About the Archive

The Gloria Naylor Archive facilitates engagement with Gloria Naylor’s life and works by making her collected papers widely accessible—to scholars, educators, students, and fans.  The Archive is both a physical space where visitors are invited to consult all of Naylor’s papers in person and also an online resource where visitors can engage select archival materials.

As of summer 2023, online resources include: digital images of archival materials pertaining to The Women of Brewster Place, Linden Hills, and Mama Day; a detailed finding aid; a listing of Naylor’s known published works; a bibliography of scholarly works that draw on Naylor’s collected papers; and short interpretive essays that highlight key documents from the archive.

Gloria Naylor archives at Sacred Heart University – photo by Tracy Deer-Mirek 2009


The Gloria Naylor Archive was founded in 2009 when Gloria Naylor donated her collected papers to Sacred Heart University. In 2018, Sacred Heart University and Lehigh University began a collaboration to make the Archive more accessible. As part of this collaboration, Naylor’s papers were temporarily relocated to Lehigh University. At Lehigh, faculty, staff, and graduate researchers processed and digitized materials, built a robust network of Naylor scholars, and brought archival documents to life through the visual and performing arts. In summer 2023, all the physical documents returned to Sacred Heart, where they are available for researchers’ consultation. Lehigh continues to manage the website and digital repository.

The Gloria Naylor Archive has benefited the generous support of an Accelerator Grant through the Office of the Vice President and Associate Provost for Research at Lehigh University and a Collaborative Research grant through the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Archive Timeline

1994 | Gloria Naylor receives an honorary degree from Sacred Heart.

1996 | Gloria Naylor’s interview with Michelle Loris (Sacred Heart University) and Sharon Felton, which was published in the 1997 Critical Response to Gloria Naylor.

2007 | The Women of Brewster Place is adopted as a common reading for all students in the Sacred Heart University common core, with Michelle Loris serving as the chair of the development committee.

2008-9 | Gloria Naylor contacts Michelle Loris to discuss donating her papers to Sacred Heart University.

June 22, 2009 | Gloria Naylor formally donates her papers to Sacred Heart. Later that summer, Gavin Ferriby, Michelle Lors, Funda Alp, and Tracy Deer-Mirek (all of Sacred Heart University) travel to Brooklyn to collect the materials from Naylor’s brownstone. 

2012-2014 | Gloria Naylor sends donations of additional materials.

2018 | Beginning of conversations between Sacred Heart University (Gavin Ferriby and Michelle Loris) and Lehigh University (Suzanne Edwards and Mary Foltz) about an institutional collaboration designed to make the materials more accessible to a wide range of audiences.

June 2019 | Formal agreement and loan of materials to Lehigh University for 5 years.

Summer 2020 | Select materials from Series 2 are digitized.

November 2021 | The Gloria Naylor in the Archives Symposium takes place at Lehigh University.

Summer 2021 | Select materials from Series 2 are available in a digital repository on the website.

Summer-Fall 2022 | Remaining materials from Series 2 are digitized.

Summer 2023 | Physical archive returns to Sacred Heart University.

Fall 2023 | All digitized records are available on the website, with new search capabilities.

October 19-20, 2023 | Sacred Heart University hosts a conference on the archive, ‘With a Pen in Her Hand’: Communities in Gloria Naylor’s Fiction and Her Archive.