[GOLDEN GOOSE PRESS]. The complete extant archive of the Golden Goose Press, in which was discovered Neal Cassady’s groundbreaking “Joan Anderson Letter.” Sausalito, California, 1950s-60s. Together nearly 200 pamphlets, letters, pieces of ephemera, and related material. A complete list is available on request.
THE ARCHIVE OF ONE THE PRIME PUBLISHERS OF THE 1950S AVANT GARDE AND COUNTERCULTURE
Founded by poet/publisher Richard Wirtz Emerson and Frederick Eckman in Columbus, Ohio in the late 1940s, Golden Goose Press moved to Sausalito, California in the 1950s and quickly developed a roster of some of the best poets of the day. Eckman phased himself out after the move until officially releasing his half of the company over to his friend Emerson so that the latter would have full ownership. Contributors included William Carlos Williams, E.E. Cummings, Kenneth Rexroth, Robert Penn Warren, and Ezra Pound. Emerson also built a valuable library of recordings of poets, and among his earliest subjects was Gerd Stern who wrote about Emerson in his From Beat Scene Poet to Psychedelic Multimedia Artist in San Francisco and Beyond, 1948-1978. Stern and Emerson expanded their relationships with the younger generation of poets that included Allen Ginsberg, Denise Levertov, Robert Creeley, Larry Eigner, Theodore Enslin, Lorine Niedecker, and Irving Layton.
The press ceased operating sometime in 1954-55, but Emerson brought all that remained of the Golden Goose press with him when he moved his audio recording business from Sausalito to an office at 40 Gold Street in San Francisco in the late 50s. The press’s archive of publications, pamphlets, unread submissions, and correspondence was given to Jack Spinosa, who was sharing the office space with Emerson and expressed disapproval when he found Emerson relinquishing the files to the dumpster. Spinosa preserved but never studied the archive, and so not only neglected to rediscover Neal Cassady’s “Joan Anderson Letter” (see previous lot), but a wealth of material that reveals the close relationships forged by members of the Beat, Black Mountain and San Francisco Renaissance writers. More than 70 poets are represented in postcards, letters and notes; pamphlets and publications; proof bindings and original artwork by Press artist Patricia Northway Harris. And as with Cassady’s “Joan Anderson Letter,” the appearance of such an archive – at once historical, literary, and intimate – provides a virtually unique opportunity at auction. This unstudied archive, preserved whole and untrammeled, humbly held one of the most important literary epistles of the Post War period, and remains a pure encapsulation of the universe of ideas, beliefs, and creations of the American avant garde.