Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Guide to James Baldwin correspondence Mss 329
Mss 329  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (86.09 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access Restrictions
  • Use Restrictions
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biographical note
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Accruals

  • Title: James Baldwin correspondence
    Identifier/Call Number: Mss 329
    Contributing Institution: UC Santa Barbara Library, Department of Special Research Collections
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 0.2 linear feet (1 box)
    Date (inclusive): 1970-1987
    Abstract: The collection is comprised of correspondence and photographs which provide insight into some of James Baldwin's social and political activism mainly in the 1970s.
    Physical Location: UC Santa Barbara Library, Special Research Collections
    Creator: Baldwin , James, 1924-1987

    Access Restrictions

    The collection is open for research.

    Use Restrictions

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of Item], James Baldwin correspondence, Mss 329. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Biographical note

    James Baldwin is one of the most renowned and influential African American writers of the twentieth century. Born on August 2, 1924, in New York City, Baldwin grew up in Harlem and developed a passion for reading and writing. His life in segregated poverty and a lifetime of discrimination was channeled into his writings. In the 1940s, Baldwin started getting essays and short stories published in national periodicals such as The Nation and Partisan Review. As an adult, his novels, poems, and essays explored the complexities and challenges of racial strife and prejudice during a pivotal moment in United States history. Baldwin embarked on the exploration of the black experience just as the Civil Rights Movement was gaining momentum; so his works served as achingly poignant insight into the intricacies of American culture and examination of the psychological effects of racism and segregation. Throughout the years Baldwin's work touched upon the inteconnectivity of tension in race, gender, sexuality, and class. His works included Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953), Notes of a Native Son (1955), Giovanni's Room (1956), Another Country (1962), and essay, turned published book, The Fire Next Time (1963). Around the early 1960s, Baldwin became more entrenched in social and political activism and used his popularity to become a spokesperson for civil rights and advocate the cause of African Americans. For example, Baldwin aligned himself with the ideals of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and conducted a lecture tour in Southern states for CORE. Baldwin continued to be a proponent of social justice and prolific writer until his death on December 1, 1987 in Saint-Paul de Vence.

    Scope and Content

    The collection is comprised of the correspondence and photographs of James Baldwin, American novelist, essayist, poet, and playwright who was also a prominent activist from the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s to his death in 1987. This collection specifically contains letters to and from Baldwin regarding his support or soliciting his support for political justice organizations, Black Panthers, unions, and incarcerated activists during the 1970s. The collection notably includes description of organizations and their strategies to free incarcerated African Americans like Tony Maynard, Angela Davis, George Jackson, Amiri Baraka, Harold Rogers, and others.


    The collection of letters are arranged chronologically. The folders are titled by subject name or correspondent.


    Purchased, 2016.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Angela Y. (Angela Yvonne), Davis, 1944-
    Jackson, George, 1941-1971
    King, Coretta Scott, 1927-2006
    Styron, William, 1925-2006
    African American authors
    African Americans--Civil rights
    Black Panthers
    Civil rights--United States
    Letters (correspondence)
    Soledad Brothers