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Collection Overview

Creator:
Morrison, Toni
Title:
Toni Morrison Papers
Repository:
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/ff3657813
Dates:
1908-2017 (mostly 1970-2015)
Size:
337 boxes and 16 items
Storage Note:
  • This is stored in multiple locations.
  • Firestone Library (scahsvm): Boxes 1-11; 13-19; 22-29; 32-47; 50-56; 59-62; 64-66; 227-229; 280-291; 305-308; 310-320; 323; 325-326; 336
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes 104, 110 to 111, 115, 12, 121, 20 to 21, 249, 264, 276, 279, 292, 30, 302, 304, 309, 31, 324, 327, 332, 48 to 49, 57 to 58, 63, 67, B-001490 to B-001492, P-000145
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Boxes 105-109; 112-114; 122-226; 230-248; 265-275; 303; 321-322
Language:
English

Abstract

Toni Morrison (born Chloe Ardelia Wofford, 1931-2019) was 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.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

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.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged into the following series:

Collection Creator Biography:

Morrison, Toni

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 lived in Grand View-on-Hudson in New York until her death in 2019 at age 88.

Collection History

Acquisition:

Purchase, 2009 (AM 2015-62), with accruals in 2015-2017: AM 2015-74, AM 2015-89, AM 2015-98, AM 2017-6, AM 2017-128, AM 2018-33, and AM 2018-78.

Appraisal

Some floppy disks were deaccessioned after imaging due to a lack of archival value. Duplicate papers and audiovisual materials were removed from the collection.

Processing 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 in February 2015-February 2017. 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 2016-2017.

New additions were processed and the finding aid was updated by Kelly Bolding in March-November 2017, and by Chloe Pfendler in January-February 2020. Additional born-digital materials were processed by Kathryn Antonelli and Kelly Bolding in July-August 2017.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Toni Morrison has required the Library to make surrogate copies of all of her manuscripts (including typescripts, proofs, and notes) that are primarily part of the Writings series as well as her diaries (appointment books), including but not restricted to those damaged by fire in 1993. This is for conservation reasons, to prevent damage and deterioration by repeated use. Researchers are required to use digital surrogates in the reading room of the Special Collections. These include material found in boxes 1-11; 13-19; 22-29; 32-47; 50-56; 59-62, 64-66, 280-290, 291, 305-308, 311-318, 323, 325-326, 336, and P-000145.

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. This includes portions of the Academic Career series that are restricted until 75 years from the date of creation due to the presence of student and faculty/personnel records, including materials housed in boxes 105-109 and 112-114, as indicated at the file level. Some materials found within Correspondence, including Box 319; the Working Files series, including materials in boxes 183 and 184; Printed Matter, Box 223, Folder 53; and two floppy disks in Box 228 are also restricted as indicated at the file level.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies 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. For permissions and copyright questions related to Toni Morrison and her writings, please contact the Toni Morrison Estate via Rene Boatman (boatman@princeton.edu). To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

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.

Credit this material:

Toni Morrison Papers; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/ff3657813
Location:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • This is stored in multiple locations.
  • Firestone Library (scahsvm): Boxes 1-11; 13-19; 22-29; 32-47; 50-56; 59-62; 64-66; 227-229; 280-291; 305-308; 310-320; 323; 325-326; 336
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes 104, 110 to 111, 115, 12, 121, 20 to 21, 249, 264, 276, 279, 292, 30, 302, 304, 309, 31, 324, 327, 332, 48 to 49, 57 to 58, 63, 67, B-001490 to B-001492, P-000145
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Boxes 105-109; 112-114; 122-226; 230-248; 265-275; 303; 321-322

Find More

Related Materials

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.

A number of recordings of PEN American Center events in which Toni Morrison participated can be found in the PEN American Center Records (C0760). Online access to these recordings is available through the PEN America Digital Archive site.

Subject Terms:
African American authors -- 20th century -- Sources.
Authors, American -- 20th century -- Sources.
Nobel Prize winners.
Novelists.
Women Nobel Prize winners.
Genre Terms:
Correspondence
Fan mail.
Interviews.
Photographs.
Proofs (printed matter).
Typescripts.