Toni Morrison Papers at Princeton University Library

The Princeton University Library is pleased to announce that the Papers of Toni Morrison, celebrated American author and Nobel Laureate, now have a permanent home in the Library. President Christopher L. Eisgruber made the announcement on Friday, October 17, in Princeton's Richardson Auditorium, during the conference Coming Back: Reconnecting Princeton's Black Alumni. “Toni Morrison’s place among the giants of American literature is firmly entrenched, and I am overjoyed that we are adding her papers to the Princeton University Library’s collections,” said Princeton President Eisgruber. “This extraordinary resource will provide scholars and students with unprecedented insights into Professor Morrison’s remarkable life and her magnificent, influential literary works. We at Princeton are fortunate that Professor Morrison brought her brilliant talents as a writer and teacher to our campus 25 years ago, and we are deeply honored to house her papers and to help preserve her inspiring legacy.” Morrison's papers will be among the most important collections in the Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, which has extensive holdings of modern literary and publishing archives.
The Papers of Toni Morrison contain approximately 180 linear feet of research materials that document the author's life, work, and writing methods. But they will not be available until cataloging and selective digitization are completed in about 12 months. The papers have been gathered from many locations over time, beginning with manuscripts and other original materials that the Library's Preservation Office recovered and conserved after the tragic fire in 1993 at the author's home in Rockland County, New York. Most important are manuscripts, drafts, proofs, and related files pertaining to Morrison's novels on the African American experience: The Bluest Eye (1970), Sula (1973), Song of Solomon (1977), Tar Baby (1981), Beloved (1987), Jazz (1992), Paradise (1997), Love (2003), A Mercy (2008), and Home (2012). The working materials provide additional evidence of the author's approach to the physical act of writing. Also included are similar materials for the author's play Dreaming Emmett, children's books, short fiction, song lyrics, an opera libretto, lectures, and non-fiction writing, as well as extensive literary and professional correspondence, diaries and appointment books, photographs, audiobooks, videotapes, juvenilia, memorabilia, and other materials. Complementing the papers are printed editions of Morrison's published works and translations into more than twenty languages. Additional manuscripts and papers will be added over time.
The Library is mounting an exhibit of selected manuscripts, corrected proofs, and first editions of Toni Morrison's novels, which will be on view in Firestone Library's Eighteenth-Century Window, near the lobby, on October 18–19 (Saturday-Sunday), 9:00 AM–5:00 PM; then October 20–November 24 during regular exhibition hours: 9:00–5:00 (Monday-Friday) and 12:00–5:00 (Saturday-Sunday). For more information about the Papers of Toni Morrison, please email Don C. Skemer, Curator of Manuscripts, at For questions about the author, please email her Administrative Assistant, Rene Boatman, at