Skip to main content

Dennis Brutus (1924-2009) Papers

Identifier: 35/17

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

Boxes 1-8

The original donation of the Dennis Brutus Papers comprise correspondence, papers associated with specific organizations and events, and numerous drafts of poems, both handwritten and typed.

The bulk of Brutus's correspondence falls within the period 1960-1973, and consists of family and other personal correspondence, correspondence related to teaching positions, and individual folders for correspondence with key persons. The Papers also contain much sports-related material, including but not limited to the International Committee Against Racism In Sport (ICARIS) and the South African Non-Racial Olympic Committee (SAN-ROC). Brutus's work with the International Defense and Aid Fund and other anti-racial groups is documented as well. There are also a number of notebooks and daybooks with poetry and journal entries from the 1960s. A large portion of the Papers consists of manuscript drafts and typescripts of Brutus's poetry, including a small number of complete manuscripts of published poetry works.

A separate index is available listing the first lines of poetry in Boxes 7-8.

Additions, boxes 9-22, and 23-41

Two additions contain substantial biographical material (including diaries), correspondence, teaching files, writings, and cassette tapes.


  • 1960-1984


Conditions Governing Access

Collection may contain sensitive materials; consultation with University Archivist required prior to use. This collection is stored off-site and requires two business days advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.


41.00 Boxes

Language of Materials



Dennis Brutus, poet and South African expatriate, was an activist, working for an end to racial segregation in sport. He joined Northwestern University's faculty in 1971, and left to joint the faculty of the University of Pittsburg in 1986. The Dennis Brutus Papers comprise correspondence, papers associated with specific organizations and events, and numerous drafts of poems, both handwritten and typed.


The original donation of the papers of Dennis Brutus is organized into: biographical material; correspondence (general correspondence, in chronological order; other correspondence arrnaged by surname or organization); general files (arranged alphabetically by organization or topic); and poetry.

The first addition is organized into: diaries; biographical material; appearances and speaking engagements; organizations and events; interviews and tape transcripts; correspondence; poetry; and clippings.

Materials in the second addition include biographical material (including desk calendars); correspondence; teaching files; writings; and cassette tapes.

Method of Acquisition

The Dennis Brutus Papers were donated to the Northwestern University Archives by Professor Brutus in 1983 as Accession #83-157.

Processing Information

Joshua Lazerson July 9, 1985.

Guide to the Dennis Brutus (1924-2009) Papers
Joshua Lazerson; Gerald Kendrick and Janet Olson, aided by student assistants Kate MacLean, Andrew Reinbold, and Bifen Xu
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Library Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US