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Hoke Norris Papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Norris

Scope and Content of the Collection

Correspondence, scrapbooks, photographs, clippings, literary manuscripts, research materials, and miscellaneous ephemera documenting the personal and professional life of Hoke Norris.

The bulk of the collection consists of Norris' works, which are primarily typescript, and include entire novels as well as drafts and clippings of reviews, reportage, short stories, poems, lectures, proposed anthologies, assorted notes, and collaborations between Norris and other writers. Correspondence is between Norris and friends, relatives, coworkers, colleagues, and publishers. Prominent correspondents include Marshall Best, Gwendolyn Brooks, Lewis Lapham, and Henry Miller.

A small portion of the collection consists of miscellaneous personal and professional documents, including contracts, royalty statements, newspaper clippings, school papers, photographs, and ephemera. Rounding out the collection are two scrapbook volumes containing clippings of Norris' articles for the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Daily News.


  • Creation: 1934-1977
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1956 - 1977



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Hoke Norris Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Hoke Norris Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of Hoke Norris

Hoke Marion Norris was born on October 8, 1913 in Holly Springs, North Carolina. He received his A. B. from Wake Forest College (now Wake Forest University) in 1934, and began his career in journalism as a reporter at the Elizabeth City, N.C. Daily Advance. In 1936 he moved to the Raleigh, N.C. News and Observer, then became reporter-editor at the Associated Press in Raleigh and Charlotte. Norris spent 1942-1946 in the Southwest Pacific Theater as a captain for combat intelligence in the Army Air Force. He returned to the Associated Press in 1946, then worked as reporter and editorial writer for the Winston-Salem Journal-Sentinel, and in 1950 he received a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University.

Norris left North Carolina in 1955 to work as a reporter (1955-1958), and literary editor (1958-1968), at the Chicago Sun-Times. During the 1960's he played a significant role in reporting the events surrounding Civil Rights movement in the South. After leaving the Sun-Times, Norris served on the editorial board of the Chicago Daily News from 1968-1970, and taught creative writing at the University of Chicago. In 1971, Norris became the Director of Public Information at the Chicago Public Library, where he worked until 1974. He then served as the Assistant Vice-President for Public Affairs and Director of the Office of Public Information at the University of Chicago until 1976.

In addition to his contributions to newspapers, Norris edited and wrote short stories, magazine articles, and novels. These publications include the 1956 novel All the Kingdoms of the Earth; a 1962 collection of writings about segregation entitled We Dissent; and the 1968 novel It's Not Far But I Don't Know the Way. His short stories were published in Cavalier, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Gallery, Genesis, Playboy, and several literary journals.

Hoke Norris was married to Edna Dees Rackley Norris and had one daughter, Marion Dees Norris. He died on July 8, 1977 at the age of 63.


10 Linear Feet (20 boxes, 1 oversize box, and 2 volumes)


Collection of correspondence, works, research materials, and personal information by and about Hoke Norris, reporter, book reviewer, novelist, and public affairs director. Norris worked for several papers including the Raleigh News and Observer, the Winston-Salem Journal-Sentinel, the Chicago Sun-Times, and the Chicago Daily News.


Papers are organized in the following series

Series 1: Incoming Correspondence, 1941-1977
Boxes 1-4
Series 2: Outgoing Correspondence, 1942-1977
Boxes 4-5
Series 3: Works, 1934-1977
Boxes 6-20
Series 4: Miscellaneous, 1933-1977
Box 20
Series 5: Scrapbooks, 1962-63, 1970
Volumes I and II

Collection Stack Location

1 26 7, 1 27 7, 1 30 7


Gift, Edna Norris (Mrs. Hoke Norris), 1978.

Processed by

Pamela Olson and Leigh Ann Ripley, 2005.


This inventory was created with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this inventory do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Inventory of the Hoke Norris Papers, 1934-1977, bulk 1956-1977
Alison Hinderliter and Pamela Olson
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States