Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Mills, Stuart, 1940-2006
Stuart Mills Papers
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
5.4 linear feet, 9 digital files, and 0.01 GB
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes B-001820 to B-001829


Consists of notebooks, manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, and ephemera documenting the working career of the poet and small-press publisher, Stuart Mills (1940-2006).

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

This collection documents the writing and publishing career of Stuart Mills, with materials spanning the 1950s to 2006. Materials pertaining to Mills' work as a poet include his published and unpublished writings in both poetry and prose, and consist of notebooks, scrapbooks, diary entries, manuscript and typescript drafts, notes, and drawings. Materials concerning his work as a small-press publisher include correspondence; mockups and layouts of issues, including annotations on typeface and design; drafts of compositions, fragments, and notes; publicity ephemera, such as clippings, newsletters, and brochures; photographs; and in some cases, the copies of the issues themselves. During the operation of Aggie Weston's in particular, are materials (mostly correspondence) concerning the funding difficulties that the press had after the East Midlands Arts and Arts Council of Great Britain pulled its funding. Overall, the bulk of the collection consists of correspondence; there is correspondence throughout the collection, in addition to the correspondence series. Even within Mills' writings and notebooks, he includes drafts of letters he wrote to his correspondents. Many of Mills' correspondents were poets, artists, editors, typographers, authors, literary critics, and publishers with whom he collaborated, or who had contributed to his publications, but a large amount of the correspondence is to and from Simon Cutts and Ian Hamilton Finlay. A small amount of correspondence is more business-oriented and concerns the libraries, bookshops, and individuals who subscribed to or purchased his publications. The collection also contains a small amount of photographic prints depicting the Midland Group Gallery in Nottingham; Stuart Mills' sculptural works; Ian Hamilton Finlay's property at Stonypath; John Blakemore still-lifes; and various portraits and events.


The arrangement of the materials was adapted from the dealer's arrangement. Where materials are not grouped by project (e.g. publication projects and magazines Stuart Mills ran), they are grouped by material type.

Collection Creator Biography:


Stuart Mills (1940-2006) was a poet and publisher of Tarasque and Aggie Weston's. Born in Flintshire in North Wales, he was raised in Birmingham, and studied painting at Birmingham Art College. He founded Tarasque in 1962, and in 1965, he and Simon Cutts created and co-edited the Tarasque magazine. The Tarasque Press exemplified small press publishing, and its publications were complemented by poem-cards, postcards, and poem-prints. The magazine offered a forum to writers of the 'small poem,' a style which was characterized by a 'post-concrete' lyrical brevity. Through its run, Tarasque published works by poets such as Gael Turnbull, Roy Fisher, Spike Hawkins, Robert Garioch, Hugh Creighton Hill, Basil Bunting, and Robert Lax. Eleven issues of the magazine were published between 1965 and 1971, and the Tarasque Press was celebrated by a 1972 retrospective exhibition, Metaphor and Motif, at the Midland Group Gallery in Nottingham. During the period of time running Tarasque, Mills opened the Trent Bookshop in Nottingham with Martin Parnell, as well as Drury Hill bookshop and gallery, and Bux. In 1965, he organized the Nottingham Poetry Festival.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Mills taught at Derby University. After the close of Tarasque, he launched Aggie Weston'sin 1972, and this occasional magazine ran 21 issues of poetry between 1973 and 1984. Named after Aggie Weston, who had founded seamen's homes, the magazine was intended as a community for poets, painters and photographers. In the 1980s, Mills founded the Atrium Gallery, which became a venue for photography and art festivals.

Collection History


Purchased from William Allen Word & Image in 2021 (AM 2021-087).


Photocopies of the Ian Hamilton Finlay notebook in the "Domestic Pensées" series were discarded, as the collection contains the original notebook.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Amy C. Vo in 2022. The dealer had primarily housed materials in plastic binder sleeves and binders. The majority of these binders were retained, and each sleeve contains item-level description from the seller. Materials were rehoused in folders and boxes in instances where binders were damaged or materials were loose in containers.

Several groupings of correspondence, which were separated by sender in the dealer's arrangement, were integrated to create the Correspondence series. The dealer groupings included the "Simon Cutts, Erica Van Horn, and Kay Roberts Correspondence to Stuart and Rosemary Mills" series, the "Ian Hamilton Finlay Correspondence" series, and a subseries of materials from the Aggie Weston's series called "Miscellaneous correspondence and orders from libraries, collectors, and dealers" (now called "Business") which actually also included correspondence related to Mills' work with Tarasque and Poet's Poems. A gift for Stuart Mills' son from Simon Cutts was also moved from the Tarasque series and added to Correspondence.

Finding aid written by Amy C. Vo in 2022, incorporating description written by the dealer, and retaining some dealer-supplied folder titles. Titles were changed to simplify arrangement and and title information was added to scope and content descriptions where appropriate.

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:

Stuart Mills Papers; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes B-001820 to B-001829