Archive Team

The Advisory Board

Gabrielle Dudley

Gabrielle M. Dudley is Instruction Archivist at the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library at Emory University. Recently, she curated an exhibition titled, “She Gathers Me: Networks Among Black Women Writers” which uses archival collections to uncover the intimate personal and professional relationships Black women writers from the 1970s to today. Additionally, the exhibitions has expanded to a multi-institution archives research and digital humanities project to further map networks among Black women writers. Gabrielle earned her M.A. in Public History and M.L.I.S. from the University of South Carolina. She also holds a B.A. in History from the University of Montevallo.

Randi Gill-Sadler

Randi Gill-Sadler , PhD, is assistant professor of English at Lafayette College. Her scholarly interests include Black women’s literature, US Imperialism and the Caribbean. In the podcast below, Gill-Sadler discusses her forthcoming work on Naylor’s Mama Day and how the novel, both in content and Naylor research preparation of it, highlights Black women’s knowledge productions that counter colonial, neoliberal means of knowledge production. 


Michelle Loris
Michelle Loris edited a book on Gloria Naylor’s novels and conducted an interview with Naylor. That work is The Critical Response to Gloria Naylor. Loris then was responsible for having Naylor receive her first honorary degree from Sacred Heart University. Through her work with Naylor, Michelle Loris developed a collegial friendship with Gloria Naylor which led to Michelle Loris being instrumental in bringing Gloria Naylor to donate her archives to Sacred Heart University.

Maxine L. Montgomery

Maxine Lavon Montgomery, Ph.D., is the author of Conversations with Gloria Naylor and The Fiction of Gloria Naylor:  Houses and Spaces of Resistance, and her essays on Naylor have appeared in African-American Reviewthe College Language Association JournalObsidian, II, and Gloria Naylor’s Early Novels, edited by Margot Anne Kelley.  As a scholar in Africana Literary and Cultural Studies, Maxine Montgomery has an interest in archival material on the intersections between folklore and Naylor’s fiction.

Shaun Myers

Shaun Myers, Ph.D., is the author of a study examining the global travels of contemporary black women writers, including Gloria Naylor, as expressions of geographic power; this essay will appear in African American Literature in Transition: 1980-1990. Specializing in African diasporic literature and culture, Shaun Myers is interested in how contemporary black feminist literary histories, especially Naylor’s unpublished papers, intersect with formations of a black global imagination.


Holly A. Smith

Holly A. Smith serves as the College Archivist at Spelman College. Previously, she served as African American Materials Specialist in the Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received her B.A. in History and Black studies from The College of William and Mary, an M.A. in History from Yale University, and her M.S. in Library and Information Science, with a concentration in Archival Management, from Simmons College. Ms. Smith has served as chair of the Society of American Archivists Diversity Committee and co-chair of the Women’s Collections Roundtable. Additionally, she is the proud co-author of the article “This [Black] Woman’s Work: Exploring Archival Projects that Embrace the Identity of the Memory Worker” (KULA Journal) and author of the piece “Radical Love: Documenting Underrepresent Communities Using Principles of Radical Empathy” (Journal for the Society of North Carolina). Ms. Smith has had the pleasure of speaking on panels about HBCU archives, digital collections, and the papers of lesbian feminist activist/writer Audre Lorde. She is passionate about community archives and archival advocacy in relation to collections for historically under-documented communities. 

Shirley A. (Holly) Stave

Shirley A. (Holly) Stave is the editor of Gloria Naylor: Strategy and Technique, Magic and Myth.  She is a professor of literature at the Louisiana Scholars’ College, located on the campus of Northwestern State University. She is interested in the genre of magic realism as well as the world building that occurs when an author laces multiple works together through shared characters, as Naylor does.



Jaimee A. Swift

Jaimee A. Swift (she/her) is the executive director, creator, and founder of Black Women Radicals, a Black feminist advocacy organization dedicated to uplifting and centering Black women and gender expansive people’s radical activism in Africa and in the African Diaspora. She is also the creator and founder of The School for Black Feminist Politics (SBFP), the Black feminist political education arm of Black Women Radicals. As a political and cultural custodian dedicated to uncovering, restoring, and restituting Black women and gender expansive people’s political memories, movements, narratives, and leadership, Swift works with Black feminist-activists, organizers, scholars, and educators from around the world to explore and expand on the power, possibilities, and futurity of Black feminisms. She is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at James Madison University. Swift has a Ph.D. in Political Science from Howard University.

Ama Wattley

Ama S. Wattley, PhD. is co-editor of Gloria Naylor’s Fiction: Contemporary Explorations of Class and Capitalism with Dr. Sharon A. Lewis, with whom she also co-wrote the Gloria Naylor biographical essay for ABC-CLIO’s forthcoming reference work Twentieth Century and Contemporary American Literature in Context, edited by Dr. Linda De Roche. 

The Archive Team

Suzanne Edwards, Ph.D, co-ordinates the processing and digitization of archival materials as well as the 2021 symposium. The PI of the Naylor Accelerator grant, she also is an Associate Professor in the English department and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program at Lehigh University. Her scholarship on Gloria Naylor has been published in Chaucer Review and African American Review (with Trudier Harris).

Mary Foltz

Mary Foltz is Associate Professor of English at Lehigh University. Her book, Contemporary American Literature and Excremental Culture: American Sh*t (Palgrave 2020), includes a chapter on Linden Hills that explores how Naylor uses scatological imagery to address constructions of race and the impact of racism. In 2019, Foltz worked with Lehigh team members to secure grant funding to digitize portions of the Naylor archive and to organize a symposium focused on how the archive opens up new directions for Naylor scholarship. Foltz’s current research attends to bibliographies in the Naylor archive, which Naylor developed as she wrote her renowned novels. Foltz also is working with Maxine Lavon Montgomery to produce an edited collection of Naylor scholarship inspired by the archive.

Afiwa Afandalo

Afiwa Afandalo, a student artist from the Bronx and Togo, is a 3rd year undergraduate with double majors in Africana Studies and Women, Gender, & Sexualities Studies with a Studio Art Minor at Lehigh University. She is the archival assistant, helping visitors since fall 2021. Her interests include how Gloria Naylor explores Black Joy and healing in addition to the concept of community and individualism in her work. In Spring 2022, collaborating with other groups on campus, she hosted a workshop on how communities affect an individual’s identity and vice versa. Among her artistic creations, are two pieces whose concept was drawn from Naylor’s novel The Women of Brewster Place. Beyond the archive, she strives to create spaces of affirmation, comfort, joy, and healing for Black girls and Black women.

Lauren Gilmore

Lauren Gilmore is a research assistant in the Gloria Naylor Archive and an MA student in Lehigh’s English department. She is currently helping to maintain the website, collaborating with Ellen Boyd on a digital project regarding Naylor’s use of plants and gardens, and collecting sources for a bibliography of Naylor criticism from 2000-2020.

Isaiah Rivera

Isaiah Frost Rivera served as the archive’s research assistant during the summer of 2021, processing archival materials in Series 3 through 5. He also moderated the keynote for the Gloria Naylor in the Archives symposium. His essay “’Terrible New Knowledge’: The Black Digital Metapoetics of Gloria Naylor’s 1996” will appear in the forthcoming “Critical Essays on Gloria Naylor” (advanced contract with University of Mississippi Press), edited by Maxine Lavon Montgomery, Mary C. Foltz, and Suzanne M. Edwards. Isaiah is a doctoral student in African & African Diaspora Studies at UT Austin. He earned his English MA from Lehigh in 2022.

Nadia Butler

Nadia Butler was the research assistant for the 2021-2022 academic year. Nadia processed correspondence in series one pertaining to 1996, Naylor’s fictionalized memoir of state surveillance. Additionally, she created metadata for digitized archival materials and staffed the archival space. She graduated with her in MA in English in May of 2022.

Ayanna Woods

Ayanna Woods served as the archive’s research assistant during the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters. Ayanna processed archival materials, managed social media for the project, and staffed the collection space for visiting scholars. She also assisted with planning and organization for a symposium on the Naylor Archive and assisted with website maintenance. Ayanna earned her B.A. in English from Howard University and finished her M.A. in English at Lehigh in 2021. 

Victoria Davis served as the archive’s research assistant during the summers of 2019 and 2020 and the Spring 2020 semester. Victoria created an archival inventory and helped process the collection to prepare for its digitization. Victoria also designed the archive’s website.

Sam Sorensen

Sam Sorensen served as the archive’s research assistant during the Fall 2019 semester. They helped process a majority of materials from the first series and staffed the archive for visiting scholars. Their dissertation research focuses on predominantly white institutions, pedagogy, and epistemic violence.

Project Partners

Stacie Brennan

Stacie Brennan is the Curator of Education for the Lehigh University Art Galleries (LUAG) and will be assisting with public programs and events that engage the campus and community with the Gloria Naylor exhibition and symposium. 

Ilhan Citak

Ilhan Citak is the Archives and Special Collections Librarian at Lehigh. He was involved in decision making for the archival management and processing systems and tools, and provided assistance in arrangement and description of the collection.

William Crow

William Crow, Ph.D., is Director of the Lehigh University Art Galleries (LUAG) and Professor of Practice in the Department of Art, Architecture, and Design.  He is leading the LUAG team and collaborating with colleagues to develop an exhibition of the Naylor Archive that will be on view in Fall, 2021. 

Full bio here.

Peter Gavin Ferriby

Peter Gavin Ferriby, Ph.D., has served Sacred Heart University as University Librarian since 2006.  In 2009 he carried the Gloria Naylor Archive by hand from her Brooklyn brownstone to a waiting van and drove the materials to Fairfield, giving him “sweat equity” in the project.

Alex Japha
Alex Japha has provided guidance and support for the archival arrangement and description of the Naylor Collection. He has also advised on the digitization process and digital access to archival material. Alex is Lehigh University’s Digital Archivist.


Kashi Johnson
Kashi Johnson, MFA, is Chair and Professor in the Department of Theatre at Lehigh University where she teaches performance and specializes in Hip-Hop theatre. She is a proud artistic associate of the Black Acting Methods Studio, accomplished director, and Equity actress. Johnson, a pioneer and innovator in Hip-Hop Theatre pedagogy, has given talks about her cutting-edge Hip-Hop Theatre course ‘Act Like You Know,’ for TEDx and BlackademicsTV. She has also published on the topic in Black Acting Methods: Critical Approaches, and authored a chapter on her pedagogy in the recently released Routledge Companion to African American Theatre and Performance.

Mellie Katakalos
Mellie, an associate professor in the Department of Theatre, has been designing and creating world premieres of plays for over twenty years. She is thrilled to be reading the newly discovered unpublished plays and film scripts in the archive, and is looking forward to collaborating with artists and scholars to bring Ms. Naylor’s work to new audiences.

Julia Maserjian
Julia Maserjian is the Digital Scholarship Team manager Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning.  She serves as an advisor for the Gloria Naylor Archive web design and in the development of teaching resources.  Julia is participating in the planning and development of the 2021 Gloria Naylor conference.



Rob Weidman

Rob Weidman is a Senior Digital Scholarship Specialist on the Digital Scholarship Team of Lehigh University’s Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning. He has assisted with the migration of image files and metadata into the Omeka content management system and consulted on the web design of the Gloria Naylor Archive.