Inventory of the Richard Brautigan Papers, 1958-1984

Collection number: BANC MSS 87/173 c

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California

Contact Information:
The Bancroft Library.
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
Processed by:
Kristen Schutjer and John Hawk

Date Completed:
June 1992

Encoded by:
Alvin D. Pollock

© 1996 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Richard Brautigan Papers, 1958-1984
Collection number
BANC MSS 87/173 c
Brautigan, Richard
Number of containers: 4 boxes, 9 cartons, 4 oversize folders
Linear feet: 12.95 linear ft
The Bancroft Library
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Shelf location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Administrative Information

The Richard Brautigan papers were purchased by The Bancroft Library from Serendipity Books in March of 1987.

Original manuscripts, letters, notebooks, and other manuscript materials created by Richard Brautigan may not be photocopied except by written permission of the copyright holder. Requests for such permission will be forwarded by The Bancroft Library. All other materials may be photocopied in accordance with standard Bancroft Library procedures.

Publication Rights
Literary rights have been assigned to Richard Brautigan's daughter, Ianthe Swensen.

Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], Richard Brautigan Papers, BANC MSS 87/173 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.


Richard Gary Brautigan, 1935-1984

American novelist, short story writer, and poet.

1935 Born 30 January in Tacoma, Washington,oldest child of Bernard F. Brautiganand Mary Lull Brautigan.Very little is known about his childhood, which he refused to discuss. Some sources say that Brautigan never knew his father, others say that his father never knew of him until Brautigan's death was announced
1955? Allegedly committed to Oregon State Hospitalafter throwing rock through police station window, diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic and given shock therapy treatments. Left home soon after release from hospital.
1955-1958? Moved to San Francisco and became involved with the Beat Movement
1956 “The Second Kingdom,” first known poem, published.
1957 Married Virginia Dionne Adler in Reno, NV, 8 June.
1957-1958? “The Return of the Rivers,” a single poem, published.
1958 “The Galilee Hitch-Hiker,” a single poem, published
1959 Lay the Marble Tea published . Twenty-four poems in this first collection.
1960 The Octopus Frontier published.
1960 Daughter Ianthe born, 25 March.
1961 Spent summer camping with wife and child in Idaho's Stanley Basin. Wrote Trout Fishing in America on a portable typewriter alongside the trout streams.
1964 A Confederate General from Big Sur published. Involved with the Diggers and the “hippies” of San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district. Often gave away copies of his poems on the streets.
1966-1967 Poet-in-residence at California Institute of Techonolgy.
1967 Trout Fishing in America published
1967 All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace published.
1968 Awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.In Watermelon Sugar and The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster published. Please Plant This Bookalso published: eight seed packets, each containing seeds, with poems printed on the sides.
1969 Trout Fishing in America, The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster, and In Watermelon Sugar published in collection.
1970 Rommel Drives On Deep into Egypt published. Divorced from Virginia, 28 July, in San Francisco.
1970 The Abortion: An Historical Romance 1966 published.
1971 The Revenge of the Lawn published.
1972-1973? Establishes a residence in Pine Creek, MT,just north of Yellowstone National Park.Allegedly refuses to deliver lectures or grant interviews for the next eight years.
1974 The Hawkline Monster published.
1975 Willard and His Bowling Trophies and Loading Mercury with a Pitchfork published.
1976 Sombrero Fallout published.
1977 Dreaming of Babylon published.
1978 June 30th, June 30th published.
1978 The Abortion, The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster, Trout Fishing in America, Rommel Drives On Deep into Egypt, and A Confederate General from Big Sur banned in Union Hills High School in northern California. ACLU case decided in favor of Brautigan and his publisher.
1979 At December meeting of Modern Language Association in San Francisco, participated in a panel discussion concerning Zen and Contemporary Poetry with Gary Snyder,Philip Whalen, Robert Bly,and Lucien Stryk.
1980 The Tokyo-Montana Express published. Begins lecture/promotion tour.
1982 So the Wind Won't Blow It All Away published.
1984 Commits suicide in house in Bolinas, California.Body discovered 25 October.

Chronology Excerpted from Richard Brautigan, An Annotated Bibliography, by John F. Barber. (McFarland & Company, Inc., 1990)

Scope and Content

The Richard Brautigan Papers contains primarily manuscripts of his writings in a variety of stages, including notes and notebooks, manuscript drafts, and typescripts. Preliminary drafts and typescripts for both published and unpublished prose and poetry are especially numerous. In addition the collection has considerable depth in biographical material (tax records, letters from his attorneys, receipts, passport, clippings and family material). The apparent weakness of the archive is in the dearth of correspondence. Incoming correspondence is more extensive and significant, and includes letters from publishers, informal literary advisors, and friends.

Series Description

Series 1: Correspondence and Miscellaneous Personalia, 1965-1984, n.d.

Boxes 1-2

Correspondence arranged by incoming and outgoing, and within that alphabetically by correspondent.

Personal and professional letters of Richard Brautigan. Incoming correspondence is more extensive and significant, including letters from publishers, informal literary advisors, and friends. A few miscellaneous personal items are also included, such as passports and visas, and some material relating to his daughter, Ianthe.

Series 2: Literary Miscellany, 1965-1984, n.d.

Box 3

Arranged by form.

Files include works by others, reviews and publicity concerning Brautigan's work, and printed material and notes which appear to be research material for Brautigan's novels.

Series 3: Financial and Travel Records, 1965-1978

Carton 1

Arranged chronologically.

Expense accounts and receipts, including records pertaining to publications, travel, entertainment, and property holdings in Montana.

Series 4: Published Books, 1964-1982, n.d.

Cartons 2-4

Arranged by literary form, and within that chronologically by date of publication.

Included here are drafts and notes for Richard Brautigan's published works of prose (novels and short stories) and poetry. Various stages of development are represented. Some manuscripts have been heavily edited, while others are nearly completed typescripts. Prose works include, but are not limited to, A Confederate General from Big Sur, Trout Fishing in America , In Watermelon Sugar, The Abortion, and Dreaming of Babylon. Collections of poetry include, but are not limited to, Galilee Hitchhiker , The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster, and Loading Mercury with a Pitchfork . This series also includes screenplay versions of his novels and translations in German.

Series 5: Individual Prose Works, 1962-1984, n.d. A-Z

Cartons 4-5

Arranged alphabetically by title.

Contains individual pieces of prose. Most are undated, many are without corrections, though some have multiple versions and are corrected.

Series 6: Individual Poems, 1958-1984, n.d. A-Z

Cartons 6-7

Arranged alphabetically by title.

Contains individual poems. This series includes both manuscript and typescript copies.

Series 7: Notebooks, 1961-1984, n.d.

Cartons 8-9

Arranged chronologically, if dated. Undated volumes follow.

The notebooks include addresses, phone numbers, expense accounts, poems, prose, and drafts of letters. The notebooks have been numbered by staff (1-48 dated, 49-86 undated.) Numbering of undated volumes was arbitrary.

Series 8: Fragments and Miscellaneous

Box 4

Arranged by literary form.

Included in this series are fragments of both prose and poetry which are incomplete or lack a title. This box also contains envelopes and napkins that contain notes written by Brautigan.