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Shay Youngblood papers, 1956-2017

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322



Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/vkzfq

Collection Stored Off-Site

All or portions of this collection are housed off-site. Materials can still be requested but researchers should expect a delay of up to two business days for retrieval.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Youngblood, SHay.
Title: Shay Youngblood papers, 1956-2017
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 1504
Extent: 29.875 linear feet (31 boxes). 0.25 linear feet (1 box) of born digital material (BD), and AV Masters: 1.25 linear feet (2 boxes)
Abstract:Papers of African American writer Shay Youngblood, including manuscripts, research notes, and press books relating to her publications; journals; correspondence; photographs; calendars and address books; artwork; awards; and audiovisual and born digital material from 1956-2017.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Special restrictions apply: Collection stored off-site. Researchers must contact the Rose Library in advance to access this collection.

Some journals and personal letters have been restricted at the donor's request until 2038 or one year after her death, whichever occurs first.

Use copies have not been made for audiovisual material in this collection. Researchers must contact the Rose Library at least two weeks in advance for access to these items. Collection restrictions, copyright limitations, or technical complications may hinder the Rose Library's ability to provide access to audiovisual material.

Researchers must contact the Rose Library in advance for access to unprocessed born digital materials in this collection. Collection restrictions, copyright limitations, or technical complications may hinder the Rose Library's ability to provide access to unprocessed born digital materials.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

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

Separated Material

The Rose Library also holds books and periodicals formerly owned by Shay Youngblood. These materials may be located in Emory University's online catalog by searching for: Youngblood, Shay, former owner.


Purchased from Shay Youngblood, 2018.


[after identification of item(s)], Shay Youngblood papers, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Appraisal Note

Curator of African American Collections, Pellom McDaniels, III, acquired the collection as part of the Rose Library's holdings in African American literature, particularly Black women writers' collections. Archivists have retained all material received with the collection.


Arranged and described at the collection level by Meaghan O'Riordan, June 2021. Youngblood organized the material with detailed inventories prior to shipping, and this arrangement was not disturbed other than to rehouse restricted material and audiovisual and born digital material into separate boxes.

This finding aid may include language that is offensive or harmful. Please refer to the Rose Library's harmful language statement for more information about why such language may appear and ongoing efforts to remediate racist, ableist, sexist, homophobic, euphemistic and other oppressive language. If you are concerned about language used in this finding aid, please contact us at rose.library@emory.edu.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

Shay Youngblood (1959- ) was born in Columbus, Georgia. Her mother died when she was three years old, and she was raised by older female relatives in several different households. She finished high school at the age of sixteen and was a first-generation college student. Youngblood earned her bachelor's degree in mass communication at Clark-Atlanta University (Georgia). While in college, she participated in a service project in Haiti, which heightened her awareness of the injustice suffered by poor people in many places around the world and inspired her to join the Peace Corps after graduation. In 1981 she served as an agricultural information officer in the Dominican Republic.

In 1993, Youngblood earned her Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island). Her first publication was The Big Mama Stories (1989) followed by Soul Kiss (1997) and Black Girl in Paris (2000). Later works include Hotel Stories (2008), Winter Prophet (2012), Luna: A Super Shero Comic (2019), and Mama's Home (2021). Youngblood is also a prolific playwright, and titles include Shakin' the Mess Out of Misery (1998), Talking Bones (1998), and Square Blues (2012).

Youngblood has had fiction, articles, and essays published in Oprah Magazine, Good Housekeeping, BlackBook, and Essence, among others. She also completed a radio play called Explain me the Blues for WBGO Public Radio's Jazz Play Series. Youngblood won a Pushcart Prize for her short story, "Born With Religion." She has also received the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, the Astaea Writes' Award for Fiction, a 2004 New York Foundation for the Arts Sustained Achievement Award, and several National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Theater Awards. In 2011, Youngblood was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) sponsored Japan-United States Creative Artist Fellowship. In 2018 she was invited to participate in the International Literary Writing Program of Jilin, China, to discuss and write on the subject of the environment, nature, and ecology.

Youngblood is a board member of both the Yaddo artists' colony (Saratoga Springs, New York) and the Authors Guild. She has taught creative writing at New York University (New York), the University of Mississippi (Oxford), Syracuse Community Writer's Project (New York), Rhode Island Adult Institution for Women, Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island), and Texas A&M University (College Station). She has also taught workshops for VONA (Voices of Our Nations), a multi-genre workshop for writers of color.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the papers of Shay Youngblood from 1956-2017, including manuscripts, research notes, and press books relating to her publications; journals; correspondence; photographs; calendars and address books; artwork; awards; and audiovisual and born digital material. Most of the audiovisual and born digital material captures theatrical performances of Youngblood's plays and readings she gave from her work. Yaddo artists' colony is represented in the photographs and audiovisual and born digital material. There is also a significant amount of material about Youngblood's travel in Paris, France, including photographs and audiovisual material.

Arrangement Note

Arranged alphabetically by title.

Selected Search Terms

Corporate Names

Topical Terms

Geographic Names

Container List

Box Folder Content
1 - Address books, phone logs, and personal calendars, 1981-2005
AV1 - All Over the Map: Fiction From Where You Live, Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (California), undated [original: audiocassette tape]
2 - Amazing Grace, manuscript, 1993-1996
AV1 - Amazing Grace, music ideas, Victor Zupanc, undated [original: audiocassette tape]
3 - Amazing Grace, notes, 1994-2006
4 - Amazing Grace, notes and programs, 1989-1996
5 - Amazing Grace, press book and manuscript, 1995
AV1 - Amazing Grace, songs, undated [original: audiocassette tape]
AV1 - Art, slide show, Oxford, Atlanta [illegible] [original: videocassette tape]
7 - Artwork and award, circa 2004-2015
AV1 - Aunt Lil in Providence, 1991 December and Valentine's Day, 1992 [original: videocassette tape]
8 - Awards, 1991-1995
AV1 - Basement, Scoopic #1, 1991 November 16 [original: 4-X reversal film]
10 - Big Mama Stories, press book, 1990-1991
AV1 - Birthday, 1992 March 19, [original: VHS-C tape]
AV1 - Black Girl in Paris, audiobook, two copies, 2001 [original: audiocassette tape]
2 - Black Girl in Paris, manuscript, 1993-1996
9 - Black Girl in Paris, press, 1996-1997
5 - Black Girl in Paris, press book, 2000
6 - Black Girl in Paris, readers' notes and book reviews, 1998-2001
AV1 - Black Power Barbie directed by Daryl V. Jones, Washington, D.C., 1995 [original: videocassette tape]
2 - Black Power Barbie, manuscript, 1993-1996
9 - Black Power Barbie, manuscript, 2006
AV1 - Black Women's Health Project, slide show narrated by Shay Youngblood, Atlanta, Georgia, 1983 November [original: audiocassette tape]
AV1 - Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island), play, and Valentine's Day reading, 1992 February [original: VHS-C tape]
11 - Calendars, journals, house phone logs, check registers, and address books, 1996-2015
AV1 - Christal, Scoopic #1, 1991 November 16 [original: 4-X reversal film]
2 - Communism Killed My Dog, manuscript, 1993-1996
5 - Communism Killed My Dog, press book and manuscript, 1992
AV1 - Communism Killed My Dog, Seven Stages Short Stage Play Festival (Atlanta, Georgia), 1990 July 1 [original: audiocassette tape]
AV1 - Conversation with Ed and Luellen, Sharon singing, and Sharon, Kathy, and Mary singing in Los Angeles, California, 1972 [original: audiocassette tape]
AV1 - Conversation with mama, Columbus, Georgia, 1984 October 23 [original: audiocassette tape]
12 - Correspondence, 1977-2012 [RESTRICTED]
13 - Correspondence, 1978-1995
14 - Correspondence, 1981-2004
15 - Correspondence, 1985-2013 [RESTRICTED]
16 - Correspondence, 1986-2009
9 - Correspondence from Daniel Jones and Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island) artists, 1991-2000
17 - Correspondence and journals, 1977-2003 [RESTRICTED]
18 - Correspondence, photographs, letters, reception book, homemade book, and Toni Morrison Chipotle cups, 1977-2015
19 - Correspondence and subject files, 1986-2017
9 - The Crying Bride, manuscripts, 1997-2007
AV1 - Daniel and Paja in the basement, Providence, Rhode Island, 1990 [original: videocassette tape]
AV1 - Danticat, Edwidge, on The Oprah Winfrey Show, 1998 June 18 [original: videocassette tape]
AV1 - Dara, Olu, 1993 July 9 [original: audiocassette tape]
AV1 - Dash, Julie, films: Illusions, Diary of an African Nun, Four Women, undated [original: videocassette tape]
20 - Diplomas, 1994
AV1 - Dreams, Video I project, 1991 November and 1992 April [original: videocassette tape]
22 - Financial records and correspondence, 1977-2011 [RESTRICTED]
AV1 - Fish Cam, New York, New York, 1992 February 28-March 2 [original: videocassette tape]
AV1 - Fish Cam shorts, 1991 October 27 and 1990 June 7 [original: videocassette tape]
AV1 - Frontera, Talking Bones, Hyde Park Theatre (Austin, Texas), 1994 June 24 [original: videocassette tape]
AV1 - Glimpses, Ana Sisnett, signed for Shay Youngblood, 1996 [original: audiocassette tape]
AV1 - Gumbs, Alexis P., Queernote lecture, Dallas, Texas, 2012 April 26 [original: compact disc]
AV1 - Haiku, 1991 October [original: 4-X reversal film]
6 - The Herndon Home material, 1992
AV1 - Heroes, Seven Stages Short Stage Play Festival (Atlanta, Georgia), 1992 April 16 [original: videocassette tape]
9 - Hotel Stories, manuscript and press material, 1993-2005
AV1 - Hudson, William, originals, 1993 February [original: videocassette tape]
AV1 - Indoor and outdoor, Scoopic #1 undated [original: 4-X reversal film]
AV1 - Interview with Frank Abbot and Lanier Clance, Shay Youngblood, WRFG, 1988 December 8 [original: audiocassette tape]
AV1 - Interview, Public Radio Book Show with Tom Smith, 1989 October 1 [original: audiocassette tape]
21 - Jamaica, slides, 1983
21 - Jinnie's Opening, Veronica's Sage, and Senior Center, photographs, 2000-2002
23 - Journals, 1981-2003 [RESTRICTED]
6 - Journals, 1986-2000
10 - Journal, contracts, and photographs, 1988-2002
24 - Journals, correspondence, notes on Paris, printed material, and subject file on Ted Joans, 1992-2006
BD1 - Laptop, undated
AV1 - Laughter Tape, K. Rushin, undated [original: audiocassette tape]
AV1 - Lillian in [illegible], 1991 December 3 and Mr. Canette auction, [original: VHS-C tape]
4 - The Love Life of Heroes, manuscript, undated
13 - Magazine articles, 1985-1997
21 - Montego Bay, Jamaica, Valerie James, Seawind Hotel, slides, 1983 June-July
AV1 - Moton, Debbie, and Shay Youngblood, 1991 August [original: VHS-C tape]
AV1 - Movie Music reading, 1990 July 1 [original: audiocassette tape]
21 - "My Lovely Atlanta Scenes," slides, 1980 Spring
AV1 - New Play Festival, Movie Music (Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island) 1992 [original: videocassette tape]
AV1 - New York State (NYS) Writers' Institute, Morgan State University (Baltimore, Maryland), 1991 March [original: videocassette tape]
2 - Notes prepared for talks, lectures, and workshops, 1997-2003
24 - Notes prepared for talks, lectures, and workshops, 1998-2008
AV1 - Odetta, blues everywhere I go, undated [original: compact disc]
AV1 - Pain of the Poet rough cut, undated [original: videocassette tape]
AV1 - Paris, France, 1974 October [original: audiocassette tape]
AV1 - Paris, France, 1991 [original: VHS-C tape]
AV1 - Paris, France, 1991 April-May [original: videocassette tape]
6 - Paris, France, notes and photographs, 1991-1999
21 - Paris, France, slides, 1986
AV1 - Paris, France, street scenes, 1991 [original: videocassette tape]
11 - Peace corps files, 1981-2010
25 - Personal files, including job search material, workshops logistics, and printed material, 1985-2011
26 - Photographs, artwork, and posters, 1989-2006 [bigger box]
3 - Photographs, personal, 1973-1996
20 - Photographs, personal and professional, 1956-1994
27 - Photographs, personal and professional, 1993-2008
28 - Photographs, personal and professional, 1996-1997
29 - Photographs, personal, professional, and theater events, 1978-2007
30 - Photographs, personal and theater events, 1991-2000
3 - Photographs, Yaddo, 1985
AV1 - Promotion for Cover to Cover, Columbus, Georgia, 2001 May [original: videocassette tape]
25 - Reading files, Yaddo artists' colony files, college portfolio, and travel files, 1983-2010
AV1 - Reading: Funny Women, In a House, Poems, Tell Me a Blue Story, Drums of Light, Beleza Tropical, 1992 June 9 [original: audiocassette tape]
AV1 - Reading: "Funny Women," MySis Words Books, 1989 May and Part 2 Independent Women and Snuff Dippers from the Big Mama Stories 1990 July [original: audiocassette tape]
13 - Rejection letters, 1985-1997
BD1 - "Resource Material for Professional Practice workshops, seminars & classes compiled by: Sharon Louden," born digital, 2010 [original: CD]
AV1 - Shakin' the Mess Out of Misery, The Big Mama Play, Spelman College (Atlanta, Georgia) production, 1988 Summer [original: videocassette tape]
AV1 - Shakin' the Mess Out of Misery, excerpt, Horizon Theatre Company (Atlanta, Georgia), undated [original: videocassette tape]
AV1 - Shakin' the Mess Out of Misery, full soundtrack, undated [original: audiocassette tape]
AV1 - Shakin' the Mess Out of Misery, Horizon Theatre Company (Atlanta, Georgia), 1988 Fall [original: videocassette tape]
9 - Shakin' the Mess Out of Misery, manuscript, 1992
3 - Shakin' the Mess Out of Misery, manuscripts and notes, 1987-1991
10 - Shakin' the Mess Out of Misery, manuscript and press books, 1989-1992
AV1 - Shakin' the Mess Out of Misery, music from, undated [original: audiocassette tape]
4 - Shakin' the Mess Out of Misery, notes and programs, 1989-1996
AV1 - Shakin' the Mess Out of Misery, Penumbra Theatre (St. Paul, Minnesota), 1993 August 16 [original: videocassette tape]
10 - Short stories, manuscripts, 1989-1990
21 - Slides, unidentified, undated
AV1 - Soul Kiss, audiobook, two copies, 2001 [original: audiocassette tape]
2 - Soul Kiss, manuscript, 1993-1996
9 - Soul Kiss, manuscript and press material, 1997-1998
4 - Soul Kiss, notes and programs, 1989-1996
5 - Soul Kiss, press book, 1997-2000
AV1 - Soul Kiss, tape 1, undated [original: audiocassette tape]
AV1 - Soul Kiss, tape 2, undated [original: audiocassette tape]
AV1 - Soul Kiss, tape 3, undated [original: audiocassette tape]
14 - Speaking and reading files, 1989-2009
16 - Speaking and reading files, 1991-2010
AV1 - Square Blues, 1993 May 1 [original: audiocassette tape]
AV1 - Square Blues, 1993 May 2 and Piano Lemon director Rhonda Ross, 1993 January 30 [original: videocassette tape]
AV1 - Square Blues, Blue Door Theater, Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island), 1993 May 2 [original: videocassette tape]
2 - Square Blues, manuscript, 1993-1996
4 - Square Blues, notes and files, 1983-2000
5 - Square Blues, press book and manuscripts, 1995
6 - Square Blues, readers' notes, 1989
AV1 - Square Blues, soundtrack samples, undated [original: compact disc]
AV1 - Stonewall 25 for Shay and Laura, undated [original: videocassette tape]
AV1 - Subway Symphony, Carmen Paris, Ted Joans: My Life is a Poem or Convulsive Beauty, 1991 May [original: videocassette tape]
AV1 - Sugar Cane Alley, Black Women Writers, undated [original: videocassette tape]
2 - The Sweet Taste of Water, manuscript, 1993-1996
5 - Talking Bones, press books, 1992-2000
AV1 - Telling Stories, 2011 [original: compact disc]
AV1 - Teresa, Paja, Daniel, June, Lomena, and Isabelle, test scene, undated [original: videocassette tape]
AV1 - Thanksgiving at Meredith and Lillian's, Providence, Rhode Island, 1991 [original: VHS-C tape]
31 - Theater files 1989-1995
13 - Theater files, 1989-1998
3 - To Those We Love, manuscript, 1991
10 - Tribes, High Heels, and B.C. Passion (short plays), manuscripts, 1991
AV1 - Videocam 1st takes, New York, New York, 2000 Nov 30-Dec-1-2 [original: videocassette tape]
31 - Yaddo files, 2000-2015
BD1 - Yaddo photographs, born digital, 2007 [original: CD]
BD1 - Yaddo photographs and Jecca Work, born digital, 2007 [original: compact disc]
AV1 - Yaddo, Susan Stamberg on National Public Radio (NPR), 1989 July 9 [original: audiocassette tape]
AV1 - Zuella and Shay Youngblood, Morgan State University (Baltimore, Maryland), acting silly with Debra Moton, and Talking Bones, 1991 Spring [original: VHS-C tape