This collection contains the administrative, financial, legal, and client records of the Ronald Hobbs Literary Agency, as well as material related to Ronald Hobbs' associated personal and professional activities.
The collection consists of material documenting the professional activities of Ronald Hobbs and the Ronald Hobbs Literary Agency, including desk calendars, professional contacts, royalty statements, permission requests, financial records, professional and personal correspondence, manuscripts, book proposals, handwritten notes, photographs, book jackets, newspaper clippings, subpoenas and depositions, printed matter, business plans, drawings, postcards, and publicity.
Series I consists of material related to the administration of the agency, including desk calendars, professional contacts, client contract records, client lists, permission requests, and agency publicity, as well as financial documents recording the agency's receipt and disbursement of author royalties, insurance and pension plans, and plans for the agency's incorporation.
Series II consists of any material written by or related to Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), including correspondence, book proposals, manuscripts, royalties, permission requests, book jackets, lecture schedules, legal documents, film plans, and publicity.
Series V consists of material related to Ronald Hobbs' other professional activities, including the financial documents, minutes, and correspondence of the Foundation for Black American Literature, proposals and correspondence related to various business ventures, research associated with Hobbs' educational degrees, and material related to Hobbs' involvement in film production projects.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on 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.
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.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Ronald Hobbs Literary Agency Records; 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
Papers Processed Alexander Rocca 07/--/2013.
2013-07-30 xml document instance created by Carrie Hintz
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
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.
Hartford Ronald Hobbs was the preeminent African American literary agent of the 1960s and 1970s, negotiating over 300 fiction and non-fiction books (including several by Larry Neal, H. Rap Brown, Paul Carter Harrison, James Haskins, and Julius Lester). In 1967, Hobbs became the literary agent to poet, novelist, playwright and Black Arts Movement founder LeRoi Jones who, in 1968, would adopt the Muslim name Imamu Amiri Baraka after aligning himself with Robert Karenga and the politics of Black Cultural Nationalism. In this period, Hobbs became one of his closest associates, serving as both an agent and advisor on several of Baraka's landmark books in this period, many of which are now considered classics of contemporary African American literature: Black Magic: Poetry 1961 - 67 (1967), Raise, Race, Rays, Raze: Essays Since 1965 (1968), Four Black Revolutionary Plays (1969) and the defining work of the Black Arts Movement, Black Fire: An Anthology (1968), edited by Baraka and Larry Neal. Hobbs would also help negotiate two film deals for Baraka (including the rarely seen "The New Ark" scripted and directed by Baraka in 1968 for Public Broadcasting Library), oversee the publication of numerous articles (Evergreen Review, Negro Digest and Esquire), field interview requests (Playboy, Time) and book speaking engagements. Hobbs also helped Baraka establish his own imprint, Jihad Publications, overseeing the independent publication and distribution of a variety of Black Nationalist-inspired books, records and films. In the early 1970s Hobbs moved away from literary representation and towards film production. He executed 10 major motion picture sales in the 1970s, represented Ernest Tidyman on The French Connection (1971), and helped create and market the motion picture Shaft (1971) starring Richard Roundtree, as well as Lord Shango (1975).