Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Spring 2013 Newsletter

Recent Acquisitions:
Peter Orlovsky

Notebook. Click to enlarge.
Notebook. Click to enlarge.

Notebook from Peter Orlovsky collection. Undated.

The Ransom Center recently acquired the archive of American poet Peter Orlovsky (1933–2010), an important figure in the Beat Generation. Orlovsky was the lifelong partner of Allen Ginsberg, and his papers reflect significant aspects of their relationship.

Orlovsky's collection comprises manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, and other personal documents, including unpublished poetry and prose works. Around the time that he met Ginsberg, Orlovsky began to keep a journal, filling over 140 notebooks before his death. None of the journals have been published, and one contains haiku written in Jack Kerouac's handwriting.

Correspondence in the collection highlights Orlovsky's many connections with other poets, authors, and artists. There are over 1,600 letters written to Orlovsky and/or Ginsberg, with 165 letters written by Ginsberg himself. Some notable correspondents include Ken Kesey, Gregory Corso, Robert LaVigne, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, among others. Orlovsky also wrote regularly to his parents and siblings, and more than 65 of his letters are included in the archive.

Orlovsky's papers provide an intimate look into the lives of two of the Beat Generation's central figures. This collection is an important addition to the Ransom Center's holdings of Beat literature.

Other recent acquisitions include:

- A significant collection of papers related to Mary Mowbray-Clarke and the Sunwise Turn Bookshop, which was a literary center in New York for more than a decade.

- An extensive collection of correspondence between Russell Banks and his brother

Also of note, the papers of Ben Bradlee, former editor of The Washington Post, were placed on deposit at the Ransom Center but are not currently accessible for research.  

This article has been corrected from an earlier print version that incorrectly stated the number of journals in the Orlovsky collection.


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