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MS – 112: Deborah H. Barnes Papers

(18 boxes, 4.86 cubic feet)

Processed by: Katherine Downton

January 2010

Link to Finding Aid - PDF


Gift of Deborah H. Barnes to Special Collections & College Archives, Musselman Library, Gettysburg College.


Deborah H. Barnes

Dr. Deborah H. Barnes was raised in Greensboro, NC during the Civil Rights Movement.   She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for two years and then transferred to Tuskegee Institute, graduating with honors in 1978.

Dr. Barnes continued her education at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, NC, earning a M.A. in African American literature in 1987.  She received her Ph.D. in English from Howard University in 1992, where she specialized in the literature of black women writers and authored a dissertation on the works of Toni Morrison and Gloria Naylor.  During her career, Dr. Barnes’ scholarship has focused on Toni Morrison, Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, Sterling Brown, and Arthur P. Davis.  Her recent research has centered on lynching and lynching narratives.

From 1992-2002, Deborah Barnes was a faculty member in the English Department at Gettysburg College, where she taught courses in English, African American Studies, Women’s Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Civil War Era Studies.  In 1999, she became the first African American awarded tenure by Gettysburg College.  She served as Chair of the African American Studies program in 2001.  She also Chaired the President’s Commission for Racial and Ethnic Diversity and was active in efforts to advance diversity at the college.

After leaving Gettysburg in 2002, Dr. Barnes served as the Director of the Lewis Walker Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations and Associate Professor of Africana Studies at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI.  She is currently the Interim Associate Dean of University Studies at North Carolina A&T State University.

Scope and Content Notes

The collection contains papers accumulated by Deborah Barnes while she was a graduate student at Howard University and a professor at Gettysburg College.  The bulk of the collection consists of course materials, including syllabi, handouts, course readings, and other resources used for course preparation and research.  

Papers written by Dr. Barnes while she was a graduate student at Howard University are contained in the collection, although few of them pertain to her primary research interest, African American literature.  Also held in the collection are Dr. Barnes’ dissertation proposal from Howard University and publications and presentations authored by Dr. Barnes during her tenure at Gettysburg College. Photocopies of many other publications, including essays, articles, poetry, and short stories are included in the collection, as are a number of student-authored papers from courses taught by Dr. Barnes at Gettysburg College.  Student papers from Howard University are also represented.

The collection contains a limited collection of Gettysburg College documents—primarily those produced for college faculty—as well as a small collection of documents from the African American Studies and English Departments.

The collection’s strength rests in the substantial amount of course materials collected.  The papers of Deborah Barnes will be most helpful for researchers interested in African American Studies and/or American literature curricula and teachers developing courses in African American literature.  The collection could also be helpful for researchers interested in examining collections of secondary source publications about African American literature.  The collection does not contain personal writing or substantial information about Dr. Barnes’ personal life and experiences at Howard University and Gettysburg College.

Series Description

This collection is divided into two Series:

Series I: Howard University, Sub-Series A: Coursework; Sub-Series B: Publications.

Series II: Gettysburg College, Sub-Series A: Course Materials; Sub-Series B: Student Papers and Coursework; Sub-Series C: Publications; Sub-Series D: Professional Development; Sub-Series E: Gettysburg College Documents; Sub-Series F: Ephemera.

Link to Finding Aid - PDF