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Ted Wilentz, Diane di Prima and Barbara Guest Correspondence Collection

Identifier: 03-01-exws_wilentz-diprima

Scope and Contents

One archival box (0.5 linear feet) containing correspondence addressed to Ted Wilentz from Diane di Prima and Barbara Guest. The first seven folders contain handwritten letters, postcards, greeting cards and a wedding invitation from Diane di Prima. The remaining nineteen folders consist mostly of handwritten letters and one typed letter addressed to Wilentz from Guest.


  • Creation: 1967-1991


Physical Access Requirements

WMU Special Collections. Non-circulating. Contact department for access.

Ted Wilentz Biography

Ted (Theodore) Wilentz (1915-2001) was born in the Bronx, New York and died in Chevy Chase, Maryland. He was a well known bookseller and businessman, as well as an editor and author. After serving in the US Army during the Second World War, he spent most of his career in the New York area until he retired in Maryland, in 1979. He and his brother Eli owned the famous Eighth Street Bookshop in New York, which became known as a center for poets, writers and other intellectuals in the 1950s and 1960s. Early patrons included W.H. Auden, e.e. cummings, Marianne Moore, Delmore Schwartz and later Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and Gregory Corso. Wilentz and his brother Eli also founded the Corinth Books publishing house in 1959. He established relationship with many notable poets and writers over the course of his career.

Barbara Guest Biography

Barbara Guest (1920-2006) was born in Wilmington, North Carolina and died in Berkeley, California. She attended University of California at both Los Angeles and Berkeley, where she graduated in 1943. In her early career, she was associated with the New York School, a group of poets that included John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, Frank O'Hara and James Schuyler. During the 1950s, she wrote for Art News magazine and wrote art reviews for many other art magazines. She published numerous collections of poetry, including Red Gaze (2005), Miniatures and Other Poems (2002), and Symbiosis (1999). She was the recipient of the Robert Frost Medal of Distinguished Lifetime Achievement, the Longwood Award, a San Francisco State award for poetry, the Lawrence Lipton Award for Literature, the Columbia Book Award, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Diane di Prima Biography

Diane di Prima (1934-) was born in Brooklyn, New York. She is a poet, editor and educator currently based in San Francisco. She has published over twenty volumes of poetry, appears in several anthologies, has written plays, fiction, translated Latin poetry and during the 1960s served as a co-editor of Floating Bear magazine and Signal Magazine. After moving to San Francisco, she studied with the famous Zen Buddhist teacher Shunryu Suzuki-roshi. She is considered to be the most important female poet to come out of the Beat generation.


1 boxes

Language of Materials



Correspondence received by bookseller Ted (Theodore) Wilentz from the poets Diane di Prima and Barbara Guest between the late 1960s and late 1990s.

Inventory of the Ted Wilentz, Diane di Prima and Barbara Guest Correspondence Collection Finding Aid
Avery Cook
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Western Michigan University Special Collections Repository

Western Michigan University Libraries, Special Collections
Zhang Legacy Collections Center
1650 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5307 US
(269) 387-8490