University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

The Ishmael Reed Papers

See below for collection citation and reference information.

VII. Professional Activities, 1956-1994

Extent: 3 linear ft.

Contents: Correspondence, programs, notes, minutes, schedules, printed material, flyers, posters, plaques, clippings, financial reports, photographs, certificates, brochures, and grant applications.

Arrangement: Series VII. Professional Activities is divided into two subseries: VII.1. Resumes, arranged in chronological order, and VII.2 Organizations, arranged in alphabetical order by name of the organization.


Reed participated in a number of professional activities, which are documented in Series VII. Professional Activities. These files reflect his different levels of involvement in different activities. Notable among these files, for instance, are records of the Before Columbus Foundation (1977-1992), which Reed founded to promote publication of minority writers. Reed's involvement took many forms, and the files reflect his participation on the Board of Directors from the initial incorporation through 1992 with minutes, correspondence and business records. Additional files document the creation of two Before Columbus anthologies and the annual American Book Awards sponsored by the group. Reed also founded There City Cinema to promote multi-cultural film, video, and artists of Northern California, and files for this organization are present for 1986-1989. Reed's efforts to promote new and lesser-known talent is also documented in the files of the Pushcart Prizes, which give awards to outstanding work from small presses. Reed was a long time member of P.E.N., the national association of published authors, and the collection contains correspondence related to P.E.N. activities spanning the years 1969-1988. Dissatisfied with P.E.N.'s lack of support for Reed's proposed boycott of television news, Reed started a new P.E.N. chapter in Oakland. Reed served as a member of the Usage Panel for several editions of the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, from 1976-1987. Files on other organizations in which Reed participated are less extensive, reflecting shorter periods of involvement or a more peripheral role. He served as a judge in a number of literary prize and grant competitions, including the National Endowment for the Humanities and the MacArthur Fellowship. On the local level, he headed California Poetry in the schools for a short time. Reed's awards and resumés, included in this series, also provide evidence of Reed's varied professional activities.

Contents List

Box -- Folder -- Contents

45        Series VII.  Professional activities, 1956-1994

          Series VII.1.  Resumes, [1964-1986]

     F1   Resumes, [1964-1986]

          Series VII.2.  Organizations, 1956-1994

     F2   Academy of American Poets, 1966-1975
          Reed read poetry at New York City high schools in 1966 and 1967 through a
          program sponsored by the Academy.

     F3   Actors Studio, 1979-1981
          Reed is a member of the Actors Studio Playwrights and Directors Program. 
          Actors Studio produced Reed's Hell Hath No Fury.

     F4   African American Publishers', Booksellers', and Writers' Association, 1991

     F5   American Book Review, 1977-1988
          Reed was an associate editor.  Copy removed to oversize (L).

     F6   American Civil Liberties Union, 1978
          Reed received an ACLU Award on June 12, 1978.

     F7   American Council for the Arts, 1986-1987
          Reed was a member of the Council's National Planning Committee on the
          Originating Artist in 1986-1987.

     F8   American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 1976-1987
          Reed served as a member of the Usage Panel for several editions.

     F9   The Authors Guild, Inc., 1969-1975
          Reed is a member.

     F10  Bay Area Black Journalists Association, 1986

          Before Columbus Foundation, 1977-1994
               Ishmael Reed founded the Before Columbus Foundation to distribute the
               work of writers from diverse ethnic backgrounds.
     F11  American Book Awards, 1980-1994

46        Series VII.  Professional activities (cont'd)
          Series VII.2.  Organizations (cont'd)

          Before Columbus Foundation (cont'd)

     F12  Anthologies, 1991-1992
          Announcements and public relations material.
     F13  Before Columbus Foundation Review, 1989-1992
          Issues and a list of material to be included in the first issue.
     F14  Board, 1977-1990
          Includes minutes of meetings, financial reports, annual reports, photographs,
          flyers, and promotional material.
     F15  Bylaws and articles of incorporation, [1977]
     F16  Clippings, 1984-1992
     F17  Conferences, 1977-1991
          Identification badges and programs related to ABA, MLA, and library conferences,
          which Reed attended to promote BCF.
     F18  Contemporary American Literature, 1981
          Anthology/Catalog paste-ups.   Removed to oversize (L).
     F19  Correspondence, 1977-1992
     F20  Events, 1978-1989
          Programs, flyers, clippings, notes, and other material related to readings, institutes,
          celebrations for new publications, and other events sponsored by the BCF.
     F21a Price lists, 1980-1981
     F21b [Untitled remarks regarding Before Columbus Foundation], n.d.
          Typescripts with autograph revisions.

          Berkeley Civil Arts Commission, 1979-1982
               Reed was appointed to the Commission.
     F22  1979
     F23  1980
     F24  1981 Jan-Mar
     F25  1981 Apr-Dec
     F26  1982
     F27  [n.d.]

     F28  Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame, 1984

     F29  Black Poets Reading, Inc., 1971

46        Series VII.  Professional activities (cont'd)
          Series VII.2.  Organizations (cont'd)

     F30  California Arts Council, 1973-1990

     F31  California Council for Humanities and Public Policy, 1981

     F32  California State University, Distinguished Artists Forum, 1987-1988
          Reed was invited to become a member in 1987.

     F33  Center for the Study of Southern Culture, 1979
          Reed was a national consultant for the center.

     F34  Chattanooga Museum of Afro-American Culture and History, [n.d.]

          Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines (CCLM), 1972-1989
               Reed became a member of the board in 1974.
     F35  1972-1973
     F36  1974 Mar-May

     F37  1974 Jun-Sep
     F38  1974 Oct-Dec
     F39  1975 Jan-Jun
     F40  1975 Jul-Dec
     F41  1975 (notebook)
     F42  1976 Jan-Jul

47   F43  1976 Aug-Dec
     F44  1976 (notebook)
     F45  1977 Jan-Jul
     F46  1977 Aug-Dec
     F47  1977 (notebook)
     F48  1978 Jan-Jul
     F49  1978 Aug-Nov
     F50  1978 Dec and [n.d.]
     F51  1978 (notebook)
     F52  1979
     F53  1979 (notebook)
     F54  1980
     F55  1981
     F56  1983

47        Series VII.  Professional activities (cont'd)
          Series VII.2.  Organizations (cont'd)

          Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines (cont'd)

     F57  1984-1985
     F58  1986-1987
     F59  1989 and [n.d.]

     F60  The Dana Reed Prize, 1988
          Reed served as a judge for the prize in 1988.

     F61  Ford Foundation, 1975-1981
          Reed applied for grant.

          Freedom Forum, 1991-1993
     F62  1991-1992 Jun
     F63  1992 Sep-1993

     F64  Gannett Center for Media Studies, 1987-1992
          Publications (continued by Freedom Forum).

     F65  The George Kent Award, 1994
          Plaque presented by the Gwendolyn Brooks Center, Chicago State University.

          John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, 1956-1986
          Reed was awarded at Guggenheim Fellowship for 1975-1976.
     F66  Correspondence, 1956-1985
     F67  Brochures, 1969-1986

     F68  KPFA Staff, 1977-1989
          Reed was a member of the staff for drama and literature.

     F69  Loft-McKnight Awards, 1987-1988
          Reed was a judge for these awards for Minnesota prose writers.

     F70  MacArthur Foundation, 1982
          Reed was a nominator for the Prize Fellows Program in 1982.

48        Series VII.  Professional activities (cont'd)
          Series VII.2.  Organizations (cont'd)

     F71  Morgan State University Alumni, 1994
          The Northern California Chapter of the Morgan State University Alumni awarded
          Reed a plaque in 1994 "in honor of your outstanding leadership and contributions
          to the Arts.

          National Endowment for the Arts, 1965-1990
               Reed received an NEA grant for 1974-1975.
     F72  1965-1974
     F73  1975-1977
     F74  1978-1990

     F75  National Foundation for the Arts and Humanities, 1965-1968

     F76  National Geographic Society, 1992

     F77  National Institute of Arts and Letters, 1975-1976
          Reed won The Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award in 1975 for The
          Last Days of Louisiana Red.

     F78  National Poetry Award, 1985
          Member of the awarding board for the National Poetry Award in 1985 (to Robert

     F79  New York State Council on the Arts, 1971

          P.E.N., 1969-1993
               Reed founded the P.E.N. Oakland branch.
     F80  Correspondence, 1969-1988
          Poster removed to oversize (L).
     F81  Grants and awards [lists], 1969-1974
     F82  P.E.N. Newsletter, 1972-1985
     F83  P.E.N. Oakland, 1990-1993

     F84  Poetry in the Schools, 1976
          Reed was appointed the State Coordinator of the California Poetry in the Schools
          Program in May 1976 and resigned in August 1976.

48        Series VII.  Professional activities (cont'd)
          Series VII.2.  Organizations (cont'd)

     F85  Poets and Writers, 1973-1981
          Reed is a member.  Poets and Writers sponsored Reed's poetry readings in 1980 at
          Attica Prison and in New York City.

     F86  The Pushcart Press, 1975-1981
          Reed received a Pushcart Prize for his essay, "American Poetry:  Is There a
          Center?" and was a contributing editor.

     F87  San Francisco (City and County of), 1990 Mar 17
          Certificate of Appreciation to Reed "in recognition of his outstanding literary
          accomplishments, 1st Annual Tribute to Bay Area Journalists and Writers." 
          Removed to oversize.

     F88  San Francisco African American Historical and Cultural Society, [n.d.]
          Reed was a guest speaker for a Black History Month Forum.

     F89  San Francisco Aids Activism - Literary Committee, [n.d.]
          Literary Committee member.

     F90  San Francisco Art Commission, 1976

     F91  San Francisco Bay Area Book Festival, 1990
          Advisory Board member for the festival.

     F92  San Francisco Bay Guardian, 1986
          Reed judged the "Fiction '86" contest.

     F93  Seattle Arts Commission, 1985
          Reed was a 1985 juror for the prose/fiction category of the Seattle Art
          Commission Individual Artists' Program.

     F94  Signet Society, 1988-1989
          Reed is an Associate Fellow of the Harvard Signet Society.

     F95  South Carolina Arts Commission, 1985
          Reed was a 1985 panelist for the commission's Literary Arts Selection Panel.

48        Series VII.  Professional activities (cont'd)
          Series VII.2.  Organizations (cont'd)

     F96  There City Cinema, 1986-1989
          Founded by Reed to promote multi cultural film, video, and artists of Northern

     F97  United States Information Agency, 1986
          Reed did presentations for the agency.

     F98  University of Michigan - Hopwood Award, 1981
          Reed was a judge for the novel division of the 1981 Hopwood Awards.

     F99  Whiting Foundation Writers' Program/Awards, 1985
          Reed participated in the initial meeting to form the Whiting Writers' Awards in

     F100 Who's Who in America, 1968-1974

     F101 Wisconsin Arts Board, 1982
          Reed was a juror for the Wisconsin Arts Board 1983 Fellowship Program.

     F102 YM-YWCA (New York) - Poetry Center, 1969-1970

     F103 Miscellaneous, 1968-1988
          Includes brochures, applications, and information regarding grants, fellowships,
          arts organizations, and other professional opportunities.

+ Return to Ishmael Reed Papers Index Page

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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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