Johnny Stanton Collection of Siamese Banana Press Records
Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Johnny Stanton was born in 1943 in Manhattan, the son of Irish immigrants from Galway. He attended Columbia University, where he became friends with many poets, writers, and artists of the New York School. He published works by several of these writers via his Siamese Banana Press and ran the Siamese Banana Press newspaper. Stanton is also the author of the novel Mangled Hands and many short stories. He lives in the East Village with his wife, the poet Elinor Nauen.Siamese Banana Press
The Siamese Banana Press was formed by Johnny Stanton, a fiction writer associated with the New York School. The press began in 1970 by publishing the Siamese Banana newspaper, which documented local happenings at the Rhinelander Center on East 88th Street, where Stanton did social work with local youth. The newspaper was comedic in nature and featured comics alongside satirical articles intended to entertain the center's youth. In the early 1970s, Stanton began publishing works by Joe Brainard, Anne Waldman, Tom Veitch, and other notable New York artists and writers. These works often blended poetry and literary writing with illustrations, collage, and comics. The press is also often referred to as the Siamese Banana Press Gang, which refers to Stanton's friends at the youth center, and eventually a theater group that formed out of the community.
Consists of records of the Siamese Banana Press assembled by its publisher, Johnny Stanton, which document the role of the press in the history of poetry, underground comics, and mimeograph publishing in New York City in the 1970s, as well as Joe Brainard's work as a book artist.
The most significant grouping of materials consists of original manuscripts of five early works by Brainard (Some Drawings of Some Notes to Myself, The Banana Book, The Friendly Way, The Cigarette Book, and Self-Portrait with Anne Waldman), along with related correspondence from Bill Berkson and others, production duplicates, and ephemera. These works combine elements of poetry, prose, collage, comics, and gay erotica. Also present are original manuscripts for issues of Siamese Banana: The Rhinelander, a comedic art newspaper that Stanton started while working at a New York City youth center.
There is also a manuscript of Stanton's own work, The Day Our Turtle Was Kidnapped… and cover illustrations for his work Slip of the Tongue. Other manuscript and printed materials exist for works by David Anderson, Paul Auster, Rebecca Brown, Keith Cohen, Hilton Obenzinger, George Schneeman, Tom Veitch, and Don Weingarten. Additional contents include general publishing correspondence, promotional materials related to publications, and fliers for events at St. Mark's Church.
Purchased from Johnny Stanton in 2022 (AM 2023-077).
This collection was processed by Kelly Bolding in January 2023, maintaining the folder labels and arrangement provided by Joseph Carey, who worked with Johhny Stanton on the transfer of the collection to the Library. Finding aid written by Kelly Bolding in January 2023, incorporating some description provided by Joseph Carey and Joshua Kotin. Other sources consulted include a 2020 interview with Johnny Stanton and Elinor Nauen conducted by George Salis for The Collidescope.
No materials were separated from the collection during 2023 processing.
- Manuscripts Division
- Finding Aid Author
- Kelly Bolding
- Finding Aid Date
- Processing of this collection was sponsored by the Delafield fund.
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Single copies may be made for research purposes. No further duplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to Special Collections Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.
Includes production duplicates.Physical Description
The manuscript contains a letter from Kenward Elmslie and gay erotica. Includes correspondence.
The manuscript contains a mention of rape.Physical Description
The manuscript includes a letter from James (Jimmy) Schuyler letter (1969) and a postcard from Ron Padgett (1970).Physical Description
Includes correspondence.Physical Description
Contains satirical comics about Nazi Germany that include drawings of Holocaust victims.Physical Description