Scope and arrangement
The Melvin Dixon papers consist primarily of manuscripts, correspondence, notes, and journals reflecting his experiences as a black gay writer. Most of the collection is comprised of manuscript drafts of Dixon's published works "Trouble the Water," "Vanishing Rooms," "Ride Out the Wilderness," "Change of Territory," as well as drafts for incomplete novels and stories, the fiction he called "works in progress," and short stories, poetry and plays, both published and unpublished. In addition, there are drafts and other material for Dixon's translations of "The Collected Poetry by Leopold Sedar Senghor," Genevieve Fabre's "Drumbeats, Masks and Metaphors," and works by the Haitian writer Jacques Roumain. Some essays and academic papers he presented are also included in collection.|||The personal papers include biographical information and an interview conducted by Charles Rowell (1990). Of particular interest are detailed journals he maintained revealing his innermost thoughts as a black man, a homosexual, a writer, and his attempts to understand his own creative processes. Dixon kept separate journals during his undergraduate years describing his experiences with La Mama Experimental Theatre in New York City, and his journeys to Europe and Senegal, as well as his years in the United States. He also discussed his relationship with friends and colleagues and his battle with AIDS (1969-1991).|||All of the correspondence is incoming. The personal correspondence is primarily from his friends and a few from his family (1962-1991). The friends with whom he corresponded for many years include Richard Horovitz, his partner, and James L. Grier III. The professional correspondence is from his colleagues in Paris, Senegal and elsewhere, other writers, professors and publishers (1969-1992). Letters discuss his writings, and colleagues' professional activities, acceptances or rejections by publishers, and related matters. Among his correspondents are the writers Michel and Genevieve Fabre, Ronald Fair, Hoyt Fuller, Michael Harper, Gayl Jones, Didier Malaquin, and Robert Stepto.|||Additionally, there are subject files on African-American authors, and conferences Dixon attended, gay life, and other topics which interested Dixon. College course material contains syllabi, lecture notes and news clippings. There are also correspondence, proposals, research papers and articles from Harvard University's William E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research and an international conference it sponsored in 1990 entitled "History and Memory in Afro-American Culture." Index cards contain notes about black writers and journals, as well as African religious systems, African-American music and slavery.