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Gil Ott papers


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

Gil Ott, born February 27, 1950, is a widely published essayist and poet. He is the publisher of Singing Horse Press, a literary press, which has produced over twenty-five titles by emerging poets and writers in the past twenty-seven years. The journal Paper Air, which the Press published from 1976 through 1990, was the recipient of an Editors' Fellowship from the Council of Literary Magazines and presses in 1985.

According to Ott, "there are a lot of writers who are not getting national exposure"; consequently he founded the Philadelphia Publishing Project, which addresses this problem by printing one book by a Philly poet each year. For this project, Ott looks for people who are "stepping outside the accepted notions of language and have a willingness to take risks with the materials itself."

Ott's own writing has won several awards, including fellowships from the Headlands Center for the Arts (California), and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Gil Ott has written thirteen books of poetry and prose, including The Yellow Floor (Sun & Moon, 1985), Within Range (Burning Deck, 1987), Public Domain (Potes & Poets, 1989), The Whole Note (Zasterle, Canary Islands, Spain, 1996), Traffic (Chax Press, 2001), and his final book, The Amputated Toe (Cuneiform Press, 2005). Essays focusing on the role of the arts in social change have appeared in American Poetry Review, High Performance, American News Service, M/E/A/N/I/N/G, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Cultural Democracy, and other sources.

Ott has several poems and songs on the Frequency Audio Journal.

In 2004, Ott turned the press over to Paul Naylor.

Ott is a fund-raising professional with decades of experience in cultural and community-based nonprofit management. From 1981 through 1995, he worked at Philadelphia's Painted Bride Art Center, first conducting a capital campaign, then creating an extensive network of community-based arts and educational collaborations. He served as the first Director of Development for Liberty Resources, a consumer-run organization, which advocates for the rights of people with disabilities. He has served on the Boards of Directors of the Community Education Center and Point Breeze Performing Arts Center.

He lived in Philadelphia with his wife, poet and educator Julia Blumenreich and their daughter Willa. Gil Ott died in 2004.

The papers of Gil Ott at the University of Pennsylvania Library consist of his correspondence, as well as his personal writings. Also included are Ott's submissions, journal/notebooks, press clippings and even an audio tape of Ott telling stories. The papers also comprise Ott's grant and financial records, and his computer files and computer hard-drive.

Purchased from Gil Ott, 2003.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Patricia D. Hopkins
Finding Aid Date
May 2006
Access Restrictions

The bulk of this collection is open for research use, however, use of original audiocassettes in Series II. Writings and 3.5 inch floppy disks, ZIP disks, and internal hard drive in Series V. Computer media and files is restricted. The computer files originally stored on the 3.5 inch floppy disks and internal hard drive have been processed and are available for research use (see items described as "Digital Content (Reading Room Access Only)" along the right-hand side in the Collection Inventory). These computer files are reading-room access only on a dedicated computer in the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library. 

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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Physical Description

1 box

Barr, Tina, 1984, 1988.
Box 1 Folder 1
Berrigan, Daniel, 1985.
Box 1 Folder 2
Blegvad, Peter, 2000.
Box 1 Folder 3
Carpenter, Deborah, 1986.
Box 1 Folder 4
Chace, Joel, 2001-2002.
Box 1 Folder 5
Chapman, Lee , 2001-2002.
Box 1 Folder 6
Chicago Review , 2000-2001.
Box 1 Folder 7
Confrontation , 1986.
Box 1 Folder 8
Conjunctions , 1987.
Box 1 Folder 9
Conrad, CA, 2002.
Box 1 Folder 10
Cooper, Sheila M., 1986.
Box 1 Folder 11
Cory, Jim, 1984.
Box 1 Folder 12
Furniture–Press, undated.
Box 1 Folder 13
Goldberg, William B., 1982-1985.
Box 1 Folder 14
Gontarek, Leonard, 2001.
Box 1 Folder 15
Harrison, Bob, 1993.
Box 1 Folder 16
Hickman, Leland, 1987.
Box 1 Folder 17
Hollowell, Andrea, 1990.
Box 1 Folder 18
Hunt, Carol, 2002.
Box 1 Folder 19
Irizarry, Johnny, 1993.
Box 1 Folder 20
John C. Anderson Cultural Center, 1989.
Box 1 Folder 21
Johnson, Gretchen, 1988.
Box 1 Folder 22
Kelly Writers House , 2000-2003.
Box 1 Folder 23
Landreau, John and Grasmuck, Sherri, 1985.
Box 1 Folder 24
Lichty, Wemara, 1982.
Box 1 Folder 25
McCreary, Chris, 2001-2003.
Box 1 Folder 26
Noughton, Tim , 1988.
Box 1 Folder 27
Ott, Allen E., 1982, 1997.
Box 1 Folder 28
Ott, Christopher Allen, 2002.
Box 1 Folder 29
Ott, Gil, 1992, 2002-2003.
Box 1 Folder 30-31
Panoply , 1988.
Box 1 Folder 32
Parkhurst, Elizabeth Medrano, 1985, 1989.
Box 1 Folder 33
Peditto, Chris, 1985-1986.
Box 1 Folder 34
Perloff, Leonard J., 1988.
Box 1 Folder 35
Potter, Kathleen, 1985-1986.
Box 1 Folder 36
Rendell, Edward G., 1992.
Box 1 Folder 37
Rinella, Vincent, 2000-2003.
Box 1 Folder 38-39
Ross, Joe, 1993, 1995, 1999-2000.
Box 1 Folder 40
Ryan, Michael, 2003.
Box 1 Folder 41
Sherman, Lawrence H., 1992.
Box 1 Folder 42
Singer, Alan, 2002.
Box 1 Folder 43
Stockton, Rush Bartol Foundation, 1989.
Box 1 Folder 44
Sulfur, 1986.
Box 1 Folder 45
U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons , 1988.
Box 1 Folder 46
University of the Arts , 1989.
Box 1 Folder 47
Untitled, undated.
Box 1 Folder 48
Vellutini, Nancy A., 1982.
Box 1 Folder 49
General (chronological) – unidentified correspondence , 1981-2001, undated.
Box 1 Folder 50-52

Physical Description

17 folders

Ott, Gil, 1988, 1990-1991, 1998-2002, undated.
Box 2 Folder 53-55
Ott, Gil, 1987-1988, 2002.
Box 2 Folder 56-58
Ott, Gil, undated.
Box 2 Folder 59-65
Ott, Gil, undated.
Box 3 Folder 66-67
Ott, Gil, 2001.
Box 3 Folder 68
Ott, Gil – Stories [RESTRICTED], undated.
Box 3 Folder 69

Physical Description

4 folders

National Endowment for the Arts, 2002-2003.
Box 3 Folder 70
Pennsylvania Council on the Arts 2001-2003, 2001-2003.
Box 3 Folder 71-72
Pew Charitable Trust, 2001.
Box 3 Folder 73

Physical Description

7 folders

AIM Premier Equity Fund, 2002-2003.
Box 3 Folder 74
Ariel Mutual Funds, 2002-2003.
Box 3 Folder 75
Energy Cooperative Association of Pennsylvania, 1998-1999.
Box 3 Folder 76
Pennsylvania State Employee Credit Union, 1988-1990.
Box 3 Folder 77
Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund, 2001-2003.
Box 3 Folder 78-79
Wachovia Securities, 1999, 2002.
Box 3 Folder 80

Physical Description

4 folders

3.5 inch floppy disks (5 disks) [RESTRICTED], 1998-2002.
Box 3 Folder 81-82
Contents of 3.5 inch floppy disks: Singing Horse administrative documentation, poems, and related material (2.3 megabytes), 1994-2003.
Digital Content (Reading Room Access Only) pusp-0610-001
ZIP disks (2 disks) [RESTRICTED].
Box 4 Folder 83
Internal hard drive (1 drive) [RESTRICTED] .
Box 4 Folder 84
Contents of internal hard drive: Singing Horse administrative documentation, poems, and related material (538.3 megabytes), 1996-2006.
Digital Content (Reading Room Access Only) pusp-0610-002

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