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How do I access the Toni Morrison Papers?
About the Collection
All items held in the Toni Morrison Papers are described in the collection finding aid under call number C1491.
This collection consists of manuscripts, drafts, galleys, and proofs of Morrison's novels and other writings; personal correspondence; editorial files relating to Morrison's work at Random House and later publication of two posthumous works by Toni Cade Bambara; academic and teaching files, particularly pertaining to SUNY Albany and Princeton University; working files; press clippings; published books; photographs; audiovisual materials; and awards and memorabilia.
Special Considerations and Restrictions
Please note that Toni Morrison's manuscript material, including drafts, typescripts, galleys, and proofs found in boxes 1-11; 13-19; 22-29; 32-47; 50-56; 59-62; and 64-66 are available only via digital access in the Special Collections reading room. Due to preservation concerns, access to the original documents is prohibited. Material in boxes 280-291; 305-308; 310-318; 320; 323; and 325 will also be available only via digital access in the reading room pending digitization. A small amount of material is temporarily restricted at the request of the collection creator or due to the presence of personally identifiable or other legally protected information. For preservation reasons, physical access to original audio and visual media in a variety of magnetic and optic formats is restricted.
To search within the collection for keywords, phrases, names or titles, please use the search bar underneath the title, or browse by using the collapsible menu on the left-side of the screen.
Accessing the Collection
As is true with all collections, all researchers, regardless of academic affiliation are welcome to view materials from the Toni Morrison Papers in the Special Collections Reading Room located on the C-Floor of Firestone Library during open hours (Monday-Friday 9:00am-4:45pm).
If you would like to see the collection in person, we ask that you register for a Special Collections Research Account. While it is not necessary to do this before you arrive, it will speed up your visit if you register and request materials ahead of time.
To request materials, use the “request this box” button on the finding aid for the collection.
Upon your first visit to the library, you will need to check in with the access office on the first floor of Firestone Library in order to obtain an Access Card. Researchers will be asked to present a photo ID like a driver’s license, passport, school ID or work ID. It is not necessary to use a government-issued ID. Once your Access Card has been issued, please take the stairs / elevator down to C-floor, where you will find the Special Collections department.
As a reminder, all food, drink, and personal belongings (such as bags, coats, laptop sleeves, pens, books, notebooks) must be stowed in the lockers available just outside the department. You are welcome to bring your laptop or tablet, but we will provide you with paper and pencils for handwritten notes.
You are also welcome to bring a camera, cell phone or other device to take pictures of the collection, but please leave any camera cases in your locker with other personal items. Please also be aware that due to preservation concerns, we do not allow the use of personal scanners, tripods, flash, or copy stands. To respect fellow researchers, we kindly ask you to remember to turn off any audible notifications on your devices when in the Reading Room. For more information please visit the Reading Room Guidelines page on our website.
Submitting a Digitization Request
Researchers who may not be able to visit in person can also request material be digitized and emailed to them as high-quality reproductions at no cost to the researcher. However, in order to provide effective and equitable service to all researchers, requests are limited to 300 pages per person/project. Published materials may be further limited due to copyright restrictions. Should you believe you are in need of services that do not align with our order fulfillment period or page limits, please reach out to public services staff to discuss your needs further.
Access Through the Virtual Reading Room
We also offer access to a small portion of Toni Morrison material via a virtual reading room (VRR).
The virtual reading room offers secure, limited access to digitized copies of collection materials through the finding aids database. The VRR does not allow downloading of the documents.
For more information on the process for requesting access, please see the Virtual Reading Room page on the Special Collections website.