The contributions of William Carl Bolivar, a Philadelphia African American bibliophile and journalist, are considered. Bolivar's interest in historical documentation shaped his sense of interconnectedness with the collective memory of Philadelphia's black community. His collecting interests are manifested in his column published in the Philadelphia Tribune, in his contributions to the American Negro Historical Society and other social and cultural organizations in Philadelphia, and in a published catalog of portions of his collection. Bolivar's network of collectors and associates formed a "nucleus for a larger effort" to preserve African American cultural heritage. Their collecting efforts formed the foundation for black collections and collecting practices today and were integral to the development of African American historical studies and African diaspora studies in general.