Bernard Jaffe, who passed away last year at the age of 95, was an attorney and scholar who had a multi-faceted professional relationship and personal friendship with W.E.B. Du Bois over the last decade of Du Bois’s life. When Du Bois accepted President Kwame Nkrumah’s invitation to move to Ghana, Jaffe managed the legal issues relating to this transition, as well as the legal needs of Du Bois and his wife Shirley Graham Du Bois, for the remainder of their lives.
The Bernard Jaffe Collection centers on the close relationship between Jaffe, Shirley, and W.E.B. Du Bois. Although there is little correspondence from W.E.B. Du Bois himself, the collection contains an exceptional run of correspondence with Shirley, which offers insight into the Du Boises' time in Africa, as well as Shirley's subsequent departure and resettlement in Egypt. The collection also includes a wealth of correspondence with David Graham Du Bois, along with materials from his work with the W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation.
Jaffe helped facilitate the Libraries’ acquisition of the Du Bois Collection, and arranged for Shirley Graham Du Bois to have a visiting professorship at the university. Thanks to the generosity of the Jaffe family, specifically Jaffe’s nephew Jonathan Klate, the collection includes contracts, correspondence, and photographs.