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Jay A. Gertzman research collection on censorship


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. 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

Jay A. Gertzman, professor emeritus of English at Mansfield University, is the author of four books: Fantasy, Fashion, and Affection: Illustrated and Decorated Editions of Robert Herrick's Poetry, Bookleggers and Smuthounds: The Trade in Erotica, 1920-1940; Samuel Roth, Infamous Modernist; and A Descriptive Bibliography of Lady Chatterley's Lover: With Essays Toward a Publishing History of the Novel.

This collection includes research material collected and used by Jay Gertzman to produce his book Bookleggers and Smuthounds: The Trade in Erotica, 1920-1940. Documents collected here pertain to the proliferation and censorship of erotic material in the era between the two World Wars. The collection contains examples of erotic work from the time, personal testimony by both booksellers and those who sought to censor them, and scholarly overviews of how erotic work was disseminated and suppressed. The collection is separated into primary source and secondary source documents (the vast majority of which are photocopies), research notes and correspondence, and books.

Gift of Jay Gertzman, 2017.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Sam Allingham
Finding Aid Date
2018 July 9
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Collection Inventory

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Scope and Contents

This series contains photocopies of primary source documents used in Gertzman's research, including legal documents pertaining to obscenity cases, letters exchanged between censorship organizations and politicians, examples of contemporary erotic literature, and personal accounts by erotic publishers and those who sought to censor them. The series is organized at the file level using Gertzman's original subject classifications and arranged in chronological order.

Data on offenders from the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, 1882-1930.
Box 1 Folder 1
Biographical information on Benjamin Rebhuhn and family, 1911-1997.
Box 1 Folder 2
Articles on John Sumner by Frank Harris and others, 1917-1970.
Box 1 Folder 3
List of non-mailable periodicals from the National Archives, 1918.
Box 1 Folder 4
Data on U.S. income, 1920-1930.
Box 1 Folder 5
Photocopied excerpts of erotic literature, 1920-1998.
Box 1 Folder 6
Articles by John Sumner on the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, 1921-1938.
Box 1 Folder 7
Legal cases concerning obscenity, 1921-1941.
Box 1 Folder 8
Benjamin Rebhuhn diary, 1922-1924.
Box 1 Folder 9-10
Articles and notes on the Clean Books Law, 1923.
Box 1 Folder 11
Publications on the International Reform Federation, 1923-1937.
Box 1 Folder 12
Information and reports from the Watch and Ward Society, 1923-1941.
Box 1 Folder 13
Correspondence to and from the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, 1923-1944.
Box 1 Folder 14
Excerpts of work by Frank Harris, 1923-1990.
Box 1 Folder 15
H.L. Mencken on censorship, 1923-1993.
Box 1 Folder 16
Frank Harris research material, 1923-1997.
Box 1 Folder 17-19
Articles on Frank Harris obscenity case, 1925-1936.
Box 1 Folder 20
Advertisements for erotic books, 1925-1967, undated.
Box 1 Folder 21-22
Incomplete issue of College Life, circa 1926.
Box 1 Folder 23
Annual director's report for the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice , 1926-1942.
Box 1 Folder 24
Articles on obscenity in popular magazines, 1926-1924.
Box 1 Folder 25
Evan Esar (also known as Esar Levine) research information, 1926-1991.
Box 1 Folder 26
Catalogs of erotic works, 1926-1992.
Box 1 Folder 27
Legal documents and correspondence on concerning obscenity cases, 1927-1941.
Box 1 Folder 28
ACLU archives on literary censorship, 1927-1995.
Box 1 Folder 29
Legal documents on Sumner v. the Gotham Book Mart, 1928-1929.
Box 1 Folder 30
Legal documents and correspondence between the National Council for Freedom from Censorship and the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice , 1928-1930.
Box 1 Folder 31
Documents from the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice , 1928-1932.
Box 1 Folder 32
Contemporary newspaper and magazine articles on obscenity cases, 1928-1960.
Box 2 Folder 1
Reviews of Lady Chatterly's Lover, 1928-1985.
Box 2 Folder 2
Photocopies of D.H. Lawrence correspondence from the Harry Ransom Center, 1928-1991.
Box 2 Folder 3
Letters from the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, 1929.
Box 2 Folder 4
Magazine articles on censorship in the U.S. Customs Bureau, 1029-1930.
Box 2 Folder 5
Incorporation papers for Panurge Press, 1930.
Box 2 Folder 6
Primary source documents on the history of censorship in Massachusetts , 1930.
Box 2 Folder 7
Information on the Illinois Vigilance Society, 1930-1993.
Box 2 Folder 8
U.S. Congressional record on obscenity, 1940-1961.
Box 2 Folder 9
Information on Falstaff Press, 1930-1995.
Box 2 Folder 10
H.W. Pringle's list of banned books, 1931.
Box 2 Folder 11
Correspondence between booksellers regarding censorship and raids, 1931.
Box 2 Folder 12
Newspaper articles on censorship by libraries.
Box 2 Folder 13
Primary sources concerning prosecution of Ulysses for obscenity , 1931-1941.
Box 2 Folder 14
Excerpts from books from Panurge Press, 1932-1939.
Box 2 Folder 15
U.S. Post Office annual reports and regulations, 1932-1940.
Box 2 Folder 16
Correspondence regarding the publication of Ulysses, 1932-2014.
Box 2 Folder 17
Business licenses for erotic publishers, 1934.
Box 2 Folder 18
Catalogs from the Anthropological Library, circa 1934.
Box 2 Folder 19
Advertisements for Panurge Press, circa 1934.
Box 2 Folder 20
Accounts of legal action against Esar Levine, 1935.
Box 2 Folder 21
Material related to the Bad Book Bill, 1936.
Box 2 Folder 22
Advertisements for books offered by the Argus Book Shop, 1936-1975.
Box 2 Folder 23
Correspondence from the Eugenics Publishing Company, 1937.
Box 2 Folder 24
FBI information requested by Gertzman through the Freedom of Information Act, 1937-1994.
Box 2 Folder 25
Legal documents from USA v. Rebhuhn, 1938.
Box 2 Folder 26
Articles on U.S. Postal business, 1938-1947.
Box 2 Folder 27
Articles on vice cases, 1939-1969.
Box 2 Folder 28
Articles on bookselling, 1939-1999.
Box 2 Folder 29
Correspondence and research material regarding obscenity case over the Memoirs of Casanova, 1940.
Box 2 Folder 30
Research material on Theodore Schroeder, circa 1945.
Box 2 Folder 31
Legal cases regarding obscenity, 1945.
Box 2 Folder 32
"Government and Mass Communications, Vol. 1," a report from the Commission on the Freedom of the Press, 1947.
Box 2 Folder 33
John S. Sumner papers, circa 1950.
Box 2 Folder 34-35
John S. Sumner memoirs, circa 1950.
Box 2 Folder 36-38
Biographical information for Clement Wood, after 1950.
Box 2 Folder 39
Biographical information on William Jay Schieffelin , 1955-1962.
Box 2 Folder 40
Accounts of censorship trial of Lady Chatterly's Lover, 1959-1961.
Box 2 Folder 41
Excerpts from books from American Anthropological Society, undated.
Box 2 Folder 42
Photos of Panurge Press covers , undated.
Box 2 Folder 43

Scope and Contents

This series contains photocopies of secondary source documents used in Gertzman's research. It includes scholarly articles on several areas of censorship in the United States, including the Postal Service, public libraries, and the U.S. Customs Bureau. It also includes scholarly writing on several important figures in erotic publishing, including Charles Harrington, Samuel Roth, Clara Tice, and Anais Nin. The series is organized at the file level using Gertzman's own subject classifications, and arranged in alphabetical order by subject.

List of American humor magazines, circa 1996.
Box 3 Folder 1
Selections from and a review of a biography Richard and Isabel Burton by Mary Lovell, 1998.
Box 3 Folder 2
Articles on censorship, Catholic Church, 1934-1992.
Box 3 Folder 3
Articles on censorship, Libraries, 1967-1975.
Box 3 Folder 4
Articles on censorship, Literary History, 1928-1956.
Box 3 Folder 5
Articles on censorship, Massachusetts, 1930.
Box 3 Folder 6
Articles on censorship, United States (Day - Minnesota Law Review), 1929-1972.
Box 3 Folder 7
Articles on censorship, United States (Northwestern Law Review - University of Pennsylvania Law School), 1940-1970.
Box 3 Folder 8
Articles on censorship, United States Postal Service, 1916-1974.
Box 3 Folder 9
Articles on legal precedent and societal change, 1991.
Box 3 Folder 10
Writing on female erotic artists, 1993-1999.
Box 3 Folder 11
Articles on Charles Harrington, 1995.
Box 3 Folder 12
Articles on the printing trade, 1932-1980.
Box 3 Folder 13
Articles on rental libraries, 1933-1996.
Box 3 Folder 14
Writing on Samuel Roth, 1957-1990.
Box 3 Folder 15
Articles on sexology, 1934-1996.
Box 3 Folder 16

Scope and Contents

This series contains notes and correspondence produced by Gertzman during his research. It includes documents of database searches he conducted, notes in his own hand (which is often difficult to read), and lists of archives and collections he consulted. It is arranged chronologically, though some of the dating is approximate or uncertain.

Archival searches for Panurges Press by Gertzman, 1991.
Box 3 Folder 17
Information from Gertzman visit to Kinsey Institute Library, 1991.
Box 3 Folder 18
Modern erotic ads, 1991-1994.
Box 3 Folder 19
Correspondence regarding erotic bookselling, 1992-1994.
Box 3 Folder 20
Notes and correspondence around Gertzman's visit to the Rosenbach Museum, 1993.
Box 3 Folder 21
Miscellaneous notes and corrrespondence, 1993-1997, undated.
Box 3 Folder 22
New York Public Library request forms, circa 1994.
Box 3 Folder 23
Correspondence regarding censorship research, 1994-1999.
Box 3 Folder 24
WorldCat results for Panurge Press, 1995.
Box 3 Folder 25
WorldCat results for American Anthropological Society, 1995.
Box 3 Folder 26
Gertzman notes on the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, circa 1995.
Box 3 Folder 27
Notes on Frank Harris, circa 1995.
Box 3 Folder 28
Gertzman request for Sylvia Beach papers at Princeton, 1996.
Box 3 Folder 29
Correspondence regarding "The Secret Museum of Mankind", 1997.
Box 3 Folder 30
Correspondence with Susan Lane, 1998.
Box 3 Folder 31
Gertzman notes regarding obscenity cases, undated.
Box 3 Folder 32
Gertzman summaries of correspondence and primary sources regarding obscenity cases, undated.
Box 3 Folder 33
Notes on New York City bookshops, 1920-1940, undated.
Box 3 Folder 34
Notes on censorship in Boston, undated.
Box 3 Folder 35
List of erotica collections in university libraries , undated.
Box 3 Folder 36

Scope and Contents

This series contains books which Gertzman consulted during his research. Most of the volumes are examples of erotic literature produced in the period between the World Wars, while a few volumes were produced in the 1960's. Some of the volumes, such as Light on Dark Corners (1967) are examples of literature aimed at sex education, while others, such as My Life and Loves by Frank Harris are personal memoirs of sexual awakening. The books are arranged chronologically by date of publication.

Frank Harris, My Life and Loves, volume one, 1922.
Box 4 Folder 1-2
Frank Harris, My Life and Loves, volume three, 1927.
Box 4 Folder 3
Frank Harris, My Love Life, 1931.
Box 4 Folder 4-5
Various authors, Safe Counsel, or, Practical Eugenics, 1937.
Box 4 Folder 6
Various authors, Light on Dark Corners, 1967.
Box 4 Folder 7
Anthony Comstock, Traps for the Young, 1967.
Box 4 Folder 8

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