Main content

John Sinclair Guitar Army manuscript


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. 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

John Sinclair was born and raised in Davison, near Flint, Michigan. He attended Albion College from 1959-1961 and completed his B.A. in English at the University of Michigan, Flint College in 1964. He was the founder of the Detroit Artist's Workshop, the editor of

Work and CHANGE magazines, an author and poet, and the founder of LEMAR, an effort to obtain legalization of marijuana. In addition, Sinclair was the manager of the musical group MC-5, co-founder of the White Panther Party (later known as the Rainbow People's Party), and the founder of Trans-Love Energies, a "multi-media commune to promote a new form of cooperative living based on freedom, mutual trust, and love."

In July 1969, Sinclair was sentenced to 9 1/2 to 10 years for possession of two marijuana cigarettes, a judgment that brought widespread opposition to his personal conviction and the general penalties of drug laws. The Committee to Free John Sinclair publicized Sinclair's identity as a "new-movement revolutionary leader" and protested the fairness of his conviction by asking, "Was John Sinclair jailed for what he did or for what he represents?". While in prison, John Sinclair wrote

Guitar Army (Douglas/World Book) and published a collection of writings entitled Music and Politics (World, 1971). On December 10, 1971, John Lennon and Yoko Ono headlined a Free John Now Rally in Ann Arbor, and just three days later, the Michigan Supreme Court released Sinclair and overturned his conviction.

The John and Leni Sinclair Papers, 1957-1999 [finding aid]. Bently Historical Library, University of Michigan. Retrieved November 2005 from biographical information derived from the collection.

In addition to the carbon typescript of Sinclair's

Guitar Army, the collection includes the original typewriter-bond box that housed the manuscript and ephemera related to the Free John Sinclair movement. Included is a brochure distributed by the Committee to Free John Sinclair entitled "The 10 year sentence of John Sinclair," a "Free John Now!" petition postcard pre-addressed for delivery to Governor William Milliken, and a blank sheet of letterhead for the Rainbow People's Party Legal Defense Fund.

Box 1: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript boxes

Purchase, August 2005

Processed by Karalee Kopreski, November 2005. Encoded by Jaime Margalotti, June 2021.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2021 June 15
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

"The 10 year sentence of John Sinclair." Detroit: Committee to Free John Sinclair, undated.
Box 1 Folder F1
Scope and Contents

tri-fold brochure

"Free John Now!" petition postcard addressed to Michigan Governor William Milliken, undated.
Box 1 Folder F1
Blank letterhead for the Rainbow People's Party, Legal Defense Fund, Ann Arbor, Michigan, undated.
Box 1 Folder F1
Scope and Contents

Bears slogan "Legalize Marijuana!"

Scope and Contents

Carbon typescript with autograph corrections and inserted sheet noting "missing pages," in Sinclair's hand. Manuscript table of contents includes four sections.

I. preview.
Box 1 Folder F2
II. Street Writings 1968-1969.
Box 1 Folder F3
Scope and Contents

Missing pages 26-32

III. Prison Writings 1969-1971.
Box 1 Folder F4
Scope and Contents

Missing #24 "We've Really Just Started to Move" approximately 5 pages

IV. Appendix.
Box 1 Folder F5
"Guitar Army Manuscript" box.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Eaton's Corrasable Bond [typewriter paper box]. The box bears the manuscript title and John Sinclair's name and prisoner identification number, in Sinclair's hand.

Print, Suggest