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Leonard Baskin papers

Call Number: GEN MSS 1229

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of business correspondence, personal correspondence, photographs, drawings, woodcut prints, artists' books, writings, clippings, page proofs, exhibition materials, printed materials, and other papers documenting the life and work of Leonard Baskin and the operations of the Gehenna Press. Among the works documented in the collection is The Defense of Gracchus Babeuf before the High Court of Vendôme, by Gracchus Babeuf, translated by John Anthony Scott and illustrated by Thomas Cornell (Gehenna Press, 1964). The collection also includes correspondence and other papers by or related to Esther Baskin.


  • 1838 - 1998
  • Majority of material found within 1941 - 1998


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Boxes 171-175 (Esther Baskin papers): Restricted until April 22, 2026. For further information consult the appropriate curator.

Conditions Governing Use

The Leonard Baskin 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

Gift of Leonard Baskin and Lisa Unger Baskin, 1964, 1991, 1994, and 2011.

8 September 1994 acquisition: Gift of Louis L. Martz, 1994.

September 1995 acquisition: Gift of Hosea Baskin and Sarah Baskin, 1995.


Organized into seven groupings: December 1964 acquisitions; April 1991 acquisition; 8 September 1994 acquisition; 9 September 1994 acquisition; September 1995 acquisition; September 1998 acquisition; December 2011 acquisitions.


155.47 Linear Feet ((150 boxes) + 22 art, 3 broadside )

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL

Leonard Baskin

Leonard Baskin (1922-2000) was an American sculptor, book illustrator, wood engraver, printmaker, graphic artist, writer, and teacher. Baskin founded the Gehenna Press, a pioneering American fine art press, while a student at Yale University in 1942. The Gehenna Press continued in operation until Baskin's passing in 2000. Leonard Baskin was married to nature writer Esther Baskin until her death in 1973. His second wife was the political activist, book dealer, and collector Lisa Unger Baskin.

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections as they are acquired, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.

This collection 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 or revisions in arrangement and description.

Former call numbers: Uncat MSS 1016; Uncat MS Vault 719; Uncat MS Vault File; Uncat MS Vault 716; Uncat MS Vault 719; and Uncat MS Vault 824.

Guide to the Leonard Baskin Papers
by Beinecke staff
October 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

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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.