After Zora Neale Hurston died on January 28, 1960 in a Fort Pierce, Florida, hospital, her papers were ordered to be burned. A law officer and friend, Patrick DuVal, passing by the house where she had lived, stopped and put out the fire, thus saving an invaluable collection of literary documents for posterity. The nucleus of this collection was given to the University of Florida libraries in 1961 by Mrs. Marjorie Silver, friend and neighbor of Zora Neale Hurston. Other materials were donated in 1970 and 1971 by Frances Grover, daughter of E. O. Grover, a Rollins College professor and long-time friend of Hurston's. In 1979 Stetson Kennedy of Jacksonville, who knew Hurston through his work with the Federal Writers Project, added additional papers.
The Zora Neale Hurston literary estate, including the majority of resources in the University of Florida's physical holdings, is represented by Joy Harris Literary Agency, 1501 Broadway, Suite 2310, New York, NY 10036.