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Subseries IV.1. Grove Press, 1950-2008
Series V: Samuel Beckett Material, 1935-2007
At a Glance
This collection is arranged in 7 series. Series I: Biographical and Early Material, 1936-2003; Series II: Chronological Materials, 1879-2005; Series III: Photographs, 1895-2008; Series IV: Subject Files, 1841-2011 Subseries IV.1.: Grove Press, 1950-2008 Sub-subseries IV.1.1: Grove Film, 1950-2008; Subseries IV.2: Interviews and Articles, 1953-2006; Series V: Samuel Beckett Material, 1935-2006 Subseries V.1: Correspondence, 1935-2007 Sub-sub-series V.1.1.: Beckett Correspondence Project, 1935-2003; Subseries V.2: Related Projects, Works, and Affairs, 1949-2007; Series VI: Audiovisual Material, 1938-2008; Series VII: Files Used for Rosset's Autobiography, 1936-2011
The material in this collection was originally housed in binders in Barney Rosset's New York apartment, and cover his personal and professional endeavors as a radical publisher, intellectual, and overall man of letters. It consists of writings, letters, photographs, interviews, films, catalogs, publishing files related to both Grove Press and Evergreen Review, and extensive biographical information on Rosset. The entire collection has been rehoused into archival quality boxes and folders. Each binder had been labeled, generally with some sort of topical or chronological designation. In most cases the binder labels will be retained as file titles, and the subdivisions within binders have become folders and retained, to a great extent, the titles assigned to them by the creator. In some cases the staff of the RBML altered or elaborated on existing folder titles for general clarity and ease of research. In some cases, the collection contains both original and typed (or transcribed) copies, the latter often taking the form of computer printouts that were originally held in binders marked "Master" or "Master Disk" to indicate their contents were on computer disks. These original binder titles have been kept throughout the finding aid.
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 has no restrictions.
If you would like to use audiovisual materials in Series VI, please contact the library to discuss access options as most of these materials have not been reformatted and are not readily available for use. Some unique time-based media items have been reformatted and are available onsite via links in the container list. Commercial materials are not routinely digitized. Email email@example.com for more information.
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.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Barney Rosset Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Selected Related Material-- at Columbia
William S. Burroughs Papers Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University
Oral history interview with Barney Rosset, 2011. Columbia University Libraries.
The Grove Press Records Syracuse University
Samuel Beckett Papers Harry Ransom Humanities Center
William S. Burroughs Papers Berg Collection, New York Public Library
Materials have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. Box list is available upon request. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Existence and Location of Copies
Some materials from the collection were digitized for an exhibition: Barney Rosset and China https://exhibitions.library.columbia.edu/exhibits/show/rosset
Immediate Source of Acquisition
2010.2011.M016: Source of acquisition--Barney Rosset. Method of acquisition--Purchase; Date of acquisition--9/10/2010.
2012.2013.M025: Source of acquisition--Astrid Rosset. Method of acquisition--Purchase; Date of acquisition--8/2/2012.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Papers processed Jean-Christophe Cloutier (GSAS, 2013) and Jeana Evans (GSAS 2012) 2011-2012.
Finding aid written Jean-Christophe Cloutier 11/2012.
2012-11-27 xml document instance created by Carrie Hintz
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
2022-04-01 Contents of boxes 65, 71, and 72 were rehoused and container list revised by CLB.
History / Biographical Note
Maverick and iconoclast American publisher Barney Rosset was born in Chicago in the "year of modernism," 1922. He is chiefly remembered as the owner, publisher, and editor of Grove Press (from 1951 to 1986) and Evergreen Review. In 1940 he spent a year at Swarthmore College and then entered the US Army in 1942. In 1948, after having served as an officer in the Army Photographic Company in China until his return to New York in 1946, Rosset produced Strange Victory, a groundbreaking documentary about postwar racial discrimination in the United States. In 1949, he married the American abstract expressionist painter Joan Mitchell. They later divorced. Rosset was married four more times; his marriages to Hannelore Eckert, Cristina Agnini and Elisabeth Krug ended in divorce. Rosset was married to the former Astrid Myers at the time of this passing.
Acquiring Grove in 1951 while he was still an undergraduate at the New School, Rosset turned the small New York publishing house into one of the most innovative and daring outlet of avant-garde literature, enjoying a heyday of national impact from 1959, when Rosset published the first unexpurgated edition of D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover, and well into the 1980s. Through Rosset's efforts, in 1964 the Supreme Court granted Grove the right to publish Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer, which was a landmark case for free speech under the first amendment in the United States. Rosset was instrumental in bringing the works of Samuel Beckett, a lifelong friend, to an American and international audience, beginning in 1952 with the English translation of Waiting for Godot and ending with Beckett's last work, Stirrings Still in 1988 (which he dedicated to Rosset), under the imprint of his new company Foxrock. Under his supervision, Grove published many other key figures of twentieth-century literature and intellectual history on both sides of the Atlantic (and the Pacific), notably William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Henry Miller, Pablo Neruda, Octavio Paz, Albert Camus, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Egene Ionesco, Jean-Paul Sartre, Frantz Fanon, Alex Haley's Autobiography of Malcolm X, Jorge Luis Borges, Margerite Duras, Jean Genet, David Mamet, Harold Pinter, Tom Stoppard, John Rechy, Khushwant Singh, Will Self, Sherman Alexie, Kenzaburo Oe, Winterson, Yoshimoto.
Rosset also published the magazine Evergreen Review as an adjunct to Grove from 1957 to 1973, and also developed Grove's own film distribution for avant-garde films by directors such as Jean-Luc Godard and Oshima. Through Grove's International Film Festival in New York, Rosset distributed the controversial Swedish film, I Am Curious (Yellow), then breaking all American box office records for foreign films. Other ventures include the Evergreen Theatre Inc., BlueMoon Books, and Foxrock. In 2008, a documentary feature entitled Obscene (Dir. Neil Ortenberg and Daniel O'Connor) about Barney Rosset's life and work was released. Barney Rosset passed away in 2012 at the age of 89.