When Zora Neale Hurston died in 1960, the trailblazing author’s papers were almost lost forever. They were being burned outside her Fort Pierce, Fla., home when a friend saved them. The following year, Hurston’s neighbor donated the papers, which include letters, photographs and even an unpublished manuscript, to the University of Florida libraries.
The collection has grown since then, with contributions from Hurston’s friends and colleagues. Today, students, researchers or anyone who requests to see these items — about a thousand in total — can feel the presence of the celebrated writer of “Their Eyes Were Watching God.”