Scope and arrangement
The Reginald Gay collection of Taylor Mead and related materials primarily consists of materials by or about Mead, although the collection also includes materials on two other individuals, Ron Rice and Ben Vaultier. The collection is arranged in two main groupings: Taylor Mead materials and Other materials. The Taylor Mead materials document Mead's contributions to twentieth century American culture, particularly the Beat poetry scene and independent film movement, through published and unpublished writings and ephemera. The bulk of the collection consists of a carbon copy of Mead's unabridged, unpublished manuscript, Diaries of a New York Youth. Other writings in the collection include two notebooks, which reveal Mead's thoughts and development of themes later seen in his published writing; Son of Andy Warhol (1986); and a folder of miscellaneous writings (1941-1989), including a fairy tale Mead wrote and illustrated expressly for the collector, Reginald Gay.
Also a painter, exhibition catalogs document gallery shows of Mead's artwork from 1962 to 1984 as well as other exhibits that featured photographs of Mead or his writing. Ephemera in the collection provides an authentic look and feel for the Beat generation, including fliers for poetry readings and performances; interviews that document Mead's views on the Vietnam War, politics, sexuality, and culture; magazine articles about Mead and his contemporaries; photographs (including one of Mead with Alan Ginsberg); playbills; posters; and press clippings. Playbills for Mead's genre of experimental theater do not look like their mainstream Broadway counterparts, but convey the same essential content about staged theatrical works on card stock, single sheets of paper, and mimeographed, stapled programs. Press clippings include reviews of Mead's performances; some reviews from European performances are in Italian and German. One particularly notable review is an English translation of an article about Mead by the celebrated Italian novelist Alberto Moravia.
In Other materials, documents created by Ron Rice (1935-1964), a San Francisco filmmaker and collaborator of Mead, include an exchange of letters between Rice and Mead disputing the final edit of The Flower Thief. Additional materials by Rice mainly pertain to film production and Rice's applications for grants and funding. The collection also contains a subject file on Fluxus artist Ben Vaultier (b. 1935).
Books, manuscripts, video, and sound recordings held throughout The New York Public Library can be found by conducting an author search and keyword search for "Mead, Taylor" in the catalog (www.nypl.org/catalog). Additional materials related to Ron Rice can be found in the Jerome Robbins Dance Division by conducting an author search for "Rice, Ron."
The collection is arranged in two groupings: Taylor Mead materials and Other materials. Materials are arranged alphabetically within each grouping.