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Penmaen Press Records

Identifier: 1999-0025

Scope and Content

The collection consists primarily of correspondence and other materials relating to projects undertaken by McCurdy under the Penmaen imprint. Project folders typically include correspondence, manuscript drafts, galley proofs, and publicity materials relating to the work (sometimes including reviews). The published versions of most of these works are available through the Dodd Center (the call numbers are listed in a note at the end of this finding aid). The materials making up the Face to Face project are comprehensive, detailing preliminary visions for the project, working correspondence with each of the contributors, and specific records dealing with the binding and production of the finished work. The collection also includes broadsides signed by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg.


  • 1967-1999

Restrictions on Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

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.


Michael McCurdy earned his B.F.A. and M.F.A. degrees from the graphic arts department of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, though his interest in hand-printing stems back to a toy press that he received as a present at the age of twelve. McCurdy worked as a freelance illustrator and engraver for a number of years, but also retained an interest in printing his own books. His first production, Genesis, was published under the imprint of the Hillside Press, but this name had to be changed after McCurdy discovered another printer using the same name on the other side of Beacon Hill in Boston. The first Penmaen Press publication was Quaker Queries in 1969. The Penmaen name comes from a town in Wales; McCurdy came upon the name in Gerard Manley Hopkins' poem "Penmaen Pool."

The Penmaen Press became a full-time operation for McCurdy in 1975. Over the next ten years the press developed a diverse catalogue of publications, including original works of poetry by writers such as Leo Connellan and Richard Eberhart as well as short stories by William Saroyan and Lynne Sharon Schwartz. The Penmaen Press also produced broadsides of poems by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg. Many Penmaen works feature engravings by Michael McCurdy, though other engravers (such as Lynd Ward) have also been featured.

In 1984, Michael McCurdy and Robert Hauser formed a partnership to produce Face to Face: Twelve Contemporary American Artists Interpret Themselves in a Limited Edition of Original Wood Engravings. Engravers who submitted self-portraits for this project include McCurdy, Barry Moser, Fritz Eichenberg, John DePol, and others.


6 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The Penmaen Press was an imprint created by its proprietor, Michael McCurdy, with the goal of producing high quality hand-printed books. McCurdy designed and supervised the layout of each Penmaen production, and frequently supplied his own woodcut engravings as illustrations.


The collection is arranged in a single series, with most materials placed in folders according to the title of the related project. Some oversized publicity materials as well as the Ferlinghetti broadside are shelved in a separate map case folder.

Acquisition Information

Materials transferred to the Dodd Research Center directly by Michael McCurdy.

Separated Material

Seven issues of Coda: The Poets and Writers Newsletter (LMC)

Accounting. By Lynne Sharon Schwartz. C5465, WPS 3488, WPS 3489

Banquet : Five Short Stories. Edited by Michael McCurdy. C3433

Charlie in the House of Rue. By Robert Coover. C5456, C5457

Crossing America. By Leo Connellan. C4502

The First Ten : A Penmaen Bibliography. Edited by Michael Peich. C3733

Gerard Manley Hopkins Meets Walt Whitman in Heaven and Other Poems. By Phillip Dacey. C5475

King Harald and the Icelanders. C679, C5462

Light of Paradise. By William Ferguson. C278

Listening Deep : Poems. By William Stafford. WPS 3487

A Love for Four Voices. By Anthony Hecht. C5476, WPS 3492

Memory of Snow. By Sándor Csoóri. C5471, C5472, C5473

Poem Upon the Lisbon Disaster. By Voltaire. C3288

Poems to Poets. By Richard Eberhart. B3016

Rosebud : Poems. By Gerard Malanga. C3019

Song of Life. By Sushil Gupta. WPS 3491

These Rooms. By Suzanne Berger. C5474

To Eberhart from Ginsberg : A Letter About Howl, 1956. By Allen Ginsberg. C3013, C3014

Two Poems. By Denise Levertov. WPS 2008

The Woe Shirt : Caribbean Folk Tales. By Paulé Bartón. C5459

World Alone (Mundo a Solas). By Vicente Aleixandre. C5859


The First Ten: A Penmaen Bibliography, Compiled and Edited by Michael Peich. Lincoln, Massachusetts: The Penmaen Press, 1978.

General Physical Description note

6 linear feet.

Penmaen Press Records
Under Revision
Archives & Special Collections staff
2002 November
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