesnutt's works. There is also a complete bibliography, as well as a manuscript section.

Many people have contributed to the site in its current form, including John M. Freiermuth, who found and scanned the contemporary reviews, and Mark Ellison and Jeremiah Duerson, who contributed to the design.

In 2019, the Chesnutt Archive was awarded a Humanities Collections and Reference Resources grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. As part of this project, the entire Chesnutt Archive site will be converted to TEI-compliant XML and redesigned, creating a more user-friendly interface and making all text and project metadata fully searchable. Additionally, the site's manuscript wing will be expanded to include transcriptions and images of Chesnutt's corrected page proofs for four of his longer works—The Conjure Woman, Frederick Douglass, The House Behind the Cedars, and The Marrow of Tradition. Grant support will also enable us to create an underlying infrastructure for the site that is more sustainable and will more easily allow for future expansion.

Please send suggestions and comments to Dr. Stephanie Browner: browners@newschool.edu.

The Chesnutt Archive is edited by Stephanie Browner, Matt Cohen, and Kenneth M. Price.