(Source: Posted on October 17, 2014 by Don Skemer, RBSC Manuscripts Division News, Princeton University Library)
Princeton University is pleased to announce that the Papers of Toni Morrison, celebrated American author and Nobel Laureate, have found their permanent home in the Princeton University Library. President Christopher L. Eisgruber made the announcement on Friday, October 17, in Princeton’s Richardson Auditorium, during the conference Coming Back: Reconnecting Princeton’s Black Alumni. “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,” said Princeton President Eisgruber. “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.”
Morrison’s papers will be among the most important collections in the Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, which has extensive holdings of modern literary and publishing archives. In the next year, priority will be given to the arrangement, description, cataloging, preservation, and selective digitization of the papers, in order to make them available for research consultation.
The Papers of Toni Morrison contain approximately 180 linear feet of research materials that document the author’s life, work, and writing methods. 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 the tragic fire in 1993 at the author’s home in Rockland County, New York. Most important are manuscripts, drafts, proofs, and related files pertaining to Morrison’s novels on the African American experience: 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). The working materials provide additional evidence of the author’s approach to the physical act of writing.
Also included are similar materials for the author’s play Dreaming Emmett, children’s books, short fiction, song lyrics, an opera libretto, lectures, and non-fiction writing, as well as extensive literary and professional correspondence, fan mail, diaries and appointment books, photographs, audiobooks, videotapes, juvenilia, memorabilia, course materials, annotated student papers, academic office files, and press clippings. Complementing the papers are printed editions of Morrison’s published works and translations into more than twenty languages. Additional manuscripts and papers will be added over time, beginning with the manuscript of Morrison’s forthcoming novel.
(To read the complete press release, see The Papers of Toni Morrison come to Princeton).