Scope and arrangement
The Ecco Press Records (1963-2014) contain correspondence, memoranda, typescripts, galleys, page proofs, printed matter, photographs, financial records, and sound recordings that document the founding and day-to-day operations of the press. The records also reflect the career of Daniel Halpern, Ecco's editor-in-chief and co-founder, as a poet, teacher, anthologist, and all-around literary ringleader, as well as the other literary activities, such as the National Poetry Series, run by Halpern out of the offices of the press.
The author files comprise correspondence, typescripts, and other material, and reflect the authors' relationships with the press, its staff, and Halpern. Interoffice communications, located throughout the records as well as in their own series, consist of business and personal notes, letters, and postcards between staff; readers reports; the Press's correspondence with its publisher, Drue Heinz; and Daniel Halpern's daily notes and agendas.
The business and administrative material documents Ecco's efforts to advertise, promote, produce, sell, distribute, ship and store its titles and Antaeus; produce catalogs, organize events and readings, find funding through grant-giving institutions and individuals, control and sell the rights to the work it had published; and nominate its authors for prizes. Other administrative records reflect Ecco's active role in the literary world at large, especially small press publishing. Financial papers and tax returns trace the financial activity and status of the press up to 1993. Records pertaining to Antaeus are integrated throughout the press's records; there are however a few separate administrative and editorial files for the journal.
Typescripts, galleys, and page proofs ("dead matter") document the editorial preparation and progress of Ecco books and almost every issue of Antaeus. Cover letters, rejections, manuscript logs, and manuscripts represent submissions to the press and journal.
Daniel Halpern's papers consist of general and personal correspondence, diaries, writings, topical files, and academic, financial, and real estate papers. They document Halpern's life and career beyond his role at Ecco as a student, traveler, teacher, poet, anthologist, and promoter of poetry. Since Halpern is inextricably tied to Ecco, correspondence and other material concerning his life and career can be found throughout the collection.
Additional materials were processed and integrated into the collection in 2015. The materials and the topics documented in them are essentially an extension of those located elsewhere in the collection. Researchers should consult these materials for a comprehensive understanding of given topics.
The Ecco Press records are arranged in fifteen series:
These files comprise authors' editorial correspondence with Ecco staff, typescripts, third-party correspondence with authors' agents or estates, clippings, material pertaining to the publication of the authors' work, publicity photographs, and correspondence with Halpern on matters not directly related to Ecco business.
Most of the authors represented by the author files are writers or artists who have either been published by Ecco Press or have contributed either to Antaeus or to an anthology edited by Halpern. Most authors have only one file, his or her general file. Others, have a general file, which includes correspondence related to Antaeus, and book files. Book files comprise correspondence with authors, agents, and various third parties regarding editorial matters, readings, royalties, permissions, production, and publicity; editorial notes and queries from editors, copy-editors, and proof readers; drafts of flap jacket and back-cover copy; publicity photos; copyright registration; contracts and agreements; cover art and dust-jacket samples and proofs; clippings; draft fragments; manufacturing cost estimates; instructions to printers; Cataloging in Publication Data; royalty statements; book orders; copies of ads; style sheets; and reprint estimates. The editorial content of the book is kept in its own series (VI. Dead Matter). For other information and material regarding specific titles see also Advertising files (Box 72) and Stephen Morrow's files (Box 74), and Sales and Sales & Distribution records (Box 101-108).
Most of the author correspondence is with Halpern and is not limited to Ecco business. Halpern taught poetry workshops, organized and took part in readings and other literary events, and submitted poetry of his own to journals edited by colleagues. These activities are reflected in the author files, as are some of the authors' other roles in the literary community. (This material is supplemented by Halpern's personal and professional papers.).
The manuscripts, mostly typescript, in the author files might be rough drafts of poems and stories or book length manuscripts. Halpern received manuscripts as submissions to Antaeus or the Ecco Press, as class assignments, as requests for feedback from friends and colleagues, as tokens of appreciation, or as entries in contests he was judging. Typescripts of books eventually published by Ecco can be found in the Dead Matter series.
There are substantial author files for the following figures:
Philip Appleman, Russell Banks, Marvin Bell, Stephen Berg, Paul Bowles, T. Coraghessan Boyle, Raymond Carver, Guy Davenport, Norman Thomas Di Giovanni, Annie Dillard, Alan Dugan, Stephen Dunn, John Engels, Carolyn Forché, Richard Ford, John Fowles, Gary Gildner, Louise Glück, Nadine Gordimer, Jorie Graham, Donald Hall, Robert Hass, Barbara Howes, Laura (Riding) Jackson, Donald Justice, Edmund Keeley, Galway Kinnell, Stanley Kunitz, Philip Levine, Larry Levis, Gordon Lish, Heather McHugh, Sandra McPherson, William Matthews, Robert Mazzocco, W. S. Merwin, Leonard Michaels, Czeslaw Milosz, Joyce Carol Oates, Gregory Orr, Linda Orr, John Peck, Robert Pinsky, Stanley Plumly, David Posner, James Purdy, James Reiss, Edouard Roditi, Leon Rooke, David St. John, Dennis Schmitz, Patricia Shepard, Charles Simic, Josef Škvorecký, Dave Smith, Mark Strand, Brian Swann, James Tate, Chase Twichell, Ellen Voigt, Richard Wilbur, C. K. Williams, Miller Williams, William S. Wilson, Tobias Wolff, Charles Wright.
(P) = includes photograph of author.
While most written communication between staff is spread throughout the collection, this series consists of business and personal notes, letters and postcards between staff; readers reports; Ecco staff's correspondence with Drue Heinz; meeting minutes; general plans for the press's future; lists of procedures for new staff; and Daniel Halpern's daily notes and agendas, a collection of what amounts to a pile of undated notes to himself listing names and phone numbers of people he needed to call. (Additional letters from former staff members can be found in the author files.) The correspondence between Ecco and Heinz (and her assistants) chronicles her relationship to the press. Ecco's weekly memos to Heinz, of which there is a consistent run for 1985, chronicle in detail the day to day activities of the press.
This series consists mostly of letters from publishers, editors, agents, and readers representing, among other things, responses to Halpern's attempts to get Antaeus authors published in other magazines and by book publishers, requests for advice and support from editors of fledgling journals, readers' reactions to an issue of Antaeus or an Ecco book, and thank you notes and Christmas cards sent to the press and its staff. Correspondence regarding more specific operations of the press can be found in the appropriate subseries in Series IV. Business & Administrative files.
Dead matter includes typescripts (corrected and revised drafts); setting copy, which may consist of a typescript, a photocopied and edited earlier published version of the text, or a combination of both; camera or shooting copy (a previously published edition of the book prepared to be shot as is for the Ecco edition); galleys, including author and master galleys (galleys on which corrections from editor, author, copy editor, proofreader etc. are entered); page proofs, sometimes called pages, or proofs; repos or "blues, "; and F and Gs, which are the printed pages of a book folded and gathered but not bound. The further the generation of text is from the typescript the fewer corrections appear: F and Gs usually bear no markings at all, and blues (repos) are usually read for broken type and layout problems rather than for editorial content. This series also contains original art and proofs of art. (See also: Series I. Author Files.) In a very few cases correspondence and interoffice memos accompany this material.
This series comprises cover letters, rejection letters, manuscript logs, and miscellaneous manuscripts. Cover letters (1969-1995) make up the bulk of this series and include letters from writers, agents, and other publishers sometimes accompanied by Ecco's response. Cover letters and typescripts sent to Ecco by authors for which there is an author file should be in his or her file; however, there may be some cover letters sent by these authors or other prominent authors in this series. The Rejections (1986-1988) are a small subset of the cover letters. Each of these letters is accompanied by a typed rejection letter, not a form rejection, from Ecco. This subseries also contains correspondence discussing authors' proposals that were eventually rejected. The manuscript logs cover a short period of time (1985-1986) and track manuscripts submitted to both Antaeus and Ecco. The manuscripts comprise any typescripts not originally filed in a particular context, such as with Ecco Dead Matter, Antaeus Issue Files, or Halpern's own writings. While most of these typescripts are probably rejected submissions, they are not all necessarily unpublished and they were not all necessarily submitted for publication in Antaeus or by Ecco: often writers, friends, and former students would send Halpern manuscripts for comment; Halpern also received manuscripts in the course of his other duties as contest judge, writing instructor, or anthologist.
Daniel Halpern started the National Poetry Series in 1978 with the help of a grant from James Michener. The correspondence, proposals, annual reports, lists of winners, press releases, clippings, and financial reports in this series in part document the N. P. S. and its efforts to increase the amount of poetry published in the United States. However, because the N. P. S. was always run by Halpern out of Ecco's offices and many of the judges were Ecco or Antaeus poets, material relating to the National Poetry Series is spread throughout the collection, especially in the Author Files, Interoffice Communications, Submissions, and Daniel Halpern's General Correspondence.
The items in this series consist of prints and negatives of Daniel Halpern alone and with his family, friends, and colleagues, including Marvin Bell, Mark Strand, Tom Wolfe, and Norman Mailer; several portraits of other writers including Paul Bowles; photographs taken during Halpern's vacations and excursions, including trips to Italy and a camel trip through the Moroccan dessert; a collection of photos on the theme of boxing; and other miscellaneous photos of unidentified people and places. (Publicity photographs of some authors can be found in their author files.).
This series consists of books and periodicals in various forms; most are either bound, uncorrected proofs or are in final published form. Some books are signed or inscribed by their authors. Books published by Ecco and two of Halpern's collections of poetry account for about one half of this series. The other half is made up of books, uncorrected proofs, chapbooks, and journals sent to Halpern by authors, editors, and publishers.
This series is made up of a recording of Paul Bowles' Sonata for Two Pianos, 5 floppy disks, and computer data storage tape most likely containing mailing lists.
This series comprises the oversize material removed from the other series. The bulk consists of the mechanicals and proofs of the cover and jacket art for Ecco books and issues of Antaeus. Samples of book covers (the actual cloth covered boards), tear sheets and mechanicals for ads, photographs used in books and jacket art, and several oversized galley proofs are also included in this series. Posters make up the bulk of the rest of the material.
- 1969-201419 boxes
Additions were processed and integrated into the collection in 2015. Most of the materials and the topics documented here are extensions of those located elsewhere in the collection, such as Antaeus, the National Poetry Series, and other projects and publications produced by Ecco Press and Daniel Halpern. Researchers should consult these files for a complete survey of a given topic. This series contains Correspondence, Ecco Press files, and Daniel Halpern files.
Correspondence documents subjects pertinent to the administrative and editorial aspects of Ecco, as well as Halpern's independent endeavors. Correspondents include authors, editors, rights holders, and other members of the publishing industry. Among the several authors represented are Robert Bly, Gerald Early, Joyce Carol Oates, Stanley Plumly, Louise Glück, John Updike, and Czeslaw Milosz.
Business and financial records for Ecco Press include sales reports, budgets, book cost reports, and fundraising information. The files of the National Poetry Series contain author lists, progress reports, correspondence, timelines, and proposals. Author files primarily contain typescripts of poems or stories, both published and unpublished. Files for Tom Robbins include letters to Halpern accompanied by typescripts of Tibetan Peach Pie (2014).
Daniel Halpern's files contain resumes, headshots, and other biographical materials, such as interview transcripts and book reviews; as well as typescripts and correspondence relating to books written or edited by Halpern. Of particular interest are the author files compiled by Halpern for The American Poetry Anthology (1975). The files contain poem drafts, annotated galleys, and letters from the authors. Among the more substantial files are those for Marvin Bell, Frank Bidart, Louise Glück, and Carolyn Forché. The file for Who Wrote This contains self-portraits and drafts of essays by the book's contributors on "the authorial I."