On May 1, Fanny McConnell Ellison, widow of Ralph Ellison (1914-94), visited the Library to inspect one of the special meeting rooms that houses the Ralph Ellison collection in the Northwest Pavilion in the Jefferson Building. The donation of the Ellison papers to the Library was announced in February 1996, and the full collection will be received over a four-year period. (Photo by Yvonne French)
Alice Birney, the American literature specialist in the Manuscript Division, has responsibility for the papers. Upon completion of the terms of acquisition, the Library will receive approximately 140 cartons of various sizes containing manuscript drafts and notes for both published and unpublished works, speeches, correspondence, files, photographs and recordings and Ellison's entire working library.
As Ellison's papers are unpacked and organized, an archivist will prepare a "finding aid," an unpublished register that describes the material.
Soon, the public will have the opportunity to view Ralph Ellison's "working library," which will be displayed near the Great Hall, in keeping with his wishes that it be housed in a unique institution that belongs to all Americans.