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University of Texas at Austin

Little Magazine:

An Inventory of Its Records at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Little Magazine
Title: Records of Little Magazine 1965-1988
Dates: 1965-1988
Extent: 21 boxes (8.82 linear feet), 1 oversize box
Abstract: These records contain correspondence, production files, and business documents, including subscription letters. The production files contain a substantial number of manuscripts published by the magazine throughout its run.
RLIN Record #: TXRC95-A96
Language English.
Access: Open for research

Administrative Information

Acquisition: Purchase, 1989, Reg. # 11707
Processed by: Bob Taylor, 1994

Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin

Organizational History

The Quest was founded in the fall of 1965 by Alexis Levitin. The original editorial staff and board comprised--like Levitin--graduate students at Columbia University. Levitin created a literary magazine which attempted to avoid a narrowly-defined focus and to encourage good writing from contributors of many viewpoints. "We expect (read the magazine's entry in the Directory of Little Magazines) of the artist not only a well-wrought structure, but, within it, a creative and meaningful reflection upon the essential truths of our existence as well."
After Levitin left New York in 1968 for a teaching position at Dartmouth, most of the work of editing the magazine was carried on by David Hartwell and Tom Beeler. This led to the purchase of the magazine from Levitin by Hartwell and Beeler in late 1969. Hartwell and Beeler had never liked the name Quest and renamed it The Little Magazine, under which title the magazine first appeared with the spring 1970 issue. Of the new title Beeler later wrote "no harm in a little cockiness when you are regenerating a literary periodical."
After Beeler's departure in 1971 the principal burden of continuing the magazine was borne by David Hartwell, working with a constantly-changing cast of editors and editorial board members.
Throughout its twenty-one year life The Quest and The Little Magazine published new poetry and short fiction from--in the main--younger American writers. Circulation never rose much above a thousand, even with national distribution by Bernhard DeBoer, and in the face of steeply rising production costs publication became increasingly irregular in the late 1970s. By the end of the 1970s Hartwell was heavily involved in science fiction editing but was able to continue publication with the help of the volunteer editorial board. Eventually the end came, and with the appearance of v. 15, no. 3/4 in 1987 The Little Magazine ceased publication.
An account of the founding and early years of The Quest and The Little Magazine was given by Thomas T. Beeler ( "Looking backward: memoirs of The Little Magazine, 1965-1971") in the publication's final issue.

Scope and Contents

The archive of The Little Magazine, 1965-1988, comprise the correspondence, manuscripts, production files, and business records of a major literary "little magazine" which in the two decades from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s published a significant body of contemporary American poetry and creative prose.
Three series form the archive of the periodical: Correspondence, 1966-1988 (8 boxes); Manuscripts and Production Files, 1966-1987 (6 boxes); and Business Records, 1965-1988 (7 boxes). The materials have been maintained largely in the arrangement received, but some reorganization within and between files has been undertaken where the materials were clearly mixed.
Of the three series the first, Correspondence, is the largest and potentially the most important. Substantial numbers of letters from Peter Wild, Albert Goldbarth, and other significant American writers are represented in the series. While most of the correspondence is concerned with specific pieces submitted to the magazine, matters of general intellectual and literary import are raised throughout.
The second series, Manuscripts and Production Files, is the most easily characterized portion of the archives, comprising as it does the original manuscripts of a large majority of the works published by The Little Magazine. Apart from the pasteup of volume 14 and a few unpublished manuscripts these edited manuscripts comprise the entirety of the series.
The third series is the most varied in the archive--the Business Records comprise a wide span of material ranging from statements of editorial policy to correspondence with printers and distributors to a large mass of subscription records. The Little Magazine's relationship to the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines (CCLM) and the Committee of Small Magazine Editors & Publishers (COSMEP), as well as efforts to secure grant funding, are also delineated in this series.

Series Descriptions

Index Terms


Ammons, A.R., 1926- .
André, Michael.
Andrews, Jeanné R.
Banks, Russell, 1940- .
Baxter, Charles.
Beeler, Thomas T.
Bergé, Carol, 1928- .
Berke, Judith.
Black, Charles.
Brinkley-Rogers, Paul.
Bukowski, Charles.
Butscher, Edward.
Cadnum, Michael.
Carlson, Burton L.
DiPalma, Ray.
Everette, Oliver.
Gardner, John.
Gilliland, Elizabeth.
Goldbarth, Albert.
Gordon, Mary, 1949- .
Hacker, Marilyn, 1942- .
Hartwell, David G.
Henkin, Bill, 1944- .
Inez, Colette.
Johnson, Curt, 1928- .
Jordan, June, 1936- .
Kaminsky, Marc, 1943- .
Kates, James.
Kidd, Virginia.
Kinnell, Galway, 1927- .
Klein, Elizabeth.
Kroll, Judith, 1943- .
Kuzma, Greg.
Le Guin, Ursula K., 1929- .
Levitin, Alexis.
Lifshin, Lyn.
Lyon, George Ella, 1949- .
Malanga, Gerard.
Mella, John.
Morris, Herbert.
Morris, Richard.
Oates, Joyce Carol, 1938- .
Oldknow, Antony, 1939- .
Pedrick, Jean, 1922- .
Penzavecchia, James.
Piercy, Marge.
Reeve, F.D. (Franklin D.), 1928- .
Rios, Albert.
Roth, Henry H.
Schaeffer, Susan Fromberg.
Seavey, Ormond.
sherwin, Judith Johnson.
Smith, Dave, 1942- .
Stout, Robert Joe.
Sullivan, Francis, 1929- .
Tagliabue, John, 1923- .
Tolkien, J.R.R. (John Ronald Reuel), 1892-1973.
Truesdale, C.W. (Calvin William), 1929- .
Turner, Myron.
Unterecker, John Eugene, 1922- .
Viereck, Peter Robert Edwin, 1916- .
Wayman, Tom, 1945- .
Weeks, Ramona, 1934- .
Wild, Peter, 1940- .
Williamson, Jack, 1908- .
Willis, Meredith Sue.
Yates, J. Michael.


Committee of Small Magazine Editors & Publishers.
Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines.


American literature--20th century--Periodicals.
American poetry--20th century--Peridoicals.

Document Types

Copyright certificates.
Subscription lists.


Epoch, a Quarterly of Contemporary Literature.
The Massachusetts Review.
Michigan Quarterly Review.
Poetry Northwest.
The Southern Review.
The Tulane Drama Review.
The University of Denver Quarterly.
The Western Humanities Review.

Records of --Folder List