Finding Aid to the Gwendolyn Brooks Papers, 1917-2000, (bulk
Finding Aid written by Jennifer Davis
The Bancroft Library
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.
Finding Aid to the Gwendolyn Brooks Papers, 1917-2000, (bulk
Collection number: BANC MSS 2001/83 z
The Bancroft Library
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
- Finding Aid Author(s):
- Finding Aid written by Jennifer Davis
- Date Completed:
- Finding Aid Encoded By:
© 2010 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.
Collection Title: Gwendolyn Brooks papers
Date (inclusive): 1917-2000,
Date (bulk): 1950-1989
Collection Number: BANC MSS 2001/83 z
Number of containers: 15 cartons, 1 box, 3 oversize boxes
Linear feet: 23.75 linear ft.
The Bancroft Library.
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
Abstract: The Gwendolyn Brooks Papers, 1917-2000 (bulk 1950-1989), document
her personal life and career as a distinguished poet, Pulitzer Prize winner, and Poet
Laureate of Illinois. The papers are divided into seven series: Correspondence, Writings,
Professional Papers, Personal Papers, Clippings, Writings by Others, and Miscellaneous and
consist of correspondence, manuscripts, flyers, announcements, scrapbooks, family papers,
clippings, writings by others, and miscellaneous materials.
Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English
Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite
and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these
materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
Information for Researchers
Collection is open for research.
Materials in this collection may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17,
U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of
University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and
publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials
protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of
the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited
without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively
with the user.
All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials
must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library,
University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000. See:
[Identification of item], Gwendolyn Brooks Papers, BANC MSS 2001/83 z, The Bancroft
Library, University of California, Berkeley
Alternate Forms Available
There are no alternate forms of this collection.
Gwendolyn Brooks photograph collection, BANC PIC 2001.201--PIC
Printed materials have been transferred to the book collection of The Bancroft Library.
Photographs have been transferred to the Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library.
Objects have been transferred to the Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the
library's online public access catalog
City Colleges of Chicago
University of Chicago
African American poets--20th century
African American women poets--20th century
African American women poets--Illinois--Chicago
American poetry--20th century--African American
American poets--20th century
Arts, American--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
Chicago (Ill.)--In literature
Blakely, Nora Brooks
Brooks, Keziah C
The Gwendolyn Brooks Papers were purchased by The Bancroft Library in October 2000.
No additions are expected.
Processed by Dean Smith and Jennifer Davis; completed in 2006.
At the age of thirty-three, Gwendolyn Brooks became the first African American to win the
Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Her legacy as one of the most influential poets of the Twentieth
Century endures. Richard Wright, an early advocate of Brooks, once said that her poetry
captured "the pathos of petty destinies, the whimper of the wounded, the tiny
incidents that plague the lives of the desperately poor, and the problems of common
prejudice" (Watkins, 2000,
The New York Times).
Brooks was born on June 7, 1917 in Topeka Kansas. Shortly after her birth,
Brooks's parents, David and Keziah Brooks, relocated the family to South Side
Chicago. She remained in South Side until her death. At a very early age, Brooks began to
write poetry. When she was thirteen years old her first poem was published in the
American Childhood Magazine. At a crucial point in her creative
development, Brooks met Langston Hughes and James Weldon Johnson, both of whom encouraged
her poetry writing. She was educated at several white, black, and integrated high schools in
Chicago. During her school years, Brooks prolifically published her poems, largely as a
regular contributor to the "Lights and Shadows" poetry column of the
Chicago Defender. In 1936, Brooks graduated from Wilson
In 1938, Brooks and Henry Blakely were married. Their first child, Henry Jr., was born in
1940 and their daughter Nora was born in 1951. During this period, Brooks began to win
critical acclaim for her poetry. She won the 1943 Midwestern Writer's Conference
Poetry Award. Shortly thereafter,
A Street in Bronzeville,
her first book of poetry, was published by Harper and Row (1945). The instant critical
acclaim this book received was followed by her first Guggenheim Fellowship award and a
nomination to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1950, her second published
Annie Allen, won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.
Brooks went on to publish additional books of poetry, a novel, an autobiography, essays,
reviews, speeches, and a play. Following her Pulitzer Prize, she issued
Maud Martha (1953), a novel that was praised by reviewers but did
not gain wide readership.
Bronzeville Boys and Girls (1956) a
collection of children's poetry,
The Bean Eaters
Selected Poems (1963) followed the novel. One of
her most popular volumes of poetry,
We Real Cool, was
released in 1966. With Broadside Press, a small black publisher founded by poet Dudley
Randall, Brooks published
Family Pictures (1970), and her autobiography,
Ms. Brooks's teaching career began at Columbia College in Chicago in 1963. Over
the course of her career, she taught creative writing at many different institutions
including: Northeastern Illinois State College, Elmhurst College, Columbia University, City
College of New York, and the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
In 1967, Brooks became involved in the Black Arts movement while attending the Fisk
University Writers Conference in Nashville. At this point, she dropped her publisher Harper
and Row to work with smaller publishing houses. While her poems always addressed social
issues, her writing became markedly more concerned with the black experience in the 1960s.
Brooks succeeded Carl Sandburg as poet laureate of Illinois in 1968 and remained in this
post until her death. Her dedication to this role and to bringing poetry to the people of
Illinois was deep. Brooks gave many public readings and was an active visitor to Chicago
schools and prisons. Her poetry workshops and contests for young people were meant to
inspire and teach children that poetry can be a part of every day life.
Over the course of her career, Brooks received many honors. In 1976, she became the first
black woman to be elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters. The Library of
Congress invited her to serve as poetry consultant in 1985. In 1994, the National Endowment
for the Humanities named her its Jefferson Lecturer, the government's highest honor
for achievement in the humanities. Brooks received honorary doctorate degrees from over 50
colleges and universities in recognition of her contribution to literature.
Brooks died in her home in Chicago on December 3, 2000.
Bibliography of Works by Gwendolyn Brooks
A Street in Bronzeville. New York: Harper
& Brothers, 1945.
Annie Allen. New York: Harper & Brothers,
Maud Martha. New York: Harper & Brothers,
Bronzeville Boys and Girls. New York: Harper
& Brothers, 1956.
The Bean Eaters. New York: Harper &
Selected Poems. New York: Harper & Row,
We Real Cool. Detroit: Broadside Press,
The Wall. Detroit: Broadside Press,
In the Mecca. New York: Harper & Row,
Riot. Detroit: Broadside Press, 1969.
Family Pictures. Detroit: Broadside Press, 1970.
Aloneness. Detroit: Broadside Press,
The World of Gwendolyn Brooks. New York: Harper
& Row, 1971.
Black Steel: Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali.
Detroit: Broadside Press, 1971.
A Broadside Treasury. Detroit: Broadside Press,
Jump Bad. Detroit: Broadside Press, 1971.
Report from Part One. Detroit: Broadside Press,
The Tiger Who Wore White Gloves, or What You Really Are,
You Really Are
. Chicago: Third World Press, 1974.
Beckonings. Detroit: Broadside Press, 1975.
Primer for Blacks. Chicago: Black Position Press,
To Disembark. Chicago: Third World Press, 1981.
Young Poets Primer. Chicago: Brooks Press,
Mayor Harold Washington and Chicago, the I Will
. Chicago: Brooks Press, 1983.
Very Young Poets. Chicago: Third World Press,
Blacks. Chicago: Third World Press, 1987.
Gottschalk and the Grande Tarantelle. Chicago,
The David Company, 1988.
Winnie. Chicago: The David Company,
Published Works on Gwendolyn Brooks
Gwendolyn Brooks. Philadelphia:
Chelsea House Publishers, 2005.
Bolden, B. J.
Urban Rage in Bronzeville: Social Commentary
in the Poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks, 1945-1960
. Chicago: Third World Press,
Gayles, Gloria W.
Conversations with Gwendolyn
. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2003.
Hill, Christine M.
Gwendolyn Brooks: "poetry is life
Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, 2005.
Kent, George E.
A Life of Gwendolyn Brooks.
Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1990.
Madhubuti, Haki R., ed. Say
That the River Turns: The
Impact of Gwendolyn Brooks
. Chicago: Third World Press, 1987.
Melhem, D. H.
Gwendolyn Brooks: Poetry and the Heroic
. Lexington: UP of Kentucky, 1987.
Miller, R. Baxter.
Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks:
A Reference Guide
. Boston: G. K.Hall, 1978.
Mootry, Maria K., and Smith, Gary.
A Life Distilled:
Gwendolyn Brooks, Her Poetry and Fiction
. Urbana: UP of Illinois, 1987.
Shaw, Harry B.
Gwendolyn Brooks. Boston: Twayne,
Wright, Stephen Caldwell.
The Chicago Collective: Poems
for and Inspired by Gwendolyn Brooks
. Sanford, Florida:
Wright, Stephen Caldwell.
On Gwendolyn Brooks: Reliant
. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press,
Scope and Content
The Gwendolyn Brooks Papers, 1917-2000 (bulk 1950-1989), document her personal life and
career as a distinguished poet, Pulitzer Prize winner, and Poet Laureate of Illinois. The
papers are divided into seven series: Correspondence, Writings, Professional Papers,
Personal Papers, Clippings, Writings by Others, and Miscellaneous and consist of
correspondence, manuscripts, flyers, announcements, scrapbooks, family papers, clippings,
writings by others, and miscellaneous materials.
Correspondence, Series 1, includes letters and greeting cards from family, friends, and
literary colleagues. The letters illuminate her involvement in the literary community;
correspondents include Houston A. Baker, Jack Conroy, Paul Engle, Etheridge Knight, Don Lee
(Haki Madhubuti), and Dudley Randall.
Writings, Series 2, include poems, essays, reviews, and notes in manuscript and typescript
form. Essays reflect Brooks's concerns with subjects such as black writers and the
craft of poetry. The collection also contains some handwritten notes, a Langston Hughes
memorial written by Brooks, and several articles about her writing.
Professional Papers, Series 3, include awards, honors, posters, and flyers announcing
readings by Brooks as well as correspondence relating to speaking engagements. The personal
papers, Series 4, include records, miscellany, and family papers of her mother Keziah
Brooks, husband Henry Blakely, and daughter Nora Blakely.
Clippings, Series 5, Brooks's success as a poet, teacher, and speaker is well
documented in the clippings files in addition to her interest in Black rights, writing and
writers, Chicago, and many other subjects.
Writings by Others, Series 6, includes publications that she collected in manuscript and
published form written by poets, writers, school children, and prisoners. The final series,
Series 7, Miscellaneous, includes diverse published materials and ephemera that Brooks
collected from individuals and organizations.
Physical Description: Cartons 1-2; Carton 14
Arranged into three subseries: 1.1 Family Correspondence, 1.2 General Correspondence, and 1.3 Greeting Cards.
Consists of incoming and outgoing correspondence with family, friends, and colleagues.
Physical Description: Carton 1, folders 1-17
Includes correspondence and greeting cards to and from family members: Keziah C. Brooks, mother; Henry Blakely, husband; Henry
Blakely, Jr., son; Nora Blakely, daughter; Raymond Brooks, brother; Robert B. Brooks, uncle; Beulah Wims, aunt; Aunt Ella;
Aunt Eppie; and Aunt Lizzie. Correspondence to Brooks's mother, Keziah, includes postcards from the author and letters from
Brooks's daughter, Nora. Letters to Henry present a view of his involvement in the Chicago writing community; he was regularly
invited to local writing events and received invitations to write reviews for literary magazines. The correspondence to and
from Brooks's children, Henry Jr. and Nora, include greeting cards, letters, Henry Jr.'s wedding invitation, and documentation
regarding his enlistment in the Marine Corps.
carton 1, folder 1
Brooks, Gwendolyn, outgoing.
carton 1, folder 2
Brooks, Keziah Wims, outgoing.
carton 1, folder 3
Brooks, Keziah Wims, incoming.
carton 1, folder 4
Blakely, Henry, incoming.
carton 1, folder 5
Blakely, Henry / From Others.
carton 1, folder 6
Blakely, Henry Jr.
carton 1, folder 7
Blakely, Nora, outgoing.
carton 1, folder 8
Blakely, Nora, incoming.
carton 1, folder 9
Blakely, Nora, school correspondence.
carton 1, folder 10
Brooks, Raymond Sr.
carton 1, folder 11
carton 1, folder 12
carton 1, folder 13
Physical Description: Carton 1, folders 18-61; Carton 2
Arranged alphabetically by surname with A to Z miscellaneous files, fan mail, and prison correspondence filed at the end of
Consists of correspondence of both personal and professional nature documenting Brooks's involvement in the writing community,
the impact she had on school children and prisoners, her commitment to the rights of her fellow African Americans, and her
dedication to her role as a poet.
Included are letters from literary colleagues including Johari Amini, Bruce Bennett Brown, Jack Conroy, Don Lee, and Dudley
Randall. Professional correspondence consists of letters from the
Chicago Sun, The Guggenheim Foundation, Brooks's publisher Harper and Row, and more. Editorial letters from Brooks's publisher at Harper
and Row, Elizabeth Lawrence, are of particular interest. Correspondence and clippings from the many magazines that published
Brooks's poems are also included. Brooks was regularly in touch with influential members of the writing community including:
Paul Engle of the Iowa Writer's workshop; Alice Browning, founder of the International Black Writer's Conference; Hoyt Fuller,
publisher of the magazines
Negro Digest and
Black World; and Dudley Randall, poet and founder of Broadside Press, which, in addition to Brooks's work, published the writings of
Don Lee, Nikki Giovanni, Etheridge Knight, and many other prominent black writers. Also included within the general correspondence
files are materials relating to Brooks's involvement in the black community and black rights. There is a Langston Hughes photograph
and memorial service announcement from the DuSable Museum of African American History. A telegram from Reverend Jesse Jackson
pleads with Brooks to contribute "to the uplifting of the black people." Many files contain clippings, poetry written by the
correspondent, and various other materials. At the end of the General Correspondence series, miscellaneous A to Z files include
letters from African American organizations, universities, Illinois and Chicago schools, libraries, and many other groups
and individuals. The series concludes with a collection of fan mail, letters from school children, prisoner correspondence,
and solicitations. This material illustrates the deep effect that Brooks's poems and readings had on her audiences.
carton 1, folder 19
Baker, Houston A. Jr.
carton 1, folder 20
Bragg, Robert H.
carton 1, folder 21
Brown, Abena Joan.
carton 1, folder 22
Brown, Bruce Bennett.
carton 1, folder 23
Browning, Alice C.
carton 1, folder 24
Chicago Daily News.
carton 1, folder 25
carton 1, folder 26
carton 1, folder 27
carton 1, folder 29
DuSable Museum of African American History.
carton 1, folder 30
Edward B. Marks Music Corporation.
carton 1, folder 33
Fuller, Hoyt W.
carton 1, folder 34-38
Harper & Row Publishers.
carton 1, folder 39
Hirsch High School.
carton 1, folder 40
carton 1, folder 41
Jaffe, Daniel Freeman.
carton 1, folder 42
John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
carton 1, folder 44
carton 1, folder 45
carton 1, folder 46
Library of Congress.
carton 1, folder 48
Madhubuti, Haki R. (Don L. Lee).
carton 1, folder 50
Merrill, Ernest S.
carton 1, folder 51
Metropolitan Community Church.
carton 1, folder 53
Pierce, Edith Lovejoy.
carton 1, folder 54
carton 1, folder 55
carton 1, folder 56
Randall, Dudley / Broadside Press.
carton 1, folder 57
carton 1, folder 58
Roslyn Targ Literary Agency, Inc.
carton 1, folder 59
carton 1, folder 60
University of Wisconsin, Madison.
carton 1, folder 61
carton 2, folder 1
carton 2, folder 2
carton 2, folder 3
carton 2, folder 4
carton 2, folder 5
carton 2, folder 6
carton 2, folder 7
carton 2, folder 8
carton 2, folder 9
carton 2, folder 10
carton 2, folder 11
carton 2, folder 12
carton 2, folder 13
carton 2, folder 14
carton 2, folder 15
carton 2, folder 16
carton 2, folder 17
carton 2, folder 18
carton 2, folder 19
carton 2, folder 20
carton 2, folder 21
carton 2, folder 22
carton 2, folder 23
carton 2, folder 24
carton 2, folder 25
carton 2, folder 26
carton 2, folder 27
No surname - Portia.
carton 2, folder 28
carton 2, folder 29-32
carton 2, folder 33
Letters from school children - on
We Real Cool.
carton 2, folder 34
Letters from school children - Overbrook Elementary, Philadelphia, PA.
carton 2, folder 35-37
Letters from school children - miscellaneous.
carton 2, folder 38
carton 2, folder 39
Physical Description: Carton 14
Arranged alphabetically by occasion.
Includes greeting cards received from family, friends, and other correspondents, many of whom are represented in the General
Correspondence series. A bulk of the sympathy cards were received upon the death of Brooks's mother in March, 1978. Note that
some greeting cards contain full letters, although the bulk are simply signed.
carton 14, folder 1
carton 14, folder 2-13
carton 14, folder 18-20
Physical Description: Carton 3; Oversize Boxes 1, 2
Further divided into six subseries: 1.1 Poetry, 1.2 Essays, 1.3 Plays and Screenplays, 1.4 Speeches, 1.5 Reviews, and 1.6
Consists of manuscripts, typescripts, notes, notebooks, and correspondence.
Physical Description: Carton 3, folders 1-31; Oversize Box 2, folder 5
Arranged alphabetically; miscellaneous fragments filed at the end of the subseries.
Contains poems by Brooks in manuscript and typescript, and published as reprints and bookmarks. Also included is a notebook
A Critique in Rhyme that Brooks composed at the age of 16, which contains a school writing assignment entirely in rhyme. There are also book
Bronzeville Boys and Girls and
Gottschalk and the Grande Tarantelle. The series concludes with a collection of typescript poems that represent over twenty years of writing, and a full galley
proof of Brooks's
In the Mecca.
carton 3, folder 1
Astonishment of Heart.
carton 3, folder 2
Books Feed and Cure and Chortle and Collide.
carton 3, folder 3
Brooke Maj of Hawthorn South.
carton 3, folder 4
Children of the Poor.
carton 3, folder 6
A Critique in Rhyme.
carton 3, folder 7
Election Night Returns.
1986 October 30
carton 3, folder 8
Essential Black Women.
carton 3, folder 9
carton 3, folder 11
For the Unveiling of the Chicago Picasso.
carton 3, folder 12
In Honor of Edgar Blakely: Our Friend.
1980 December 26
carton 3, folder 13
Instruction to Myself.
carton 3, folder 14
Look at these faces, these scenes..
1967 September 17
carton 3, folder 15
My Democratic Donkey.
carton 3, folder 16
Raymond Brooks [Memorial Poem].
carton 3, folder 18
The Sight of the Horizon: A Centennial Poem.
1963 May 1-2
carton 3, folder 20
Something Needs Tending.
1988 October 24
carton 3, folder 21
The Tiger Who Wore White Gloves.
carton 3, folder 22
To Henry Jr..
carton 3, folder 23
To the Young who Want to Die.
carton 3, folder 24
Two Poems - Gay Chaps at the Bar,
Poetry: a Magazine in Verse.
carton 3, folder 26
The Way Is.
1986 August 25
carton 3, folder 27
When the Children Ask.
carton 3, folder 28
The Poetry of Black America
- Contents List.
carton 3, folder 29
Bronzeville Boys and Girls
- Book Jacket.
carton 3, folder 30
Gottschalk and the Grande Tarantelle - Book Jacket.
oversize-box 2, folder 5
In the Mecca - Galley Proof.
Physical Description: Carton 3, folders 32-37; Oversize Box 1, folder 1
Essays, in both manuscript and typescript, address subjects such as being a black writer and how to be a good poet. Also included
is an essay on Inez Cunningham Stark, the Chicago writer and scholar who ran one of the first poetry workshops to which Brooks
belonged; the full 1951 issue of
Holiday Magazine in which
They Call it Bronzeville appeared; and the manuscript of the
Young Poets Primer, her writing manual for young people.
carton 3, folder 32
Gladys the Gladiolus.
carton 3, folder 33
Has it Been Hard, Miss Brooks?.
carton 3, folder 34
How I Think Poetry Should be Written.
1938 September 11
carton 3, folder 35
Inez Cunningham Stark.
carton 3, folder 36
Young Poet's Primer.
carton 3, folder 37
Young Poet's Primer - Introduction.
oversize-box 1, folder 1
They Call it Bronzeville,
Plays and Screenplays.
Physical Description: Carton 3, folders 38-39
Includes typescripts with author annotations for the only play written by Brooks,
A Tale of a Far Tomorrow and the poem adapted for the screen,
The Sundays of Satin Legs Smith.
carton 3, folder 38
A Tale of a Far Tomorrow.
carton 3, folder 39
The Sundays of Satin-Legs Smith.
Physical Description: Carton 3, folders 40-49
Includes speeches in manuscript and typescript form, honoring influential writers (including Don Lee and her biographer George
E. Kent); discussing education of children about poetry; giving advice to women writers and new graduates. Several eulogies
are also included. At the end of the series are several untitled speeches.
carton 3, folder 40
Art and Blackness.
carton 3, folder 41
Building Future Leaders.
carton 3, folder 42
For Lisa Steinberg.
carton 3, folder 44
Introduction for Don Lee.
carton 3, folder 45
Poetry and the Education of Children.
carton 3, folder 46
A Response to the Theme: Causes for Optimism.
1973 February 21
carton 3, folder 48
Poetry is life distilled].
carton 3, folder 49
On the Difficult Conditions in the Bishop College].
Physical Description: Carton 3, folders 50-53
Included are several reviews by Brooks on poetry collections, correspondence with newspaper staff, and her manuscript notes
on review work.
carton 3, folder 50
1966 January 12
carton 3, folder 52
Simple, Honest Poems of Richard Wilbur.
Physical Description: Carton 3, folders 54-59; Oversize Box 1, folder 2
Contains drafts of jacket copy, the introduction to
Young Poets Primer, a Langston Hughes memorial, and articles about Brooks's writing. Also included here is the musical score by Brooks for
We'll Win Again and manuscript notes that include some poems, clippings, and addresses.
carton 3, folder 54
Daughter of the Dusk - Jacket Copy.
carton 3, folder 55
On the Death of Langston Hughes.
carton 3, folder 56
Congratulations! [On winning Poet Laureate award].
carton 3, folder 57
About Brooks - Articles/Essays about Brooks's Writing.
oversize-box 1, folder 2
We'll Win Again - Music and Lyrics.
Physical Description: Carton 3-4; Box 1; Oversize Box 1
Further divided into seven subseries: 3.1 Awards and Honors, 3.2 Speaking Engagements, 3.3 Organizations, 3.4 Activities,
3.5 Writing Conferences and Residencies, 3.6 Teaching, and 3.7 Miscellaneous Professional.
Includes correspondence, flyers, programs, and records relating to Brooks's professional career as a poet, teacher, Illinois
Poet Laureate, and speaker.
Awards and Honors.
Physical Description: Carton 3, Box 1; folders 60-69; Oversize Box 1, folder 3
Included are letters, certificates, placards, and flyers from the universities, African American associations, libraries,
and organizations that conferred awards and honors upon Brooks. Also included is documentation pertaining to the Gwendolyn
Brooks Cultural Center at Western Illinois University.
carton 3, folder 60
National Book Awards, Nominees and Winners.
carton 3, folder 61
Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture.
carton 3, folder 62
Columbia College of Chicago.
carton 3, folder 63
carton 3, folder 64
carton 3, folder 65
Honorary Degrees - Western Michigan University.
carton 3, folder 66
Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center - Western Illinois University.
carton 3, folder 67
Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center - Annual Report.
carton 3, folder 68
Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center - Reports.
carton 3, folder 69
box 1, item item
National Council of Black Studies Plaque.
Physical Description: Carton 3, folders 70-87; Carton 4, folders 1-6; Oversize Box 1, folder 4
The speaking engagements subseries documents Brooks's career as a public speaker, and includes invitations to universities,
schools, and community organizations, and letters of thanks from the institutions that Brooks visited. Included here also
are contracts and correspondence from speaking agencies that represented Ms. Brooks, in particular her agent in the 1970s
and 1980s, The Contemporary Forum, which illustrates both the extent of her travels and the amount she was paid for her work.
Of particular interest is the collection of her speaking engagement programs, fliers, and press releases. The series concludes
with a small amount of financial statements from the organizations that she addressed.
carton 3, folders 70-81
carton 3, folder 82-87
carton 4, folders 1-5
Programs, Press, and Flyers.
carton 4, folder 6
Physical Description: Carton 4, folders 7-16
Consists of files relating to the organizations that Brooks was involved with including: the American Academy and Institute
of Arts and Letters; the Carter administration President's Commission for a National Agenda for the Eighties; the National
Institute of Arts and Letters; the Society of Midland Authors; and the International Black Writer's Conference. Files include
correspondence, bylaws, invitations, member lists, and reports.
carton 4, folder 8-9
American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.
carton 4, folder 10
International Black Writer's Conference.
carton 4, folder 11
National Institute of Arts and Letters.
carton 4, folder 12-14
Quality of Life Panel, President's Commission for a National Agenda for the Eighties.
carton 4, folder 15
Society of Midland Authors.
carton 4, folder 16
Physical Description: Carton 4, folders 17-32
Included are materials documenting professional activities, such as Brooks's service on the advisory committee of the Illinois
Arts Council, and her work running a distinguished high school visiting poets program, which includes her invitations to renowned
poets. She also led the Illinois Poet Laureate awards, for which she solicited and judged youth and teen entries. Included
here as well are correspondence, programs, and poetry contest fliers from the many Chicago-area grade schools, high schools,
and colleges that she was connected with, and letters to Brooks requesting scholarship funds and references for fellowship
carton 4, folder 17-18
Poet Laureate Awards, Illinois Arts Council.
carton 4, folder 19-23
Illinois Arts Council.
carton 4, folder 24-28
carton 4, folder 29
Gwendolyn Brooks Black Student Awards.
carton 4, folder 30
Writer's Contest, [Clark College, Atlanta, GA].
carton 4, folder 31-32
Scholarships and Fellowships.
Writing Conferences and Residencies.
Physical Description: Carton 4, folders 33-37
Correspondence, clippings, programs, and other materials from the writing conferences and residencies that Brooks took part
in are found here. Institutions represented include the Fine Arts Work Center, The International Writing Program at the University
of Iowa, the Chicago Public Library, the Indiana University Writer's Conference, and the Cumberland Valley Writer's Conference.
carton 4, folder 33
Indiana University Writer's Conference.
carton 4, folder 34
Miscellaneous Writer's Conferences.
carton 4, folder 35
Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, MA.
carton 4, folder 36
The International Writing Program, University of Iowa.
carton 4, folder 37
Chicago Public Library - Wild Onion Festival.
Physical Description: Carton 4, folders 38-42
Includes correspondence and other materials pertaining to Brooks's positions as a visiting professor at several institutions
and offers of teaching posts from many universities and colleges.
carton 4, folder 38-42
Physical Description: Carton 4, folders 43-47
Included are Harper and Row royalty statements, payment stubs from colleges, newspapers, and publishers, a 1964 version of
her resume and a collection of miscellaneous fliers and programs.
carton 4, folder 43-44
Royalty Statements and Payment Stubs.
carton 4, folder 46-47
Physical Description: Cartons 5-7; Carton 15, folders 1-8; Oversize Box 1; Box 1
Divided into three subseries: 4.1 Personal Miscellany, 4.2 Family Papers, and 4.3 Financial Papers.
Consists of personal notebooks, scrapbooks, announcements, and financial records, and papers of family members.
Physical Description: Carton 5, folders 1-14; Oversize Box 1, folder 5; Box 1, volume 1
Consists of Brooks's calendars, a guestbook, legal documents, travel documents, a collection of addresses, her 1928 school
report card, and a scrapbook of poetry and clippings that Brooks compiled in the 1930s. Also included within this series are
a group of graduation, birth, death, and wedding announcements and invitations from Brooks's friends, acquaintances, and relatives.
Another scrapbook contains Brooks's poetry and news clippings as well as an award from the Black Women's League of Madison.
carton 5, folder 6
carton 5, folder 7
carton 5, folder 10
Report Card - Forestville School, 6th Grade.
carton 5, folder 11
Poetry Clippings Scrapbook.
carton 5, folder 12
Announcements - Graduation.
carton 5, folder 13
Announcements - Receptions, Benefits.
carton 5, folder 14
Announcements - Wedding, Death, Birth.
Physical Description: Carton 5-7
Further divided into three sub-subseries: 4.2.1 Keziah C. Brooks Papers (mother), 4.2.2 Henry Blakely Papers (husband), and
4.2.3 Nora Blakely Papers (daughter).
Consists of personal materials from the members of Brooks's immediate family.
Keziah C. Brooks Papers.
Physical Description: Carton 5, folders 16-31; Box 1, volume 2
Includes the manuscript and typescript of her writing project,
Storiettes, a collection of her notebooks, and correspondence.
carton 5, folder 15-19
carton 5, folder 20-21
carton 5, folder 22-27
carton 5, folder 28-31
box 1, volume 2
Keziah Brooks -
Famous Composers scrapbook.
Henry Blakely Papers.
Physical Description: Carton 5, folders 32-37; Carton 6, folders 1-29
Henry Blakely's active involvement in the writing community is documented through correspondence, a typescript of his published
collection of poems,
Windy Place, and materials related to his work with various organizations. Student manuscript poems that were composed as part of the
Chicago Public Library
Writing in Chicago Program that Blakely organized are also included.
carton 5, folder 32
carton 5, folder 33
Correspondence - miscellaneous.
carton 5, folder 34-37
carton 6, folder 1-2
carton 6, folder 3-5
Speeches and Appearances.
carton 6, folder 6-7
carton 6, folder 8-15
carton 6, folder 16-26
carton 6, folder 27-29
Nora Blakely Papers.
Physical Description: Cartons 6, folders 30-49; Carton 7, folders 1-33; Oversize Box 1, folders 6-7
Consists of correspondence, writings, professional, and personal papers. The bulk consists of records of the Anchor Arts Organization
for Children, a multidisciplinary arts non-profit group that she founded in 1979; and
Rainbow Magazine, a press for (and run by) teens and children which Nora published. Includes magazine issues, newsletters, correspondence,
submissions, and financial documents.
carton 6, folder 30
carton 6, folder 31
carton 6, folder 32-38
carton 6, folder 39-49
Organizations, Anchor Arts Organization.
carton 7, folder 1
Organizations, Anchor Arts Organization Notebook.
carton 7, folder 2-6
carton 7, folder 7-17
carton 7, folder 18-21
carton 7, folder 27-33
Physical Description: Carton 15, Folders 1-8
Consists of income and earnings statements, bank statements, tax documents, insurance forms, travel related financial documents,
and miscellaneous financial records.
carton 15, folder 1-7
carton 15, folder 8
Raymond Brooks - Miscellaneous Financial.
Physical Description: Carton 8; Oversize Boxes 2, 3
Divided into two subseries: 5.1 About Gwendolyn Brooks and 5.2 General Clippings
Consists of clippings collected by Brooks, documenting her writing career and various topics of interest.
About Gwendolyn Brooks.
Physical Description: Carton 8, folders 1-6; Oversize Box 2, folders 1-4.
Consists of over four decades of clippings detailing Brooks's career. Included is Pulitzer Prize publicity, articles announcing
honors and tributes in her name, new book and readings announcements, and articles regarding her many activities in Chicago
and the surrounding communities.
carton 8, folder 1-6
Clippings by decade.
oversize-box 2, folder 1-4
Clippings by decade.
Physical Description: Carton 8, folders 7-29; Oversize Box 3, folders 2-7.
Arranged by subject and by decade.
Brooks collected a wide array of clippings on many subjects, including: poets and writers, including Pablo Neruda, Anaïs Nin,
and Robert Lowell; black leaders; Chicago-related news; and Presidents Carter and Reagan. Many clippings have been annotated
by Brooks. Full issues of some newspapers are also included.
carton 8, folder 7-29
oversize-box 3, folder 2-7
Writings by Others.
Physical Description: Cartons 9-13
Divided into four subseries: 6.1 Individuals, 6.2 Teaching and Workshops, 6.3 Poetry from Schools, and 6.4 Publications by
Includes manuscripts, typescripts, correspondence, and publications written by others.
Physical Description: Cartons 9-10; Carton 11, folders 1-11
Consists of manuscript poems, essays, and creative fiction, many of which appear to have been sent to Brooks for review. Correspondence
often accompanies the manuscripts; several files contain the reply that Brooks sent to the author. Files are alphabetized
by the writer's surname; anonymous and unidentified writers are found at the end of the series. Closing the series is correspondence
requesting manuscript review. Writers include: R. Adair, Paul Alexander, Marion "Tumbleweed" Beach, Maxine Chernoff, Paul
R. Harding, Angela Jackson, and James Meehan among others.
carton 9, folder 1-58
carton 10, folder 1-58
carton 10, folder 59-61
carton 11, folder 1-6
Individuals and Unidentified.
carton 11, folder 7
Various Authors - Collected Poems.
carton 11, folder 8
Various Authors - Encyclopedia Britannica.
carton 11, folder 9-10
Requests for Manuscript Review.
carton 11, folder 11
Teaching and Workshops.
Physical Description: Carton 11, folders 12-20
Includes manuscripts, typescripts and notes submitted to Brooks from writers and students in
The Gwendolyn Brooks Workshop, Brooks's prison courses, and other writing workshops.
carton 11, folder 12
Gwendolyn Brooks Workshop - Class Poems.
carton 11, folder 13
Prison Class Writings.
carton 11, folder 14-20
Student Class work.
Poetry from Schools.
Physical Description: Carton 11, folders 21-32
Includes manuscripts, typescripts, and notes that Brooks received from students, documenting Brooks's active career as a visiting
poet to Illinois schools.
carton 11, folder 21-32
Publications by Others.
Physical Description: Carton 12-13; Oversize Box 1, folder 10; Oversize Box 3, folder 7
Arranged by subject.
Contains magazines, poetry and literary journals, and chapbooks, arranged into the following subjects: Poetry, Black Publications,
Songbooks, Newsletters, Reports, and Miscellaneous. Many publications are either inscribed or dedicated to Brooks.
carton 12, folder 1-15
carton 12, folder 16-24
carton 13, folder 1-7
carton 13, folder 8-10
carton 13, folder 18-21
oversize-box 1, folder 9
Chicago Magazine, Charter Issue.
oversize-box 3, folder 1
Bumpers, Bugs, USA.
Physical Description: Carton 15, folders 9-17; Oversize Box 1, folders 8-9
Consists of materials created by colleges and organizations; articles and newsletters related to black arts and studies and
politics; and other miscellaneous items. Includes fliers, brochures, ephemera, pamphlets, and other formats.
carton 15, folder 9
carton 15, folder 10
Black Organizations, History, Art.
carton 15, folder 11
carton 15, folder 12-13
carton 15, folder 15-16
oversize-box 1, folder 10
Martin Luther King Jr. Print.