Skip to main content

Oyez Press Records

Identifier: 1998-0208

Scope and Content

The collection consists largely of Robert Hawley's personal papers and records with regard to the Oyez Press from 1963 to 1988. The largest portion of the collection deals with project records of Oyez productions, including manuscripts, galleys, proofs, and production-specific correspondence. Additional correspondence preserved by Hawley documents his relationships with poets such as William Everson, Mary Fabilli, and David Meltzer. The press correspondence also provides a wide range of perspectives on the San Francisco Poetry scene in the late 1960s and early 1970s -- Hawley preserved many mailings from other publishers and announcements of poetry readings. Additionally, the collection contains business records including sales ledgers and receipts for a number of years prior to Oyez turning over distribution to a third party. The collection further consists of some of Robert Hawley's personal papers and one box of wood block engravings used for various Oyez projects.

The Dodd Center holds a comprehensive range of Oyez publications. The published versions of projects described in this collection are listed in HOMER, the Libraries online catalog.


  • Creation: 1963-1987


The collection is open and available for research.

Restrictions on Use

Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from both the University of Connecticut Libraries and the owner(s) of the copyright.


Robert Hawley was born in 1929 in Stockbridge, Wisconsin. He was a student at Black Mountain College in 1956, shortly before that institution closed its doors. Although he already had an M.A. in English and was an aspiring poet, Charles Olson discouraged him in this regard, but suggested to Hawley that he give publishing a try. By 1957, Hawley was in Berkeley, California, working as a bookseller specializing in Western Americana at the Holmes Book Company.

In 1964, Robert Hawley and Stevens van Strum started the Oyez Press by soliciting poems from noteworthy American poets to be published in a series of broadsides, effectively pioneering this publishing medium for poetry. This initial series consisted of ten broadsides, by such poets as William Everson (Brother Antoninus), Gary Snyder, Charles Olson, Michael McClure, and others. The first Oyez book was a collection of poetry by David Meltzer. It was during this period that Hawley began his business relationship with printer Graham Mackintosh. The Oyez poetry editions were well regarded for the simplicity and elegance of their designs. Although not all Oyez books were designed by Mackintosh, several of his designs did receive awards, including an edition of William Everson's Single Source that was selected as one of the 50 books of the year by the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

By the late 1960s, Oyez was publishing about ten books a year, even after Stevens van Strum departed the concern (around 1968), and even though Hawley continued with his day job at the Holmes Book Company. Although the print runs of Oyez books were limited at the cost of the books was kept low, the press did well so long as it had standing orders from universities and book stores with an interest in poetry and rare books. However, inventories began to mount and the cash reserves of the press began to dwindle in time. Hawley eventually turned over the distribution of the Oyez titles to Serendipity Books.

In 1978, Hawley opened his own book shop, the Ross Valley Book Company, in Albany, California (near Oakland). Even though the Oyez press continued to publish sporadically during the next few years, money troubles seriously limited the pace of Hawley's publishing projects. While a collection of poems by Samuel Charters was published in 1992, it is the only book-length project put out by Oyez since 1987. However, friends of the press have also received periodic keepsakes and pamphlets with the Oyez imprint over the years, a number of which are preserved in this collection.


24 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Founded in 1964 by Robert Hawley and Stevens van Strum, the Oyez Press initially produced a series of poetry broadsides by such notable figures as Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley, William Everson, Gary Snyder, and Charles Olson. Although van Strum left in 1968, Hawley continued on with the press in his spare time, eventually publishing over 80 books in addition to numerous keepsakes and broadsides, featuring authors such as David Meltzer, Josephine Miles, Lew Welch, Philip Lamantia, and many others. Oyez publications were highly regarded for the simplicity and elegance of their design; many were produced in collaboration with printer Graham Mackintosh.


Series I: Project Archives and Correspondence (undated, 1963-1987) contains project records for the majority of Oyez's publishing projects. Materials here include manuscripts, galleys, page proofs, and correspondence with printers and authors. Some personal correspondence with Oyez authors is included here, rather than in the next series.

Series II: Press Correspondence (undated, 1964-1986) is made up of press correspondence. Personal correspondence is sorted alphabetically, while additional mailings and ephemera are sorted by type. This series also contains a number of unsolicited manuscript submissions, which were never returned to their respective authors, nor published by Oyez.

Series III: Press Ephemera (undated, 1965-1986) consists of press ephemera, including advertising materials and review articles not related to specific Oyez publications.

Series IV: Business Records (1964-1981) is made up of business records, largely consisting of sales ledgers and receipts.

Series V: Printing Blocks (undated) comprises one box of wood block engravings utilized in the printing of various Oyez projects.


Collection processed and reorganized by ASC staff, focusing around project records, correspondence, and business records.

Acquisition Information

Collection purchased from Serendipity Books between 1976 and 1977 in several installments.

Separated Material

Monographs and serials have been cataloged. Please consult the Libraries online catalog for current titles and call numbers or ask at the reference desk for the current list.


Oyez: The Authorized Checklist, Berkeley, California: Dave Bohn, 1997.
Oyez Press Records
Archives & Special Collections staff
2002 July
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library Repository

University of Connecticut Library
405 Babbidge Road Unit 1205
Storrs Connecticut 06269-1205 USA US