Toni Morrison Papers
Permanent URL: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/ff3657813
- Morrison, Toni. 1931-
- Title and dates:
- Toni Morrison Papers
- bulk 1970-2015
- Toni Morrison (born Chloe Ardelia Wofford, 1931) is a Nobel prize-winning American author, editor, and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. The material described in this finding aid consists of manuscripts, drafts, galleys, and proofs of Morrison's novels and other writings; personal correspondence; editorial files relating to Morrison's work at Random House and later publication of two posthumous works by Toni Cade Bambara; academic and teaching files, particularly pertaining to SUNY Albany and Princeton University; working files; press clippings; published books, photographs, audiovisual materials, and awards and memorabilia.
- 200.43 linear feet
- 319 boxes
- Digital Folders: 127, Digital Files: 1997
- Call number:
University. Library. Dept. of Rare Books and Special Collections
Princeton, New Jersey 08544 USA
- Language(s) of materials:
- Storage note:
- This collection is stored partially onsite at Firestone Library and partially offsite (boxes 103-114; 122-226; 230-248; 265-275; 303) at the ReCAP facility. Boxes 1-11; 13-19; 22-29; 32-47; 50-56; 59-62; 64-66; 227-229; 280-291; 305-308; and 310-318 are stored in a special vault facilities in Firestone Library.
Toni Morrison was born Chloe Ardelia Wofford in Lorain, Ohio in 1931. She attended Howard University, graduating in 1953 with a degree in English, then received an MA in literature from Cornell University in 1955.
After a brief teaching stint at Texas Southern University, Morrison returned to teach at Howard in 1957. There, she married architect Harold Morrison, with whom she had two sons, Harold Ford Morrison (born 1961) and Slade Kevin Morrison (1964-2010). The two divorced around the time of Slade’s birth, after which Morrison began working as a textbook editor for a division of Random House based in Syracuse, NY. In 1967, Morrison was promoted to senior editor and moved to New York City, where she worked with a number of emerging influential African-American writers, including Toni Cade Bambara, Angela Davis, Henry Dumas, and Gayl Jones, in addition to editing The Black Book (1974), a compilation of African-American historical documents.
Morrison’s first novel, The Bluest Eye, was published in 1970. She has published a total of eleven novels to date, winning numerous literary and cultural awards including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for Beloved in 1988, the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993, the National Humanities Medal in 2000, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012. In addition to her novels, Morrison has written non-fiction, poetry, children’s literature (in collaboration with her son Slade), and dramatic works.
In 1983, she left her position at Random House to concentrate on writing and teaching, serving as the Albert Schweitzer Professor of the Humanities at SUNY Albany from 1984-1989, then the Robert E. Goheen Professor in the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University until her retirement in 2006. During this time, she taught classes in creative writing, African-American studies, and, at Princeton, developed the interdisciplinary Atelier program. She has also served as a visiting professor and lecturer at numerous institutions, including Yale University, the University of Michigan, the University of Chicago, and Harvard University.
Morrison currently resides in the Hudson Valley of New York State.
The material described in this finding aid consists of manuscripts, drafts, galleys, and proofs of Morrison's novels and other writings; personal correspondence; editorial files relating to Morrison's work at Random House and later publication of two posthumous works by Toni Cade Bambara; academic and teaching files, particularly pertaining to SUNY Albany and Princeton University; working files; press clippings; published books; photographs; audiovisual materials; and awards and memorabilia.
The collection is arranged into the following series:
- Writings, 1917-2015
- Novels, 1917-2015
- Short Fiction, 1957
- Poetry and Lyrics, 1984 December 17-1997
- Dramatic Works, 1980-2012 June 17
- Non-fiction, 1971-2002 January
- Children's Literature, 1998 June 22-2014
- Speeches and Lectures, 1975 May 30-2015 October 1
- Personal and Miscellaneous Writings, 1958-2005
- Correspondence, 1953-2017
- Random House, 1971-1982
- Toni Cade Bambara Posthumous Publications, 1984-2002
- Academic Career, 1984-2011
- SUNY Albany, 1984-1989
- Princeton University, 1986-2011
- Teaching Files, 1985-2009
- Working Files, 1955-2015
- Book and Project Working Files, 1955-2014
- Office Working Files I, 1970-1988
- Office Working Files II, 1971-2012
- Office Working Files III, 1960-2013
- Office Working Files IV, 1981-2015
- Working Files from Morrison's House, 1957-2015
- Diaries, Logbooks, and Address Books, 1974-2010
- Photographs, 1949-2012
- Press, 1970-2015
- Awards & Memorabilia, 1948-2014
- Printed Materials, 1908-2012
- Toni Morrison Editions and Translations, 1970-2012
- Books by Other Authors, 1936-2008
- Audiovisual Materials, 1972-2014 February 22
- Floppy Disks, 1980-2000 November 9
Access and Use
The collection is open for research. Toni Morrison's manuscript material, including drafts, typescripts, galleys, and proofs found in boxes 1-11; 13-19; 22-29; 32-47; 50-56; 59-62; and 64-66 are available only via digital access in the reading room. Material in boxes 280-291; 305-308; and 310-318 will also be available only via digital access in the reading room pending digitization. A small amount of material is temporarily restricted at the request of the collection creator or due to the presence of personally identifiable or other legally protected information.
Some of this material is stored off site. Please allow 24-48 hours for retrieval.
Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
Some material in this collection, particularly found in the Writings and Correspondence series, was damaged by the fire that destroyed Morrison's upstate New York home in 1993. Damage ranges from charred edges to pages missing significant portions or rendered illegible.
Restrictions on Use and Copyright Information
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Associate University Librarian for Rare Books and Special Collections. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.
Acquisition and Appraisal
Provenance and Acquisition
2009 (AM 2015-62), with accruals in 2015-2017: AM 2015-74, AM 2015-89, AM 2015-98, AM 2017-6, 2017-128.
Some floppy disks were deaccessioned after imaging due to a lack of archival value. Duplicate papers and audiovisual materials were removed from the collection.
Other materials relating to Toni Morrison's work at Random House may be found in the Random House records at Columbia University's Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
Original drafts of Toni Cade Bambara's writings and related materials may be found in the Spelman College Archives.
Processing and Other Information
Some materials in this collection were treated for fire damage and encapsulated in mylar in 1994.
This collection was processed by Allison Hughes, with the assistance of Sophia Alvarez, Fiona Bell, Kristine Gift, Isabelle Litke, Chloe Pfendler, and Ann-Elise Siden. Processing of the born-digital material was done by Elena Colón-Marrero, Jarrett Drake, and Allison Hughes in 2015-2016. Finding aid written by Allison Hughes in 2016.
Descriptive Rules Used
Finding aid content adheres to that prescribed by Describing Archives: A Content Standard.
This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit2016-04-26T18:13-0400
Language(s) of this Finding Aid
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Toni Morrison Papers, Box and Folder Number; Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.
- Morrison, Toni.
- African American authors -- 20th century -- Sources.
- Authors, American -- 20th century -- Sources.
- Nobel Prize winners.
- Women Nobel Prize winners.
- Fan mail.
- Proofs (printed matter).
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