2022 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Ishmael Reed’s Mumbo Jumbo, one of the author’s most famous and enduring works. Mumbo Jumbo was first published by Doubleday in 1972 and was a finalist for the National Book Award in fiction in 1973. This exhibition examines some of the key textual and visual features of the novel over the course of its publication history. Manuscript and archival materials found in the exhibition were drawn from the Ishmael Reed papers found in Special Collections at the University of Delaware Library. Various print editions of the novel from Special Collections are also on display.

The University of Delaware Library is the official repository for Ishmael Reed's papers, a collection of manuscripts, correspondence, business and publishing records, printed and multimedia productions, and other materials which document the multi-faceted career of the African American novelist, poet, and publisher. For more information on Reed and his literary papers in Special Collections, please visit this 2007 exhibition which explores his wide-ranging career, and also the collection's finding aid.


Curated by Dustin Frohlich, processing archivist in Special Collections, and Britney Henry, Ph.D. student in the Department of English. Graphic design elements by Jaynell Keely.