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Telegraph Books collection


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

Telegraph Books (circa 1970-1972) was a publishing company founded by Victor Bockris, a poet, editor, and biographer of artists, authors, and musicians, poet Aram Saroyan, and literary agent Andrew Wylie. The company published poetry and prose and is heralded for having published some of Patti Smith's early work, Seventh Heaven and Kodak being two shining examples.

Born in Sussex, England in 1949, Bockris and his parents moved to Philadelphia when he was four years old. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1971. During his tenure at the university, he founded Telegraph Books. In a relatively short period of time, the company saw publications by writers of poetry and prose including Tom Clark, Gerard Malanga, and fellow Philadelphian "Godmother of Punk," Patti Smith, in addition to work by Bockris, Saroyan, and Wylie.

Telegraph Books appears to have been in production from around 1970 to 1972. In 1973, Bockris and Wylie moved to New York City to focus on larger biographical writing projects on such luminaries as Lou Reed (and the Velvet Underground), Andy Warhol, Keith Richards, William S. Burroughs, Terry Southern, Blondie, Patti Smith, and Muhammad Ali.

The Telegraph Books collection, dating from 1970 through 1972, documents the activities and functions of Telegraph Books publications in addition to the activities of Victor Bockris, Aram Saroyan, and Andrew Wylie. The collection includes audio recordings of interviews and conversations with colleagues and workshop materials. The bulk of the collection is comprised of Telegraph Books publications and related materials, arranged by author. The related materials for these publications generally include correspondence between the author and Bockris, drafts, mock-ups, photographs, sketches, and published copies of the work. There are also a number of audiocassettes that contain interviews and conversations between Bockris and many of the authors published by Telegraph Books conducted between 1970 and the end of 1972. This audio content may enhance the contextual environment surrounding the publications, undoubtedly delving into the personal relationships between Bockris and his colleagues.

The collection also contains incoming and outgoing correspondence with regard to the distribution and publicity of Telegraph Books publications and readings between Bockris and poets, booksellers, publishers, distributors, and poetry societies, as well as examples of publicity materials such as broadsheets, photographs, and newspapers.

Finally, the collection includes some materials from the Mignon Poetry Workshop, led by Bockris, in a school setting for 5th and 6th grade students. In these records, it is evident that Bockris led the students through the assembly of publications from start to finish, having the students write, compile, and print poetic work.

Taken as a whole, this collection provides researchers with an insight into the activities of Victor Bockris with particular regard for his work as a publishing agent for poets during the early 1970s in the Philadelphia and New York area.

Purchased from Victor Bockris in 1972.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Samuel Sfirri
Finding Aid Date
2014 June 18
Access Restrictions

The bulk of this collection is open for research use; however, access to original audio/visual materials and computer files is restricted. The Kislak Center will provide access to the information on these materials from duplicate master files. If the original does not already have a copy, it will be sent to an outside vendor for copying. Patrons are financially responsible for the cost. The turnaround time from request to delivery of digital items is about two weeks for up to five items and three to seven weeks for more than five items. Please contact Reprographic Services ( for cost estimates and ordering. Once digital items are received, researchers will have access to the files on a dedicated computer in the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center. Researchers should be aware of specifics of copyright law and act accordingly.

If interested in seeing the hand-painted sign, please ask for help from reference staff.

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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Berrigan, Ted; Clark, Tom; Padgett, Ron (and Saroyan, Aram): Back in Boston Again, drafts and published work, correspondence, circa 1972.
Box 1 Folder 1
Bluford, Kenneth: Correspondence and poems, 1970-1972.
Box 1 Folder 2
Bockris, Victor: Interview, circa 1970-1972.
Box 4 Item 1
Bockris, Victor: Publication and poem, circa 1972.
Box 1 Folder 3
Bockris, Victor: 3-inch magnetic tape recording [RESTRICTED], undated.
Box 4 Reel 1
Harwood, Lee: Correspondence and poems, 1970-1972.
Box 1 Folder 4
Harwood, Lee: Interview, circa 1970-1972.
Box 4 Item 2
Malanga, Gerard: Poetry on Film, mock-ups, published works, correspondence, 1970-1972.
Box 1 Folder 5
Montgomery, Stuart: Interview, circa 1970-1972.
Box 4 Item 3
Pickard, Connie; Butler, Bill; Bockris, Victor; Pickard, Tom: Conversation, 1972 July 19.
Box 4 Item 4
Polk, Brigid: Scars, published volumes, correspondence, 1972.
Box 1 Folder 6
Polk, Brigid: Scars, mock-up, 1972.
Drawer 50 Oversize 7
Saroyan, Aram: Interview by Victor Bockris, drafts and publications, correspondence, 1971-1972.
Box 1 Folder 7
Saroyan, Aram: Interview 1, circa 1970-1972.
Box 4 Item 5
Saroyan, Aram: Interview 2, circa 1970-1972.
Box 4 Item 6
Saroyan, Aram: The Rest, mock-up, 1971.
Box 1 Folder 8
Saroyan, Aram: The Rest, publications, 1971.
Box 2 Folder 1
Schjeldahl, Peter: Interview, 1972 September 14.
Box 4 Item 7
Smith, Patti and Hamill, Janet: Interviews, 1972 August 15.
Box 4 Item 8
Smith, Patti: Seventh Heaven, mock-up, contract, notes, photographs, article, magazine, circa 1972.
Box 2 Folder 2
Weatherly, Tom: Thumbprint, mock-up, draft, publications, correspondence, 1971.
Box 2 Folder 3
Wieners, John: Essay drafts, interview, circa 1970.
Box 2 Folder 4
Wylie, Andrew: Interview, 1970 November 30.
Box 4 Item 9
Wylie, Andrew: Interview by Victor Bockris, drafts and publications, circa 1970-1971.
Box 2 Folder 5
Wylie, Andrew: Correspondence, poems, circa 1970-1972.
Box 2 Folder 6
Wylie, Andrew: Special Issue, publications and poems, circa 1970-1972.
Box 2 Folder 7
Wylie, Andrew: Tenderloin, mock-up, publications, circa 1971.
Box 3 Folder 1
Wylie, Andrew: Reading of Tenderloin, audiotape ("C-Slot" reel, 7-inch) [RESTRICTED], 1971-1972.
Box 3 Folder 2
(unmarked audiocassette) [RESTRICTED], undated.
Box 4 Item 10

Correspondence: Letters from Telegraph Books/Victor Bockris, circa 1971.
Box 3 Folder 3
Correspondence: Letters to Telegraph Books/Victor Bockris from American poets, booksellers, and publishers, 1971-1972.
Box 3 Folder 4
Correspondence: Letters to Telegraph Books/Victor Bockris from British publisers, distributors, poetry societies, 1970-1972.
Box 3 Folder 5
Photographs, contact sheets, and negatives: by Aram Saroyan and Gerard Malanga of Victor Bockris, Andrew Wylie, Patti Smith, Robert Mapplethorpe, and others, circa 1972.
Box 3 Folder 6
Telegraph Books: Publicity and ephemera, circa 1972.
Box 3 Folder 7
Telegraph Books hand-painted sign, circa 1970-1972.
"Great Incredible Poetry Marathon Bonanza!", 1971.
Drawer 50 Oversize 1
Artaud/Andrew Wylie: Broadsheet for Tenderloin (5 copies), 1971.
Drawer 50 Oversize 2-6

Chaos, A magazine of poetry, edited by Bockris, circa 1970-1972.
Box 3 Folder 8
Little Sculptures notebook and drafts of poetry, circa 1970-1972.
Box 3 Folder 9
Notebook by Gail Landes, circa 1970-1972.
Box 3 Folder 10
Poetry drafts by 5th and 6th graders, circa 1970-1972.
Box 3 Folder 11
Poetry drafts on Ezra Pound, circa 1970-1972.
Box 3 Folder 12

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