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Wayne Koestenbaum papers

Call Number: GEN MSS 1568

Content Description

This collection consists of writings, notebooks, calendars, scrapbooks, research materials, correspondence, professional papers, teaching papers, personal memorabilia, juvenilia, family papers, photographs, printed materials, audiovisual materials, computer media, and other papers documenting the creative work and life of writer, artist, and performer Wayne Koestenbaum. Writings include drafts, proofs, and other papers documenting Koestenbaum's twenty books of fiction, poetry, criticism, and opera libretto. Writings and research materials include extensive materials relating to Maria Callas, Harpo Marx, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Andy Warhol. Correspondence includes letters from many literary figures, including extensive incoming and outgoing correspondence with Jeanne Schinto. The papers include documents, letters, and pieces of memorabilia documenting the history and lives of members of the Koestenbaum family. Printed materials include numerous contributions, interviews, reviews, and other appearances of Koestenbaum and his work.


  • 1889 - 2018
  • Majority of material found within 1960 - 2018


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Boxes 4, 88, 101 (computer media) Restricted fragile material. Access copies of digital files may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Boxes 19, 87, 100, 113, 116 (audiovisual materials) Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Wayne Koestenbaum Papers is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Wayne Koestenbaum on the Edwin J. Beinecke Book Fund, 2018, 2019.


Organized into seven series: I. Writings, 1960-2018. II. Notebooks, calendars, and scrapbooks, 1980-2010. III. Research materials, 1940-1999. IV. Correspondence, 1976-2017. V. Professional papers, 1960-2017. VI. Personal and family papers, 1889-2015. VII. Printed materials, 1971-2018.


172.0 Linear Feet (162 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

Wayne Koestenbaum

Wayne Koestenbaum (born 1958) is an American poet, critic, and novelist as well as a painter and musician. His work spans a wide gamut of topics and genres, ranging from poetry, cultural criticism, and fiction to opera. Examples include Jackie Under My Skin: Interpreting An Icon (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1995), The Milk of Inquiry (Persea, 1999), Andy Warhol (Lipper/Viking, 2001), Model Homes (BOA Editions, 2004), Hotel Theory (Soft Skull Press, 2007), and The Anatomy of Harpo Marx (University of California Press, 2012). The Queen's Throat (Da Capo Press, 2001) was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. Koestenbaum wrote the libretto for Michael Daugherty’s opera Jackie O, which premiered at the Houston Grand Opera in 1997. He received a B.A. from Harvard, an M.A. from Johns Hopkins, and a Ph.D. from Princeton; he won a Whiting Writers Award, and was a co-winner of the Discovery/The Nation Poetry Prize. Formerly an Associate Professor of English at Yale and a Visiting Professor in the Yale School of Art’s painting department, Koestenbaum is a Distinguished Professor of English, French, and Comparative Literature at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City.

Processing Information

Wayne Koestenbaum and assistants performed extensive processing and description work on his archive before transferring it to the Beinecke Library. Under the guidance of Beinecke Library archivists, Mr. Koestenbaum reviewed, arranged, and described his papers in detail at the folder or item level, housing them in archival supplies provided by the library.

After receipt, Beinecke Library staff reviewed the housing of the collection and made adjustments as necessary to meet preservation and collection management requirements. An archivist made a rough sort of the boxes into broader series, but made few changes to the folder-level arrangement of the archive, except where necessary for proper housing or to separate audiovisual and computer media per the library’s preservation best practices.

Beinecke Library staff wrote the collection- and series-level description. Almost all description at the file and item level were written by Wayne Koestenbaum or his assistants, with minimal edits made by library staff.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the Wayne Koestenbaum Papers
by Wayne Koestenbaum and Michael Rush
September 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
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New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.