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Derrick A. Bell, Jr. Papers

Call Number

MC.138

Dates

1922-2011, inclusive
; 1960-2011, bulk

Creator

Bell, Derrick A., 1930-2011

Extent

176 boxes

Language of Materials

Materials are in English

Abstract

Derrick Albert Bell, Jr. was born in 1930 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Bell, a distinguished scholar and prolific writer on current issues, most notably civil rights in the United States, is a tenured member of the faculty at the New York University Law School. He earned his BA in Political Science from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and his LLB from the University of Pittsburgh in 1957. After serving for two years as a staff attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice, he resigned because the department asked him to withdraw his membership from the NAACP. Bell became assistant counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and between 1960 and 1966 he administered 300 desegregation cases regarding schools and restaurant chains in the South. When Bell joined the faculty of Harvard University in 1969, he became the first African-American professor at that institution. In 1981 Bell left Harvard for the University of Oregon Law School where he was Dean until 1985. He resigned his post at Oregon in protest over the University's refusal to offer a faculty position to a "woman of color". He returned to Harvard in 1986, but in 1991 took a visiting professorship at New York University to protest the lack of diversity of the Harvard Law School faculty. The Bell Papers, 1955-2006, are comprised of his correspondence, writings, and teaching materials.

Biographical Note

Derrick Albert Bell, Jr. was born in 1930 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is a distinguished scholar and prolific writer on current issues, most notably civil rights in the United States. His writings and lectures have examined racism's workings in American society, and the legal remedies for racism as it is expressed in law and custom. He is or has been a member of the D.C., Pennsylvania, New York State, City of New York, and California bar associations.

After serving in the USA Air Force in Korea, he earned his BA in Political Science from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and his LLB from the University of Pittsburgh in 1957 - three years after the Supreme Court invalidated the principle of racially segregated schools in United States in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. Bell became associated with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund in 1960 (as first assistant counsel) and worked under the close tutelage and influence of Thurgood Marshall, later USA Justice Marshall, who hired him from his position as Executive Director of the Pittsburgh NAACP (DAB to Ellen S. Silberman, July 7, 1978, Box 10:7). After serving for two years as a staff attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice, he resigned because the department asked him to withdraw his membership from the NAACP. Bell became assistant counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and between 1960 and 1966 he administered 300 desegregation cases regarding schools and restaurant chains in the South. Another influence on Bell in this period was U.S. Attorney Constance Baker Motley, later U.S. Judge Motley, with whom he worked in New York City and Mississippi through 1966.

Bell left the NAACP - LDEF in 1966 to become Deputy Director of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW). He then left government service in 1968 for academia, first teaching at UCLA's Western Center on Law and Poverty. When Derrick Bell joined the faculty of Harvard University Law School in 1969, he became the first African-American professor at that institution. Bell became the first tenured black professor at the Harvard Law School in 1971. He served on the Harvard faculty as professor from 1969-1980 and 1986-1992.

In 1981 Bell left Harvard Law School for the University of Oregon Law School where he was Dean until 1985. He was a visiting professor at other institutions in the period of 1985-1986. He resigned his post at Oregon in protest over the University's refusal to offer a faculty position to a "woman of color." He returned to Harvard Law School in 1987 and subsequently took unpaid leave from that institution during the 1990-91 and 1991-92 academic years to protest the lack of diversity of the Harvard Law School faculty but retained his rank and appointment through the end of that period. He took a visiting professorship at New York University Law School from 1990-1992 and is now a tenured member of the faculty at NYU.

Bell's written work, both in fiction and non-fiction has been widely praised for its imagination and spirituality and he has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times and The Christian Science Monitor, and university legal journals such as: Columbia, Harvard, Yale, and Michigan. Several of his books are considered "best-sellers," including: And We Are Not Saved: The Elusive Quest for Racial Justice, Faces at the Bottom of the Welland Race, Racism and American Law.

Bell has long expressed opinions regarding the permanence of racism and legal remedies aimed at benefiting minorities inevitably benefiting majority groups. These ideological convictions have placed him at odds with some African-American organizations with different ideas regarding the eradication of inequality in education, housing, and other areas. His opinions have also diverged greatly from both white and black colleagues in law, political activism, government, and academia.

Sources:

Derrick A. Bell, Jr., "The Burden of Brown on Blacks: History-Based Observations on a Landmark Decision," North Carolina Central Law Journal 7:1 (Fall, 1975), 25-38; Derrick A. Bell, Jr., "Waiting on the Promise of Brown," "The Courts, Social Science, and School Desegregation: Part II," Law and Contemporary Problems, Duke Univ. School of Law, Spring, 1975. DAB to Prof. Herbert Wechsler (Director, the American Law Institute), June 17, 1980 (Box 12:9) for an exposition of the legal principles involved in Brown v. Board of Education; Crenshaw, Kimberlè, Race, Reform, and Retrenchment: Transformation and Legitimization in AntiDiscrimination Law, Harv. L. Rev. 1331, 1380-1381 (1988).Friedman, Leon, The Civil Rights Reader (New York: Walker and Co., 1967Goldman, Roger L., Thurgood Marshall: Justice for All (with David Gallen), (New York: 1992, Carroll & Graf.)Greenberg, Jack, Crusaders in the Courts: How A Dedicated Band of Lawyers Fought for the Civil Rights Revolution (New York: Basic Books, 1994).Hall, Kermit L. The Magic Mirror: Law in American History (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1989).Horwitz, Morton, The Transformation of American Law, 1870-1960 (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1992).Morrison, Toni, "The pain of being black," Time, May 22, 1989, 120.

Arrangement

The files are grouped into 6 series: I, Correspondence; II, Speeches and Writings; III, Subject Files; IV, Course Materials; and V, Book Materials. Accessions are either integrated into the original finding aid or added to the end of the box and folder list as additions to the original series. Folders are generally arranged either alphabetically or chronologically (see series descriptions in Scope and Content Note).

Scope and Content Note

The Derrick A. Bell, Jr. Papers contain materials that document both the personal and professional career of civil rights attorney, legal scholar, political activist, and professor Derrick Albert Bell, Jr. (1930-2011). Materials date between 1922 and 2011, the bulk of which dates between 1960 and 2011, and include personal correspondence, business correspondence, course materials, unpublished articles and manuscripts, and books Bell used for his research, writing, and teaching. These materials are described in greater detail by series below. Series I: Correspondence, 1950 - 1991, 20 linear feet (20 records boxes), arranged chronologically; Series I contains Prof. Bell's personal and official correspondence for the whole of his career through 1991, i.e., from the period of examination for the bar in 1959 through his leave of absence from the faculty of Harvard Law School in 1990-91. (Note that Box 1: 1-20 (1950 - 1969) are office files; Box 4: 7-17 (1959 - c. 1974) are personal materials.) The papers reflect a career that spans the entire cycle of the modern Civil Rights movement including his employment by the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund in New York, 1960-1966, where he conducted research and also traveled in the South, investigating voting abuse and making speeches through his career at Harvard Law School, 1969-1980, his position as Dean of the University of Oregon Law School, 1980-1985, his second period at Harvard, 1987-1990, and his highly-politicized unpaid leave of absence from Harvard from 1990-1992 and his visiting professorship at NYU Law School during the 1990-1991 academic year. The correspondence indicates that Bell stayed in touch over the course of decades with friends and colleagues from the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and expended some effort to remain in discourse with friends and colleagues with whom he had experienced disagreement in policy or programming. Occasional personal expressions are present: a rare response to hate mail (letter of November 30, 1987, Box 19:12); and a formal note to Harvard's Law Dean Oliver Sacks in 1975 on the responsibilities imposed by Bell's presence at Harvard, the resulting high volume of correspondence, and the consequent need for secretarial staff: Box 6:6. Some notable correspondence: * DAB to Constance Baker-Motley regarding a conference proposal, May 24, 1975 (Box 6:5); DAB to "Connie," September 23, 1975 (Box 6:8); DAB to C.B. Motley, August 26, 1971 (Box 4:13) recommending two student as law clerks; Nov. 29, 1976 (Box 7:12); * Candid descriptions of his "Harvard experiences;" DAB to Prof. Henry J. Richardson, III, March 29, 1975 (Box 6:3); * DAB acted as voluntary mental health legal advocate for a Harvard student. Referred to "psychic burden" on black students in higher education, June 25, 1975 (Box 6:6); * DAB to Napoleon B. Williams, Jr., NYU law professor re: minority problems with the New York State Bar Exam, October, 1975 (Box 6:10); * DAB to Charlayne Hunter, May 24, 1975 (Box 6:5); * DAB to Alice Walker, September 11, 1979, informing her of a canceled trip to San Francisco (Box 4:10); DAB to Alice Walker, October 16, 1979 supporting parole for black militant Imari Obadele (Box 11:10); * DAB to Christy Hefner, Feb. 12, 1981, advising her to get a law degree to prepare her for the responsibilities of administering a large publishing firm (Box 13.6); * March 15, 1983 memorandum to faculty and staff of University of Oregon Law School regarding the "budget battle" and declaring his intention to resign (Box 15:7); * personal letter of apology for intemperate language from Paul Olum, President, University of Oregon, November 8, 1984 (Box 16:15); Box 9 represents DAB's trip to mainland China in May, 1977 as a member of the Black American Judges and Lawyers. The China Study Tour occurred shortly after the normalization of U.S.-China relations in 1972-74. This collection yielded several photographs, some memorabilia, and undated background reading materials.

As Bell's correspondence grew more and more voluminous in the mid-seventies, the files grew increasingly complex and will present some challenges to the researcher. Before 1975, copies of student recommendations and critiques were filed in the monthly correspondence files. Isolating sensitive documents into separate files was not an option because of the great volume of materials and because this action would have been invasive of other evidentiary values; hence, sensitive and restricted documents have been left in their normal sequence with other correspondence. As of 1975, student recommendations were filed separately. Bell's students became practitioners, legal scholars, and law clerks at all levels of the American bench, in non-profit institutions, academia, litigation, public advocacy, and as elected legislators. The use of some folders containing sensitive documents relating to students and graduates are restricted. Correspondence files after 1980 contain several sets of documents: "general" correspondence, "personal" correspondence, "recommendations," and secretarial chronological files of all outgoing correspondence. "General," "personal," and chronological copies were apparently filed separately, but were combined at some point, often into a single file folder. Each of several filing sequences occurring within a single folder has been brought into individual chronological order, the result being that several chronological sequences are present in many folders, not having been integrated into a single chronological sequence within a single folder. The chronological secretaries' files begin with 1980 and were filed back-to-front in chronological order; they have been brought into archival chronological order (front-to-back), and are the surest record of the volume and sequence of outgoing letters from Bell's office. However, it is the correspondence files that contain incoming letters that generated Bell's responses, contain annotations and notes to secretaries and occasional letters typed or keyboarded by Bell himself. The first box of correspondence, 1959-1969, represents the course of the post-Brown Civil Rights movement and Bell's involvement with it. The files reflect Bell's work as Associate Editor of Pittsburgh Law Review, the beginnings of his career with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the UCLA Western Center on Law and Poverty, and early work with CLEO (Council of Legal Education Opportunity). These records illustrate the origins of relationships with other Civil Rights leaders and advocates in the 1960's, including joint projects undertaken, consensus on public issues such as Supreme Court nominees and a shared commitment that appears both political and personal; see Mrs. Myrlie B. Evers to Bell, September 26, 1969 (Boxes 1:15 and 1:17); and Bell to Justice Thurgood Marshall, Justice Marshall to DAB, October, 1979 (Box 1:16). These early files also demonstrate the beginnings of decades of Bell's advocacy for black student recruitment and support, recruitment of black women as law professors (Eleanor Holmes Norton, Assistant Director, ACLU, New York City, and Sheila Rush Jones, East Harlem Poverty Law Center), and courteous but determined questioning of authorities about small indignities and insufficiencies inflicted on black people, from deceptive advertising (DAB to the Heath Co., March 10, 1969, Box 1:13) to blatant mistreatment, the latter represented in correspondence of December, 1969, and January and February, 1970 (Box 1:18 and ff.), to President Morris Abram of Brandeis University after Bell observed a black cook-employee enduring verbal abuse and social isolation at a Brandeis dining hall. Correspondence for 1963 (Box 1:4) contains correspondence with Coahoma and Clarksdale Counties (Mississippi) School Boards and a 1963 poster publicizing a speaking engagement, with Bell's picture on the poster (now housed in University Archives Shared Box 001). His correspondence also illustrates relationships with black students who erred or failed to perform to academic standards (inadequate citations, late papers) and shows responses to a broader black American constituency who saw in him a champion of civil issues ranging from job discrimination to false imprisonment to the psychic burden of being black in a white society. The volume of papers is too great to permit a comprehensive list of correspondents. A partial list follows: Regular or frequent correspondentsProf. Mary Frances Berry (Box 5:1, 5:2, 5:3, 5:5, 5:6, 5:7, 5:10, 5:11, 5:12, 5:13, 5:16, 7:4, 7:5, 7:16, 7:17Robert L. Carter, judge (USA Southern District)(U.S. Southern District) (Box 1:9, 1:10, 1:12, 1:17, 1:18, 2:1, 2:2, 2:8, 2:10, 2:11, 2:13, 2:14, 2:23, 2:26, 3:12, 3:13, 3:14, 3:16, 3:17, 3:18, 3:19, 3:22, 4:1, 4:2, 4:3, 4:11, 4:12, 5:6, 5:7, 5:10, 5:11, 5:12, 5:14, 5:16, 6:8, 6:17, 6:18, 6:19, 7:2, 7:3, 7:5, 7:10, 7:13, 7:16, 7:17, 7:18)LeRoy Clark, N.Y.U.(Box 1:12, 1:14, 2:2, 2:13, 2:23, 3:2, 3:14, 3:19, 4:1, 4:2, 4:3, 4:12, 5:10, 5:11, 5:12, 5:13, 5:14, 5:15, 5:16, 6:7, 6:10, 6:12, 6:17, 6:20, 7:11)A. Leon Higginbotham(Box 2:8, 2:11, 2:14, 2:23, 2:26, 3:13, 3:14, 3:15, 3:19, 4:1, 4:2, 4:3, 4:5, 5:1, 5:2, 5:10, 5:11, 5:12, 5:13, 5:14, 5:15, 5:16, 6:6, 6:16, 6:17, 6:19, 6:20)Justice Thurgood Marshall(10/02/1969, 10/10/1969, 11/20/1969, 11/12/1980, see archivist for correspondence location, Box1:16, 1:17, 1:18, 2:27, 3:14, 4:12, 5:16)Constance Baker Motley (Box 1:7, 1:9, 1:14, 2:10, 2:26, 3:11, 3:21, 5:4, 5:12, 5:16, 6:5, 6:9, 6:17, 6:18, 7:12, 7:17)Eleanor Holmes Norton Prof. Frances Fox PivenDiane Ravitch(Box 6:8, 6:9, 6:12, 6:18, 6:20, 7:2, 7:3, 7:4, 7:9, 7:16, 7:17, 7:18)Alice Walker(03/28/1986, 05/20/1986, please see archivist for correspondence location) Occasional, single, or intermittent correspondents (note that this is a cursory list, because Bell's correspondence was large and comprehensive)Robert H Alexander, Jr., special prosecutor, Oklahoma (Box 6:5) F. Lee Bailey (12/14/1982, please see archivist for correspondence locationJustice Harry A. Blackmun (04/08/1985, 09/10/1987, see archivist for correspondence location)Dorothy Chin Brandt, NY City civil court judge (December, 1987)Prof. Peggy C. Davis, NYU Law School (July, 1987, 5:14)Michael Dukakis, Governor, Massachusetts(10/05/1986, please see archivist for correspondence location)Ernest GellhornWilliam H. Hastie, USA Judge (3rd Circuit, Philadelphia)(Box 6:6, 6:12, 7:8, 7:10)Nathan Huggins, Harvard UniversityReverend Jesse JacksonVernon Jordan(Box 2:13, 2:21, 2:27, 3:2, 3:15, 4:12)Attorney-General Robert F. Kennedy(Box 1:4)Vilma Martinez (Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund)(Box 6:13, 6:16, 6:19, 7:2)John Sexton, Dean, NYU Law SchoolMichael Sovern (professor of law, Columbia University)(Box 1:12, 2:2, 2:23, 2:24)Clarence Thomas, Director, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission(04/12/1988, please see archivist for correspondence location)Governor Richard Thornburgh (Pennsylvania)Andrew Young, US Congressman (Nov. 26, 1976.) Later correspondents include: felons (June, November, 1987) and students whose physical and psychological limitations had been caused by, Bell considered, racial discrimination (July, 1987/Box 18:14). Other correspondents include: Harvard colleagues (Archibald Cox, Morton Horwitz, Alan Dershowitz), law deans, professors, association heads, and conference leaders (Millard Ruud, George Schatzki, Roy Mersky, Ernest Gellhorn). Bell stayed in touch with students after graduation and wrote encouraging letters to the young and talented: see DAB to Lani Guinier, Special Assistant to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Washington D.C., April 15, 1980 (Box 12:5). Series II: Speeches and writings, 1960-1992, 9 linear feet (9 records boxes), arranged chronologically. Series II's original filing order was, it is surmised, "speeches," "writings," and "articles about Bell," but were disordered at the time of accession. They have been arranged in chronological order regardless of gênre, length, style, and intended audience or medium, with some undated materials lodged in miscellaneous files. A few files that contained only a single item each have been gathered into files labeled with the appropriate alphabetical letter; "B," "D," "E," etc. The folders are labeled by month and year, though many of the speeches and writings are dated more precisely on the document itself. It will be noted that some speeches were delivered on more than one occasion. The researcher should be aware of annotations in Bell's hand, variations in title and in substance. N.B.: literary copyright applies to unpublished materials, for which permission to quote must be sought by the researcher. Series III: Subject files, 1970-1985, 19 linear feet (19 records boxes); arranged alphabetically. The subject files are arranged in alphabetical order and reflect Bell's associational activities, memberships, interests, memorable events, and subjects for reflection; see Box 36:3 for church bulletin for the funeral of Medgar Evers in 1963; Box 36:16, "hate mail." Bell's own bar exam notes and review were moved from correspondence to subject files and are placed with other bar exam materials, Boxes 31 and 32. The bulk of the materials are from the 1970's. The subject files order should be closely examined for materials that are similar but not filed together; see, for example, Bell's testimony on busing and school desegregation to the USA House Committee on Education and Labor in 1976 (Box 33:14), and correspondence with Congressman Edward I. Koch (D-NY, later Mayor) in the same period (Box 46:7-11).

Series IV: Course materials, 1969-1988, 10 linear feet (10 records boxes); arranged by subject. Series IV (Boxes 50-59) represents a portion of Bell's background reading, syllabi and class assignments, unpublished papers, evaluations, grades, and reading materials that focused course development. This series is incomplete, with large gaps, which may correspond to materials in accession 95-015. The files are in rough chronological order within subject groupings that correspond to course titles. Series V: Book materials, 1979-84, 6 linear feet (6 records boxes); arranged by subject. Series V (Boxes 60-63) consists of reviews, writing projects, book manuscripts, chapter revisions, teaching manuals, and book proposals. *Boxes 64-95 contain materials accessioned in 1997 and 1998 (numbers 97-014, 98-004). Materials contained within these accessions span the years of 1955 to 1996, primarily 1990 to 1996. These accessions cover all series represented in the bulk collection. These boxes also contain some restricted documents (student papers, resumes, sensitive correspondence) that have been separated from the original accession. The boxes have been labeled indicating which folders belong to which accession number. Accession 97-014 was processed by Teresa Mora. **During the Summer of 1998, Jennifer Schwartz processed part of the 98-004 accession, limited mainly to Bell correspondence. Once these were put in acid-free folders and organized according to date, they were combined with the processed correspondence Teresa Mora completed of accession 97-014. ***Boxes 96-106 contain materials accessioned in 1999 and 2000 (numbers 99-008, 00-004). Materials contained within these accessions span the years of 1992 to 1999. These accessions includes all series represented in the bulk collection but are not organized by series. ****Boxes 110-119 - Journals, Bell's published articles and materials on law cases were separated from the entire collection. They were processed and organized within 10 paige boxes. Journals that do not contain Bell's writings are arranged alphabetically according to title. Articles written by Bell are organized by date. *****Boxes 107-109, 120 contain materials accessioned in 2003 (number 03-008). Materials contained within this accession span the years of 1976 to 2003, primarily 2002. This accession includes all series represented in the bulk collection. ******Boxes 121-135 contain materials accessioned in 2001, 2002, 2005, and 2006 (numbers 01-013, 02-014, 05-003, 05-005, 06-011). Materials contained within these accessions span the years of 1971 to 2005, primarily 1998 to 2004. These accessions include all series represented in the bulk collection and have been put into series order. The boxes have been labeled indicating which folders belong to which accession number.

*******Boxes 136-160 contain materials accessioned in 1995 (numbers 95-015). Materials contained within these accessions span the years of 1955 to 1994, primarily 1986 to 1994. These accessions include all series represented in the bulk collection and have been put into series order. Addendum to publication list:Bell, Derrick A., Faces at the Bottom of the Well: the Permanence of Racism (New York: Basic Books, 1992).Bell, Derrick A., Confronting Authority: Reflections of an Ardent Protester (Boston: Beacon Press, 1994).Bell, Derrick A., Gospel Choirs: Psalms of Survival for an Alien Land Called Home (New York: Basic Books, 1996). The initial accessions (95-015 and 96-003) represent Prof. Bell's personal and scholarly life and career chiefly before coming to N.Y.U. in 1990 as visiting professor. Further accessions reflect his permanent presence on the N.Y.U. Law faculty since 1992. The collection presents formidable access problems; the archivist must govern access to the materials very carefully because of the prevalence of student papers, exams, evaluations, and recommendations. A number of unpublished manuscripts by Bell and others are present in the collection in which literary copyright resides. It is the researcher's responsibility to obtain permission to quote from such materials; see, e.g., "The Texas Black Colleges: A Historical Survey of State Law" by Lee Stanley Smith, 1979 (Box 14:10).

Conditions Governing Access

Material pertaining to individual student records may be restricted in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Please contact the Archives with specific questions regarding access to such records.

Administrative records and unpublished reports of New York University are closed for a period of 20 years from the date of their creation. Access to files spanning multiple years will be opened to researchers based on the date of the most recent materials. Board of Trustees records are closed for 35 years from the date of creation. Materials related to personnel, grievances, job and fellowship searches and applications, and all files that fall under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) are permanently restricted. Additional restrictions may apply to other materials in this collection. For questions regarding specific restrictions, please contact the University Archives. This collection contains born-digital materials that may not have been reformatted. Please contact the University Archives if you wish to access these materials.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright of the books in this accretion are either held by their creators or in the public domain, depending on publication date, publication country, and whether or not the work was registered with a copyright notice. Users need not secure permission from the University Archives to publish or reproduce materials in this collection in the public domain. Permission to publish or reproduce materials to which original creators hold copyright must be secured from the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form: Identification of item, date (if known); Derrick A. Bell, Jr. Papers; MC 138; box number; folder number; New York University Archives; New York University.

Location of Materials

Materials are stored offsite and advance notice is required for use. Please contact university-archives@nyu.edu at least two business days prior to your research visit to coordinate access.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was initially transferred to the New York University Archives in 2008 by Professor Derrick A Bell, Jr., although additional accretions were donated later in 2008, in 2014, 2016, and 2017. Donations received after Bell's death in 2011 were facilitated by the the New York University School of Law.

Custodial History

As of May, 2024 one file from Series III, "Brown Conference, 1974," is missing from this collection.

Separated Material

One record carton of personal materials was returned to Professor Bell during processing. It is unclear if the photographs and slides removed to the Photo Collection for Preservation and are filed under "Bell, Derrick A" at the time of processing have been returned to the University Archives, but other photographs have been known to be removed and put into a folder entitled "Derrick Bell" in the New York University Archives' portrait files. In addition, the contents of various zip disks and floppy disks have been copied to the University Archives shared drive at N:Guides/Manuscript_Collections/Bell_correspondence.

Collection processed by

Marilyn H. Pettit and University Archives staff, with additional edits by Alison Lotto and Salome Jeronimo

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2024-05-21 17:01:03 -0400.
Language: Finding aid written in English.

Processing Information

Decisions concerning the arrangement, description, and physical interventions taken on this collection prior to 2017 have not been recorded. In June 2017 an accretion of books and loose materials were foldered while all other original folders were retained. Materials were transferred to record cartons in the order in which they were received, and all books in the accession were boxed spine down. Processing information prior to this accession is limited. The original collection size was reduced during rehousing as files were housed more efficiently. Only a few duplicates of materials (unannotated) were discarded. A number of photographs and slides were removed at the time to the Photo Collection for Preservation and are filed under "Bell, Derrick A."

In March 2019 three oversize items from the collection were found and reintegrated into the collection. These include a NAACP Coahoma County Branch lecture poster (1963) which had been removed from Box 1, Folder 4 for preservation purposes at some point in past; a copy of The Outlaw (vol. 1 no. 6), which was a joint publication of Boston University and Harvard Law Schools (1971); and a Pittsburgh Press clipping on Camp Johnson (1984). The lecture poster was reintegrated into Series I and the other two items added to Series III. They are housed in University Archives Shared Box 001.

In May 2024, copies of Bell's published articles were rehoused.

Revisions to this Guide

June 2017: Updates by Andrea Kutsenkow to include materials from Series VI: Course Materials and Books (Accession 2017-016);
March 2019: Oversize items reintegrated into collection by John Zarrillo
December 2023: Edited by Anna Björnsson McCormick to remove a citation of restricted material
January 2024: Updated by Anna Björnsson to reflect the rehousing of materials
May 2024: Updated by Weatherly Stephan to reflect rehousing of published articles
May 2024: Updated by Anna Björnsson McCormick to note missing materials

Edition of this Guide

This version was derived from bellfindingaid.doc

Repository

New York University Archives
New York University Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012