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Charles Plymell papers

Call Number: MS 370


Correspondence, poetry drafts, photocopies of photographs and other images, and other materials from poet and author Charles Plymell, mostly dating from the mid-1990s.


  • Creation: 1970s-1990s (bulk 1990s)


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Charles Plymell (1935- )

Charles Plymell was born in Holcomb, Finney County, Kansas in April 1935. His family later moved to Wichita, Kansas, and in 1955 Plymell enrolled at Wichita State University. He attended classes and worked as a printer there until 1960 without obtaining a degree. During his time at the university, Plymell edited and published two campus literary magazines, Poets' Corner and Mikrokosmos.

Plymell moved to San Francisco, California and continued publishing literary journals. He served as printer for the first issue of Zap Comix and in 1967 published his first book, Apocalypse Rose. In 1970 he was awarded a fellowship to the Hopkins Writing Seminars at John Hopkins University, where he received his MA.

Plymell published a novel, The Last of the Moccasins (1971, 1996), based on his interactions with and experience of the Beat Generation literary scene. He moved to New York and began Cherry Valley Editions, where he published poets and authors Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and Janine Pommey Vega, among others.

Charles Plymell is married to Pamela Beach ("Pam") Plymell.


.5 Linear Feet (1 document case)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

About half of the collection consists of incoming correspondence from fellow authors and friends. This includes typed and handwritten letters, notes, postcards, printouts from email listservs, etc. Items sent with the letters, such as photographs, event flyers, and magazines, remain with the correspondence. Topics are mostly focused on requesting and soliciting submissions for literary magazines and other publications; fellow Beat authors, particularly centered around William S. Burroughs' death in 1997; the literary scene in the 1990s and mutual acquaintances; and other related matters. Some of the correspondence is addressed both to Charles and his wife Pam.

The rest of the collection largely consists of manuscript drafts, notes, jottings, and other materials from Plymell. This includes drafts of two larger works, including "The Smell of Lightning" and "Robbing the Pillars" (name changed to "Love Singing"), both of which show numerous handwritten changes and corrections from Plymell. There is also a notebook Plymell used, photocopies of photographs with identifications, and other miscellaneous materials Plymell annotated. There are several photocopies of articles about the Beat scene and about Charles Plymell's involvement with the Beat authors, as well as reviews, praise, and other discussion of Plymell's works.

Physical Location

MS 370

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, Ken Lopez, 2000.

Related Materials

Poems by Charles Plymell, MS 137, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

GRIST records, MS 53, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Charles Plymell Collection, MS 2000-05, Wichita State University Special Collections & University Archives

Separated Materials

Charles Plymell papers, RH MS P760, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Processing Information

The collection arrived at Spencer Research Library in some disorder. Staff placed correspondence in rough alphabetical order and sorted the rest of the collection into similar groupings of material.

Guide to the Charles Plymell Collection
Charles Plymell papers
Finding aid prepared by mwh. Finding aid encoded by mwh.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Charles Plymell papers, MS 370, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States