ca. 108 linear feet (81 boxes).
Organized in 5 series: I. Correspondence. II. Works. III. Books. IV. Personal. V. Pattern poetry.
Papers collected or generated by Higgins, documenting his involvement with Fluxus and Happenings art movements, pattern and concrete poetry; new music, and small press publishing from 1972 to 1994, with some letters dated as early as 1960 -- Correspondence primarily consists of carbons of Higgins' letters, with many responses and, in some cases, extensive exchanges with Fluxus, Mail Art and Art and Language artists, Concrete and Sound poets, New Music composers, and Small Press publishers and poets; also includes art pieces and manuscripts by these correspondents. Also, a substantial quantity of Higgins' published works in original manuscript form, some with annotations and correspondence; works rejected by Higgins; production material on 26 of Higgins' 45 published books from Something Else Press, Printed Editions and elsewhere; books by four other authors; and one killed project. The collection also has a small quantity of miscellaneous personal papers and extensive research and correspondence files accumulated by Higgins for his book Pattern poetry: Guide to an unknown literature (1987).
Series I, Correspondence (57 lin. ft.): Letters filed alphabetically by correspondent, as well as printed ephemera, mail art, manuscripts, performance instructions, compositions, artists' books, drawings, and photographs of individuals, performances, and art work. Notable correspondents include: Eric Andersen, Mats B., Jerry Benjamin, Don Boyd, George Brecht, John Cage, Geoffrey Cook, Michael Cooper, Philip Corner, Robert Filliou, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Peter Frank, Ken Friedman, Ana Hatherly, Geoffrey Hendricks, Ray Johnson, Karl Kempton, Bengt Af Klintberg, Alison Knowles, Richard Kostelanetz, Jackson Mac Low, Dietrich Mahlow, Steve McCaffery, Thomas Mew, Robert Moran, Michael Morris, Charlie Morrow, Maurizio Nannucci, Opal Nations, Pauline Oliveros, Knud Pedersen, Robert Peters, Michael Joseph Phillips, Harry Polkinhorn, Bern Porter, Piotr Rypson, Sarenco, Hanns Sohm, Gábor Tóth, Ben Vautier, Wolf Vostell, Emmett Williams, Eugene Williams, and Jonathan Williams. Material and correspondence for performances (often referred to as "gigs") is generally filed alphabetically by city or institution.
Series II, Works (7.5 lin. ft.): Manuscripts of poetry, essays and music compositions by Higgins, as well as some correspondence with editors and foul matter, arranged alphabetically by title. The manuscripts are accompanied by notes regarding where Higgins submitted them for publication and where published. About 10% of the manuscripts have several versions and notes regarding composition. In some cases, Series III should be consulted for other manuscript versions and full production material. Rejected manuscripts (Box 41) are works Higgins thought unworthy of publication; many of these files contain rewrites illustrating his attempt to correct or salvage the work. Also, two personal journals (1966 and 1973) that include notes and versions for poems and other works.
Series III, Books (28 lin. ft.): Production material in the form of correspondence; manuscripts; proofs; galleys; repros; dummies; drawings; photographs and negatives for illustrations (especially for Of celebration of morning and Variations on a natural theme); and jacket and cover designs. Organized chronologically by publication date. Most notably documented are: Of celebration of morning (1980); Pattern poetry: Guide to an unknown literature (1987); and the translation of Giordano Bruno's On the composition of images, signs and ideas (1591, 1991). Series II should be consulted for other versions of manuscripts as well as some production material. Series III also contains financial papers relating to Something Else Press (1972-1974) and Printed Editions.
Series IV, Personal (1.5 lin. ft.): Miscellaneous personal items such as telephone logs, calendars, and correspondence about the John W. Higgins Trust and Higgins' financial portfolio.
Series V, Pattern poetry (16.5 lin. ft.): Research and study materials accumulated by Higgins in preparation for his book Pattern poetry: Guide to an unknown literature, a checklist and bibliography of pattern poems before 1900. Divided into two subseries: VA. Research materials. VB. Correspondence. (See Series III for book production material).
Series V.A, Research materials: Mostly photocopies of monographs and articles by pattern poets and scholars, with some annotations, bibliographic and otherwise, by Higgins and colleagues. Also contains: photos, transparencies and photocopies of text reproductions with coordinating captions; some correspondence about pattern poetry searches; microfilm and permissions requests; and index cards used by Higgins for bibliographic notations. Organization follows closely that of the book, which is by language. Separate poet/author files exist for those with substantial material, filed alphabetically within language. Consult Appendix A of the finding aid for a list of microfilm reels which Higgins acquired from various libraries and institutions.
Series V.B, Correspondence: Correspondence between Higgins and scholars, filed alphabetically by correspondent. Types of letters include inquiries, search status reports, theoretical descriptions, and dialogues about pattern poems. Notable correspondents are: Jeremy Adler, Ulrich Ernst, Ana Hatherly, Piotr Rypson. The bulk of the correspondence is from 1983-1987, when Higgins intensively conducted his research and book production activities. Post-1987 materials usually refer to loose ends and poems later discovered which were thought to be of interest to Higgins and others. (See also Series I for more correspondence relating to pattern poetry.)..
American artist, poet, writer, publisher, composer, and educator.
Open for use by qualified researchers.
Finding aid available in the repository: folder level control.