New Acquisitions

Featured gifts to the Library

Art deco print by Edouard Benedictus

Edouard Benedictus. Nouvelles variations, soixante-quinze motifs décoratifs en vingt planches. Gift of Jerome V. Frazel, AB ’83, and Nancy H. Wilder in honor of Joanne K. Frazel and Frank and Margaret “Peg” Hickey

The University of Chicago Library greatly appreciates gifts of books, archives, manuscripts, photography, electronic media, and art that create invaluable research and learning opportunities for our scholarly community. In 2016-17, the Library was honored to receive donations in a wide range of fields that strengthen our collections. In addition to the notable John Maloof Collection of Vivian Maier, a selection of these rare and unique items include the following:

  • Edouard Benedictus. Nouvelles variations, soixante-quinze motifs décoratifs en vingt planches.  Paris: Aux Éditions Albert Lévy, Librairie Centrale des Beaux-Arts, [1928].  A set of 20 art deco prints of decorative motifs in the original portfolio.  Two were featured in the summer 2017 exhibition Art in the Stacks: Selections from Special Collections. Gift of Nancy H. Wilder and Jerome V. Frazel, AB ’83, in honor of Joanne K. Frazel and Frank and Margaret “Peg” Hickey
  • More than 100 volumes, mainly 16th- and 17th-century works from a personal research library on Renaissance history and culture. Gift of Michael Murrin, the Raymond and Martha Hilpert Gruner Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus
  • Sanskrit puranas; 160 volumes of traditional printed books; 18 boxed volumes of books printed in manuscript format, called pohti; 18 books in manuscript format wrapped in fabric, the traditional way of holding unbound texts together. Gift of Wendy Doniger, Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions

    Cyrus Leroy Baldridge. Portrait of Caroline Singer Baldridge, ca. 1952. Oil on canvas. Gift of Michèle and Bronson Hall in memory of Frances and J. Parker Hall, Jr., PhB ’27, University of Chicago Treasurer, 1946-1969

  • The Lawrence Okrent Collection. Approximately 27,000 aerial photographs by Lawrence Okrent of Chicago and the surrounding region, dating from 1985 to 2015; approximately 5,500 (ground level) architectural photographs by Lawrence Okrent of significant sites and buildings in Chicago and the region, dating from 1968 to 2015; approximately 2,200 postcard images of Chicago subjects, dating from about 1910 to 1965; and approximately 700 corner cards: commercial envelopes with imprints of Chicago Business logos (including many with architectural content), dating from about 1880 to 1950. Almost all of the images in the collection are digital in origin, or have been digitized from the original film images. Gift of Lawrence Okrent
  • Historic collection of materials related to the Hall family, including a letter sweater and other student memorabilia of University of Chicago Treasurer James Parker Hall, Jr., PhB’27; historical monographs and fine arts books including La Fontaine and Lemarié, Fables, and Villon and Hubert, Oeuvres; and illustrated books by Cyrus Leroy Baldridge and Caroline Singer with a framed oil portrait of Singer by Baldridge. Gift of Michèle and Bronson Hall in memory of Frances and J. Parker Hall, Jr., PhB ’27, University of Chicago Treasurer, 1946-1969

We thank all of our donors who contributed special gifts last year.

Exploring 125 years of history in the Archives

Janet-Rowley-600p

Janet Rowley in her laboratory. 1980s. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf7-01134. Copyright 2015, The Chicago Maroon. All rights reserved. Reprinted with Permission. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Celebration of the University of Chicago’s 125th Anniversary is drawing increased campus attention to the University Archives this year. The mission of the Archives is to preserve and make available materials documenting the history of the University and the work of its faculty, students, trustees, and friends. Archives collections span many formats, from official reports to publications, photographs, media, and physical artifacts. Faculty papers in the Archives include letters, diaries, field notes, manuscripts, and teaching materials. In all, the Archives collections have grown to 60,000 linear feet, or more than 73 million individual items, and digital files comprise more than 20 terabytes of records in the Library’s Digital Repository.

Bon-Voyage-asas-01557_600p

Bon Voyage. From the papers of Julian and Eva Overton Lewis. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Important new collections continue to enhance the Archives. Recent acquisitions include the papers of Janet Rowley, the University’s renowned geneticist and cancer researcher and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient. Gary Becker’s papers bring manuscripts, notes, and teaching materials of the 1992 Nobel laureate in economics. The papers of Jean Elshtain document her interdisciplinary work in religion, political philosophy, and ethics. And the papers of Julian H. Lewis, the University’s first African American professor, and his wife Eva Overton Lewis, document an influential career in medical research and the lives of a leading Chicago family.

Julian H. Lewis

Julian H. Lewis, the first African American to teach at the University of Chicago. 1917. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Recent classroom teaching drawing on the Archives includes Mark Bradley’s seminar on International History. Tara Zahra brought her History Colloquium on Migration and Displacement in Twentieth- Century Europe. Daniel Webb drew on the Archives for his class on America in World Civilization, while Susan Burns brought her class on Doing History. Kathleen Conzen led classes on Chicago and Chicago’s South Side, and Katherine Taylor’s courses examined the University’s modern campus architecture.

Support for research is also central to the Archives mission. Within the past year, projects of University researchers have drawn on the records of the Robert M. Hutchins administration, the Committee on Social Thought, and the University’s Chaucer Research Project of the 1930s. Visiting researchers have examined the papers of Mircea Eliade; the papers of University administrators and faculty involved in the world government movement of the 1940s and 1950s; the field notes and data collected by Sol Tax and other faculty members of the University’s influential Department of Anthropology; and the papers of Ernest W. Burgess, Louis Wirth, Everett Hughes, and other leaders in Chicago sociology.

Sol Tax

Sol Tax, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago. n.d. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf1-08219. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

The Library’s annual Robert Platzman Memorial Fellowships bring visiting scholars from the national and international scholarly community. This year, one Platzman Fellow from the University of Cambridge is examining the papers of Charles Merriam, Harold Gosnell, and others for a study of attitudes toward American public opinion. Using the papers of Ernest Burgess and Robert Havinghurst, a graduate student from Indiana University is researching a dissertation on the Guatemalan Indigenismo movement. A scholar from the University of Oxford is examining the papers of Louis Brownlow, Leonard White, and other faculty for a study of American political science. And a graduate student from the University of Minnesota is using the papers of faculty member A.K. Ramanujan to examine literary debates in nineteenth-century South India.

Visit the online University of Chicago Photographic Archive at photoarchive.lib.uchicago.edu.

Block group paints, 600 block of South Bowen.

Block group paints, 600 block of South Bowen. Mildred Mead, photographer. April 30, 1952. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf2-09636. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Enabling discovery of the Saul Bellow Papers: A gift from Bob and Carolyn Nelson

2015 marks the centennial of the birth of the late Saul Bellow. The 1976 Nobel laureate in literature, Bellow taught as a member of the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago from 1962 to 1993, immortalizing Hyde Park and the city of Chicago in his novels and making a lasting impression on generations of students. Now, thanks to a generous gift from alumni Bob Nelson and Carolyn Nelson, 2015 is also the year when the processing of the University of Chicago’s Saul Bellow Papers begins.

Saul Bellow

Saul Bellow, signing copies of his book “Humboldt’s Gift” in the university bookstore. September 1975. Photographer John Vail. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf1-00516, Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

The Saul Bellow Papers include 145 linear feet of material dating from roughly 1940 to 2003. The collection is currently divided into 71 parts, reflecting a series of gifts, deposits, and acquisitions that began in 1963. Almost half of the Papers—a total of more than 222,000 pages—are manuscripts, letters, and other materials written by Saul Bellow himself.

Because of the generosity of the Nelsons, the Bellow Papers can now be fully reviewed, systematically rearranged into one unified collection, and described in a comprehensive manner for the first time. The collection will be organized into a single sequence of nine archival series: biographical, correspondence, writings by Saul Bellow, writings by others, honors and awards, photographs, memorabilia, oversize, and restricted private letters. After arrangement and description are completed, a guide to the collection with a comprehensive inventory of all materials will be added to the online Special Collections Finding Aid Database, where it can be searched in the context of related collections and discovered worldwide through all web search engines. The fully organized Saul Bellow Papers will be available for consultation by faculty, students, and visiting researchers and scholars in the Special Collections Research Center Reading Room.

“The Nelsons’ gift will be invaluable to scholars on campus and around the world, who will be able to discover comprehensive descriptions of the archives online,” said Brenda Johnson, Library Director and University Librarian.

The increased accessibility of the Saul Bellow Papers, and the scholarship such access will enable, are important to the Nelsons. “Bellow is acknowledged as one of the preeminent novelists of his (and our) time,” Bob wrote. “Processing his papers will advance understanding and appreciation of his work.”

Carolyn and Bob Nelson

Carolyn and Bob Nelson

The Nelsons feel an enthusiasm for the Papers that harkens back to their days as students at UChicago, when they saw Bellow strolling around Hyde Park and enjoyed reading their favorite Bellow novel, Herzog. Graduates of the Humanities Division, Bob, AM’64, and Carolyn, AM’64, PhD’67, are avid collectors of literature who have assembled more than 6,000 books including approximately 300 first editions. Carolyn is a longstanding member of the Visiting Committee to the Library, serving since 2005, and Bob served on the Visiting Committee to the Division of the Social Sciences from 2005 to 2013. Carolyn, whose degrees are in English, is a distinguished bibliographer who worked at Yale University Library updating the foundational Short-Title Catalogue of Books . . . 1641-1700, and launched a groundbreaking companion catalogue, British Newspapers and Periodicals 1641-1700. The Nelsons’ support thus extends Carolyn’s lifelong commitment to enabling the study of literature in English.

Even unprocessed, scholars have begun finding gems in the collection. Benjamin Taylor makes special note of letters from Bellow’s father and John F. Kennedy in our Library’s Bellow Papers in his 2010 volume of Bellow’s selected correspondence. Zachary Leader, author of the 2015 biography The Life of Saul Bellow, relied heavily on our collection for his work. Their initial discoveries speak to the tremendous potential of the Papers as the collection becomes more widely known.

UChicago Library acquires papers of cartoonist Daniel Clowes

The University of Chicago Library has acquired the papers of cartoonist Daniel Clowes, Lab’79, giving researchers access to never-before-seen notes and sketches from the acclaimed comic book author.

The materials in the collection—notes, outlines, narrative drafts, character sketches, draft layouts, line art, book dummies and more—reveal the start-to-finish artistic process behind three of Clowes’ award-winning graphic novels: The Death-Ray (2011), Ice Haven (2005) and Mister Wonderful (2011). The collection also includes ephemera related to two major exhibitions of Clowes’ work.

Daniel Clowes at the "Comics: Philosophy and Practice" conference at the University of Chicago in 2012. (Photo by Jason Smith)

Daniel Clowes at the “Comics: Philosophy and Practice” conference at the University of Chicago in 2012. (Photo by Jason Smith)

“Daniel Clowes’ work is renowned for its sharp satire and compelling characters. This collection offers rare insights into Clowes’ creative process and the challenges and complexities of his art. It will be an exciting resource for scholars at the University of Chicago and beyond,” said Daniel Meyer, director of the Special Collections Research Center, which will house the Daniel Clowes Archive.

Clowes’ first professional work appeared in Cracked magazine in 1985. In 1989, he created the seminal comic book series Eightball, which ran for 23 issues through 2004 and earned him a large following and multiple industry awards.

Eightball generated several graphic novels, including Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron, Pussey! and Ghost World, his breakthrough hit about the last summer of a teenage friendship. The 2001 film adaptation of Ghost World, based on a script by Clowes and director Terry Zwigoff, was nominated for an Academy Award for best adapted screenplay.

Ice Haven, an intricate tale of kidnapping and alienation in a small Midwestern town, and The Death-Ray, the unlikely story of a teenage superhero in the 1970s, both appeared in Eightball before their publication in book form. Clowes’ “middle-aged romance” Mister Wonderful began as a serialized comic for The New York Times Magazine was collected in an expanded hardcover edition in 2011. Materials related to Ice Haven, The Death-Ray and Mister Wonderful are featured in the Daniel Clowes Archive.

Clowes’ comics, graphic novels and anthologies have been translated into more than 20 languages, and his work has been the subject of numerous international exhibitions. A major retrospective of his work debuted at the Oakland Museum of California in 2012 and traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago in 2013.

L-R: Hillary Chute, Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, Seth, and Chris Ware at the at the "Comics: Philosophy and Practice" conference at the University of Chicago in 2012. (Photo by Jason Smith)

L-R: Hillary Chute, Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, Seth, and Chris Ware at the at the “Comics: Philosophy and Practice” conference at the University of Chicago in 2012. (Photo by Jason Smith)

“I couldn’t be more honored and pleased (and, frankly, astonished) to have my archival materials included in the University’s Special Collection,” Clowes said. “The University of Chicago, both the physical campus and the institution, was central, almost overwhelmingly so, to my formative life, the first 18 years of which were spent three blocks away from this very site, and there could no more appropriate place for these papers to find their home.”

Clowes has longstanding ties to the University of Chicago. Born and raised in Hyde Park, he attended the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools before moving to New York to study at the Pratt Institute. His grandfather, James Lea Cate, was a scholar of medieval history and historiography and a UChicago professor from 1930 to 1969. His stepmother, Harriet Clowes, worked in development at the University of Chicago Library from 1976 to 1980.

In 2012, Clowes participated in the “Comics: Philosophy and Practice” conference sponsored by the Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago. That event brought together 17 world-renowned cartoonists for three days of public conversation.

Prof. Hillary Chute, the conference organizer and expert on contemporary comics, has included Clowes’ work in her courses and interviewed him for her book Outside the Box.

“Dan Clowes is one of the most important cartoonists working today—and, crucially, he helped to invent the ‘graphic novel’ field as we know it today in his decades of groundbreaking work. His work has been a huge influence on many, many cartoonists—and on me, both as a person and a scholar of comics,” said Chute, associate professor in English and the College. “I could not be more honored and thrilled that the University has acquired an archive by an artist of this caliber.”

The Daniel Clowes Archive adds to the University of Chicago Library’s growing collection of materials related to word and image studies. The Library holds an extensive collection of contemporary comics, including many comics and zines published in Chicago, as well as the Walter C. Dopierala Comic Book Collection, which contains more than 2,000 popular mid-century comic books. The Library plans to add to its comics archive in the years to come.

The Daniel Clowes Archive is open to researchers.

A University of Chicago news release

Library publishes ‘Homer in Print’ catalogue

Homer in Print: A Catalogue of the Bibliotheca Homerica Langiana at the University of Chicago Library, is now available for consultation or check out at the Library and for purchase from the University of Chicago Press.

Homer in Print cover

Homer in Print cover art. Jacket design by Jerry Kelly, using a roundel by Bruce Rogers from his 1932 edition of the Odyssey.

Homer in Print traces the print transmission and literary reception of the Iliad and the Odyssey from the 15th through the 20th century. Over 175 mini-essays provide new details of each included edition’s textual, intellectual, and publishing history. Three long-form essays contributed by scholars Glenn W. Most and David Wray, and collector M. C. Lang,  place these editions within a wider context, exploring their role in ancient and modern philology, translation studies, and the history of printing. An extensive and strikingly illustrated testament to the power and popularity of Homer over the past 500 years, Homer in Print is an essential text for students and teachers of classics, classical reception, comparative literature, and book history. This volume, a product of new research and sharp scholarship, evidences Homer’s ability to captivate the imaginations of poets, editors, and readers throughout the centuries.

Edited by Glenn W. Most and Alice Schreyer and published by the University of Chicago Library, the Homer in Print catalogue and the collection it documents provide the foundation for the upcoming exhibition Homer in Print: The Transmission and Reception of Homer’s Works, on view at the Special Collections Research Center from January 13 to March 15, 2014.

Special Collections Research Center acquires comic artist R. Crumb’s Jazz Trading Cards

The Special Collections Research Center has acquired a second printing copy of artist R. Crumb’s “Early Jazz Greats” trading cards, first printed in 1982 for Yazoo Records.  The set includes 36 cards featuring original images by Crumb and short biographies of early Jazz musicians, including both household names and relative unknowns.  Crumb’s love of early Jazz music comes through in his artwork, often reproduced from black and white photographs of the period.  The set includes a number of musicians with ties to Chicago like Benny Goodman, Roy Palmer and Junie C. Cobb.  Crumb followed this set with “Heroes of the Blues” and “Pioneers of Country Music”, and the set joins a number of works by Crumb in the Special Collections Research Center.

Cover of Early Jazz Greats

Benny Goodman Trading CardRoy Palmer

RAW in Special Collections

I am thrilled that Special Collections is getting RAW magazine (1980-1991)—a publication that did more to create the field I study than practically any other work.


RAW
started in 1980; it was, essentially, the brainchild of Françoise Mouly, who is currently the Art Director of the New Yorker (that means she has the amazing job of choosing the cover of that magazine each week).  Françoise, a French architecture student who had abandoned the Sorbonne to move to New York, and joined avant-garde circles there, had become interested in printing and she had enrolled in technical courses in printing.  She lived in a loft in Soho with her husband, the cartoonist Art Spiegelman, and a 1,000-pound printing press (apparently the person carrying it up the stairs to their fourth-floor walk-up had almost died doing so).  With her printing skills, Françoise published a local Soho guide map, called The Streets of Soho, which did surprisingly well.  Apparently at a party one night the Françoise proposed to her husband the idea that they publish a large-format, high-quality “comix and graphix” magazine themselves, to fill the void that the underground comics publications had left (Spiegelman and cartoonist Bill Griffith had edited the wonderful Arcade magazine in the late seventies, a kind of last gasp of the best side of the underground publication culture, but it didn’t last long.)  As a kind of dare, Mouly and Spiegelman decided to do it (I think they first imagined it as a one-shot, but it was so popular that they continued).  The idea was to differentiate RAW from previous underground publications—even serious and important ones—by its luxurious production values.  They wanted RAW to stand out—it was too big to be shelved at the bookstores and art stores and newsstands with “regular” magazines or comics.  Their editorial ethic is famous for its rigor, and the lavish design and production of RAW did make the public take account of comics in a format they weren’t used to.

A biannual that had a different subtitle each issue—the first one was The Graphix Magazine of Postponed SuicidesRAW began serializing Spiegelman’s Maus narrative, one chapter at a time, in its second issue, in December 1980.  Many people note that Spiegelman’s Maus—which went on, much later, to appear in two Pantheon book volumes, in 1986 and 1991—changed the face of contemporary comics.  That’s true.  But it was the culture that RAW established that allowed Maus to circulate and be received as serious.  RAW also published the early work of cartoonists who are today titans in the field, such as Chris Ware and Charles Burns, who each got their start in RAW.  Spiegelman had seen one of Ware’s comic strips in a college newspaper in Texas and phoned him to ask him to submit to RAW.  Burns, on the other hand, traveling to New York, simply knocked on Mouly and Spiegelman’s door in Soho.  RAW published work from young up-and-coming artists like Ware and Burns, and also re-published comics works that had gone under the radar, such as by Boody Rogers and Henry Darger.  Many of today’s most well-known cartoonists, such as Ben Katchor, Lynda Barry, Julie Doucet, Gary Panter, and Justin Green, all appeared in RAWRAW also, significantly, specifically aimed to bring avant-garde comics (or “comix”) from Europe—where Mouly had connections—and elsewhere to an American audience.  Mouly and Spiegelman traveled abroad to cultivate cartoonists from wide and far for the pages of RAW.  Showing the sophisticated comics work being done in the U.S. by young artists and across continents, RAW—whose second volume run was picked up by Penguin— pioneered a space in culture for the graphic and intellectual force of comics.  Having all of the issues of RAW at Special Collections is a key resource, and will be indispensable for anyone studying contemporary comics.

Hillary Chute and comics artist Alison Bechdel are collaborators in the University’s new Mellon Residential Fellowships for Arts Practice and Scholarship program (see http://arts.uchicago.edu/about/mellonfellows.shtml for more information). In Spring 2012 they will be co-teaching a course “Lines of Transmission: Comics and Autobiography.”

Announcing New Acquisitions!

Special Collections has acquired two unique items of great interest for the study of manuscript production and illumination and the transition from handwritten manuscripts to printed books in the first century after the invention of printing. One of the new acquisitions is a Prayerbook in Latin and French, c. 1500-1520; the other is a printed Book of Hours, c. 1515-1530.

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Unfinished Prayerbook, f.36v, Two Angels Holding Scrolls

BOH 44 - Hardouyn 1515 -  ff.12v-13

Printed book of Hours, f.12v, Four Cardinal Virtues

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Prayerbook has several distinct features: there are decorations inspired by the Gőttingen Model Book, produced in Mainz in the mid-15th century and used in manuscripts and early incunabula in the Lower Rhine; the text and illustrations are incomplete, enabling study of the work patterns in a medieval scriptorium; there is an initial of St.-Trond (infrequently depicted), suggesting an original provenance in the diocese of Liege; and linguistic evidence in the vernacular portions suggests that the Prayerbook or this part of it was made for a woman.

7260 -Unfinished Prayer Book- ff.12v

Unfinished Prayerbook, f.13, Historiated initial O (43x43mm) of St. Trond the Abbot, who holds a cross. A scroll identifies the Saint: Sancte Trudo ora pro me.

7260 -Unfinished Prayer Book ff.24v 25

Unfinished Prayerbook, f.24v, Crucifixion

 

The woodcuts in the Book of Hours (printed in Paris by Gillet Hardouyn, ca. 1515) are heavily painted by hand and are accompanied by added gold architectonic frames. The volume is so lavishly illuminated that is was most likely done by an artist active in the production of illuminated manuscripts, rather than a “colorist” employed by printers to create something that looked like an illuminated manuscript.

New ff.25v-26

Printed Book of Hours, f.26, Nativity

The style resembles artists active in the workshop of Jean Pichore, who contributed designs for the large miniatures, which come from several different series of prints over different years.  Most of the smaller woodcuts are adaptations by the Master of the Très petites Heures of Anne of Brittany.

Newff.35v-36

Printed Book of Hours, f.36, Fight Into Egypt

The Souls of Black Folk

DBimages Among our acquisitions this past year is a first edition of W.E.B.
Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk, a
classic of American literature and perhaps the most important book by one of
the most important African Americans. Our copy is significant not only for the
work’s literary importance but also for the presence of a postcard photographic
portrait of Du Bois dated 1904, taken by a Boston photographer named Purdy,
that appears opposite the title page.



Additionally, this copy was originally owned by Horace
Bumstead, was a white Bostonian whom Du Bois referred to as the "Apostle
of Higher Education of the Negro." Bumstead was born in 1841 and was
educated at the Boston Latin School and Yale College (Class of 1863). He was
commissioned as a Major for the 43rd Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Colored
Troops in 1864. After the war he joined the faculty of Atlanta University (now
Clark Atlanta University) as an instructor in Natural Science, and went on to
become the second President of the University from 1886-1907. During his
tenure, he brought Du Bois to Atlanta University, where Du Bois founded the
Department of Sociology, and did some of his most significant scholarly work.
The historically black university had a great deal of trouble getting
appropriations from the state, and subsequently Bumstead almost single-handedly
raised the funds necessary to keep the university functioning.






Ron Offen, 1930-2010

Ronoffen2

The Special Collections Research Center is saddened by the loss of Ron Offen, poet and editor of the poetry magazine Free Lunch, who passed away on Monday, August 9, 2010.

Ron Offen was born to Charles, a sales engineer, and Ellen Offen on October 12, 1930 in Chicago, IL. In 1950 he married Sharon Nealy; from 1966-2000 he was married to Rosine Breuckner (aka Kristine Cameron). In 2003, he married Beverly K. Drick.

Offen received an AA degree from Wright Junior College in 1950 and a MA degree from the University of Chicago in 1967. He worked in the insurance industry from 1953-1967. Offen then pursued a literary career as a poet, writer, and editor.

Offen served as editor for Chicagoland (1967-1969) and Automotive Fleet (1969-1971). In 1994, he edited The Starving Poets’ Cookbook, Free Lunch Arts Alliance. He was the author of several biographies and books of poetry, including Dillinger: Dead or Alive? (with Jay Robert Nash, 1970), Brando (1973), Instead of Gifts: Poems for Poets (1995), Answer Questions (1996), and God’s Haircut, and other Remembered Dreams (1999). God's Haircut was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

In 1989, after a bout with cancer, Offen founded the poetry journal Free Lunch: A Poetry Miscellany. He stated, “I thought about how important poetry had been to me my whole life and how much it had given to me. So, I thought, I want to give something back to poetry and poets.”

The Chicago Sun Times obituary appeared on August 11.

The papers of Ron Offen are located at the Special Collections Research Center and are open for research.