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Guide to the Ralph Ellison Collection
MS 249  
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Collection Overview
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The majority of this collection consists of photocopies of short stories, essays, reviews, speeches by Ellison and interviews with Ellison. Two folders contain original material signed by Ellison. The books and selected serials have been cataloged separately.
Ralph Waldo Ellison (1913-1994) was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In 1933 he began studying music at Tuskegee Institute, but financial complications caused him to leave before graduating. He moved to Harlem in New York City to study sculpture and raise money to return to school, soon becoming a protégé of the author Richard Wright, whom he met in 1937. Ellison became associated with the Federal Writers' Project, publishing short stories and articles in such magazines as New Challenge and New Masses. In 1942 he quit working with the Federal Writers' Project and became editor of the Negro Quarterly. He served as a cook in the Merchant Marines from 1943-1945. The following seven years he spent writing Invisible Man (1952), winner of the National Book Award in 1953. Although it was the only novel he completed during his lifetime, it gained him a place as a respected American writer and remains as one of the central texts of the African-American experience.
2 document boxes
Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permission to publish or to reproduce the material, please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
Collection open for research.