A Finding Aid to the William Burroughs and Brion Gysin Writings, 1963-1973, 1997, in the Archives of American Art
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.burrwill
Creators:
Gysin, Brion, 1916-1986
Burroughs, William S., 1914-1997
Dates:
1997
1963-1973
Languages:
English
Collection is in English.
Physical Description:
0.4 Linear Feet
Repository:
The writings of American writer William S. Burroughs and British writer Brion Gysin measure 0.4 linear feet and date from 1963 to 1973, and 1997. This collection includes three books of writings by Burroughs and Gysin and one folder of letters from artist David Bradshaw to art collectors Stanley and Elyse Grinstein about William Burroughs.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The writings of American writer William S. Burroughs and British writer Brion Gysin measure 0.4 linear feet and date from 1963 to 1973, and 1997. This collection includes three books of writings by Burroughs and Gysin and one folder of letters from artist David Bradshaw to art collectors Stanley and Elyse Grinstein about William Burroughs.
The three books of writings by William Burroughs and Brion Gysin use a "cut-up technique" of diaristic writings. Drawings, clippings, photos, and other items are pasted onto the pages throughout the books. Two of the books were created in agenda books and the third was created in a Les Goelands notebook. The third book has been identified as "John Brady's book," after a friend of Burroughs. There are a few loose pages from the Les Goelands notebook in a corresponding folder and one folder of letters about Burroughs written by the artist David Bradshaw.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 1 series.
  • Series 1: Writings, 1963-1973, 1997 (0.4 linear feet; Box 1)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
William S. Burroughs (1914-1997) was a writer in New York, Mexico, Morocco, and Kansas. Burroughs's friend, painter and poet Brion Gysin, developed the "cut-up technique" of writing, a form of collage using blocks of randomly arranged text, which was popularized by Burroughs. Gysin taught the cut-up technique to Burroughs at the Beat Hotel in Paris, France around 1959, and Burroughs implemented the technique to create his third novel, Naked Lunch. The two continued to collaborate on projects and remained close friends.

Administration
Existence and Location of Copies
The collection has been digitized and is available on the Archives' website.
Processing Information
Materials received a preliminary level of arrangement after receipt. The collection was fully processing and prepared for digitization by Rihoko Ueno in 2017 with funding provided by the Walton Family Foundation and Terra Foundation for American Art.
Author
Rihoko Ueno
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The William Burroughs and Brion Gysin writings were donated in 2017 by the Grinstein family, via Ayn Grinstein, Ellen Grinstein Perliter, and Nancy Grinstein, executors.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Conditions Governing Use
The copyright for the material by William Burroughs and Brion Gysin is controlled by the William S. Burroughs Trust (which includes the Gysin Estate). The Wylie Agency LLC, 250 West 57th Street, Suite 2114, New York, N. Y. 10107, are literary agents representing the Estates of William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin.
Preferred Citation
William Burroughs and Brion Gysin writings, 1963-1973, 1997. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Related Materials
Also found at the Archives of American Art are the papers of Stanley and Elyse Grinstein, who were prominent art collectors and patrons.
The New York Public Library archive also possesses a substantial collection of William S. Burroughs papers.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Drawings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Authors Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Collagists Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Experimental fiction Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Brady, John Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Grinstein, Elyse, 1929-2016 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Grinstein, Stanley, 1927-2014 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hotel Les Goelands (Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bradshaw, David Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/