Prepared by Barbara Bass, April 9, 2003
1 slim document case, .16 cubic foot, 11th floor
Charles W. Chesnutt was born in Cleveland, Ohio, June 20, 1858. His parents were free Blacks who had fled Fayetteville, North Carolina, in 1856. The family returned to North Carolina after the Civil War and that is where Chesnutt spent his much of his childhood. He served as principal at the Colored Normal School in Fayetteville until 1883 when he moved back to Cleveland, working as a legal stenographer. His legal studies continued and he was later admitted to the Ohio bar. During this period Chesnutt was also seriously beginning his development as a writer. He was the first African American to be published in the Atlantic Monthly. His writing consisted mainly of short fiction, but also included novels and essays. Two of his better known works are The Conjure Woman (a collection of short stories) and The House Behind the Cedars (a novel).
For more information on Chesnutt see The Oxford Companion to African American Literature and Dictionary of Literary Biography.
This collection contains secondary material about Charles W. Chesnutt donated to Special Collections and Archives by Dean Keller in 1997. Also included is a photograph of Chestnutt given by Albert Borowitz.