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Zora Neale Hurston Papers

Identifier: MS Group 006

Scope and Content

Correspondence, newspaper clippings, articles, manuscripts, photographs, miscellaneous personal papers. Correspondence concerning race relations, Hurston's writings and fieldwork, personal matters; manuscripts of articles, short stories, plays; biographical material about Zora Neale Hurston. The majority of the papers have been encapsulated and bound. A microfilmed version of parts of the collection exists.

Collection recently updated with three cassette tapes of an interview of Hurston’s younger brother, Everette Hurston, Sr., conducted by Dr. Lillie P. Howard, Professor Emerita of English and formerly Senior Vice President for Curriculum & Instruction at Wright State University in Ohio, and the author of other publications on Zora Neale Hurston. Another significant addition is Hurston’s short story “Monkey Junk: A Satire on Modern Divorce,” originally published in a newspaper in 1927 and lost to researchers until the early 2010s.


  • Creation: 1919-2022
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1926-1960



The collection is open for research.

Usage Restrictions

The Zora Neale Hurston literary estate is represented by: Joy Harris Literary Agency, 1501 Broadway, Suite 2310, New York, NY 10036.

Biographical/Historical Note

Author, folklorist, anthropologist. Born in Notasulga, AL in 1891. Grew up in Eatonville, Florida; educated at Howard University, Barnard College and Columbia University. Did research on African-American folklore in the American South, Haiti, and the West Indies. Published works include: Of Mules and Men (1935); Jonah's Gourd Vine (1934); Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), Moses: Man of the Mountain (1939), Seraph on the Suwanee (1948); and her autobiography Dust Tracks on a Road (1943). Hurston also wrote short stories, plays, and non-fiction articles. She taught at North Carolina College for Negroes.


6 Linear feet (16 boxes; 1 binder)

Language of Materials



Correspondence, newspaper clippings, articles, manuscripts, photographs, and miscellaneous personal papers of author, Zora Neale Hurston.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Acquisition Information

After Hurston died on January 28, 1960 in a Fort Pierce, Florida, hospital, her papers were ordered to be burned. A law officer and friend, Patrick DuVal, passing by the house where she had lived, stopped and put out the fire, thus saving an invaluable collection of literary documents for posterity. The nucleus of this collection was given to the University of Florida libraries in 1961 by Mrs. Marjorie Silver, friend and neighbor of Hurston. Other materials were donated in 1970 and 1971 by Frances Grover, daughter of E. O. Grover, a Rollins College professor and long-time friend of Hurston's. In 1979 Stetson Kennedy of Jacksonville, who knew Hurston through his work with the Federal Writers Project, added additional papers.

Alternative Format Available

Digital reproductions of selected items in the Zora Neale Hurston Papers are available online via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC). Please read the Permissions for Use statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of UFDC digital objects.

Related Material

Related documents are located in the P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History at the University of Florida: Three letters to Mary G. Holland (Mrs. Spessard L. Holland) dated 1955-1958 and a 1950 Orlando Sentinel Star news article. The University of Florida also holds letters written by and about Hurston in the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Collection, the Edith Pope Papers, and the Tracy L'Engle Angas Papers. Additional information about Hurston may be available at

Processing Information

This finding aid was revised in September 2022. Recognizing that historical terms do not always completely or directly map to contemporary terms, that historical terms can be offensive or inaccurately describe a person or group, and that the presence of both historical and contemporary terms may be useful for researcher discovery, the archivist has attempted to employ historical terms as they originally appear in the context of the collection, in the description, along with contemporary terms in brackets. In the case of direct quotes and published works, the archivist has retained the language as it originally appeared.

Abbreviations Used to Describe Documents

AL=Autograph Letter (handwritten but not signed by the author)
ALS=Autograph Letter Signed (handwritten and signed by the author)
TL=Typewritten Letter
TLS=Typewritten Letter Signed
AN or a.note=Autograph Note (handwritten note by author)
l or ll.=Leaf or Leaves
A Guide to the Zora Neale Hurston Papers
Finding aid created by Dept. Staff (Photographs processed by Kimberly Burroughs)
August 2008 (Updated August 2023)
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America