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Illustration of the E. H. Butler LibraryArchives & Special Collections

Descriptive Summary

Title: Fraser Drew/Langston Hughes Correspondence Collection

Date Span: [1950-1967]

Acquisition Number: N/A

Creator: Fraser Drew; Langston Hughes     

Donor: Fraser Drew

Date of Acquisition: ca. 1990

Extent: 1 folder; .25 linear ft.

Language: English

Location: Archives & Special Collections Department, E. H. Butler Library, SUNY Buffalo State 

Processed: 2007; Lauren Thompson, 2010

Information on Use

Access: Fraser Drew/Langston Hughes Correspondence Collection is open for research. 

Reproduction of Materials: 
See Archivist for information on reproducing materials from this collection, including photocopies, digital camera images, or digital scans, as well as copyright restrictions that may pertain to these materials. 

Even though all reasonable and customary best-practices have been pursued, this collection may contain materials with confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the SUNY Buffalo State assumes no responsibility.

Preferred Citation: 
[Description and dates], Box/folder number, Fraser Drew/Langston Hughes Correspondence Collection, Archives & Special Collections Department, E. H. Butler Library, SUNY Buffalo State.

Biographical Note:
Langston Hughes was born on 1 February 1902 in Joplin, Missouri, and died on 22 May 1967.  His maternal grandmother raised him in Lawrence, Kansas.  According to Hughes, his grandmother inspired him to write, as she was a natural orator of black traditions. After his grandmother’s death, Hughes returned to his mother in Cleveland, Ohio, until he graduated from high school in 1920.  In 1921, Hughes enrolled in an engineering program at Columbia University, but left after one year.  For a few years, Hughes worked various blue- and white-collar jobs while he spent most of his time writing, as that was his passion.  Langston Hughes began to publish numerous poems, and by 1926, he published his first book of poems, The Weary Blues.  In 1929, he graduated from Lincoln University with a Bachelor of Arts degree.  Conscious of the importance of race relations and politics, Hughes published The Way of White Folks in 1934.  The spectrum of Hughes’ writing grew as the years went by.  He began to write many politically inspired poems, plays (such as Mulatto and Don’t You Want to Be Free?), and autobiographies.  Hughes also wrote books that supported his consciousness of race relations like Jim Crow’s Last Stand and Montage of a Dream Deferred. Writing was Hughes’ main contribution to black history, though he also served as a social activist.  He traveled the world, expanding his horizons on black issues and became well-known as a radical democrat.  Langston Hughes faced many obstacles during the prime years of his publications as his critics viewed him as being too extreme.  He was able to hurdle these obstacles as he persevered.  Today, Hughes is remembered as an essential figure in black history.  He had the ability of writing the relevant problems within that community at a time when the American public consciously ignored such issues.  Langston Hughes devoted his time to writing poems, novels, dramas, and numerous articles.  

Fraser Drew had the opportunity to keep in contact with Hughes during the peak of his career.  Dr. Drew was a professor of English at SUNY Buffalo State for decades; he retired in 1983.  He received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University at Buffalo in 1952.  His interest in African American literature motivated him to follow Langston Hughes’ career closely, and this led him to reach out to Hughes directly.  Hughes responded by keeping open communication with Drew for a number of years.  The SUNY Buffalo State Archives and Special Collections contains the correspondence between Drew and Hughes.

Scope and Contents: 
10 letters; 6 postcards; 4 Christmas cards

Arrangement: 
Letters arranged chronologically