University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

The Ishmael Reed Papers

See below for collection citation and reference information.

X. Personal Papers, 1959-1992

Extent: 2 linear ft.

Contents: Correspondence, notes, calendars, driver's license, financial papers, medical information, telephone messages, photographs, receipts, and printed material.

Arrangement: Series X. Personal papers is divided into three subseries. X.1. Personal correspondence, notes, and messages is arranged in chronological order. X.2. Personal calendars and date books is also arranged in chronological order. Subseries X.3. Biographical and personal information is arranged by subject.


Reed's personal life is less completely documented in this collection. The personal series is small, but even so, its contents are so intermixed with literary and business materials that the division is somewhat arbitrary. There is no material from Reed's childhood in the collection except the anecdotes in his autobiographical writings in Series I. There are almost no photographs of family and leisure activities. The different areas of Reed's adult life were interrelated on a daily basis, with his work at the center, and his visits to Alaska, Hawaii, Martinique, Japan, Europe, and the East Coast were work-related. He carefully guarded the privacy of his wife and daughters as a general rule, but he sometimes collaborated with his wife Carla, a dancer, on performance pieces, and his daughter Tennessee, a poet, at readings. The correspondence labeled personal which was assigned to this series contains a good deal of correspondence of a general literary nature as well as letters from his wife and mother. His calendars and desk notes are included in this series, but these also document the extent to which his work and personal life were deeply interrelated.

The final subseries includes a miscellany of personal documents, such as letters documenting Reed's early employment, his letter of admittance to the University of Buffalo, a driver's license, a few medical records, several photographic images of Reed, and a folder of financial papers.

Contents List

Box -- Folder -- Contents

54        Series X.  Personal papers, 1959-1992

          Series X.1.  Personal correspondence, notes, and messages, 1966-1990

          Correspondence, 1966-1990
     F1   1966-1968
     F2   1969 Jan-May
     F3        Jun-Dec
     F4   1970
     F5   1971
     F6   1972 Jan-Jul
     F7        Aug-Dec
     F8   Undated material found in 1972 file
     F9   1973 Jan-Sep
     F10       Oct-Dec
     F11  Undated material found in 1973 file
     F12  1974 Jan-Sep
     F13       Oct-Dec
     F14  1975 Jan-Jun
     F15       Jul-Dec
     F16  1976 Jan-Jun
     F17       Jul-Dec
     F18  1977 Jan-Oct
     F19       Nov-Dec
     F20  1978
     F21  1979 Jan-Sep
     F22       Oct-Dec
     F23  1980
     F24  1981-1989
     F25  1990
     F26  [n.d.]

     F27  Telephone messages, 1981-1984

     F28  Notes and scraps, 1970-1986
          Includes brief notes, names and telephone numbers and/or addresses, library notes,
          and to-do lists.

55        Series X.  Personal papers (cont'd)

          Series X.2.  Personal calendars and date books, 1965-1989
               Many of the calendars include notations of appointments, as well as lists of
               names, telephone numbers, and addresses.
     F29  1965
     F30  1972
     F31  1975
     F32  1976 (two calendars)
     F33  1977 (two calendars and one pocket organizer)
     F34  1979
     F35  1980 (two calendars - removed to oversize)
     F36  1982
     F37  1984 (three calendars - removed to oversize)
     F38a 1985 (one calendar - removed to oversize)
     F38b 1988
     F39  1989

          Series X.3.  Biographical and personal information, 1959-1992

     F40  Printed references, [n.d.]
     F41  Driver's license, 1978
     F42  Medical records, 1971-1987
     F43  Photographic and negative images of Reed, [n.d.]
     F44  Documents regarding housing, 1983-1984
     F45  Financial papers, 1959-1990
          Includes a few documents regarding employment, income tax forms, receipts,
          travel arrangements, banking correspondence, and letter of acceptance to the
          University of Buffalo in 1959.
     F46  Material related to Tennessee Reed, 1988-1990

          Material related to Carla Blank, 1971-1990
     F47  Notes and worksheets for "Wall St. Journal," 1971
     F48  Issues of Washington International Arts Letter, 1975-1978
     F49  Letters, printed material, and miscellaneous items, 1972-1990

     F50  Material related to James Baldwin, 1988
          Includes a program for A Tribute to James Baldwin and the press packet for James
          Baldwin: The Price of a Ticket (including press photographs).

     F51  Notes and documents for the funeral of Paul Lofty, 1992

+ Return to Ishmael Reed Papers Index Page

+ Return to List of Manuscript Finding Aids by Title

citation and reference information

The Ishmael Reed Papers

1964 - 1995

Manuscript Collection Number: 398
Accessioned: Purchases, 1980-1995.
Extent: 65 linear ft.
Content: Correspondence, novels, plays, poems, essays, reviews, speeches, magazines, posters, clippings, brochures, flyers, broadsides, photographs, artwork, books, galley and page proofs, financial documents, catalogs, programs, photocopies, sound recordings, schedules, comic books, notes, transcripts, awards, certificates, minutes, audiovisual recordings, and miscellaneous ephemera.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: 1998-1999 by Shiela Pardee, completed by Anita Wellner.

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