General Description of the Lax Archives


When Robert Lax decided to start an archive at St. Bonaventure University in 1987 the first things that he began to send were boxes of correspondence, and small manuscript notebooks.

The correspondence, from people both famous and not so famous, fills a large file cabinet. In a number of cases correspondence files have been pulled out of the main cabinet and placed in separate boxes. The reasons for this separation are if the individualís file is quite large, or if there is a certain group of people that seem to fit together, or if both sides of the correspondence are present. Access to correspondence files is restricted more than is the case with the rest of the archival collections.

The bulk of the manuscript materials in the archives consist of hundreds of small spiral bound, flip-top notebooks. Lax would normally carry these notebooks with him, and write whenever he felt so moved. He would write on all the front-side pages to the end of the notebook, and then turn it over and write on the verso pages all the way through. After filling a notebook he would go through and transcribe the bulk of the texts using a typewriter (later he would have helpers transcribe materials on to a computer). These transcripts would be headed with the date of writing and/or the date of transcription. The archives have file drawers of transcribed texts mainly arranged by date, with some undated texts arranged by titles. There is little or no evidence of creating drafts or revisions; usually the manuscript version became the finished text.

There is a large collection of photography, most of which was taken by Lax. This collection consists of sets of negatives with corresponding proof sheets, along with many small scale prints. Lax apparently never oversaw the production of any display size prints himself. There are also many photographs of Lax himself either alone, or with various people.

There is a fairly large collection of audio and video tapes. The audio tapes consist of studio readings of texts by Lax, along with some public readings and miscellaneous items like audio letters to people. The video tapes are of public readings, interviews with people who knew Lax, and films made about Lax or based on his writings.  

There are, of course, copies of Lax publications that appeared as separate items, and that appeared in journals and anthologies of various sorts. Also there are publications that were written about Lax, and many books and other materials that were sent to Lax from friends and acquaintances.



The following are links to Archival Holdings for lax:

Manuscript Notebooks

lax in

lax books

about lax

lax boxes

sent to lax (in boxes; on shelf)


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