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1920s+ Countee Cullen-sydonia Byrd Archive Handwritten Poems Photos Yearbooks For Sale
COUNTEE CULLEN-SYDONIA BYRD ARCHIVE of miscellaneous items, most notably two handwritten Cullen poems to Sydonia, a romantic interest of hisbefore he married another woman in the latter 1920s, Sydonia is mentioned in biographies and criticisms on the noted leading writer of the Harlem Renaissance; following the biographical sketch of Sydonia Byrd are notes on the varied categories of items in the archive, interested buyers can contact the seller for detailed descriptions of the material in each category and to schedule a showing for the archive preferably somewhere between New York City and Boston if interested in this;
Sydonia Byrd, 1904-73, grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, in a well-to-do African American household; from 1917-21 attended Shortridge High School in Indianapolis; from about 1921-25 attended Oberlin College Conservatory of Music; from about 1925-27 attended the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, when she presumably met Countee Cullen when he was at Harvard; Countee Cullen, the African-American poet who became a leading figure of the Harlem Renaissance, fell for the attractive, poised Sydonia and wrote at least two poems given to her (the two handwritten poems specifically for Sydonia with her name on them and dated 1927 are a part of this archive); in the latter 1920s went to New York City, presumably Harlem, possibly to be be near Countee Cullen, but presumably also to be in touch with the Harlem Renaissance; along with Fiona Braithwaite and Yolanda Du Bois, daughter of W. E. B. Du Bois, Sydonia Byrd was a woman Cullen had strong affections for before finally marrying Yolanda in 1928 upon returning from France where he had been as a Guggenheim Fellow; in 1930 Sydonia married the African-American physician Clifton Randolph (1900-1980) who had a New York City practice, in 1940 census records their residence is given as St. Nichols Avenue when he is 39 and Sydonia is 36, they had at least one daughter as evidenced by photographs in this archive.
The major items and areas of the archive are:
(1) Sydonia Byrd's Shortridge High School scrapbook for her graduation in 1921, 6" x 9", about 150 pages with about one-third of the pages containing assorted items,;on the reverse side of the first page "Sydonia Byrd" written in by hand in pen in the blank space following "This book belong to...", "Shortridge High School" written in by hand in pen in the blank space following "Graduated from...", this handwriting is presumed to be Sydonia's mother's as it differs from the handwriting throughout the rest of the scrapbook;
(2) Sydonia Byrd's Oberlin College scrapbook/photo album, she attended Oberlin's Consevatory of Music - 15" x 11", brown twine binding through two holes at left edge going through all the pages, about 100 pages with decorative borders with about the first half filled in with snapshots held by adhesive borders, about 20 loose photos are held in a manila envelope;
(3) 2/two 14-line poems handwritten by Countee Cullen inscribed to Sydonia dated February 1927 with location Indianapolis, presumed first appearances of the poems titled "Protest" and "Advice to a Beauty" dated February 1927 with Indianapolis location found in Cullen's second book of poetry "Copper Sun" published in the Fall 1927, the title of the latter poem in the published poetry volume is "Advice to a Beauty" and the poem "Protest" is dedicated to John Trounstine in the book, there are minor differences in puncutation between the handwritten poems and the poems in the book;
(4) about 31 loose photographs relating to Sydonia Byrd, her life, and her relatives, friends, and acquaintances as evidenced by notes in her handwriting on the back and also by presumption by similarity to the photos with handwriting on the back identifying them;
(5) two larger, cabinet-style photographs, one in a metal frame identified as Sydonia Byrd since it is a photo of her seen also accompanying an article naming her in a New York City African-American newspaper, the second photo in a decorative cardboard frame assumed to be Sydonia, probably her graduation photo, since the young woman resembles an individual presumed to be her in photos in the Oberlin College scrapbook and the photography studio named on the cardboard frame is "J. T. Rose / Oberlin O[hio]";
(6) a note-size four-page letter sent to Sydonia at an Oberlin, Ohio, address near Oberlin College with an Indianapolis postmark dated November 11, 1923 (no return address);
(7) 9/nine African American cabinet and cabinet-type photos by photography studios in Boston and vicinity, some are signed;
(8) 8/eight African American cabinet or cabinet-style photos by photography studios in Chicago and other Midwest locations, some have early 1920's dates, and some are signed;
(9) large group of about 64 miscellaneous African-American photographs of all sizes from about the early 1900s to the 1950s showing males and females of all ages in various settings; most notable photograph is a 8" x 10" sepia-toned photograph of a group of African-American men presumed to be in the medical profession with a banner for the fraternity/organization Chi Delta Ta Mu.