Belton Collection

Home > The Man Behind the Books

The Man Behind the Books

Don Belton

Don Cornelius Belton: Born August 7, 1956, Philadelphia, PA. Died December 27, 2009, Bloomington, IN.

During his lifetime, Don Belton lived and worked in many places both in the United States and abroad. His international travels led him to Paris, the Ivory Coast, Ireland, and Sao Paulo, just to name a few. Belton was also mobile within the United States. He held teaching and lecturing positions at myriad colleges and universities around the country, the last of which was at Indiana University Bloomington where he taught Creative Writing.

Belton's Bookplate

In addition to teaching, Belton wrote fiction and poetry. Several of his short stories and essays were published, as was his novel, Almost Midnight (1986), which was a source of great pride for him. He was working on another novel before his death. Drafts of this novel and others, in addition to some of Belton's poetry, can be found in the collection of his manuscripts held at the Lilly Library.

Belton's manuscript collection is comprised of 25,000 items packed neatly into 36 boxes. His collection is eclectic and flamboyant. It ranges from books, to postcards, to a preserved alligator head.  Because he left no will, the remainder of his books that were not taken by the Lilly Library, the Kinsey Institute, and other libraries on campus, were left with the Department of English.

Belton's Self-portrait

The 1,700 books that make up the remainder of Belton's collection reside on the fourth floor of Ballantine Hall in the English office (BH442) and range in topic from Harlem to acting, from Langston Hughes to Ingmar Bergman, and cover subjects such as art, poetry, religion, and more. Belton spent his life developing his library. For him, it was a symbol of his career as a professor and writer. Each of his books was important to him, and he left something behind in almost all of them. The various ephemera pulled from between the pages of Belton's texts have been added to his manuscript collection at the Lilly Library. A note has been added under the "Coverage" section of the entry for each book from which an item(s) was removed. 

This website is an attempt to preserve the library that Belton spent his life creating and is meant to make his collection accessible for use by undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty and staff. When used in combination with the holdings available at other libraries across campus, the Belton Collection has the potential to facilitate research in a broad range of subjects.

To see Belton lecturing and reading from his creative works, please visit the Collections tab, select "Videos of Belton," and choose Items in the Videos of Belton Collection.

The site also includes brief essays by student interns highlighting books of interest to them. These can be found under the Featured Books tab.