News | November 14, 2013

Columbia Acquires Granary Books Archive

NEW YORK, November 13, 2013—Columbia University Libraries/Information Services’ Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML) is pleased to announce the acquisition of the archive of Granary Books, one of the country’s most significant artist book publishers operating today.  

Founded in 1981 as a distributor, Granary Books began publishing under the direction of Steve Clay in 1985. Granary Books’ mission is to produce, promote, document, and theorize new works exploring the intersection of word, image, and page.

"It is a privilege and an honor to have the Granary Books Archive acquired by Columbia University and to be part of a growing number of independent small presses whose papers are held in its Rare Book and Manuscript Library,” said Clay.

The archive includes thirty year’s worth of production files for limited edition books by renowned artists, graphic designers, printers, and poets, including Nods, a collaboration with John Cage, Barbara Fahrner, and Philip Gallo, and titles by Charles Bernstein, Cecilia Vicuna, Jen Bervin, Johanna Drucker, Emily McVarish, Anne Waldman, and Jerome Rothenberg.  Other notable artists include John Ashbery, Ted Berrigan, Joe Brainard, Francesco Clemente, Robert Creeley, John Yau, Leslie Scalapino, Kiki Smith, George Schneeman, Buzz Spector, and Ron Padgett.  

Granary Books has also published trade editions of exhibit catalogs, out of print and first edition poetry, and books about books, particularly artist books - notably Johanna Drucker’s The Century of Artists’ Books. The archive includes Steve Clay's extensive correspondence with writers and printers, and other artist book press proprietors, as well as electronic records, including almost two decades of email. Additionally, the archive includes primary source materials from several important New York School and LANGUAGE poets not otherwise well represented in the RBML collections.

The Granary Books archive complements the BOMB Magazine archives and Kulchur Foundation archives in the RBML, which include materials by many of the same artists and writers that Granary Books has published. This collection connects many of the collecting strengths of the RBML: artists’ books, publishers’ archives, and the archives of significant twentieth-century book designers.

"For years, Granary Books has been assiduously mapping the rocky terrain of contemporary American poetry,” said Michael Golston, Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University. “Columbia has scored a major coup in acquiring the archive—generations of scholars will work on these materials, shaping and reshaping the history of the art and of the discipline." 

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services (CUL/IS) is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 12 million volumes, over 160,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 22 libraries and various academic technology centers, including affiliates. CUL/IS employs more than 450 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: