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James S. Jaffe collection of Jonathan Williams and The Jargon Society

 Collection
Call Number: YCAL MSS 332

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of correspondence, manuscripts, galley proofs, and artwork collected independently by James S. Jaffe, which documents a varied sample of projects undertaken by Jonathan Williams and The Jargon Society. Overall, the collection provides glimpses into the working habits of Williams and underscores his associations with collaborators, including their conflicts and camaraderie. The collection includes especially rich documentation of William's professional and personal relationship with Thomas A. Clark, a poet and publisher, as demonstrated by his correspondence to Clark.

Correspondence in the collection documents the associations Williams had with collaborators for projects for The Jargon Society, as well as with other publishers. Correspondents include Dana Winslow Atchley, Thomas A. Clark, Ian Gardner, Michael Loeb, Tom Phillips, U. Grant Roman, David Ruff, Henry Holmes Smith, Jon Edgar Webb, and Henry Weaning. The correspondence also includes related printed material collected by Williams' collaborators.

Manuscripts and galley proofs in the collection document projects related to Williams. This includes a description of the ceramic art of Arnold Ward written by Williams in 1949, and the graphic design work of Dana Winslow Atchley for Jonathan Williams and Nicholas Dean, Blues & Roots, Rue & Bluets: A Garland for the Appalachians (1971). It also includes a manuscript by Michael McClure for his Passage, which The Jargon Society published in 1957.

Artwork in the collection includes illustrations created, used, or considered by Williams in his personal projects or works published by The Jargon Society, as well as other works by artists associated with him and the press. Artists include Fielding Dawson, Thomas Reuben George, Barbara Mildred Jones, David Ruff, and Paul Sinodhinos.

Dates

  • 1949 - 1990
  • Majority of material found within 1968 - 1980

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The James S. Jaffe Collection of Jonathan Williams and The Jargon Society 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 James S. Jaffe Rare Books on the Ezra Pound Archive Fund, 2009.

Arrangement

Organized into three series: I. Correspondence, 1960-1990. II. Manuscripts and Galley Proofs, 1949-1970. III. Artwork, 1950-1970.

Extent

3.42 Linear Feet ((4 boxes) + 1 broadside folder)

Language of Materials

English

Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/beinecke.jaffe

Overview

This collection consists of correspondence, manuscripts, galley proofs, and artwork that documents a varied sample of projects undertaken by Jonathan Williams and The Jargon Society, 1949-1990. Correspondence documents associations Williams had with collaborators for projects for The Jargon Society and with other publishers. Correspondents include Dana Winslow Atchley, Thomas A. Clark, Ian Gardner, Michael Loeb, Tom Phillips, U. Grant Roman, David Ruff, Henry Holmes Smith, Jon Edgar Webb, and Henry Weaning.
Manuscripts and galley proofs document projects related to Williams. This includes a description of the ceramic art of Arnold Ward written by Williams in 1949, and the graphic design work of Dana Winslow Atchley for Jonathan Williams and Nicholas Dean, Blues & Roots, Rue & Bluets (1971) and a manuscript by Michael McClure for Passage (1957) published by The Jargon Society.
Artwork documents illustration material created, used, or considered by Williams in his personal projects or works published by The Jargon Society, as well as works by artists associated with him and the press. Artists include Fielding Dawson, Thomas Reuben George, Barbara Mildred Jones, David Ruff, and Paul Sinodhinos.

James S. Jaffe

James S. Jaffe is a bookseller and a bibliographer of works by Jonathan Williams and material published by The Jargon Society. He wrote and published Jonathan Williams: A Bibliographical Checklist of His Writings, 1950-1988 (Haverford, Pennsylvania: J. S. Jaffe Rare Books, 1989).

Jonathan Williams (1929-2008) and The Jargon Society

Jonathan Chamberlain Williams was a poet, essayist, and photographer, as well as the founder and publisher of The Jargon Society.

Educated at St. Albans School, Princeton University, and Black Mountain College, Williams also studied art and design at the Institute of Design in Chicago. His published books of poetry include An Ear in Bartram's Tree; Selected Poems, 1957-1967 (1969), Blues & Roots, Rue & Bluets: A Garland for the Appalachians (with photography by Nicholas Dean, 1971), The Loco Logodaedalist in Situ: Selected Poems, 1968-70 (1972), and Elite/Elate Poems: Selected Poems, 1971-75 (with photography by Guy Mendes, 1979). His published books of photography include Portrait Photographs (1979) and A Palpable Elysium: Photographs (1997). Williams also served as a contributing editor to the photography journal Aperture.

Since 1951, the same year Williams became a student at Black Mountain College, The Jargon Society has published works of poetry, experimental fiction, photography, and art by innovative authors of the twentieth century. Prominent authors and artists published by The Jargon Society include James Broughton, Basil Bunting, Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan, Lou Harrison, Ronald Johnson, Denise Levertov, Paul Metcalf, Henry Miller, Lorine Niedecker, Charles Olson, Joel Oppenheimer, Kenneth Patchen, and Louis Zukofksy. In his poetry and publishing with The Jargon Society, Williams maintained an association with the Black Mountain Poets.

Thomas Meyer (born 1947), a poet and translator whose works include Uranian Roses (1977), Staves Calends Legends (1979), and Sappho's Raft (1982), was Williams' partner and collaborator with The Jargon Society.

Processing Information

The description of material in this collection were chiefly repurposed from identifications provided by the collector, James S. Jaffe.
Title
Guide to the James S. Jaffe Collection of Jonathan Williams and The Jargon Society
Author
by Matthew D. Mason
Date
July 2009
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

Contact:
P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977

Location

121 Wall Street
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.