Odds and quads

American poet Peter Orlovsky (1933-2010), the partner of Allen Ginsberg for more than 40 years, was himself a major Beat Generation figure.

July 4, 2013

Orlovsky’s archive was recently acquired by the Harry Ransom Center – the University of Texas at Austin’s humanities research library and museum – whose collections include a great deal of material relating to his leading literary contemporaries William Burroughs, Neal Cassady, Gregory Corso, Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac.

The archive contains more than 1,600 letters written to Orlovsky and/or Ginsberg (165 by Ginsberg himself); more than 2,600 photographs covering the period from 1970 to Orlovsky’s death; eight reel-to-reel tapes from the 1960s; and more than 120 audiocassettes made by Orlovsky during the 1970s and 1980s, some recording conversations with Ginsberg. There are also 140 notebooks from the journal that Orlovsky began around the time he and Ginsberg met.

Shown above are the cover of Orlovsky’s book of examination answers for a philosophy class in 1956; a page of contacts from 1971, including addresses for Ginsberg and Corso; and a promotional poster for a “liberty lunch”.

Send suggestions for this series on the treasures, oddities and curiosities owned by universities across the world to matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com

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