Gordon Parks papers

Identity elements

Reference code

US US kmk P1985.02

Level of description



Gordon Parks papers


  • 1964-1971 (Creation)


4.00 Linear Feet, 3.00 Boxes

Name of creator


Biographical history

Gordon Parks was born on November 30, 1912 at Fort Scott, Kansas. He was a well-known African American photographer, jazz pianist, composer, writer of poetry and novels, painter, and filmmaker. Parks used his talents to tell the story of poverty, racism, and social injustice. He was the first African American to write and direct a major Hollywood film: The Learning Tree. Throughout his lifetime, Parks received honorary doctorates and awards for his work and in 2002 was inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum. Gordon Parks died on March 7, 2006.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

This collection is composed of literary productions and photographs from between 1964-1971. The included literary production records are made up of correspondence (1964), notes, editor's notes, early drafts, fourth draft for A Choice of Weapons by Gordon Parks, as well as the original manuscript for Whispers of Intimate Things by Gordon Parks (1971). The included photographs are largely focused around the filming of the Learning Tree. This box includes images of Gordon Parks, crew and cast, filming sites, and others. There is also a box of photo slides as well.

System of arrangement

The collection is arranged in four boxes. 1) Literary Productions, 2) Photographs, 2A) Photo Slides, 3) mounted black and white photographs.

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

No access restrictions: All materials are open for research.

Physical access

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

The researcher assumes full responsibiltiy for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

  • Latin

Language and script notes

Acquisition and appraisal elements

Custodial history

It received accession number P1985.02.

Immediate source of acquisition

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information


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Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

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Related descriptions

Specialized notes

  • Citation: Preferred Citation: [Item title], [item date], Gordon Parks papers, Box [number], Folder [number or title], Morse Department of Special Collections, Kansas State University Libraries.

Alternative identifier(s)

Archon Collection ID


Description control element

Rules or conventions

Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Sources used

Archivist's note

Processing Info: Archon processing by Edward Nagurny, graduate research assistant, June 2015.
Publication Date: 2015-06-17

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Physical storage

  • 5" Flip Top, Legal: Box 1, A83412030229
  • 2.5" Flip Top, Letter: Box 2, A83412061521
  • 5" Flip Top, Letter: Box 3, A83412061393
  • Box: Box 2A, A83412029969