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Daphne Maxwell Reid (1948- ) Papers

Identifier: 31/17/211

Scope and Contents

The Daphne Maxwell Reid papers are comprised of thirty three boxes and span the years 1951-2018. The collection is arranged in eight series: Biographical Materials, Modeling Career, Acting Career, Fashion Design Career, Subject Files, Publications, Awards, and Costume Collection.

The Biographical Materials section includes her baby book. Loose cards and photographs previously inserted between the pages were separated and placed in folders following the baby book; the original locations are noted. This section includes Maxwell Reid’s high school yearbook and report card. There is a sizeable assortment of newspaper clippings, correspondence, photographs, and memos regarding Maxwell Reid’s crowning as Homecoming Queen in 1967. This section also contains Maxwell Reid’s personal agendas and calendars, sometimes multiple for the same year, as well as notebooks that contain a few diary entries and snippets of poetry. The programs folder includes events Maxwell Reid attended or at which she was keynote speaker; Links Incorporated, the Virginia Community Colleges Association, and Virginia Union University. Several programs include a biography of Reid.

The Modeling Career section includes prints, commercial advertisements in catalogues, magazines, and newspapers. Notably, the collection contains the original 1967 Seventeen magazine and original 1969 Glamour magazine with Maxwell Reid on the covers. While it is assumed that the photographs in this section range from the late 1960s to the early 1980s, the majority are unlabeled and undated. This section also includes slides, negatives, and unused shots from various photoshoots. Many of these photographs, slides, and negatives were housed in three-ring album pages, which have been collected in box 17. Some original album pages were often marked up, while not being made of preservation-appropriate plastic. In these cases, materials were rehoused in appropriate new pages while retaining the empty marked page behind it.

The Acting Career section includes scripts from Cheating (1988), Murder She Wrote (1988), The Long Journey Home (1987), and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1993-1996). There are video cassette recordings of Maxwell Reid’s appearances in Home Show-Sewing (1989), The Cosby Show (1992), and episodes 101-107 of Exposed (1993), "The History Makers" (2004), The Cheats (undated), The Duke (undated). This section also contains agenda books, correspondence, and paystubs.

The Fashion Design Career section includes correspondence and negotiations with McCall’s regarding their partnership, in 1993 and again in 1998. Press Releases are organized chronologically, and include Suddenly--you’re Sewing! promotional materials, posters, and photographs. Another file includes issues of the September 1992 FabricNews newspaper, which ran a feature on Daphne Maxwell Reid. Further publications include copies of McCall’s catalogue featuring Maxwell Reid’s collection and copies of McCall’s Pattern Magazine, organized chronologically, by season and year from Winter 1992 to Winter 1999. Sketches are largely undated, though some are dated clearly to 1991 and 1992. They include suggested colors and fabrics for the designs; some are the originals and others are color copies. Patterns are organized by pattern number, and labeled to distinguish between Maxwell Reid’s "Easy McCall’s," "McCall’s," and "Suddenly--you’re Sewing!" collections. There is an instructional guide that illustrates step-by-step how to sew pants. Scripts contain the drafts, editing notes, and finalized version of Maxwell Reid’s scripts for the’re Sewing! instructional videos, ClothWorld promotion video, and QVC recordings. Where relevant, production schedules are included alongside corresponding scripts. Budgets correspond with the previously mentioned video productions and include budget drafts as well as finalized costs.

The Subject Files section includes a copy of Active Parenting of Teens (2008), for which Maxwell Reid has narration credits. Maxwell Reid was a member of the African American Advisory Council to the "America’s 400th Anniversary, Jamestown Steering Committee," from 2004-2007. The final reports from that committee, as well as a copy of John Smith: Writings with Other Narratives, and The Queen and the USA, all part of that project are also included. This section also includes the full copy of the 2010 Virginia Governor’s Commission on Economic Development & Job Creation. Maxwell Reid participated in the tourism committee as a representative of New Millennium Studios. This section also includes volumes five through seven of "Art on the Air," a two-minute radio segment on central Virginia’s WCVE-FM about the world of art. New Millennium Studios and Virginia Museum of Fine Arts co-produced the program, and Maxwell Reid narrated.

The Publications section includes Maxwell Reid’s photography books, calendars, catalogue, and postcards, and cookbooks, 2008 to 2017.

The Awards section includes trophies, medals, plaques and certificates, dating from 1992 to 2016, as well as the gowns and certificates received through honorary degrees, and her Bachelor of Arts degree received at Northwestern University in 1970. Reid received several President’s Awards, Lifetime Achievement Awards, among others, for her work and service. In addition, she received a certificate signed by the governor of Virginia in 1992, which commissioned her as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts from July 1, 1992 to June 30, 1994.

The Costume Collection section also includes original clothing by Maxwell Reid, including pieces from her McCall’s clothing line.


  • 1951 - 2018


Conditions Governing Access

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. Records in box 4, folder 1 and box 6, folder 7 may contain sensitive materials; consultation with University Archivist required prior to use. Born-digital material is temporarily unavailable pending digital appraisal.


34 Boxes

Language of Materials



Daphne Maxwell Reid, a graduate of Northwestern University's Weinberg College of Arts and Science class in 1970, is a model, actress, fashion designer, photographer, and author. Her collection spans the years 1951-2018 and contains biographical materials, correspondence, modeling photos, acting scripts, original clothing from her fashion line, photography, and books.


The Daphne Maxwell Reid papers are organized into: biographical material (in alphabetical order, plus a group of artifacts); modeling career; acting career; fashion design career (generally in alphabetical order by keyword in folder caption, plus oversize materials); subject files (in alphabetical order); publications (in alphabetical order); awards; and costume collection.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Daphne Maxwell Reid donated her papers to Northwestern University Archives in July 2017, as accession #17-211. Mask (Box 11, Folder 13) donated by Maxwell Reid and added to the collection in 2021.

Related Materials

Photograph Files: Daphne Maxwell Reid; Homecoming 1967 31/6/155 Records of the Bursar’s Office Takeover, May 1968 30/2 Records of the Office of Student Guidance and Counseling 31/6/15 Records of the Student Senate

Separated Materials

Photographs of Daphne Maxwell Reid’s family, high school portrait, and homecoming photos have been separated from this collection and moved to the Daphne Maxwell Reid Photograph File.

Guide to the Daphne Maxwell Reid (1948- ) Papers
Claire Pak, Ellery Stritzinger, and Charla Wilson, 2017. Revised by Robin Steuteville, 2019 (Scope and Content, Immediate Source of Acquisition, and Separated Materials notes and container list).
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Repository Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

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