History of the collection

Learn more about the Givens Collection's history and its founding curators and partners.

History of collection

The Givens Collection began in the hands of New York private collector Richard Lee Hoffman. With leadership from the University of Minnesota professor and founding curator, Dr. John S. Wright, and the support of the Givens family and an 11-member Patron’s Council of leaders in the Twin Cities African American community, the collection was purchased in 1985.

In 1986, the Collection was renamed in honor of Archie Givens, Sr. (1919-1974), a successful Minneapolis businessman and entrepreneur who was a visionary supporter of higher education, particularly for young people of color. The Givens Foundation for African American Literature has been a trusted partner since the Collection's founding.

The Givens Collection and the University of Minnesota Libraries are grateful to The Givens Collection Patron's Council for their leadership, vision, and generosity. The Patrons of the Collection are:

  • Steven and Sharon Belton
  • Nathaniel and Victoria Davis
  • Fred and Earline Estes
  • Richard and April Estes
  • Fred and Toni Green
  • Beckwith and Gwendolyn Horton
  • Delbert and Marjorie Johnson
  • William and Faye Johnson
  • Ezell and Kim Jones
  • Cornell and Wenda Moore
  • William and Alice Stubblefield
  • Phebe Mae Givens
  • Roxanne Givens
  • Carol Meshbesher and Archie Givens, Jr.

With critical leadership by Dr. John S. Wright and Claudia Wallace Gardner.

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How to donate

The Givens Collection welcomes the donation of books, manuscript material, or monetary donations to support the collection. Manuscript material (personal papers or organizational records) may include correspondence, working files, photographs, unpublished works, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, book club records, or any other items that document the literary life of African Americans. The material does not have to be organized to be donated. To discuss donations, please contact the curator.

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