Rare Book & Manuscript Library
 

S. Clay Wilson papers, 1960-2000

Summary Information

At a Glance

Bib ID 13341487 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Wilson, S. Clay, 1941-
Title S. Clay Wilson papers, 1960-2000
Physical Description 50 Linear Feet (35 bankers boxes and flat files)
Language(s) English .
Access You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.

Material is in active processing and unavailable until such time as processing is complete. Please contact rbml@columbia.edu for more information.

This collection is located on-site.

Description

Scope and Contents

The archive consolidates materials and correspondence from all phases of Wilson's career, and presents an unparalleled opportunity for research not only into the underground comix movement but also into his influence on the beats, the punk movement, biker culture, tattoo culture, mail art, censorship, underground publishing, and the graphic arts.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Conditions Governing Access

You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.

Material is in active processing and unavailable until such time as processing is complete. Please contact rbml@columbia.edu for more information.

This collection is located on-site.

Accruals

Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. Contact rbml@columbia.edu for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, 2018.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

Wilson was co-founder of the underground comix movement in America, and one of the most transgressive and influential artists of the postwar American counterculture. While Wilson's name hasn't achieved the mainstream crossover success of his fellow Zap Comix artist R. Crumb, no other artist has had as much of an influence on the subject matter and aesthetics of the form. Crumb himself has underlined the pivotal influence Wilson has had on his work. "I was never quite the same after I met Wilson ... Wilson was the strongest, most original artist of my generation that I had yet met. After the breakthrough that Wilson had somehow made, I no longer saw any reason to hold back my own depraved id in my work ... It was Wilson's fault! He's the one that started it, not me!" - R. Crumb, The Art of S. Clay Wilson, p. vii.

While the transgressive nature and frequently taboo subject matter of Wilson's work made mainstream acceptance an impossibility, it manifested an outside influence not only on later comic artists worldwide but also on prominent artists in other mediums to a remarkable degree, including the punk, beat, and poetry movements. Wilson influenced and collaborated with such disparate artists and writers as William S. Burroughs, Kathy Acker, The Mekons, Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders), Shane McGowan (The Pogues), Terry Southern et al, an influence thoroughly documented in the correspondence as well as the published works included.