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   Robert LaVigne Papers, 1954-1969.

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Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Robert LaVigne papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

COinS Metadata available (e.g., for Zotero).

Summary Information


The papers of artist and Beat Generation figure Robert LaVigne. The collection contains correspondence, artwork, and event invitations.

At a Glance

Call No.:MS#0747
Bib ID:4079553 View CLIO record
Creator(s):LaVigne, Robert, 1928-
Title:Robert LaVigne Papers, 1954-1969.
Physical description:3 linear ft. (2 document boxes & 1 map case drawer)
Language(s): Material is in English.
Access: This collection is located on-site. This collection has no restrictions.  More information »



This collection is arranged in III series

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Scope and Content

The Robert LaVigne Papers include correspondence, artwork, manuscripts, and event announcements related to the work of Robert LaVigne and his group of friends.

Series I: Correspondence and Manuscripts,1954-1969

This series is comprised of letters and manuscripts composed by Robert LaVigne and his friends and associates. Because so many of LaVigne's friends were writers, there is a significant set of poetry manuscripts included on this series that were given to or reviewed by LaVigne.

Series II: Artwork, 1956-1965

This series includes paintings, sketches, prints, and paintings done by LaVigne, as well as artwork created by his friends. This series includes some of LaVigne's artwork, but also some of his design work including book cover designs and four costume designs for a performance of Picasso's Desire Caught by the Tail.

Series III: Exhibition and Event Announcements, 1958-1964

The Exhibition and Event Announcements series is comprised of notices of gallery events, art openings, and poetry readings, as well as publication catalogs and announcements from small, independent presses and publishers.

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Using the Collection


Access Restrictions

This collection is located on-site.

This collection has no restrictions.

Restrictions on 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); Robert LaVigne papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

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About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries. Rare Book and Manuscript Library; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

Papers Processed 09/--/1985 HR

Papers Reprocessed 06/--/2010 Carrie Hintz

Finding Aid Written 06/--/2010 Carrie Hintz

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion June 26, 2010 Finding aid written in English.
    2010-06-26 xml document instance created by Carrie Hintz

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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.


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Book covers.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Costume design drawings.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Set design drawings.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Watercolor drawings.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
American poetry--20th century.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Authors, American--20th century.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Avant-garde art.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Beat generation.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Bohemianism--United States.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Cassady, Neal.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Connor, Bruce.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Corso, Gregory.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Kerouac, Jack, 1922-1969.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
LaVigne, Robert, 1928-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Lamantia, Philip, 1927-2005.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Malanga, Gerard.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
McClure, Michael.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Olson, Charles, 1910-1970.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Orlovsky, Peter, 1933-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Plymell, Charles.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Poets, American--20th century.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Whalen, Philip.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Wieners, John, 1934-2002.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

Robert LaVigne is a painter, illustrator, and theatrical set designer associated with the Beat Generation and poets of the San Francisco Renaissance.

LaVigne was born in St. Maries Idaho in 1928, but moved to San Francisco in 1951. There he became associated with a number of poets and counter-culture figures centered around the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, including Michael McClure, Philip Whalen, and Peter Orlovsky.

LaVigne met Orlovsky in a coffee shop in San Francisco and almost immediately took the younger man as his muse, bringing him to live with him as a model and lover. It was at LaVigne's studio that Allen Ginsberg first met and subsequently fell in love with Peter Orlovksy-- first his image in a large, nude portrait that LaVigne had painted, and then with the young man himself.

In San Francisco LaVigne worked as a painter, illustrator and a set designer for the San Francisco Actors Workshop. He also worked as the Art Director of the Auerhahn Press-- a small fine press that focused on the work of the San Francisco Renaissance poets.

Like many members of the Beat Generation, LaVigne moved between coasts, leaving San Francisco for New York in the 1960s. While working in New York he was a pioneer of the painting style known as psychedelic painting, and continued to work in the theater, earning an Obie award for Best Design for his work on A Midsummer Nights Dream and Endicott and the Red Cross.

LaVigne eventually returned to the west coast, moving to Seattle in the early 1980s.

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