Alice Walker papers, circa 1930-2010

Emory University

Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322



Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/900jh

Digital Material Available in this Collection

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Walker, Alice, 1944-
Title: Alice Walker papers, circa 1930-2010
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 1061
Extent:135 linear ft. (249 boxes), 141 oversized papers (OP), 10 bound volumes (BV), 5 oversized bound volumes (OBV), 2 framed items (FR), AV Masters: 5.5 linear ft., and 5.8 MB of born digital materials (484 files)
Abstract:Papers of Alice Walker, an African American poet, novelist, and activist, including correspondence, manuscript and typescript writings, writings by other authors, subject files, printed material, publishing files and appearance files, audiovisual materials, photographs, scrapbooks, personal files journals, and born digital materials.
Language:Materials mostly in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Special restrictions apply: Selected correspondence in Series 1; business files (Subseries 4.2); journals (Series 10); legal files (Subseries 12.2), property files (Subseries 12.3), and financial records (Subseries 12.4) are closed during Alice Walker's lifetime or October 1, 2027, whichever is later. The same restrictions apply to any born digital materials (Series 13) falling within the categories listed here.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Researchers are not permitted to copy or download any of the digital files from the computer workstation.


Purchase, 2007


[after identification of item(s)], Alice Walker papers, Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.


Processed by Elizabeth Russey, Brittney Cooper, Elizabeth Stice, and Brenda Tindal, April 23, 2009.

Born digital materials processed by Dorothy Waugh, March 17, 2014. The born digital materials currently available to researchers are taken from 37 3.5" floppy disks and two compact discs. Bitstream images of this media were captured and files extracted from the images. Text-based files were migrated to PDF and image files to JPEG to create access copies, which are organized alphabetically by file name in a single directory. For more information, see the processing note in the description of Series 13, Born digital materials.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

Alice Walker (1944-), African American poet, novelist, and activist. The youngest of eight children, Walker was born on February 9, 1944, to sharecroppers Willie Lee Walker and Minnie Tallulah Grant Walker in Eatonton, Georgia. Walker graduated valedictorian of her high school class in 1961. She attended Spelman College for two years before transferring to Sarah Lawrence College, graduating in 1965.

Walker married lawyer Mel Leventhal in 1967 and moved to Jackson, Mississippi. She worked for Friends of the Children of Mississippi, an early Head Start program. She also served as the writer-in-residence for Jackson State College and Tougaloo College. In 1968, Walker published her first book of poetry, Once. Shortly thereafter in 1969, she published her first novel, The Third Life of Grange Copeland, the same year her daughter Rebecca was born. In 1977, Walker divorced Mel Leventhal and moved to California.

Walker has written numerous essays, novels, and collections of poetry. Her novel The Color Purple, published in 1982, won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Walker has also served as a contributing editor of Ms. during the 1980s and founded the Wild Trees Press.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the literary and personal papers of Alice Walker from circa 1930-2009. The collection documents the development of Walker's writing career, her interest in political activism, and her personal relationships with friends and family. The collection also contains material about Walker's many interests, including civil rights, Zora Neale Hurston, female genital mutilation, Bessie Head, Cuba, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and women's rights. The papers include correspondence (1958-2010); drafts of poetry, novels, essays, and other writings (1961-2006); writings by other authors; subject files (1968-2006); printed material (1961-2007); publishing files and appearance files (1966-2009); audiovisual materials (1962-2007); photographs (circa 1930s-2006); scrapbooks (1959-1996); personal files (1958-2006); journals; and born digital materials (1987-2000).

Arrangement Note

Organized into thirteen series: (1) Correspondence, (2) Writings by Walker, (3) Subject files, (4) Publishing files, (5) Printed material, (6) Writings by others, (7) Scrapbooks, (8) Photographs, (9) Audiovisual materials, (10) Journals, (11) Memorabilia and artwork, (12) Personal files, and (13) Born digital materials.

Description of Series