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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Am 2654

Mary E. Mebane papers


Papers of African-American writer and educator, Mary Elizabeth Mebane.


  • Creation: 1971-1977

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material. Formerly restricted until 2002. [See curatorial file for further details].

This collection is not housed at the Houghton Library but is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.


1 linear feet (2 boxes)

Papers include 1971-1977 letters from others, especially journalist Harrison E. Salisbury; Mebane's diaries from 1973, 1976-1977; clippings of her articles in the New York Time; and biographical materials, including photographs, on Mebane and her mother, Carrie Brandon Mebane.

Biographical / Historical

Mary Elizabeth Mebane (1933-1992) was an African-American woman writer, primarily known for her autobiographical series about growing up in the American South, suffering from poverty, racism, and alienation from her family. She was born on the outskirts of Durham, North Carolina in 1933, her mother a tobacco factory worker, and her father sick most of the time. She received a B.A. from North Carolina College at Durham and a Ph.D. in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She taught at the University of South Carolina and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and was a frequent contributor to the op-ed page of the New York Times. Her autobiographical works are: Mary (Viking Press, 1981) and Mary wayfarer; an autobiography (Viking Press, 1983).


Arranged alphabetically by title of folder.

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

77M-84. Gift of Mary E. Mebane, P. O. Box 1321, Columbia, South Carolina 29202; received: 1977 July 18.

Related Materials

Additional Mary Elizabeth Mebane papers are held by the Southern Historical Collection of the Library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

General note

This collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. See access restrictions below for additional information.

Processing Information

Processed by: Bonnie B. Salt

Part of the MS Storage project, 2008-2009.

Mebane, Mary E., 1933-. Mary E. Mebane papers, 1971-1977: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all who wish to use the library’s collections.

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