Published in 1969, Maya Angelou’s coming-of-age memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, was an immediate national bestseller and a critical success. The book, the first in a series that chronicled her early life through the 1960s, helped to establish Angelou (1928–2014) as a major figure in American letters.

Pictured here: Details of the front cover manuscript

On the manuscript page from the book reproduced for our front cover, Angelou captures the moment when she and her brother, Bailey, arrived in Arkansas to be raised by their paternal grandmother and presages the personalities that she and Bailey would later develop.

The back cover depicts birds breaking free of their cage – along with the biographical information we include on every Embellished Manuscript journal.

Pictured here: Back and front covers of Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings hardcover journals

Today Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings manuscript is held at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a part of The New York Public Library. With connections to activist, literary and expat communities in the United States and Ghana, Angelou’s work encapsulates the Schomburg Center’s strongest holdings – stories of the struggles, triumphs and fortitude in the everyday vicissitudes of Black life.

We are honoured to partner with The New York Public Library to bring this fascinating document to our Paperblanks collection.

Pictured here: Maya Angelou’s signature on the journal flap

Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is offered as a midi and ultra lined hardcover journal.


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