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Maya Angelou Memorabilia Collection

Finding Aid & Inventory

Maya Angelou was a writer, singer, actor, and dancer who was active in the Civil Rights movement. The Marquetta and Herman Glass Collection of Maya Angelou Memorabilia contains items from Angelou's partnership with Hallmark, Mattel's Maya Angelou Barbie doll from their Inspiring Women collection, and other items.

Biographical and Historical Note

Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Ann Johnson on April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri. Her parents divorced when she was three years old, and she and her four-year-old brother Bailey were sent to live with their paternal grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. The children were eventually reunited with their mother in San Francisco, but Angelou returned to Stamps to live with her grandmother again as a teenager. Her only child, Guy Johnson, was born in 1944.

Angelou began her professional career as a singer, dancer, and actor. She performed in plays and muscials on and off-Broadway, and she traveled widely, touring Europe and Africa in the cast of Porgy and Bess. She was also active in the Civil Rights Movement.

In 1969 she published I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the first of her autobiographical works, for which she is best known. Angelou went on to publish more than 30 books of memoirs, as well as many volumes of poetry. In 1993 she read her poem  "On the Pulse of Morning" at the inauguration ceremony for President Bill Clinton.

Angelou continued to be active in the performing arts throughout her career, as a playwright, screenwriter, producer, and presenter for stage, television, and film projects. In 1972 her screenplay Georgia, Georgia became the first feature film written by an African American woman. She was chosen to participate in the American Film Institute's Directing Workshop for Women in 1974, and in 1975 she became the first Black woman member of the Directors Guild of America.

Angelou first visited Wake Forest as a visiting lecturer in 1973. In 1982 she was appointed to the first Z. Smith Reynolds chaired professorship in American Studies, a position she held until her death. She also was the recipient of many honorary doctorates and is often referred to as Dr. Angelou. Angelou passed away at her home in Winston Salem on May 28, 2014, at the age of 86.

Collection Overview

This collection contains items from Maya Angelou's partnership with Hallmark, Mattel's Maya Angelou Barbie doll from their Inspiring Women collection, and other memorabilia. Items from Angelou's work with Hallmark include a blanket, Treasure Keeper boxes, greeting cards, mugs, and a teapot. Many of these items feature quotes from Angelou.

The initial donation for this collection was Hallmark branded items donated by Marquetta and Herman Glass and Shayla Herndon-Edmunds, former Director of Diversity Education within the WFU Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Collection Inventory

  • Hallmark branded memorabilia
    • Blanket  (2003) box 1
    • Framed greeting card  (2001) box 2
    • Freestanding décor plaque (2) (circa 2001) box 2
    • Greeting cards  (2001-2007) box 3 folder 2-4
    • Mug (2) (circa 2000-2004) box 2
    • Notebooks  (2001) box 3 folder 5-6
    • Teapot (circa 2000-2004) box 2
    • Treasure Keeper box (2) (circa 2001) box 2
    • Treasure Keeper box  (2003) box 1
  • Other memorabilia
    • And Still I Rise PBS documentary film cards  (2017) box 3 folder 1
    • Barbie doll  (2021)
    • Crystallized I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, artwork by Georgia Heard  (2021) box 4 item 1

Summary Information

Repository
Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives
Title
Maya Angelou Memorabilia Collection
ID
MS902
Date
circa 2001-2021
Quantity
2 record cartons, 1 document box
Extent
3.02  Linear Feet

Administrative Information

Publication Information
Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives, 2021 September
Revision Description
Revised by Stephanie Bennett, Megan Mulder, 2021, 2023
Access Restrictions
This collection is open for use. 
Copyright Notice
The nature of the WFU Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The Archives and Special Collections of ZSR Library claims only physical ownership of most materials. The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to the U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. 
Preferred Citation
Maya Angelou Memorabilia Collection (MS902), Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, USA. 

Maya Angelou Film and Theater Collection (MS597), Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.

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