Scope and arrangement
The bulk of the records (1971-1986) consists of correspondence and collateral papers. There are also a few receipts, bills paid, zinc plates, and miscellaneous and oversize documents. The correspondence is mainly that of Steve Miller with authors and artists published by the press, and with papermakers, printers, booksellers and others associated with the work of private presses. The correspondence relates to the technical details of editing, proofing, printing and publishing, but also contains matter of a personal and social nature reflecting the warm and intimate relationship established between the press and its authors and artists. Present is some personal and family correspondence of Steve Miller and typescripts of his poems. The collateral papers include authors' typescripts of poems and prose fiction, galley proofs, page proofs, repro proofs, engravers' proofs, broadsides, planning sheets, lay-out sheets, mock-ups, drawings, designs, printers' notes and cost analyses. There are also photographs of authors, press personnel and associates and copies of publications of other presses. Correspondents include Robert Bly, Paul Bowles, William Bronk, William S. Burroughs, Guy Davenport, Russell Edson, Clayton Eshleman, Charles Henri Ford, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg, William Goyen, Walter Hamady, Edouard Roditi, Ned Rorem, Gabriel Rummonds, and Diane Wakoski. There is a significant amount of material (filed in Box 3) pertaining to the collaborative production with Random House of Faulkner's Father Abraham.
The Red Ozier Press records are arranged in eight series:
This series consists of records for publications bearing the Red Ozier Press imprint. Each publication has its own folder or series of folders, with oversize items filed separately. Within a series of folders, items generally maintain their original order and foldering, though bulky files have been subdivided as necessary; still the internal "order" is largely random.
The records include incoming correspondence from authors; a small amount of outgoing correspondence, primarily from Steve Miller; authors' typescripts; correspondence from papermakers, bookbinders, and artists commissioned to illustrate Red Ozier Press publications; galley, corrected, page, repro, and engravers' proofs; paste-ups; layout sheets; notes, paper and binding samples; press overrun sheets; prospectuses; and some correspondence and invoices pertaining to book sales. Some original artwork is also included, though most was evidently retained by the artists. For those Red Ozier Press books which were later republished in trade editions, the files contain correspondence with the trade publishers and miscellaneous production materials. Some files contain photographs of authors' visits to the Red Ozier Press establishment and various receptions and publication parties. The zinc blocks used for printing the illustrations to Red Ozier Press books have been placed in Series 5. Although a few copies of Red Ozier Press books, complete as published, remain in the archive, almost all have been removed and cataloged for the Rare Book Division.
The documentation provided for each Red Ozier Press publication varies significantly but generally is quite extensive. However, a few publications have no documentation whatever. Records are fullest for those works which were reprinted in trade editions, were technically more complex to produce, required greater financial resources, or involved greater collaborative efforts with author, artist, and binder. By far the largest group of records is that for William Faulkner's Father Abraham, produced in cooperation with the New York Public Library and later published in a trade edition by Random House.
Although the bulk of the records relates directly to the printing of each work, much of the correspondence is more wide-ranging. For those authors who formed particularly strong and enduring friendships with Steve Miller and Ken Botnick - e. g., Robert Bly, Guy Davenport, Clayton Eshleman, Charles Henri Ford, Edouard Roditi, and Diane Wakoski - the correspondence reveals much about their lives and literary art. Likewise, the records paint a particularly vivid and detailed portrait of Steve Miller, while Ken Botnick remains less well defined. Also included here are ephemera and correspondence relating to numerous poetry readings sponsored by the Red Ozier Press, as well as correspondence and some typescript manuscripts for publication projects contemplated but never undertaken.
Miller and Botnick also supervised the printing of several other works undertaken as projects by their letterpress printing students. Records for these publications, which do not bear the Red Ozier imprint, are found in Series 4.
The correspondence is almost exclusively incoming, though photocopies or computer printouts of some outgoing correspondence are present. Included in this series is correspondence from booksellers and standing order customers pertaining to the purchase and marketing of Red Ozier Press publications; correspondence with authors whose work the Red Ozier Press declined to publish, along with the rejected manuscripts; correspondence with artists, papermakers, and binders relating to their possible work for the Press (almost all such correspondence pertaining to completed publications will be found in Series 1); and correspondence relating to Steve Miller's and Ken Botnick's participation in various book arts activities. Of particular note are letters from Walter Hamady (Miller's mentor at the University of Wisconsin), Gabriel Rummonds (proprietor of the Plain Wrapper Press and Miller's predecessor as head of the Book Arts Program at the University of Alabama), and grant applications (with much useful biographical information on Miller) submitted to the Wisconsin Arts Board. Correspondence within each folder is unarranged.
Included are invoices and payment vouchers for, and some correspondence relating to, Red Ozier Press publications sold to standing order customers, libraries, and booksellers; and miscellaneous receipts for expenses (supplies, postage, travel, etc.) incurred by the Red Ozier Press. Also included are some ledger sheets from the Press's sales journal (1976-1984). The invoices and receipts are sorted by year but not further arranged. Many additional invoices for Red Ozier Press publications, particularly for 1981-1985, will be found in Series 1 and 2: folders for particular Red Ozier Press publications in Series 1 often include some invoices for sales of copies of that publication; and many of the folders in Series 2 contain invoices and correspondence concerning standing orders. Likewise, a few additional bills and receipts for expenses incurred during the printing of various Red Ozier Press publications will be found in Series 1.
Unfortunately, no summary business records are included in the archive. Hence, researchers will find it very difficult to reconstruct a list of standing order customers or an accurate picture of the Press's financial condition.
This series consists of records of various letterpress printing workshops and classes taught by Steve Miller or Ken Botnick for the Center for Book Arts, New School for Social Research, and South Street Seaport Museum (all of New York City), and the University of Alabama's 1982 Book Arts Institute. The files include some administrative correspondence and personal correspondence from students, copies of promotional brochures, class lists, etc. The bulk of the material, however, consists of production records for the pamphlets printed by each class: notes, proofs, layouts, paper and binding samples, typescript manuscripts, and correspondence with authors. Since these publications do not bear the Red Ozier Press imprint, they have been placed in a separate series rather than in Series 1. Much of the work for William Faulkner's Father Abraham (1983) was also done by workshop students; but because it was published under the Red Ozier imprint, records for this publication will be found in Series 1.
The original blocks used for printing the illustrations for Red Ozier Press publications.
The correspondence consists primarily of letters addressed to Ken Botnick in his capacity as proprietor of the Bedouin Press. Also included is a folder of correspondence, notes, proofs, and extra sheets for The delights of the door: a poem by Francis Ponge translated by Robert Bly (New York: Bedouin Press, ).
Miscellaneous personal papers of Steve Miller. Included are his address book; appointment book and wall calendar listing engagements for 1981 and 1983 respectively; and miscellaneous photographs of family and friends. The writings consist almost exclusively of typescripts of Miller's poems, ca. 1976-1979, written during his years in Madison, WI. The correspondence, almost entirely incoming and not yet arranged, is primarily from Miller's parents, siblings, and friends from his Wisconsin days. Correspondence pertaining to the Red Ozier Press will be found in Series 1 and 2. One folder of restricted correspondence, closed until the year 2025, is filed in Box 12.