Contents and Arrangement

Author and Artist Files, 1960-2020

9 boxes

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Consists of typescript drafts, editorial copies, galleys, dust jacket proofs, and notes by other writers with whom Charles Ruas collaborated, including materials he received as gifts from authors, as well as materials directly related to books he edited. Writers represented include Marguerite Young, Susan Howe, Helen Adam, Djuna Barnes, and Susan Sontag. Most prominent are several works by American writer Marguerite Young, including materials regarding her epic biography Harp Song for a Radical: The Life and Times of Eugene Victor Debs. Ruas edited the unfinished manuscript after Young fell ill and could no longer continue writing the third part. The biography was posthumously published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1999. Several draft versions are present, including a copy of Young's 1742-page original draft, Ruas's working editorial draft, and his edited typescript of Part I with a group of unedited cut pages following it. A spiral notebook, containing Young's manuscript draft of a section of the book on Allan Pinkerton, along with some handwritten notes Young made on diner checks, are also included. In the last few years of her life, when she was very sick, Marguerite Young abandoned nonfiction and returned to writing poetry. Present here are Ruas's set of photocopied typescript and manuscript drafts of Young's last poems, most of which remain unpublished, Young's guide sheet for an unrealized dramatization of her earlier book Angel in the Forest, and a carbon copy of the original typescript of the first two chapters of Miss MacIntosh, My Darling, with handwritten corrections by Young, that the author inscribed and gifted to Ruas. Also of note is a typescript of an early book of collected poems by Susan Howe, Ruas's friend and poetry co-host at WBAI-FM. There are also several commercially available CDs of music and poetry recordings that Ruas collected.

Also present are materials that Charles Ruas kept tucked inside of books given to him by writers he worked with as an interviewer, editor, and book reviewer. These materials include correspondence from writers and their publicists and assistants, Ruas's handwritten scripts and questions for interviews on WPS1 Art Radio, book publicity materials, and photographs of Anaïs Nin and William S. Burroughs taken at the WBAI-FM studio. While most correspondence is addressed to Ruas, some are letters addressed to his associates, Susan Howe and Rob Wynne. Most correspondence is brief and regards logistical details of author interviews and book reviews. Exceptions include a significant group of letters from Anaïs Nin to Rob Wynne, from the mid 1970s, and a strange, lengthy letter from writer Laura Riding Jackson to poet Susan Howe, regarding her distress over a potential interview. Individual letters from John Ashbery and Andy Warhol are also present. Materials removed from inscribed books are filed with photocopies of the inscribed pages. Selected first editions and inscribed books from Charles Ruas's library are held in the Rare Books Collection.

While several photographs that were originally kept with related manuscripts and ephemera are present here, photographs of many of the authors and artists listed here can be found in the Photographs file group.


Materials are arranged alphabetically by author name, followed by general groups dust jacket proofs, postcards, and catalogs.

Collection History


Nothing was removed from the collection during 2015-2024 processing beyond routine appraisal practices.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Kelly Bolding in January 2015. Finding aid written by Kelly Bolding in January 2015. Finding aid updated by Kelly Bolding with new materials in December 2015, November 2016, March 2017, July 2018, March 2020. Description for the Family Papers and Tianjin History Collection series was added by Kelly Bolding in June 2021, based on description provided by Charles Ruas and Joshua Seufert. The 2023 accrual was processed by Amy C. Vo in 2024, with the finding aid updated to reflect this addition.

The born-digital materials in this collection have been processed according to Princeton University Library's Born-Digital Processing Workflows. For more information on the workflow, please read our full Born-Digital Processing Information Note.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

This collection contains digital files, which may require specific software or hardware for access. Refer to our Tips on Accessing Born-Digital Content for information on how to render these file formats.

Credit this material:

Author and Artist Files; Charles Ruas Papers, C1372, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

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Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (rcpxm): Boxes 1-2; 5-8; 10; 13-14

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Related Materials

Selected first editions and inscribed books from Charles Ruas's library are held in the Rare Books Collection.

Audio files containing many of Charles Ruas's recorded interviews can be accessed on the website of Clocktower Productions in Conversations with Writers and Historic Audio from the Archives of Charles Ruas.

WBAI Radio (New York, N.Y.)
Ruas family
Howe, Susan, 1937-
Morrison, Toni
Nin, Anaïs.
Young, Marguerite, 1908-1995