Guide to the Auerhahn Press records, 1959-1967

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Arts and Humanities --Book Arts Arts and Humanities --Literature --Poetry Social Sciences --Publishing History --History, California --History, Bay Area

Guide to the Auerhahn Press Records, 1959-1967

Collection number: BANC MSS 71/85 c

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Contact Information:

Processed by:
The Bancroft Library staff
Date Completed:
ca. 1971
Encoded by:
Xiuzhi Zhou
© 1997 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Auerhahn Press Records,
Date (inclusive): 1959-1967
Collection Number: BANC MSS 71/85 c
Creator: Auerhahn Press
Extent: Number of containers: 8 boxes
Repository: The Bancroft Library
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Abstract: Correspondence with contributors, manuscripts, mock-ups, corrected proofs, mailing lists, accounts, and samples of ephemeral printing.
Languages Represented: English

Information for Researchers


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Auerhahn Press records, BANC MSS 71/85 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Material Cataloged Separately

  • One portfolio transferred to the book collection of The Bancroft Library (7/78)

Brief Company History

Of the beginnings of the Auerhahn Press in San Francisco, famed for its printing of the works of the new young poets, David L. Haselwood in his Deposition says, "During the summer of 1958 I drifted around San Francisco talking endlessly with painters such as Robert LaVigne and Jesse Sharpe and poets Lamantia, McClure, Wieners, and reading all the live poetry and prose I could get my hands on. It was at this time that it occurred to me that the press could mean a great many things ... "From this intense exposure to the active literary scene in the Bay Area grew the desire to see these writers published without the great delays imposed by larger printing establishments.
A short while later in 1959 appeared the first publication of the Auerhahn Press, John Wieners' The Hotel Wentley Poems. After this initial experience, in which the actual printing was done by a commercial printer, Haselwood was convinced that he should not only design all future books himself, but also print them. He stated his concept of printing in this manner "The first and final consideration in printing poetry is the poetry itself. If the poems are great they create their own space, the publisher is just a midwife during the final operation . . . " With this ideal in mind, Haselwood tackled the publication of Philip Lamantia's Ekstasis, and went on to the printing of Michael McClure's Hymns to St. Geryon. Though its limited financial resources were drained by this last publication, the press, augmented by Andrew Hoyem, continued its publication of controversial and avant-garde works, such as Lamantia's pamphlet Narcotica, until its dissolution in January 1965, and acquired a reputation for quality of printing and design.

Scope and Content

The collection, purchased from Serendipity Books, January 5, 1971, and from Andrew Hoyem, June 7, 1971, contains correspondence from 1959 to 1967 with poets and authors Philip Lamantia, John Wieners, William Burroughs, William Everson, Robert Duncan, Michael McClure, Alan Ginsberg and others manuscripts; illustrations; mock-ups; corrected page proofs; examples of the printed works; and samples of ephemeral printing.