May 26, 2022

Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library Acquires Granary Books Archive

From Columbia University Libraries:

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services’ Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML) is pleased to announce the acquisition of the archive of Granary Books, one of the country’s most significant artist book publishers operating today.

Founded in 1981 as a distributor, Granary Books began publishing under the direction of Steve Clay in 1985. Granary Books’ mission is to produce, promote, document, and theorize new works exploring the intersection of word, image, and page.

“It is a privilege and an honor to have the Granary Books Archive acquired by Columbia University and to be part of a growing number of independent small presses whose papers are held in its Rare Book and Manuscript Library,” said Clay.

The archive includes thirty year’s worth of production files for limited edition books by renowned artists, graphic designers, printers, and poets, including Nods, a collaboration with John Cage, Barbara Fahrner, and Philip Gallo, and titles by Charles Bernstein, Cecilia Vicuna, Jen Bervin, Johanna Drucker, Emily McVarish, Anne Waldman, and Jerome Rothenberg.  Other notable artists include John Ashbery, Ted Berrigan, Joe Brainard, Francesco Clemente, Robert Creeley, John Yau, Leslie Scalapino, Kiki Smith, George Schneeman, Buzz Spector, and Ron Padgett.

Granary Books has also published trade editions of exhibit catalogs, out of print and first edition poetry, and books about books, particularly artist books – notably Johanna Drucker’s The Century of Artists’ Books. The archive includes Steve Clay’s extensive correspondence with writers and printers, and other artist book press proprietors, as well as electronic records, including almost two decades of email. Additionally, the archive includes primary source materials from several important New York School and LANGUAGE poets not otherwise well represented in the RBML collections.

The Granary Books archive complements the BOMB Magazine archives and Kulchur Foundation archives in the RBML, which include materials by many of the same artists and writers that Granary Books has published. This collection connects many of the collecting strengths of the RBML: artists’ books, publishers’ archives, and the archives of significant twentieth-century book designers.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.