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Charles Henri Ford papers

Call Number: YCAL MSS 32

Scope and Contents

The Charles Henri Ford Papers contain correspondence, writings, and artwork that document Ford's activities as an author and journal editor, with the bulk of the material dating from 1928 to 2002. Much of the material acquired before 1982 relates to the journals Blues and View, while the 2004 Acquisition includes documentation of broader range of Ford's activities. Personal and professional correspondence documents Ford's relationships with family members as well as American authors and artistic figures including Parker Tyler. Notebooks and diaries contain drafts of writings and personal observations. Art Files document Ford's creative process of producing collages, and include source material containing clippings and other images. Personal papers document medical, legal, and financial aspects of Ford's life. Unsorted Papers consist of material retained by Ford for his archive, grouped roughly chronologically, but otherwise unarranged.


  • 1918-2003
  • Majority of material found within 1928 - 2002


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Charles Henri Ford Papers are 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

Gift of Charles Henri Ford, 1946-1949. Papers relating to the Garden of Disorder, including Ford's correspondence with George Reavey, were purchased in 1982. August 2004 Acquisition purchased from George Robert Minkoff, Inc., on the Alfred Z. Baker, Jr. Fund.


Organized into two groupings: 1946-1982 Acquisitions, and August 2004 Acquisition.


26.95 Linear Feet (34 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The Charles Henri Ford Papers contain correspondence, writings, and artwork that document Ford's activities as an author and journal editor,with the bulk of the material dating from 1928 to 2002. Much of the material acquired before 1982 relates to the journals Blues and View, while the 2004 acquisition includes documentation of broader range of Ford's activities.


The American surrealist, Charles Henri Ford, was an influential writer and an editor. In 1933 he published The Young and the Evil, a novel he wrote with Parker Tyler. He is better known, however, for his collections of surrealist poetry, including The Garden of Disorder (1939) and The Overturned Lake (1941), and for editing the surrealist magazines Blues and View. He published Blues from 1929 to 1930 while he was still a teenager. View ran from 1940 to 1947 and contained works of young artists and poets including Joseph Cornell, Randall Jarrell, and Allen Ginsberg.

Ford was born in Hazlehurst, Mississippi, on February 10, 1913 to Charles Lloyd and Gertrude Cato Ford. He attended the Christian Brothers College Grammar School in Memphis, Tennessee, where he lived with his mother and sister Ruth. In 1922 he was sent away to the Webb School in Bellbuckle, Tennessee, and later attended the Morgan School in St. Petersburg, Tennessee. In 1929, he went to St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas, for at least one semester.

Later in 1929, Ford lived in both Columbus, Mississippi, and New York City, while he edited Blues. In 1930 he moved to Paris, where he lived for four years. During this period he developed friendships with several literary figures, among whom were Gertrude Stein and Djuna Barnes. After traveling through Europe and North Africa, Ford returned to New York in October, 1934.

Following his return, Ford concentrated on writing poetry and editing View. Poems for Painters was published by View Editions in 1945, followed by The Half-Thoughts in 1947 and Sleep in a Nest of Flames in 1949, which included a foreword by Edith Sitwell. He also edited The Mirror of Baudelaire in 1942 and A Night with Jupiter and Other Fantastic Stories in 1947. The book of stories was a View edition and included two pieces by Henry Miller. His later collections of verse include Spare Parts (1966), Silver Flower Coo (1968), Om Krishna (1978), and Secret Haiku (1982). His selected poems, Flag of Ecstasy, edited by Edward B. Germain, was published in 1972.

Processing Information

Various acquisitions associated with the collection have not been merged and organized as a whole. Each acquisition is described separately in the contents list below, titled according to month and year of acquisition. The August 2004 Acquisition was incorporated into the collection in 2014, and received a basic level of processing, including rehousing and minimal organization.

Information included in the Description of Papers note and Collection Contents section is drawn from information supplied with the collection and from an initial survey of the contents. Folder titles appearing in the contents list below are often based on those provided by the creator or previous custodian. Titles have not been verified against the contents of the folders in all cases. Otherwise, folder titles are supplied by staff during initial processing.

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

Guide to the Charles Henri Ford Papers
Under Revision
by Beinecke Staff
July 1988
Description rules
Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
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
(203) 432-2977


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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.