Arnold and Jane Grisham Collection of African American Literature

The Arnold and Jane Grisham Collection was donated to DePaul in 2015 by Arnold Grisham, alumnus and trustee. The collection contains numerous signed and first editions by authors already familiar to many of our students as well as authors and themes that may be new and unexpected.  On May 18, 2017 an exhibit showcasing the Grisham Collection will open in Special Collections accompanied by a digital bookshelf.

Among the rarest items in the collection is a signed pre-publication galley proof (or draft copy of a book) of Toni Morrison’s 1987 novel Beloved. This galley proof was the final chance for Morrison and her editors to alter the text before publication and is an amazing resource for researchers conducting textual analysis. The collection also contains numerous Chicago classics, such as a first edition of Gwendolyn Brooks’ 1953 novel Maud Martha. Written towards the end of the Chicago Renaissance and set in the streets of Bronzeville, Maud Martha is the only novella by Brooks, a quintessential Chicago poet.

Special Collections and Archives is committed to providing students with the opportunity for active learning by engaging with primary sources and archival materials. Thanks to the generosity of Arnold and Jane Grisham, the DePaul community and members of the public now have access to this remarkable collection of African American print history. Books in the Arnold and Jane Grisham Collection can be found in the online catalog.