Alex Haley papers, 1960-1992

By Don Fred, Myrka

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Collection Overview

Title: Alex Haley papers, 1960-1992

Predominant Dates:1980s

ID: BCL0901

Creator: Alex Haley (1921-1992)

Extent: 70.0 Boxes

Arrangement: The collection is arranged into six subject related series, in addtiton three  dimensional objects listed as items.

Date Acquired: 09/26/2001

Languages: English


Alex Haley papers consist of manuscripts: some unfinished, others  from his time with the Saturday Evening Post, Boy's Life Magazine and  Kiwanis Magazine; correspondence, photographs, record albums, and other materials documenting Alex Haley's literary career. Of particular interest are drafts relating to Alex Haley's writings for the Saturday Evening Post, fan mail  during the  popularity of ROOTS and the subsequent television series, handwritten notes for various projects, a copy of the first edition of the Seafearer (Coart Guard) and photographs in Gambia.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The collection contains correspondence between the author, friends, colleagues and contemporaries in the literary and publishing industries; the movie industry, celebrities and fans; ephemera and documents relating to ROOTS, eleven unfinished manuscripts; business files including contracts for speaking engagements and photographs.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions: Alex Haley is open for research.

Use Restrictions: ©2012 Broward County Library African-American Research Library and Cultural Center. All rights reserved.

Acquisition Source: Heritage Book Shop, Inc. Heritage Bindery

Acquisition Method: Alex Haley was purchased by Broward County Library System  from Heritage Book Shop, Inc. Heritage  Bindery who acquired it when Haley's estate was auctioned in 1992.

Related Materials: Alex Haley Papers, MS.1888. University of Tennessee Libraries, Knoxville, Special Collections. For more information please see

Preferred Citation: The Alex Haley papers, Special Collections and Archives, African-American Research Library and Cultural Center Broward County Library.

Processing Information: The Alex Haley papers were processed using the More Product Less Process Method. Papers are sorted into subject areas, but  not on an item by item level.

Other Note: The Earl Chesler collection includes a  first edition signed copy of ROOTS.

Box and Folder Listing

Series 1: Personal PapersAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 1.1: Personal FilesAdd to your cart.
Boxes 1-12: contains  personal papers, documents, brochures and ephemara.
Sub-Series 1.2: Business FilesAdd to your cart.
Boxes 13-25 :contains contracts for speaking engaments, clerical communications between Alex Haley and his assistant Jackie Naipo; receipts, travel itineraries, etc.
Sub-Series 1.3: United States Coast GuardAdd to your cart.
Box 26: content is related to the United States Coast Guard, including programs, event invitation and a copy of the Seaferer, the Coast Guard publication. Haley was in the Coast Guard for twenty years prior to becoming a full time writer.
Sub-Series 1.4: PhotographsAdd to your cart.
Boxes 27-29: contains photographs of Alex Haley, Johnnie Carson, Joe Louis, Brooke Shields,  the cast of Hee-Haw and the Gambia.
Series 3: ManuscriptsAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 3.1: Manuscripts  by HaleyAdd to your cart.

Boxes 39-50: constains  unfinished and unpublished manuscripts for film or publication, several handwritten notes, outlines and drafts of projects, and manuscripts of possible articles for the Saturday Evening Post's series "People on the Way Up".

Manuscript  Listing:

United Arab Emirates, 1982

Desert Boy, 1982

Jane Jacobs, 1962

Robin, 1984

John Jasper, 1960

[Natchez, Mississippi], 1979

The Hungry, 1961

Rags International, with Charles Jennings

People on the Way Up series:

Carol Bonnaviat

Konrad Schoebel

Jane Rosenthal

Lois Dickson Irish

Beverly Willis

Oscar Brown

Johnny Mathis

Roland Hayes

Phyllis Diller

Tai Solarin, The Mayflower School

Boy's Life Magazine:

John Philip Sousa

Other drafts:

The Chicken Family Davis

Cooking with Pop on Clifford Alxander, Jr.

The Captain and the Killers with Niels Mortensen

Snake in the Sleep Bag with Yvor Smitter

International Understanding by Mail

The Imaging

Milwaukee's Vel Phillips

Gardner Calvin Taylor


Sub-Series 3.2: Manuscripts by othersAdd to your cart.
Boxes 51-54: contains manuscripts and drafts by other writers sent to Alex Haley for critique or endorsement.
Series 4: Correspondence, 1960s-1990sAdd to your cart.

The series is divided by letters sent by Haley and letters sent to Haley. A large portion of the correspondence is fan mail regarding  ROOTS, genealogy and family reunions.

Notable names:

Lamar Alexander (U.S. Senator from Tennessee)

Woddy Allen

Maya Angelou

Phillis Diller

Elizabeth Dole

Tom Feelings (author illustrator of the Middle passage)

Danny Glover

Louis Gossett, Jr.

Charles Jennings

Quincy Jones

Ned McWherter (Governor of Tennessee)

Toni Morrison

Richard Pryor

Att'allah Shabbaz (Malcolm X's eldest daughter)

Danielle Steel

Sub-Series 4.1: Correspondence to HaleyAdd to your cart.
Boxes 55-62: Contains correspondence sent to Alex Haley, this includes, fan mail, request for appearances, requests for autographs, requests for copies of ROOTS  with a check enclosed; letters of invitations to family reunions, letters from school children etc. Many of the letters come from overseas and are written in languages other than English.
Sub-Series 4.2: Correspondence from HaleyAdd to your cart.
Boxes 63-68: Contains correspondence sent by Alex Haley, or responses through his executive assistant Jackie Naipo. Responses are copies of the original letter, some are the original draft that were never mailed out.  In addition there are many addressed envelopes with no content.
Series 5: ROOTSAdd to your cart.
Boxes 69-70: contains materials related to Haley's most well known book: ROOTS as well as the esuing televistion mini-series.
Series 6: Miscellaneous ObjectsAdd to your cart.

Item 1. Photo of the cast and production crew of ROOTS [listing identifying each person at the bottom of the image]

Item 2. Isola by Palle Nielsen [oversized book inscribed to Haley; numbered copy 147 of 450 and signed by the author ]

Item 3."ROOTS: Alex Haley tells the story of his search for Roots" spoken word record album. [6 copies]

Item 4. "The Begining", poster,  Rosa Parks  seated in the bus, by Artis Lane  1989.

Item 5. Unanmed poster, depicting the March on Washington D.C. , the Lincoln Memorial, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the face of a man in the forefront and the face of a soldier, 1988.

Item 6. " Golden Age of Steamboatin'", poster. two steamboats  traveling towards the sunset and the writer Marc Twain  in the forefront, 1978.

Item 7. "William Faulkner" , poster, the author standing next to a table with a typewriter, by William C. Baggett, Jr. , 1977

Item. 8."The Tear", poster,  the Statue of Liberty, an African American  with a tear coming down his face. [2 copies]