Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Allen Tobias collection on Allen Ginsberg, 1994

Summary Information

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#2020
Bib ID 14953088 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Tobias, Allen
Title Allen Tobias collection on Allen Ginsberg, 1994
Physical Description 0.21 Linear Feet (1/2 document box)
Language(s) English .

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.



Content Description

This collection includes approximately 75 unique poems by Allen Tobias, including multiple drafts of some, which incorporate of Ginsberg's suggestions. Ginsberg's annotations include word changes, adjustments to line breaks, questions, suggestions about structure, additional lines, and general supportive comments. In addition, there is Tobias' infromative research file on Ginsberg.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Curator of Manuscripts/University Archivist, Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML). The RBML approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Allen Tobias Collection on Allen Ginsberg; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
American poetry Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Beat literature Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

Allen Tobias is a literary scholar, and writer and producer of original and adapted dramatic feature films. He was Ginsberg's first literary secretary, 1966-1969, as Ginsberg began to shift his focus from poetry creation to performance, teaching, and mentoring a next generation of poets. At the time a recent graduate of Columbia College, Tobias had studied with Ginsberg's most luminous teacher, the art historian Meyer Schapiro, and with Ginsberg's classmate Steven Marcus, Trilling's protege and a literary scholar.

Tobias remained close to Ginsberg and his circle, including especially Alan Temko, Tuli Kupferberg, and Carl Solomon, until their deaths. At Ginsberg's bidding, he produced the memorial to Carl Solomon in 1993, and delivered Carl's eulogy, later published by City Lights. In 2002, he co-curated the first important exhibition of the works of Allen Ginsberg and his teachers, at Columbia's Rare Book & Manuscript Library. A poet, Tobias often sent Ginsberg his poetry for comment and critique, as Ginsberg had done with his own mentors. Ginsberg gladly provided comment.

Tobias played a prominent role in pulling together Ginsberg's archive. He had worked as a primary researcher at the home of Ginsberg's father, Louis, and with Ginsberg himself at 408 E. 10th Street in order to bring together materials. He accompanied Allen to his meeting with Ken Lohf, at which a depository account was established in the Columbia University library and his papers moved from his father's home and 408 E 10th to Butler Library. Tobias also corresponded with George Dowden on the first bibliography of Ginsberg and of City Lights in 1980. These experiences, in addition to his role as Ginsberg's secretary for three years and an acquaintance thereafter, put Tobias in a unique position to write a critical biography. He obtained permission from Ginsberg to access his archive at Columbia, including a collection of personal journals. Although the biography itself has not yet been published, Tobias has used his research as the basis for a number of lectures, as well as "The Lion for Real: Allen Ginsberg and Columbia" an exhibition at the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, Butler Library, Columbia University, 2002-2003, and is still continuing to research and write towards a future publication