Hanuman Books Records, 1978-1996 (majority within 1986-1994)
Using These Materials
- The collection is open for research.
- Hanuman Books
- Hanuman Books was founded by Raymond Foye and Francesco Clemente in 1986. The press published small handmade books, primarily of works by contemporary avant-garde writers and rare translations. The administrative and editorial functions were housed in New York's Chelsea Hotel, while printing and binding were done in Madras, India. Through correspondence, invoices, manuscripts, typescripts, artwork, audiotapes, printed ephemera, photographs and books, this collection documents the founding of Hanuman Books, the administration of a small press, Indian printing practices, San Francisco’s North Beach and New York’s Lower East Side art scenes, Beat poetry, the Naropa Institute, contemporary music and film, and gay culture.
- 16 boxes, 16 linear feet
- Collection processed and finding aid created by Melissa McCollum, Kathleen Dow, 1998
- Scope and Content:
The Hanuman Books Records include correspondence, invoices, manuscripts, typescripts, books, art work, audio material, printed material, photographs, and other assorted material. The twenty linear feet of records span the years 1978 to 1996, with the bulk of the material falling between 1986 and 1994. Subjects documented in the collection include the founding of Hanuman Books, the administration of a small New York press, Indian printing, twentieth- century publishing, San Francisco’s North Beach and New York’s Lower East Side literary and art scenes, Beat poetry, the Naropa Institute, music, film, gay men in the 1980s and 1990s, and gay male literature. The Records are arranged in six series: Administrative Files (1986-1994), Publication Series (1986-1994), Raymond Foye Files (1978-1996), Mixed Media (1980s-1990s), Photographs (1970s-1990s), and Printed Material (1970s-1994).
Note: The Special Collections Library also holds a complete set of all the titles printed by Hanuman Books. To make these Hanuman Books imprints more accessible, the books were removed from the Records and individually cataloged. A listing of all of the titles follows the Scope and Content Note in the Related Material section.
- Biographical / Historical:
Raymond Foye and Francesco Clemente founded Hanuman Books in 1986. Small handmade Indian prayer books, collected a year earlier on a trip to India, influenced Hanuman Books’ format and name. The American editor and Italian painter decided to publish a series of small handmade secular books to provide an outlet for contemporary writers, hard to find translations, and “exquisite expressions” of poets and artists. They named the press after Hanuman, the Hindu monkey god of grammar and bravery.
Foye and Clemente chose content after setting a publishing schedule of twelve books a year, six in the spring and six in the fall. Foye tended to emphasize younger American writers, such as Eileen Myles and David Trinidad. Clemente often suggested works in translation, including René Daumal, Henri Michaux, and Francis Picabia. Many of the early titles were published by default, after Foye tried to place titles with other publishers. Hanuman Books also solicited and received stories, poems and essays from well-known writers and visual artists, including John Ashbery, William Burroughs, Willem de Kooning, Allen Ginsberg, and Patti Smith.
Administrative and editorial functions, managed by Foye, took place at the Chelsea Hotel in New York City. Paul Rickert worked closely with Foye from 1989-1993. Clemente, in addition to suggesting books, painted the Hanuman Books logo, contributed money to pay for printing in India, and envisioned the design of the books. Clemente, for example, suggested sending black and white author photographs to be hand tinted, so Indian printers would influence the books.
Hanuman books were printed at C.T. Nachiappan’s Kalakshetra Press in Madras, India. Books were hand-set in Monotype Times Roman on a letter press, and the acid-free pages were sewn together by local fishermen and others. Handmade Indian paper and vegetable dyes enabled colorful covers. Titles stamped in gold and tinted author photographs appear on the dust jackets. All of the books are 3" x 4" inches except for René Ricard’s God with Revolver . A larger format was necessary for Ricard’s unnumbered edition because the smaller bindings cannot hold more than twelve thousand words.
George Scrivani was Kalakshetra editor from 1986-1993. He exchanged corrections, concerns, and galleys with Foye and Rickert via telephone, fax, and mail. Books were shipped by boat from Madras to New York. Indian customs officials and obscenity laws affected the distribution of two books. Cookie Mueller’s Fan Mail , Frank Letters and Crank Calls held up a shipment of twenty thousand books in 1988 because officials objected to a picture of Priapus, a Roman fertility god. Hanuman Books eventually won the obscenity case, and reclaimed all of the books that were not ruined by customs officials. Nachiappan destroyed the first run of Bob Flanagan’s Fuck Journal because anti-obscenity regulations apply to printers in addition to publishers. Foye convinced Nachiappan to print five hundred additional copies, and smuggle them to the United States.
Foye and Rickert shipped Hanuman Books from the Chelsea Hotel to friends, individuals, and stores. Distributors, including Sun and Moon Press in Los Angeles and Small Press Distribution in Berkeley, also sold Hanuman books to bookstores and museums. Most retailers displayed the books near cash registers because of their unique size and sold each book for four or five dollars.
The last Hanuman books were published in 1993. Financial considerations and tensions among principal employees affected the press’ viability.
Biographies of Principal Employees:
The Hanuman Books collection documents Foye’s professional and personal life. He made some distinction between personal and professional relationships in his files and in his editorial decisions at Hanuman Books (he published some friends and politely refused to publish others) but his professional and personal interests, activities, and relationships often overlapped.
Foye was born on January 29, 1957 in Lowell, Massachusetts. As an adolescent, he delivered The Lowell Sun to Jack Kerouac and read many of Kerouac’s books. He told Arts Magazine in 1988, “A City Lights book, a Grove Press book, these were like messages from another world.” Other publishing influences include Harry Crosby’s Black Sun Press, Robert Creeley’s Divers Press, John Martin’s Black Sparrow Press, the small presses of Claude Pelieu and Mary Beach, Ed Sanders, and Harry Brown, and magazines like Michael McClure’s Moby 2 Arc 1 and Wallace Berman’s Semina .
Foye studied painting and filmmaking at the Philadelphia College of Art and the San Francisco Art Institute. In 1978, he met Lawrence Ferlinghetti at a cafe in San Francisco’s North Beach, and accepted an opportunity to work at City Lights Books. Foye edited The Unknown Poe , worked on books with Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso, and co-produced several important poetry readings during his three years at City Lights Books.
Foye moved to New York in 1980. He edited Bob Kaufman’s Ancient Rain for New Directions and John Wieners’ poetry for Black Sparrow Press. At Petersberg Press, he served as the Press' liaison with painters and artists, among them David Hockney, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, and Robert Motherwell. Henry Geldzahler introduced Foye to Francesco Clemente, and Foye proposed that Clemente contribute art work for an illustrated book. Foye’s and Clemente’s first collaboration produced The Departure of the Argonaut , as well as a willingness to work together on future projects. Foye also curated many art exhibits, including Clemente’s Three Worlds at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and a William Burroughs exhibition at Gagosian Gallery in New York City.
Foye was professionally and personally involved with both the North Beach and Lower East Side scenes. Correspondence with contemporary writers and artists, including Allen Ginsberg, Herbert Huncke, James Schuyler, and Anne Waldman, illustrates his ongoing participation in the American literary and art worlds of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.
Clemente was born in Naples, Italy in 1952. He studied architecture in Rome before leaving for a series of voyages to India and Afghanistan in 1973. Clemente’s art work has been exhibited in major retrospectives at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (1990) and the Sezon Museum in Tokyo (1994). Other shows include exhibitions of: paintings at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida (1985-1987); drawings at the Kunstmuseum, Basel (1987-1988) and Centre Pompidou, Paris (1994); pastels at the National Gallery, Berlin (1984-1985); and prints at the Milwaukee Art Museum, (1988).
At the time of writing, Clemente, his wife Alba, and their four children were dividing their time among New York City, Rome, and Madras, India.
Rickert was a student of John Clellon Holmes at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and has served as a literary editor to such poets as Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, and Gregory Corso. He was a contributing editor to The Portable Lower East Side and BLAST Books. He also assisted musical ethnologist Harry Smith on an edition of American Folk Music . (Biography from Hanuman Books publicity literature)
Scrivani is a noted writer, editor, and translator. He has published translations in Greek, Latin, Italian, and German. Scrivani is also a student of Tamil culture and languages. (Biography from Hanuman Books publicity literature)
- Acquisition Information:
- Hanuman Books Records were purchased from Bill Morgan, Morgan Rosenthal, in 1997.
- Processing information:
Processed by Melissa McCollum, Kathleen Dow, 1998.
The Hanuman Books Records are arranged in six series: Administrative Files (1986-1994), Publication Series (1986-1994), Raymond Foye Files (1978-1996), Mixed Media (1980s-1990s), Photographs (1970s-1990s), and Printed Material (1970s-1994).Summary Contents/Box Listing
- Administrative Files, 1986-1996, Boxes 1-3
- Publication Series, 1986-1994, Boxes 3-8
- Raymond Foye Files, 1978-1996, Boxes 8-14
- Mixed Media, 1980s-1990s, Box 14
- Photographs, 1970s-1990s, Box 14-15
- Printed Material, 1970s- 1994, Boxes 15-16
- Related Material:
Related collections at the University of Michigan’s Special Collections Library include the Anne Waldman Papers and the Alternative Press Archive. Columbia University’s Butler Library and Berkeley’s Bancroft Library also hold related collections.
- Separated Material:
The Special Collections Library holds a complete set of titles printed by Hanuman Books. In August, 2003, the books were removed from the Records and individually cataloged in order to increase accessibility. All the books removed are listed bellow. Numbered titles of Hanuman Books are arranged in publication order and unnumbered titles are listed at the end.Hanuman Books imprints in the Special Collections Library:
- Books, no. 1-48; unnumbered
- Series I (1-6)
- Wieners, John, Superficial Estimation
- Trinidad, David, November
- Myles, Eileen, Bread and Water (2 copies)
- Mead, Taylor, Son of Andy Warhol
- Picabia, Francis, Who Knows
- Michaux, Henri, By Surprise
- Series II (7-12)
- Gerstler, Amy, Primitive Man
- Ashbery, John, The Ice Storm
- Huncke, Herbert, Guilty of Everything
- Rosenthal, Manuel, Satie, Ravel, Poulenc
- Daumal, René, A Fundamental Experiment
- Weiners, John, Conjugal Contraries & Quart
- Series III (13-18)
- Flanagan, Bob, Fuck Journal
- De Kooning, Willem, Collected Writings
- Mueller, Cookie, Fan Mail, Frank Letters, and Crank Calls
- Penna, Sandro, Confused Dream
- Katz, Vincent, Cabel of Zealots
- Danielou, Alain, Fools of God
- Series IV (19-24)
- Denby, Edwin, Willem de Kooning
- Beckmann, Max, On My Painting
- Indiana, Gary, White Trash Boulevard
- Genet, Jean, Rembrandt
- Trinidad, David, Three Stories
- Ginsberg, Allen, Your Reason and Blake’s System
- Series V (25-30)
- Guénon, René, Oriental Metaphysics
- Myles, Eileen, 1969
- Corso, Gregory, Mind Field
- Daumal, René, The Lie of the Truth
- Equi, Elaine, Views Without Rooms
- Firbank, Ronald, Firbankiana
- Series VI (31-36)
- Hockney, David, Picasso
- St. Teresa/Simone Weil, On the Lord’s Prayer
- Smith, Jack, Historical Treasures
- Mueller, Cookie, Garden of Ashes
- Houston-Montgomery, Beauregard, Pouf Pieces
- Dylan, Bob, Saved! The Gospel Speeches of Bob Dylan
- Series VII (37-42)
- Hell, Richard, Artifact: Notebooks from Hell 1974-1980
- Geldzahler, Henry, Looking at Pictures
- Picabia, Francis, Yes No
- Creeley, Robert, Autobiography
- Bellamy, Dodie, Feminine Hijinx
- Kerouac, Jack, Safe in Heaven Dead
- Series VIII (43-48)
- Darling, Candy, Candy Darling
- Zedd, Nick, Bleed Part One
- Smith, Patti, Woolgathering
- Burroughs, William, Painting and Guns
- Hunter, Robert, Idiot’s Delight
- Frank, Robert, One Hour
- Series I (1-6)
- Kerouac, Jack, Manhattan Sketches
- Ricard, René, God with Revolver
- Books, no. 1-48; unnumbered
Click on terms below to find any related finding aids on this site.
American poetry -- 20th century.
American prose literature -- 20th century.
Artists -- United States -- 20th century.
Authors -- United States.
Authors and publishers.
Beat generation -- United States.
Bohemianism -- United States -- 20th century.
French poetry -- Translations into English.
Gay men’s writings, American -- 20th century.
New York (N.Y.) -- Intellectual life -- 20th century.
Poets -- United States.
Publishers and publishing -- India.
Publishers and publishing -- United States.
Punk culture -- New York (State) -- New York.
Small presses -- United States -- 20th century.
Manuscripts for publication.
City Lights Books.
Wieners, John, 1934-
Ashbery, John, 1927-
Bockris, Victor, 1949-
Brainard, Joe, 1942-1994.
Burroughs, William S., 1914-1997.
Chatwin, Bruce, 1940-1989.
Clark, Tom, 1941-
Clemente, Francesco, 1952-
Cooper, Dennis, 1953-
Creeley, Robert, 1926-2005.
Darling, Candy, 1944-1974.
Daumal, Rene, 1908-1944.
De Kooning, Willem, 1904-1997.
Di Prima, Diane.
Dylan, Bob, 1941-
Foye, Raymond, 1957-
Johns, Jasper, 1930-
Katz, Alex, 1927-
Kaufman, Eileen Kohl.
Michaux, Henri, 1899-1984.
Olson, Kirby, 1956-
Padgett, Ron, 1942-
Ricard, Rene, 1946-
Salle, David, 1952-
Smith, Harry, 1936-
Snyder, Gary, 1930-
Stipe, Michael, 1960-
Taaffe, Philip, 1955-
Trinidad, David, 1953-
Waldman, Anne, 1945-
Wieners, John, 1934-
Using These Materials
The collection is open for research.
- USE & PERMISSIONS:
Copyright has not been transferred to the Regents of the University of Michigan. Permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s).
- PREFERRED CITATION:
Hanuman Books Records, University of Michigan Library (Special Collections Research Center)