a note on the collections
Some sections of The Beats and Beyond draw heavily on materials found in the Rare Book Collection’s Bill Morgan Collection of Beat Literature, and many secondary sources used for background research are also part of this collection. The Beats collection includes approximately 6,000 items, many of which were either donated by or purchased from independent scholar and archivist Bill Morgan. Morgan served as Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s personal bibliographer in the 1970s and later spent more than fifteen years working with Allen Ginsberg, about whom he has written or edited several books. Through his close association with Ferlinghetti, Ginsberg, and their friends and colleagues, Morgan has had access to a remarkable range of materials, including photographs, books, broadsides, printed ephemera, and manuscript items. Fortunately for UNC, many of these remarkable materials have made their way into the Rare Book Collection.
Another cornerstone of the RBC’s American avant-garde holdings is the Grove Press Collection, which was purchased directly from publisher Barney Rosset in 1995. It includes numerous file copies kept by the press for its records. Beginning with its founding in 1951, Grove published works by avant-garde writers including the Beats and poets associated with Black Mountain College and the San Francisco Renaissance, in addition to books by important European writers. Rosset was not afraid to take on controversial works, including D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover
and Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer
, both of which were challenged by lawsuits.
While only a few Grove Press Collection items are on display in The Beats and Beyond, the collection includes duplicate copies of some other works, as well as many other items by the authors represented in the exhibition.
“Last Gathering of Beat
Poets and Artists, North
Beach, 1965.” Photograph
by Larry Keenan.
In 2004, the library purchased a large collection of manuscript materials directly from Beat poet Diane di Prima
. Complementing a smaller collection of her papers also purchased in 2004, this group of materials includes journals, correspondence, teaching materials, audio recordings, and printed ephemera. The RBC recently added to the di Prima
collection by purchasing three further small groups of correspondence. The Beats and Beyond includes one of di Prima
’s journals and some material related to her theater company, which produced plays by several of the other poets whose work is on display.
The majority of the materials in the exhibition can be found in the RBC’s general collections, and were purchased on a variety of endowed funds, notably the Whitaker Fund. All items displayed in The Beats and Beyond can be found in the University Library’s online catalog
and are available to Wilson Library visitors for further study.
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