Skip to main content

Literature in English: Local Archival Collections

Browse library materials for the study of literature in English

Guide to Local Archives

This extensive list of local collections was put together by the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Scott Saul to help those undergraduate or graduate students interested in pursuing local archival work. Thank you, Professor Saul!

Search the Archives in OskiCat!

Enter your keywords. From the "Entire Collection" drop-down menu, choose, "Bancroft Library" or choose "Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive." Run your search to get a quick peek of available items. 

Note: Most of these items will be available for use in the archives only. Advance planning is a good idea. See our section below on "Visiting the Bancroft Library" for tips.

Search OskiCat and limit to Bancroft.

Notable UC Berkeley Archives

Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks Papers
Correspondence, scrapbooks, and family papers

Joan Didion

Joan Didion Papers
Manuscripts and correspondence

Jack London

Collection of Jack London Papers
Part of the Thomas W. Norris Collection, letters, manuscripts, and photography

Mark Twain

Mark Twain Papers
Manuscripts of major works, correspondence, and many materials

UC Berkeley Bancroft Library Collection

Gertrude Atherton — 10 linear feet; correspondence, manuscripts, clippings from this protégée of Ambrose Bierce, a crucial figure in the history of California-based literature; also the author of the important horror story “The Foghorn."

Ambrose Bierce — 8 boxes and microfilm; letters, manuscripts, clippings, marginalia from this late-19th-century wit and fiction writer (The Devil’s Dictionary, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”).

Richard Brautigan — 15.9 linear feet; notebooks, poetry, and personalia from this popular 1960s and 1970s poet whose work was touched by Surrealism.

Gwendolyn Brooks — 23.75 linear feet; correspondence, manuscripts, scrapbooks, family papers from a leading figure in postwar African-American literature, an important poet (A Street in Bronzeville, Riot) and novelist (Maud Martha).

Bruce Conner — 30 linear feet; just-catalogued (2011) archive of this key sculptor, filmmaker, collagist, painter, photographer and conceptual prankster, affiliated with the Beat movement of the 1950s, the psychedelic movement of the 1960s, and the punk movement of the 1970s.

Joan Didion — 8 linear feet; manuscripts and correspondence dating back to her early twenties, from a crucial postwar essayist (Slouching Toward Bethlehem, The White Album, The Year of Magical Thinking) and novelist (Play It As It Lays).

Robert Duncan — much on microfilm; notebooks, journal entries, prose sketches, dream fragments from this Black Mountain poet, a key figure in the San Francisco Renaissance.

William Everson — 44.5 linear feet; correspondence, manuscripts, notebooks from this poet (also known as Brother Antoninus) of the San Francisco Renaissance, a precursor to the Beat Generation sometimes known as the “Beat Friar.”

Lawrence Ferlinghetti — 76 linear feet; manuscripts, notes, travel journals, audio and video material from a premier Beat poet (Coney Island of the Mind) and founder of City Lights Books.

Herbert Gold — 30 linear feet; writings, correspondence and audio-visual materials from a Beat-affiliated novelist and essayist.

Thom Gunn — 19 linear feet; correspondence, diaries, scrapbooks, notebooks, manuscripts from this acclaimed British poet (My Sad Captains, The Man With the Night Sweats), part of “The Movement”; taught at Berkeley in the 1970s and 1980s and was part of the Gay Liberation movement.

Jessica Tarahata Hagedorn — 15 linear feet; drafts, contracts, correspondence from an important Asian-American novelist (Dogeaters), editor (Charlie Chan Is Dead), and performance artist.

Thomas Hardy — 1 linear foot; correspondence, manuscripts of some poems and playscripts, from the lodestar British Victorian novelist and poet.

Bret Harte — 1.5 linear feet; letters and some manuscripts written from this humorist and short story writer, a contemporary of Mark Twain and a fellow Southwestern writer.

Maxine Hong Kingston — 30 linear feet; typescripts, personal papers, teaching materials from this crucial Asian-American novelist and writer (Woman Warrior, China Men, Tripmaster Monkey).

Theodora Kroeber — 6.45 linear feet; correspondence, photographs, manuscripts from the author of the anthropological classic Ishi. Krober was also the wife of anthropologist Alfred Kroeber and mother of science fiction fountainhead Ursula K. LeGuin.

Philip Lamantia — 30 linear feet; correspondence, personal papers, drafts, scrapbooks, from this Surrealism-touched Beat poet.

D.H. Lawrence — 14 boxes; manuscripts, autobiographical fragments, letters of this crucial modernist poet and novelist (Sons and Lovers, Lady Chatterley’s Lover).

Jack London — 4 boxes and 1 folder; letters, a few manuscripts, some photographs from the popular journalist and novelist (Call of the Wild), the first American writer born into poverty who became a millionaire through his writing.

Harriet Martineau — 8 linear feet; mainly correspondence, some manuscripts, from this philosopher and economist who was at the heart of Victorian literary and social life; a strong advocate for anti-slavery positions, a feminist forerunner, and an advocate for new approaches to child-raising.

Michael McClure — 31 cartons, 53 boxes; notebooks, manuscripts, artwork, some personal papers from this poet-playwright of the San Francisco Renaissance (The Beard).

John Mortimer — 20.5 linear feet; manuscripts from the British novelist, dramatist and barrister best known for creating Rumpole of the Bailey, a popular BBC program (1970s-1990s).

Frank Norris — 7.2 linear feet; a rich collection of manuscripts, notes, drawings, photographs from a crucial exponent of American naturalism (McTeague, The Octopus).

Seán O'Faoláin — 6 linear feet; mostly drafts and revisions of the short stories of this important Irish fiction writer, active from the 1930s through the 1970s.

Stephen Spender — unpublished manuscript journal (1937, 1940s) and a diary (1975) from this important friend and contemporary of W.H. Auden, a leading literary figure in Britain from the 1930s through the 1980s.

Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas (via the Samuel Seward Collection) — 12 letters from Gertrude Stein, 64 letters from Alice B. Toklas, photographs taken by their close friend Samuel Steward, a professor who became a tattoo artist and pornographer.

Mark Twain — the largest collection of Twain documents; manuscripts of the major works; half a million letters between Twain and various correspondents; many materials related to Twain as author, 3 lecturer, celebrity, political essayist, etc.

Yoshiko Uchida — 33.25 linear feet; manuscripts of published and unpublished works, correspondence, some personal papers from this prolific Berkeley-raised pioneer of Asian-American fiction and memoir (Desert Exile).

Philip Whalen — about 30 linear feet; notebooks, poems, correspondence, artwork and personal papers of this Beat poet who was also a Buddhist monk and helped popularize Buddhism in America.

UC Berkeley Ethnic Studies Library Collection

Gold Mountain Ballads Collection (1828-1924) — texts of folk ballads, songs, and poetry, written by literary men in San Francisco's Chinatown, and relating to various aspects of life in the U.S., including exclusion and detention on Angel Island.

Visiting the Bancroft Library

The Bancroft Library is one of the treasures of the campus, and one of the world's great libraries for the history of the Bancroft Library interiorAmerican West and Mexico.

Some Bancroft materials are available online via Calisphere, which also includes primary sources from many other California libraries and museums. Bancroft also maintains additional digital resources.

Before you go:

  1. Be prepared! Read secondary sources and know something about your topic.
  2. Register as a researcher. Registration is free and takes just a few minutes using the Aeon online registration form to register in advance. For more information, see the Aeon guide.
  3. Search OskiCat to locate materials in Bancroft. You can use the pull-down menu in OskiCat to limit your search to the Bancroft Library only. (Remember that there are primary sources in many other campus libraries as well.)
    • It is recommended that you request your materials in advance of your visit and to submit your request at least one week prior to your visit to Bancroft.  You must have an Aeon account to request materials.  For more information please visit the Aeon guide.
    • If the OskiCat record mentions a finding aid (an index) to a manuscript collection, you should use it to help you find what you need in the collection.  If the finding aid is online, there will be a link from the OskiCat record. The finding aids that are not online are near the Registration Desk at the Bancroft Library. You can also search for Bancroft finding aids in the Online Archive of California.
  4. Before you go, plan your visit (and bring a quarter for lockers).

During your visit:

  1. Store your belongings in the lockers provided, located on the right-hand side of the east entrance. Pass the security guard station and proceed up one level by stairs or elevator to the Reading Room and Seminar Rooms (3rd floor).
  2. Check in at the Registration Desk, located on the left-hand side of the entrance to the Reference Center.
  3. Go to the Circulation Desk, where you can pick up the materials you pre-ordered.  That is also where you will request additional materials during your visit. 
  4. For research-related questions, ask for assistance at the Reference Desk.

How to Get to the Bancroft Library

The Bancroft is open from 10am to 5pm Monday-Friday (closed on weekends and holidays; shorter hours during the summer and Intersession).  Paging ends 30 minutes before closing; this means that if you want to use Bancroft materials until 5pm, you need to arrive and request your materials at the circulation desk before 4:30pm.

The Bancroft Library is on the second floor of Doe, on the east side (the side closest to the Campanile). See a floor plan of Doe Library 2nd floor (pdf).

Other Local Archives

Josephine Baker Collection

Josephine Baker Collection
The Eugene Lerner Josephine Baker collection includes FBI files, correspondence, clippings, and interviews

Allen Ginsberg Papers

Allen Ginsberg Papers
Significant number of diaries, notebooks, journals, manuscripts, and photographs

Cherríe Moraga Papers

Cherríe Moraga Papers
Journals, personal correspondence, and manuscripts

John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck Papers
From the Wells Fargo Steinbeck Collection, includes letters, manuscripts, and typescripts

UC Davis Collection

Peter Coyote — 55 linear feet; correspondence and materials from this writer, director and performer, part of the SF Mime Troupe (1965-1967) and founding member of the San Francisco Diggers (1967-1970), an important countercultural anarchist theater collective.

Gary Snyder — 274.8 linear feet; manuscripts, correspondence, subject files, recordings from this important Beat poet, essayist, translator, Zen Buddhist, and environmentalist.

San Francisco Mime Troupe — 77.4 linear feet; original and adapted scripts, financial records, photographs, A/V items, correspondence, etc. from one of the premiere theater groups to emerge from the ferment of the 1960s; not a mime group but a troupe that has specialized in political music-theater.

Mills College Collection

Patti Smith — 200 books by and about poet-musician Patti Smith; comprehensive holdings of recordings, journals, clippings, photographs, ephemera.

Stanford University Special Collections

William Abrahams Papers — 42 linear feet; Abrahams was a leading literary editor from 1960 to 1996; includes correspondence with authors ranging from Pat Barker, Joyce Carol Oates, Lillian Hellman, Diane Johnson, Brian Moor and Pauline Kael; includes extensive research files on playwright-memoirist Lillian Hellman and hard-boiled novelist Dashiell Hammett.

Rae Armantrout — 10.5 linear feet; original manuscripts, correspondence, notebooks of this key member of the West Coast Language Poetry movement.

Josephine Baker Collection — 3 linear feet; a trove of materials (FBI files, correspondence, clippings, interviews) about the pioneering African-American entertainer, from a collector.

Gregory Corso — 2.5 linear feet; 20 holograph notebooks and other manuscripts; highly personal material of this influential member of the Beat poetry movement.

Robert Creeley — 443 linear feet; all known work from this supremely influential postwar American poet, who crossed the Black Mountain and Beat schools and served as an inspiration to the Language Poets.

Edward Dahlberg — 8 linear feet; originally a proletarian novelist (Bottom Dogs [1929]), Dahlberg became uncategorizable by the end of his life, producing poetry, autobiographical works, fiction and criticism; the papers date from the 1960s and 1970s.

Dime Novel and Penny Dreadful Collection — a collection including 8500 ‘dime novels’ and boys papers; and 3500 copies of story papers dating from the 1850s to the 1910s. Also includes examples of British commercial mass market fiction.

Larry Eigner — 19 boxes; a compatriot of Robert Creeley and fellow innovative postwar poet; includes typescripts, correspondence; Eigner was confined to a wheelchair his entire life as a result of cerebral palsy.

Ernesto Galarza — 41.5 linear feet; manuscripts and political files from this trail-blazing Mexican American writer (Barrio Boy), labor organizer, scholar and activist.

Harry Gamboa, Jr. — 9 linear feet; manuscripts, papers and photographs from the avant-garde LA-based Chicano artist whose punk-flavored work spans the genres of video, performance, poetry, and photography.

Barry Gifford — 16 boxes; manuscripts, personal notebooks, correspondence from the poet-biographer-novelist, author of Wild at Heart and other neo-noir novels; collaborated with David Lynch on Wild at Heart and Lost Highway.

Allen Ginsberg — 1200 linear feet; a abundance of materials on a great figure of postwar American poetry; diaries, notebooks, journals, manuscripts of the major poems, political files, etc.; includes 88,000 photographs (Ginsberg was a prolific photographer and documentarian of his own circles).

Robert Grenier — 54 linear feet; notebooks, correspondence, manuscripts from an important poet of the Language Poetry group.

Hawthorne Family Papers — extensive collection of the letters, journals and sketch books of Sophia Peabody Hawthorne, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s wife; of their daughter Rose Hawthorne Lathrop (poet, memoirist, humanitarian); and of their son Julian Hawthorne (though his materials are primarily owned by the Bancroft).

Ernest Hemingway — 1.25 linear feet; includes 31 personal letters to a writer working on Hemingway’s life and career; and a repository of Hemingway manuscripts and documents.

Fanny Howe — 12.5 linear feet; manuscripts and family papers from this hard-to-categorize poet-novelist of the avant-garde, whose work often tackles the difficult course of women, families and the spirit in contemporary America.

David Hwang — 17.5 linear feet; working and drafts from this acclaimed contemporary Asian American playwright whose work explores the tangle of modern sexuality (FOB, Airplanes on the Roof, M. Butterfly).

Arturo Islas — 18.5 linear feet; manuscripts and papers from this acclaimed Mexican-American novelist (The Rain God), the first Chicano in the US to earn a doctorate in English and an openly gay man.

Denise Levertov — 148 linear feet plus 30 unprocessed cartons; personal papers, manuscripts, and photographs from an important postwar poet, affiliated with the Black Mountain school (and Stanford), and an important poet-activist during the 1960s.

D.H. Lawrence — .75 linear feet; letters between Lawrence and Lady Ottoline Morrell and others, describing visitors and trips; some poems and manuscripts.

Walter de la Mare — 4 linear feet; letters and manuscripts from this early 20th-century poet. children’s author, and ghost story writer.

William Somerset Maugham — 2.5 linear feet; correspondence and papers from this popular British playwright-novelist (Of Human Bondage, The Razor’s Edge).

Cherrie Moraga — 44 linear feet; journals, personal correspondence and manuscripts from this important contemporary Chicana poet, essayist and playwright.

Tillie Olsen — over 26.5 linear feet; manuscripts and personal papers from this formally inventive novelist (Yonnondio), short story writer and feminist critic, who served as a bridge between the radical working-class writing of the 1930s and the feminism-shaped writing of the 1970s.

Toby Olson — 30 linear feet; manuscripts from this innovative poet-novelist, whose work is both experimental and accessible.

Robert Pinsky — 19 linear feet; manuscripts, letters and personal papers from this still-living American poet laureate.

Irving Rosenthal — 23 linear feet; novelist and key editor of the Beat-affiliated writers through The Chicago Review and Big Table; affiliated with Paul Bowles, the experimental filmmaker Jack Smith; founder of the Kaliflower commune in the Bay Area.

William Saroyan — 185 linear feet; Extensive collection of Saroyan's possessions (The Human Comedy, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze), acclaimed novelist from the 1930s through the 1940s; journals, manuscripts, ephemera, correspondence, even Saroyan’s library.

Gil Sorrentino — 48.5 linear feet; correspondence, manuscripts and notebooks from this prolific, well-regarded but understudied poet and novelist, who brought the energies of Joyce and William Carlos Williams to postmodern American literature.

Wallace Stegner — manuscripts, research notes and correspondence from this key Western American novelist and environmentalist; also includes materials related to Stegner’s long-running administration of Stanford’s Creative Writing Program, one of the nation’s first and most prominent.

John Steinbeck — manuscripts, typescripts and galley proofs of major and minor pieces, including The Red Pony and Cannery Row; 1500 letters from Steinbeck to close friends, his third wife, his literary agent; also documentation related to the short film The Forgotten Village (1941).

Nathaniel Tarn — 100 linear feet; manuscripts of published and unpublished poetry and prose; notebooks from his anthropological fieldwork; correspondence; Tarn is an important voice of the ethnopoetics movement that brought the insights of anthropology to the realm of postwar poetry.

Twentieth-Century American Paperback Humor Collection — 2500 individual paper humor and joke books.

Victorian and Edwardian Novels for Children and Young Adults — 450 illustrated novels produced from 1860 to WWI, devised as entertainment with moral instruction for working-class children.

Eddie Woods Archive — a collection documenting an understudied, still largely undefined, expatriate circle of poets; Woods was a cultural impresario and artistic entrepreneur with ties to surrealism; includes materials from Paul Bowles, Bob Kaufman, and many of the principal Beat writers.

Photo Credits

Gwendolyn Brooks:  Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [LC-USZ62-107993] under Fair Use, to provide visual identification of one or more specific individual(s), or an identifiable gathering of them for educational purposes, with no known representation under a 'free' license. Image has been cropped

Joan Didion: "Character..." by Tradlands under CC 2.0. Image has been cropped.

Jack London: Jack London young under Public Domain. Image has been cropped.

Mark Twain: Mark Twain Photo Portrait, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, [CWPBH.04761] under Public Domain. Image has been cropped.

Josephine Baker: Baker Banana by Lucien Waléry under Public Domain. Image has been cropped.

Allen Ginsberg: Ginsberg with his partner, poet Peter Orlovsky by Herbert Rusche under CC 3.0. Image has been cropped.

Cherrie Moraga: תמונה של שרי מורגה by תמונה של שרי מורגה under CC 4.0. Image has been cropped.

John Steinbeck: John Steinbeck 1962 under Public Domain. Image has been cropped.

Copyright © 2014-2019 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved. Except where otherwise noted, this work is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License.