May 27, 2022

New Online: Stanford Libraries Digitizes Original Drafts of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl”

From a Stanford Libraries Blog Post by Rebecca Wingfield:

No poem is more closely identified with the Beat Generation than Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl.” From its first public reading at the Six Gallery in San Francisco in October 1955 to the notorious obscenity trial that followed in the wake of its first publication in 1956, the poem is indelibly tied to the Beat Generation and their critique of the staid morals and customs of Eisenhower-era America. In cooperation with The Allen Ginsberg Estate, Stanford Libraries has recently digitized Allen Ginsberg’s original drafts of “Howl,” providing a unique perspective on Ginsberg’s creative process and the creation of American literary classic.


When the full text of the poem was published in 1956 by City Lights Books, it launched Ginsberg’s literary career, along with his notoriety. In 1957, US Customs confiscated copies of Howl and Other Poems, when they arrived in New York from the printer in England. Months later, City Lights owner Lawrence Ferlinghetti and bookstore manager Shig Murao were arrested for the publication and sale of the book, setting the stage for what would become a high-profile obscenity trial.

Learn More, Read the Complete Blog Post

Direct to View Digitized Drafts: “Howl for Carl Solomon : Manuscript and Typescript, with Autograph Corrections and Annotations”
163 images.

See Also:  Imaging Ginsberg’s “Howl” Manuscript (via Stanford Libraries)

See Also: Stanford Acquires Archive of Beat poet Allen Ginsberg (September 7, 1994)


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.