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Lawrence Lipton papers

 Collection
Identifier: 0159
The Lawrence Lipton papers, 1933-2009, consist of correspondence, interviews, manuscripts, typescripts, sound recordings, clippings, photographs, and ephemera, created and collected by novelist, poet, and Beat Generation chronicler Lawrence Lipton. The collection documents Lipton's prolific work as a novelist, poet, and columnist through typescripts and manuscripts of his works--including Erotic Revolution, Rainbow at Midnight, and columns for Radio Free America, Interface, and the Los Angeles Free Press; correspondence between Lipton and members of the Beats, including Allen Ginsberg, as well as one of Lipton's wives, novelist Craig Rice; and interviews that Lipton conducted with a variety of notable writers and musicians during the 1960s. Also included are items Lipton collected as research material, newspapers and magazines (many of which contain Lipton's published poetry), and photographs. Many of Lipton's articles and poems written in the era of the Beat Movement deal with subjects pertinent to "beatnik" ideology such as anti-materialism, sexual liberation, exploration of eastern philosophy, criticism of western Christendom, experimentation with psychedelic drugs, and denouncement of homophobia. Much of Lipton's poetry in the papers is part of his poetry and jazz project, as Lipton was also a skilled jazz music composer who often combined the two art forms.

Dates

  • 1940s-1980s, undated
  • 1933 - 2009

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE: Advance notice required for access.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Manuscripts Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Extent

20.42 Linear Feet (31 boxes)

Overview

The Lawrence Lipton papers, 1933-2009, consists of correspondence, interviews, manuscripts, typescripts, sound recordings, clippings, photographs, and ephemera, created and collected by Beat Generation chronicler, novelist, and poet Lawrence Lipton. The collection documents Lipton's prolific work as a novelist, poet, and columnist through typescripts and manuscripts of his works; correspondence between Lipton and members of the Beats, including Allen Ginsberg; and interviews that Lipton conducted with a variety of notable writers and musicians during the 1960s. Lipton was born in Lodz, Poland, on October 10, 1898, and brought to America in 1903 by his father, Abraham Lipton. The family moved to Chicago where Abraham Lipton had close friends and relatives. Lipton worked at various times as a graphic artist, a journalist, the publicity director of a large movie theater, a writer and poet and a jazz composer. In the 1920s, Lipton was part of the circle of writers in Chicago including Ben Hecht, Carl Sandburg, Edgar Lee Masters, Sherwood Anderson, and Harriet Monroe. In the late 1930s, Lipton married third wife Georgiana Randolph Craig, with whom he coauthored twenty-two books of mystery fiction during the late 1930s and early 1940s under the pseudonym of Craig Rice. In addition to his earlier mystery fiction and articles for such magazines as Atlantic Monthly, Chicago Review, and Quarterly Review of Literature, he wrote two literary novels, Brother, The Laugh is Bitter (1942) and In Secret Battle (1944), and a book of poetry, Rainbow at Midnight (1955), which was a Book Club for Poetry selection. In 1959, Lipton published The Holy Barbarians, the book that linked him to the Beat writers. When Lipton wrote The Holy Barbarians he had settled in Venice, California, where his home became an informal center for the arts, with Lipton functioning as both teacher and catalyst. In Venice, Lipton was associated with the movement to restore poetry as a vocal art long before the Beats became famous, and he began experimenting with poetry and jazz in 1956. During the last years of his life, Lipton wrote a long-running column of political commentary in the Los Angeles Free Press called "Radio Free America." Lipton died in Los Angeles on July 9, 1975.

Biographical note

Lawrence Lipton was born in Lodz, Poland, on October 10, 1898, and brought to America in 1903 by his father, Abraham Lipton. The family moved to Chicago where Abraham Lipton had close friends and relatives. When Lipton was fourteen, his father died.



Lipton worked at various times as a graphic artist, a journalist, the publicity director of a large movie theater, a writer and poet and a jazz composer. In the 1920s, Lipton was part of the circle of writers in Chicago including Ben Hecht, Carl Sandburg, Edgar Lee Masters, Sherwood Anderson, and Harriet Monroe and he married his first wife, Dorothy Omansky. After Dorothy died, he married Betty Weinberg, with whom he had a son, James Lipton. In the late 1930s, Lipton divorced Betty and married Georgiana Randolph Craig, with whom he coauthored twenty-two books of mystery fiction during the late 1930s and early 1940s under the pseudonym of Craig Rice. After divorcing Georgiana, Lipton married Nettie Esther Brooks in 1948.



In addition to his earlier mystery fiction and articles for such magazines as Atlantic Monthly, Chicago Review, and Quarterly Review of Literature, he wrote two literary novels, Brother, The Laugh is Bitter (1942) and In Secret Battle (1944), and a book of poetry, Rainbow at Midnight (1955), which was a Book Club for Poetry selection.



The Holy Barbarians, the book that linked Lipton to the Beat writers, was published in 1959, when he was sixty-one years old. The cast of characters in the book included such "name" personalities as the writers Allen Ginsberg, Kenneth Rexroth, Kenneth Patchen, Stuart Z. Perkoff, Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Dylan Thomas. When Lipton wrote The Holy Barbarians he had settled in Venice, California, where Lipton's home became an informal center for the arts, with Lipton functioning as both teacher and catalyst. In Venice, Lipton was associated with the movement to restore poetry as a vocal art long before the Beats became famous, and he began experimenting with poetry and jazz in 1956. In 1957, he produced and directed a series of poetry-and-jazz concerts that became the first West Coast Poetry and Jazz Festival, dedicated to Dylan Thomas and playing to capacity audiences during its two-week run. In 1958, Lipton produced Jazz Canto, released by World Pacific Records.



Published in dozens of literary magazines and journals, his poetry and prose gathered together certain central themes that related to the social responsibility of the artist to participate in the formation of a society that was more than a collective. As a visionary, Lipton wanted the new society to be rational, functional, and responsible to the deepest needs of the human soul. During the last years of his life, Lipton wrote a long-running column of political commentary in the Los Angeles Free Press called "Radio Free America." Lipton died in Los Angeles on July 9, 1975.



[Biography adapted from Nettie Lipton's article in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 16: The Beats: Literary Bohemians in Postwar America. Edited by Ann Charters, University of Connecticut. Gale Research, 1983. pp. 352-356]

Organization

The collection is organized into the following series: 1. Works by Lawrence Lipton; 2. Correspondence and Letters; 3. Works collected by Lawrence Lipton; 4. Interviews; 5. Newspaper and Magazine Clippings; 6. Subject Files; 7. Photographs.

Acquisition

Purchased 1986, with additional materials subsequently donated by the Lipton Estate.
Title
Finding aid for the Lawrence Lipton papers
Status
in_progress
Author
Louis Knecht
Date
2010; 2017 December
Description rules
dacs

Repository Details

Part of the USC Libraries Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Doheny Memorial Library 206
3550 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles California 90089-0189 United States