Telegraph Books collection

Patti Smith's "Seventh Heaven": A draft, unfolded cover, alternate photograph and a published copy.

Patti Smith’s, “Seventh Heaven”: A draft, unfolded cover, alternate photographs and a published copy.

Telegraph Books (circa 1970-1972) is a shining example of an early 1970s poetry and prose publishing company, founded in Philadelphia by Victor Bockris, Aram Saroyan, and Andrew Wylie. Bockris, a 1971 University of Pennsylvania graduate, cites the modest promulgator of poetry and prose as having been, “[a] small concern that proudly put out a few things like Patti Smith’s first books Seventh Heaven and Kodak,” (Amorosi, 1995) amongst other books by authors including Tom Clark, Gerard Malanga, in addition to work by Bockris, Saroyan, and Wylie.

Young poets ruminate on Ezra Pound during the "Mignon Poetry Workshop" in the early 1970s

Young poets ruminate on Ezra Pound during the “Mignon Poetry Workshop” in the early 1970s

While the Telegraph Books collection is represented by a mere four boxes of material, it boasts such artifacts such as day-to-day publisher records including correspondence between the administrators of the company and a variety of authors regarding their then-future-publications, mock-ups, and drafts, to more colorful records, such as the  lamenting poetic verses on Ezra Pound crudely written by 5th and 6th graders, the result of Bockris’ “Mignon Poetry Workshop,” a program revolving around the processes of writing and publishing poetry.

John Pollack proudly holding an artifact of the Telegraph Books collection: a hand-painted sign!

John Pollack proudly holding an artifact of the Telegraph Books collection: a hand-painted sign!

While I was in the throes of finishing up the finding aid for this collection, John Pollack (Library Specialist and Public Services for Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts) informed me that there was an artifact from the collection separated because of its format floating around somewhere in the Van Pelt Library. Not fifteen minutes later, his memory served him correctly and he produced the crown-jewel of the collection: a hand-painted Telegraph Books sign!

References:

Amorosi, A. D. (1995, October 26 to November 2). Mr. International Velvet. Philadelphia City Paper. Retrieved from http://www.citypaper.net/articles/102695/article033.shtml

 

The Telegraph Books collection finding aid can be found here.

 

 

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