UPDATE (June 7, 2016) Toni Morrison Papers Open for Research
The papers of Nobel laureate Toni Morrison are now part of the permanent library collections of Princeton University, where the renowned author served on the faculty for 17 years.
The announcement was made today by Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber to a packed audience in Richardson Auditorium, addressing attendees of the conference “Coming Back: Reconnecting Princeton’s Black Alumni.” Eisgruber made the announcement after a tribute to Morrison’s legacy at Princeton by trustee Ruth Simmons and before Morrison’s on-stage interview with Claudia Brodsky, professor of comparative literature.
Eisgruber said: “Toni Morrison’s place among the giants of American literature is firmly entrenched, and I am overjoyed that we are adding her papers to the Princeton University Library’s collections. This extraordinary resource will provide scholars and students with unprecedented insights into Professor Morrison’s remarkable life and her magnificent, influential literary works. We at Princeton are fortunate that Professor Morrison brought her brilliant talents as a writer and teacher to our campus 25 years ago, and we are deeply honored to house her papers and to help preserve her inspiring legacy.”
The papers of Toni Morrison contain about 180 linear feet of research materials documenting the author’s life, work and writing methods, according to Don Skemer, curator of manuscripts in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections in the Princeton University Library. The papers will be among the most important holdings of the Manuscripts Division, housed in Firestone Library, with its renowned collection of major literary and publishing archives.
The papers have been gathered from many locations over time, beginning with manuscripts and other original materials that the library’s preservation office recovered and conserved after a fire in 1993 at Morrison’s home in Grandview, New York. Of greatest importance are manuscripts, drafts and proofs of Morrison’s novels: “The Bluest Eye” (1970), “Sula” (1973), “Song of Solomon” (1977), “Tar Baby” (1981), “Beloved” (1987), “Jazz” (1992), “Paradise” (1997), “Love” (2003), “A Mercy” (2008) and “Home” (2012).
Also included are materials for Morrison’s children’s literature, lyrics, lectures, nonfiction writing, a play, correspondence, diaries, photographs, course materials, videotapes and more.
Complementing the papers are printed editions of all of Morrison’s publications and translated work in more than 20 languages. Additional manuscripts and papers will be added over time, beginning with the manuscript of Morrison’s forthcoming novel expected to be published in the spring.
Over the next year, archivists will focus on the arrangement, description, cataloging, preservation and selective digitization of the papers to make them available for research.
Read the Complete Announcement