July 22, 2022
In 2005, the University Libraries began receiving materials from author Timothy B. Tyson related to his research and writing. Tyson’s materials were placed here through an informal deposit agreement, meaning the University Libraries organized, maintained, and preserved them, but they remained his property. During this time, the University Libraries repeatedly sought to execute a formal gift or deposit agreement with Tyson. These efforts were unsuccessful.
While in custody of these materials, the University Libraries honored Tyson’s wish that all items in his collection, including those he deposited in 2016 related to Carolyn Bryant Donham and the murder of Emmett Till, not be made public without his written authorization.
The University Libraries has had no contact with Donham, her family or her representatives. In 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice reopened the Till case. The University Libraries cooperated with the investigation, including by providing requested documents. The case was closed in 2021.
As we have not been able to execute a formal agreement or agree to terms that align with our value of open access to information, the University Libraries returned Tyson’s materials to him in 2022.
Questions about the collection and its contents should be addressed directly to Tyson.