The Literature collections provide a wide variety of prose and poetry over a wide variety of topics: from Detroit-based African American experiences, to children's literature and beyond.
The African American Literature Special Collection (AALSC) was initially focused on literature written by African Americans from Detroit or who wrote about the city. It has developed into a comprehensive collection of works by and about African American authors. Topics include slavery, race relations, Black leaders, performers and athletes, United States history, political activism, folklore, Africa, and religion.
There are over 4,500 unique titles in this collection that spans from 1807 to 2014.
The Alternative Press Collection includes art and poetry published by Detroiters Ken and Anne Mikolowski beginning in the late 1960s. Their popular subscription mailing series, which was distributed beginning in 1971, provided subscribers with a variety of printed postcards, broadsides, foldouts, calendars, ephemera, as well as original art and unpublished poetry. In addition, the Alternative Press also published a number of books of poetry and copies of these are included in the collection. The Press was active from 1969 until the death of Anne in 1999. In 2011 Ken Mikolowski published the last subscription mailing, “The Final Issue Finally.”
The Anca Vlasopolos Published Works collections contains poems, articles, essays and book reviews by Professor Emerita Anca Vlasopolos.
Anca Vlasopolos has been writing for most of her life. Her output includes a novel and a memoir as well as numerous short stories and poems. Born in Bucharest, Romania, she immigrated to the United States along with her mother in the early 1960s. She earned her B.A. from Wayne State University in 1970 went on to earn an M.A. and Ph.D. from University of Michigan in 1971 and 1977, respectively. She is currently a Professor Emerita in Wayne State University’s English Department, where she has taught for over thirty-nine years.
This collection of over 500 books and chapbooks, has a broad focus. Included is the work of poets who were born or who have resided in the metropolitan Detroit area, as well as those who have written about Detroit, or have had intellectual connections to the Detroit poetry community. The collection was assembled in part from donations by poets.
Named for its originator, Eloise Ramsey, the Eloise Ramsey Collection of Literature for Young People is a collection of rare books and periodicals related to children’s literature from the 17th century to the present, located in the Purdy/Kresge Library. The collection has been expanded over the years with award-winning titles and otherwise outstanding works; whenever possible, recent acquisitions to the collection have been duplicated in the circulating juvenile collection.
The William Alfred Boyce Storytelling Collection was donated by Mrs. Iana Boyce upon the death of her husband Dr. William Boyce, a professor at Wayne State University as well as a professional storyteller (a.k.a. The Story Peddler). Boyce taught courses in Oral Interpretation of Literature, Voice and Diction, Reader's Theatre, and Storytelling - an integral part of Children's Literature. The books in this collection represent some of the best works in the world of storytelling, a tradition as old as mankind. Storytelling is not only an art, but it reveals what is most important in our lives. Read these stories aloud, share them with those around you, or study the history of storytelling through this wonderful collection located on the fourth floor of Purdy Library.