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Daphne Maxwell Reid (1948- ) Papers

Identifier: 31/17/211

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The Daphne Maxwell Reid papers are comprised of thirty-four boxes and contain 2.10 gigabytes of born-digital files, spanning 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). There are born-digital recordings of Maxwell Reid's appearances in the television shows, Crossing Jordan and Eve. 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. A born-digital copy of the preliminary materials for the 2008 Virginia State Board of Visitors meeting is included in this series. 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. Volumes five through seven are also available in the born-digital files. A 2006 Mother's Day Tribute on MSNBC featuring Maxwell Reid is also available in the born-digital files.

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. This section includes two born-digital recordings: Maxwell Reid's 2012 keynote address at the United States Food and Drug Administration's (USDA) Women's History Month Observance as well as Randolph-Macon College's 2012 Commencement Ceremony, where Maxwell Reid was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Arts.

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.

Conditions Governing Use

The intellectual property rights of the born-digital material in this collection belong to the original creators and may be subject to copyright or other restrictions


34 Boxes

2.10 Gigabytes

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 papers of Daphne Maxwell Reid include 34 boxes and contain approximately 2.10 gigabytes of born-digital files.


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. Born-digital materials have been arranged throughout the collection into their corresponding series based on content. In some instances, original order has been retained within file directories. Original file names have been maintained with the addition of numerical prefixes to correspond to the container list. Duplicate born-digital files have been deleted.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Available born-digital materials in this collection are delivered to researchers in born-digital formats. Requests for different access methods, such as those not using computers or with the aid of assistive technologies, must be made in advance of a research appointment to Library staff.

Custodial History

Data from born-digital materials in this collection were transferred using read-only technologies creating preservation copies to extract the content without altering any of its data. Preservation files have undergone a checksum algorithm to allow for future data integrity and authenticity checking and repair according to the Libraries’ digital preservation policy.

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. The optical disks in this collection were imaged on February 18-19, 2020, March 10, 2020, and February 7, 2022 to create preservation copies of the data and to transfer the data to the Libraries' managed storage.

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.

Processing Information

Born-digital materials processed by Abbey Maynard, 2023. Digital preservation actions on born-digital items include virus scan, noramlizing file formats, and redacting sensitive information.

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). Updated by Abbey Maynard, 2023 (born-digital materials).
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Library Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

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