May 2017 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Allen Ginsberg-Signed Yearbook Goes to Auction

3691-0041-17-003C.jpgA yearbook from Eastside High School in Paterson, New Jersey, from Allen Ginsberg's graduating class of 1943, signed and annotated by the Beat Generation poet himself, goes to auction next month in California. Stored in a closet for more than seventy years by Ginsberg's classmate, Norman Katz, the yearbook turned up two years ago at an Antiques Roadshow event in Tucson, Arizona.

The blurb alongside Ginsberg's class picture describes him as "the philosopher and genius of the class ... hates dull teachers and Republicans," to which he added in blue pen, "May all of your 50 children be Democrats" and signed his name.

3691-0041-17-001C copy.jpgA printed "Class Poem" by Ginsberg (the class poet) appears in the yearbook, with this opening stanza:

We leave the youthful pennants and the books,
Discard the little compasses and rules;
We open up our eyes, and test our souls,
Prepare ourselves to wield more mighty tools.

Ginsberg also personalized this particular yearbook with a handwritten ditty for his pal Katz that begins:

This is the Katz Pajamas,
our graduating now:
I wish to say that I'm a
graduate, too, and bow.
At the Roadshow event, appraiser Jason Preston valued the yearbook at $10,000 (watch the appraisal below). At the Profiles in History Historical & Pop Culture auction on June 8, the estimate is more conservatively placed at $4,000-6,000.

Images courtesy of Profiles in History