Series 2
Writings by Walker, 1961-2014
Box 35 - Box 91, 250-251; OP 1; BV 1

Scope and Content Note

The series contains published and unpublished writings by Alice Walker from 1961-2014. The writings include notebooks, collected and uncollected poems, novels, collected and uncollected short stories, children's stories, and a range of non-fiction writings including collected and uncollected essays, book reviews, interviews, introductions and forewords to published works, college papers, speeches, and derivative works like screenplays and musical adaptations of her poetry.

The notebooks (Subseries 2.1) include manuscript drafts of short stories, essays, novels, and poetry, along with correspondence from 1964-2002. Of particular interest to researchers will be Walker's college notebooks from Sarah Lawrence College, several legal pads containing draft fragments of the novel Meridian (1976), and many notebooks which contain handwritten drafts of collected and uncollected poetry.

The poems subseries (Subseries 2.2) includes a range of early uncollected poetry from the 1960s through 2002. Multiple drafts exist of many of her early poems, which have much to reveal to researchers about her creative process. The subseries also includes multiple drafts of each of Walker's seven collections of poetry.

Walker's fiction (Subseries 2.3) includes manuscript and typescript drafts of each of her novels, drafts of collected and uncollected short stories, and drafts and page proofs of her children's stories. Among the novels are two unpublished works, The Ditch and The Sixty-Nine Braids. The Ditch seems to be related to the The Third Life of Grange Copeland (1970), Walker's first novel, in its choice of characters and themes. There is also a manuscript draft of The Color Purple (1982), and multiple manuscript and typescript drafts of Walker's second novel Meridian (1976). The subseries also contains several early uncollected short stories written in the 1960s that deal with themes of racism, race relations, and civil rights. Of particular interest in this regard is "The Suicide of an American Girl" written in 1965. Among the collected short stories is "To Hell With Dying," Walker's first published short story. The subseries also includes early drafts of several of Walker's children's stories, including Langston Hughes: American Poet (1974).

The non-fiction works (Subseries 2.4) includes drafts of Walker's collected and uncollected essays, edited volumes, introductions, forewords, letters to the editor, reviews, speeches, and college coursework. Researchers will find multiple drafts of her well-known essays "The Civil Rights Movement: What Good Was It?" and "Coretta King: Revisited." The college papers include materials that provide insight into Walker's intellectual and liberal arts training during her time at Spelman College and later Sarah Lawrence College in the 1960s. This subseries includes papers written for professors Staughton Lynd, Howard Zinn, and Muriel Rukeyser.

In derivative works (Subseries 2.5), researchers will find multiple drafts of The Color Purple screenplay, both the version penned by Walker and the version penned by Menno Meyjes that was used to make the film. There are also a variety of stage adaptations of Walker's novels and short stories, and sheet music from The Color Purple musical.

Additional drafts of poems, fiction, and some non-fiction can be found in the Born digital materials (Series 13).

Arrangement Note

Organized into five subseries: (2.1) Notebooks, (2.2) Poems, (2.3) Fiction, (2.4) Non-fiction, and (2.5) Derivative works.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

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

Restrictions on Access

Access to born digital materials is only available in the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (the Rose Library).


Description of Subseries

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