Rare Book & Manuscript Library
 

William J. Higginson Papers, 1950-2007

Summary Information

Abstract

The William J. Higginson Papers consist primarily of correspondence with other poets and authors. There is also a sizable amount of Higginson's writings, including his manuscript, The Haiku Handbook: How to Write, Share, and Teach Haiku as well as many poems by both Higginson and his colleagues.

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#1468
Bib ID 7351663 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Higginson, William J., 1938-
Title William J. Higginson Papers, 1950-2007
Physical Description 111 linear feet (23 record cartons; 3 flat boxes; 67 boxes of books)
Language(s) Collection is predominantly in English with some writings in Japanese.
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.

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.

This collection has no restrictions.

Arrangement

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in 7 series.

Description

Summary

This collection documents the professional life of poet, translator, and literary historian, William J. Higginson. The bulk of the papers are correspondence and writings. Correspondence consists of letters between Higginson and fellow scholars and poets. The writings include drafts of Higginson's manuscript, The Haiku Handbook, numerous poems, and articles about the history and craft of writing Japanese Poetry. There is also a small amount of photographs, multimedia materials, and ephemera.

  • Series I: Correspondence, 1966-2007

    Series I hold letters from Higginson's friends and colleagues as well as various Haiku societies and organizations. Often colleagues and admirers would send Higginson various poems that they had written for him to criticize or comment on.

  • Series II: Writings, 1960-2007

    Higginson's writings contain research, drafts, and notes for various projects such as Butterfly Dreams, The Haiku Handbook, and The Haiku Seasons. The series also has correspondence relating to the creation of these projects and about Haiku in general, proofs of Haiku Magazine volumes 5-6, and poetry written by Higginson in collaboration with colleagues.

  • Series III: Writings by Others, undated

    This small series consists of poetry and small essays written by friends and colleagues of Higginson. The bulk of the pieces are undated and in many cases the author is not identified.

  • Series IV: Subject Files, 1973-2005

    Series IV is comprised of printed material such as pamphlets, awards and certificates. There are also files concerning haiku and renku as well as publishing-related documents.

  • Series V: Multimedia, 1970s-1990s

    Computer disks with backups of Higginson's writings and audio recordings of poetry readings are held in this series.

  • Series VI: Photographs, 1950s-2000

    Photographs of Higginson and Penny Harter at various poetry functions both within the United States and Japan are in Series VI. Events documented include the Global Renku Symposium and meetings of the Haiku Society of America. Of interest is a photograph of Allen Ginsburg with poet Anne Waldman from 1979. In addition to the photographs, there are a fair amount of slides and negatives.

  • Series VII: Ephemera, 1980s

    Series VII contains a variety of realia including buttons, cards and paper products, prints of artwork, cloth and other textiles. Several scrapbooks documenting Higginson's trips through Japan in the 1980s are held in this series.

  • Series VIII: Books

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on 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.

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.

This collection has no restrictions.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); William J. Higginson Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

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

2008-2009-M043: Method of acquisition--Gift of Penny Harter; Date of acquisition--November, 2008.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Papers processed Lea Osborne, Carrie Hintz, Elena Locascio, Elizabeth Nolte 08/2008.

Revision Description

2009-09-04 File created.

2009-09-15 xml instance created by Lea Osborne.

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

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.

Genre/Form

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Visual poetry Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Haiku Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Haiku -- History and criticism Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Haiku -- Technique Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Haiku -- Translations into English Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Harter, Penny Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Higginson, William J., 1938- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Poetry Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

William J. Higginson spent over forty years studying traditional Japanese poetry. His interest in this subject led him to publish numerous books and articles on the teaching and writing of Haiku and he became one of the foremost authorities on the collaborative form of poetry writing, renku.

Higginson was born on December 17, 1938 in New York City to parents William J. and Nellie (Roby) Higginson Mackay. He first began studying Japanese at Yale University and discovered haiku at this time. Higginson served in the United States Air Force in the late 1950s, during which he was stationed in Misawa, Japan. He continued studying Japanese poetry throughout his deployment. Some years after his return, he went to college on the G.I. Bill and graduated with honors from Southern Connecticut State University in 1969 with a B.A. in English.

After a short stint teaching, Higginson became a Consultant in Writing and the Teaching of Writing in 1972, a job that he held for the rest of his life. He was a charter member of the Haiku Society of America, which as founded in 1968 and served as President in 1976, as well as the editor and publisher of Haiku Magazine. Other publications include three collections of poetry and haiku and numerous essays in anthologies and reference works. His poems, essays, and translations appear in the following periodicals and journals: American Book Review, Center, Footwork, Frogpond, Imprint (Hong Kong), Madrona, Newsweek Japan, Open Magazine, ProFiles, Shearsman (London), Sparrow, Sun, and Telegram (London).

Higginson has published several books in the field, perhaps the most prominent being The Haiku Handbook: How to Write, Share and Teach Haiku (1985), a book that uses examples, many of which were not previously available, from Japanese and other languages. This was a collaborative effort between Higginson and his wife, poet and author Penny Harter. Unique to the book are teaching tools, such as lesson plans, a reference section, and lists of haiku publishers and magazines. A follow-up book entitled The Haiku Seasons expands on the teaching model and gives a comprehensive history of the form. Higginson also published Wind in the Long Grass, an international anthology of haiku for children.

Higginson was active in several professional organizations, most notably P.E.N. American Center, the Poetry Society of America, the National Writers Union (U.S.), the New Jersey Task Force on Literacy in the Arts, and the Association of New Jersey County Cultural and Historical Agencies.

William J. Higginson died on October 11, 2008 after battling cancer. He is survived by his wife, Penny Harter.

All external visitors, including alumni, must meet the University's primary COVID-19 vaccination series mandate and are required to adhere to the University's COVID-19 policies . After clicking 'Submit Request', users will login with their UNI and password (Columbia affiliates) or their special collections account (external users). Appointments are required and will be arranged according to each individual repository's policy.


Series I: Correspondence, 1966-2007

Series I hold letters from Higginson's friends and colleagues as well as various Haiku societies and organizations. Often colleagues and admirers would send Higginson various poems that they had written for him to criticize or comment on.



Box 1 General Correspondence


Box 1 Folder 1 undated


Box 1 Folder 2 1966-1972


Box 1 Folder 3 1973-1976


Box 1 Folder 4 1977-1982


Box 1 Folder 5 1983-1985


Box 1 Folder 6 1986-1989


Box 1 Folder 7 1990-1991


Box 1 Folder 8 1992-1993


Box 1 Folder 9 1994


Box 1 Folder 10 1995-1996


Box 1 Folder 11 1997-1998


Box 1 Folder 12 1999-2000


Box 1 Folder 13 2001-2007


Box 1 Folder 14 Aldridge, Adele, 1975-1976


Box 1 Folder 15 to 16 Amann, Eric, 1968-1994, (2 Folders)


Box 1 Folder 17 Andras, Villanyi, 1991


Box 1 Folder 18 Aoyagi, Fay, 1997


Box 1 Folder 19 Baldwin, Neil, 1991-1993


Box 1 Folder 20 Barton, Geri, 1973


Box 1 Folder 21 Beaudoin, Kenneth, 1968-1969


Box 1 Folder 22 Bihler, Charles Harter, 2000


Box 1 Folder 23 Bostok, Janice, 1974-1986


Box 1 Folder 24 Brooks, Randy and Shirley, 1989- 1999



Box 2 Folder 1 Brower, Gary, 1968-1971


Box 2 Folder 2 Brown, Naomi, 1993-1998


Box 2 Folder 3 Bull, James, 1967-1971


Box 2 Folder 4 Calkins, Jean, 1968-1972


Box 2 Folder 5 Calogoras, Meagan, 1996-1997


Box 2 Folder 6 Childs, Cyril, 1996-1998


Box 2 Folder 7 Cobb, David, 1991-1994


Box 2 Folder 8 Codrescu, Ian, 1981-1993


Box 2 Folder 9 Cook, Lewis, 2001-2002


Box 2 Folder 10 Corman, Cid, 1968-1978


Box 2 Folder 11 Cramer, Mark, 1972-1975


Box 2 Folder 12 Crown, Bonnie, 1982-2004


Box 2 Folder 13 Davidson, Agnes, 1975-2001


Box 2 Folder 14 Demming, Kristen, 1994-1999


Box 2 Folder 15 Eckerman, Joan, 1984


Box 2 Folder 16 Evetts, Dee, 1984-1991


Box 2 Folder 17 Forges-Ryan, Sylvia, 1990-1991


Box 2 Folder 18 Frost, Celestine, 1975-1977


Box 2 Folder 19 Gates, Larry, 1973


Box 2 Folder 20 Greeting Cards, undated


Box 2 Folder 21 to 22 Gurga, Lee, 1990-1999


Box 2 Folder 23 Haba, James, 1987-1992


Box 2 Folder 24 Hackett, James, 1968-1971


Box 2 Folder 25 Haiku Southwest, 1993-1995


Box 2 Folder 26 Harr, Lorraine, 1972


Box 2 Folder 27 Harter, Penny, 1993-1997


Box 2 Folder 28 to 29 Hashimoto, Kayoko, 1995-1999


Box 2 Folder 30 Heitmeyer, Doris, 1989-1995


Box 2 Folder 31 Henderson, Harold, 1968-1972


Box 2 Folder 32 Harold, Christopher, 1999


Box 2 Folder 33 Hicks, Helen, undated


Box 2 Folder 34 Higginson, Elizabeth, 1985-1991


Box 2 Folder 35 Horne, Kimiko, 1993-1994


Box 2 Folder 36 Hoshino, Tsunchiko, 1989-2004


Box 2 Folder 37 Hotham, Gary, 1980-1996


Box 2 Folder 38 Jewell, Rhoda de Long, 1968-1973


Box 2 Folder 39 Jones, Robert, 1985-1993


Box 2 Folder 40 Kacian, James, 1996-1998


Box 2 Folder 41 Kaneko, Tohta, 1990-1993


Box 2 Folder 42 Kanterman, Leroy, 1968-1974


Box 2 Folder 43 Kennedy, Bruce, 1981-1982


Box 2 Folder 44 Kenny, Adele, 1982-1990


Box 2 Folder 45 Kerr, Walter, 1972


Box 2 Folder 46 Keyser, Gustave, 1969-1973


Box 2 Folder 47 to 48 Kondo Family, 1969-2000, (2 Folders)


Box 2 Folder 49 to 50 Lamb, Elizabeth, 1972-1990, (2 Folders)



Box 3 Folder 1 Landherr Jr., Ken, 1991


Box 3 Folder 2 Lee, Jeff, 1997-2004


Box 3 Folder 3 Laughlin, James, 1976-1981


Box 3 Folder 4 Lerman, Minna, 1990-1994


Box 3 Folder 5 Lifshin, Lyn, 1978-1981


Box 3 Folder 6 Little, Geraldine, 1974-1995


Box 3 Folder 7 Loose, Gerry, 1970-1973


Box 3 Folder 8 Luce, Ralph A, 1998


Box 3 Folder 9 Margeson, June, 1968


Box 3 Folder 10 Masseron, Julien, 1968


Box 3 Folder 11 McClintock, Michael, 1971-2001


Box 3 Folder 12 McGinnis, Tim, 1982-1984


Box 3 Folder 13 McNierney, Michael, 1972-1998


Box 3 Folder 14 Miyashita, Emiko, 1999-2000


Box 3 Folder 15 Moore, Leonard, 1987-1993


Box 3 Folder 16 Mormino, Kay T, 1968-1973


Box 3 Folder 17 Morris, Ivan, 1972


Box 3 Folder 18 Nolan, Pat, 1975


Box 3 Folder 19 Novak, Robert, 1970-1971


Box 3 Folder 20 O'Connor, John, 1990-1995


Box 3 Folder 21 O'Donnol, Dion, 1968-1971


Box 3 Folder 22 Okada, Ritsuo, 1998-2000


Box 3 Folder 23 Okazaki, Tadao, 1985-1986


Box 3 Folder 24 Olczak, George, 1992-1996


Box 3 Folder 25 O'Williams, Paul, 1972-2000


Box 3 Folder 26 Pearce, Anna, 1993-1995


Box 3 Folder 27 Petty, Ryan, 1974


Box 3 Folder 28 Pizzarelli, Alan, 1971-1982


Box 3 Folder 29 Polster, Edythe, 1993


Box 3 Folder 30 Poe, Marian, 1968-1969


Box 3 Folder 31 Porach, Francine, 1989-1993


Box 3 Folder 32 Poulter, Scott, 1971-1972


Box 3 Folder 33 Pratt, Claire, 1968-1969


Box 3 Folder 34 Procsal, Gloria, 1974


Box 3 Folder 35 Ratner, Rochelle, 1980-1982


Box 3 Folder 36 Reichhold, Jane, 1989-1993


Box 3 Folder 37 Rexroth, Kenneth, 1976


Box 3 Folder 38 Roan, Carol, 1998


Box 3 Folder 39 Rogers, Steve, 1977-1978


Box 3 Folder 40 Rotella, Alexis Kaye, 1981-1990


Box 3 Folder 41 Roseliep, Raymond, 1982-1983


Box 3 Folder 42 Ross, Bruce, 1992-1995


Box 3 Folder 43 Rutherford, Anne, 1972


Box 3 Folder 44 Sakurai, Emiko, 1972-1984


Box 3 Folder 45 Sato, Hiro, 1976-1983


Box 3 Folder 46 Sato, Kazuo, 1982-1989


Box 3 Folder 47 Sato, Ken-ichi, 1989


Box 3 Folder 48 Shimakawa, Kyoko, 1991


Box 3 Folder 49 Shirane, Haruo, 1997-2000


Box 3 Folder 50 Silverman, Hersch, 1993


Box 3 Folder 51 Simmons, Carl, 1991


Box 3 Folder 52 Sommerkamp, Sabine, 1981-1990


Box 3 Folder 53 Spiess, Robert, 1982-2000


Box 3 Folder 54 Squires, Bonnie, 1971-1972


Box 3 Folder 55 Stark, Larry, 1968-1969


Box 3 Folder 56 Stefanile, Felix, 1975-1991


Box 3 Folder 57 Stubbs, Kendon, 2000


Box 3 Folder 58 Takado, Sazuko, 1992-1994


Box 3 Folder 59 Takahashi, Nobuyuki, 1968-1970


Box 3 Folder 60 Takeshita, Ryusai, 1993


Box 3 Folder 61 Tanemura, Kenneth, 1991


Box 3 Folder 62 Taylor, William J, 1968-1977


Box 3 Folder 63 Trumball, Charles, 1997


Box 3 Folder 64 Uchida, Sono, 1982-1993


Box 3 Folder 65 Ueda, Makato, 1972-2001


Box 3 Folder 66 Van der Heuvel, Cor, 1971-1998


Box 3 Folder 67 Verbeke, Geert, 2001


Box 3 Folder 68 Virgil, Anita, 1969-1998


Box 3 Folder 69 Wakiyama, Katsuo, 1983


Box 3 Folder 70 Webb, Joyce W., 1968-1975


Box 3 Folder 71 Welch, Michael Dylan, 1992-1999


Box 3 Folder 72 Warner, Gary, 1999


Box 3 Folder 73 Wiggin, Larry, 1971-1982



Box 4 Folder 1 Wilde, Teruko, 1998


Box 4 Folder 2 Wills, Marlene and John, 1970-1982


Box 4 Folder 3 Wilmott, Rod, 1989-1994


Box 4 Folder 4 Wright, David, 1991


Box 4 Folder 5 Wyatt, Bill, 1968-1996


Box 4 Folder 6 Yagi, Kametaro, 1968-1972


Box 4 Folder 7 Yatsuka, Ishihara, 1992-1994


Box 4 Folder 8 Young, Virginia, Brady, 1970- 1985

Series II: Writings, 1960-2007

Higginson's writings contain research, drafts, and notes for various projects such as Butterfly Dreams, The Haiku Handbook, and The Haiku Seasons. The series also has correspondence relating to the creation of these projects and about Haiku in general, proofs of Haiku Magazine volumes 5-6, and poetry written by Higginson in collaboration with colleagues.


Manuscripts


Butterfly Dreams



Box 5 Folder 14 Autumn, 2005- 2006


Box 5 Folder 15 Correspondence, 2006


Box 5 Folder 16 Drafts, 2006


Box 5 Folder 17 Spring, 2006


Box 5 Folder 18 Summer, 2006


The Haiku Handbook



Box 4 Folder 9 African Haiku, 1979-1982


Box 4 Folder 10 Chapters 6-7, 1979


Box 4 Folder 11 Chapters 8, 9, 11, 16, 1979


Box 4 Folder 12 Draft 1-1, 1980s


Box 4 Folder 13 Draft 1-2, 1980s


Box 4 Folder 14 Draft 1-3, 1980s


Box 4 Folder 15 Draft 1-4, 1980s


Box 4 Folder 16 Draft 2-1, 1980s


Box 4 Folder 17 Draft 2-2, 1980s


Box 4 Folder 18 Draft 2-3, 1980s


Box 4 Folder 19 Draft 2-4, 1980s


Box 4 Folder 20 Draft 3, 1980s



Box 5 Folder 1 Dutch Examples, 1983


Box 5 Folder 2 Glossary, 1983


Box 5 Folder 3 Modern Examples--French, 1983


Box 5 Folder 4 Modern Examples--Yugoslavian, 1983


Box 5 Folder 5 One-Line Haiku, 1982-1983


Box 5 Folder 6 Outlines, 1983


Box 5 Folder 7 Reprints, 1996


Box 5 Folder 8 Season Words, 1982


Box 5 Folder 9 Teach Writing, 1980


Box 5 Folder 10 The Haiku Seasons--Corrections and Design Notes, 1995


Box 5 Folder 11 The Haiku Seasons--Drafts, 1988- 1996


Box 5 Folder 12 Ten Years , 1987


Box 5 Folder 13 Wind in the Long Grass , 1990


Poetry


General


Box 5 Folder 19 to 20 Undated, (2 Folders)


Box 5 Folder 21 1960-1979


Box 5 Folder 22 1980-1989


Box 5 Folder 23 1990-1999



Box 6 Folder 1 2000-2007


Box 6 Folder 2 Group Poetry, 1976-2004


Box 6 Folder 3 Haiku by Hian (Higginson), 1968- 1969


Box 6 Folder 4 "Items,", 1982


Box 6 Folder 5 One-Line Haiku, 1982


Box 6 Folder 6 Sampler, 1993


Box 6 Folder 7 Santa Fe Haiku, 1992-1994


Box 6 Folder 8 "Twenty-Five Pieces of Now"--Correspondence and Drafts, 1968


Box 6 Folder 9 "Twenty-Five Pieces of Now"--Masters, [1968]


Short Works


Box 6 Folder 10 Undated


Box 6 Folder 11 1968-1979


Box 6 Folder 12 1980-1989


Box 6 Folder 13 to 14 1990-1999


Box 6 Folder 15 2000-2005


Research and Notes


Box 6 Folder 16 to 17 Notebooks, 1985-1990s



Box 7 Haiku Notes and Book Projects, 1988-2005



Box 8 Poems, Essays and Writings, undated

Series III: Writings by Others, undated

This small series consists of poetry and small essays written by friends and colleagues of Higginson. The bulk of the pieces are undated and in many cases the author is not identified.



Box 9 Haiku and Writings, undated

Series IV: Subject Files, 1973-2005

Series IV is comprised of printed material such as pamphlets, awards and certificates. There are also files concerning haiku and renku as well as publishing-related documents.



Box 10 General Files, undated



Box 11 Miscellaneous and Pamphlets, undated



Box 12 1970s



Box 13 1980s- 1990s



Box 14 1980s



Box 15 1990s



Box 16 2000- 2005



Box 17 Renku, 1973- 1974



Box 18 1990s



Box 19 1990s- 2000



Box 20 Publishing Files, 1990s



Box 28 2001- 2002

Series V: Multimedia, 1970s-1990s

Computer disks with backups of Higginson's writings and audio recordings of poetry readings are held in this series.



Box 21 Floppy Disks and Other Media



Box 27 Audiotapes and CDs

Series VI: Photographs, 1950s-2000

Photographs of Higginson and Penny Harter at various poetry functions both within the United States and Japan are in Series VI. Events documented include the Global Renku Symposium and meetings of the Haiku Society of America. Of interest is a photograph of Allen Ginsburg with poet Anne Waldman from 1979. In addition to the photographs, there are a fair amount of slides and negatives.



Box 22 1987


Box 22 Allen Ginsburg and Anne Waldman, 1979


Box 22 Global Renku Symposium, 2000


Box 22 Haiku Society of America Cherry Tree


Box 22 Japan, 1990


Box 22 Miscellaneous, (2 Folders)


Box 22 Negatives


Box 22 New York City, 1959


Box 22 Slides


Box 22 Unidentified Photographs, 1950s and 1990s, 1950s, 1990s

Series VII: Ephemera, 1980s

Series VII contains a variety of realia including buttons, cards and paper products, prints of artwork, cloth and other textiles. Several scrapbooks documenting Higginson's trips through Japan in the 1980s are held in this series.


Box 22 Art Prints


Box 22 Buttons


Box 22 Cards and Paper Products


Box 22 Notebook, (2 Folders)


Box 22 Scrapbook, (2 Folders)


Box 22 Scrapbook-- Japan, 1987



Box 23 Ephemera in flat Boxes



Box 24 Ephemera in flat Boxes



Box 25 Ephemera in flat Boxes



Box 26 Scrapbook-- Japan, 1989, (4 Folders)


Box 26 Textiles, (5 Folders)


Box 26 Travel Mementos-- Japan, 1989, (4 Folders)

Series VIII: Books

84 Linear Feet; 67 boxes of books