English, Department of


First Advisor

Matt Cohen

Second Advisor

Kwakiutl Dreher

Third Advisor

Elizabeth Lorang

Date of this Version



Matheis, Caitlin. "135th Street Branch: Librarianship and the Passing Fictions of Regina Anderson Andrews and Nella Larsen." University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2022.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: English, Under the Supervision of Professor Matt Cohen. Lincoln, Nebraska, April, 2022.

Copyright © 2022 Caitlin S. Matheis


In this thesis, I examine how two writer-librarians that worked in the 135th Street Branch of the New York Public Library in the 1920's, Regina Anderson Andrews and Nella Larsen, grappled in their fiction writing with questions of classification, information, and knowledge that encompassed their daily work in the library. I begin by contextualizing the branch within the Harlem Renaissance and Arturo A. Schomburg's call for the preservation of Black history and literature at a time when the field of librarianship was being professionalized by implementing library schools and classification standards. I then provide readings of Andrews's one-act play The Man Who Passed and Nella Larsen's novel Passing within this historical framework and in the context of their careers in librarianship.

Advisor: Matt Cohen