Beat Poets

The connection between Reed College and the Beat Poets is a strong one. Three central figures from the movement, started in 1955 with a poetry reading in in San Francisco at Six Gallery, are Reed friends and graduates: Gary Snyder ’51, Philip Whalen ’51, and Lew Welch ’50. Influenced by their “poetic endeavors” and such faculty as Lloyd J. Reynolds while at Reed, all were exposed to Zen Buddhism and an effort to express themselves in a new and different manner, called “Beat”, especially after Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” was published in 1957. Reed now owns a collection of Philip Whalen’s correspondence and manuscripts presented by the author, as well as correspondence from Gary Snyder presented by his mother. The Lloyd J. Reynolds papers also include letters from Snyder and Whalen. This exhibit displays selected letters, publications, and other materials from the Library’s Special Collections; it will remain up in the main Library cases and in the wall case behind the reference desk through the Spring semester.

Early Maps

Early maps of Africa, America, and the known world are on display in the Reed Library in the wall case by the tower stairs and the flat cases beyond the Circulation area. Hand-colored and lavishly decorated, these beautiful antiquarian maps entertain and amuse us now, but we should remember that they were the objects of intense study and represented the understanding of the physical world in the 16th and 17th centuries. The earliest examples are two maps printed by Abraham Ortelius, the “father of the atlas,” both from different editions of his title, Theatrum orbis terrarum. His 1570 map of North Africa shows the Barbary Coast with sea monsters and tiny city buildings, all hand-colored. The 1587 map of America already shows the whole of the west coast in substantially the correct shape. A later map of central Africa, Aethiopia, printed by Amsterdam’s Joan Blaeu in 1635, shows the kingdom of the mythical Prester John. William Berry, an English cartographer of the late 17th century, printed a large map of North America in 1680. Lacking good cartographic information, his map shows California as an island and it labels the rivers that might be the Columbia and the Hudson both as Rio Grande. The French royal geographer, Jaillot, produced a map of the “known world,” his Nova Orbis Tabula in 1694, but it also shows California as an island. However, the decorations depicting native women from all parts of the world are quite wonderful. This exhibit has been mounted to correlate to the current Jennifer Bartlett exhibit in the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery. The maps, from Reed College Library’s Special Collections, will remain up through December, 2003.


Extraordinary artists’ books have been chosen from the Reed Library collection to show in conjunction with the Bibliocosmos exhibit mounted in the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery starting August 27, 2003. The artists’ book collection in the Special Collections & Archives unit has been built over the last six years by Geraldine Ondrizek, associate professor in the Art Department, and provides the items being shown both here and in the Bibliocosmos exhibit. A focus in the library cases is the work of Angela Lorenz, an American book artist living in Bologna, Italy. Her seven included works are wildly creative, for example, Soap Story consists of 6 small bars of soap that must have the small linen text pages “released” by washing to emphasize the true story of the Italian woman told in the text; Librex Solaris is a copy of a sun-clock popular in the 16th century; and her Bologna Sample contains 179 watercolor samples of the colors of Bologna buildings. Other works shown have been created by both local and national book artists. This exhibit fills both the main flat library cases and the wall case next to the reference desk.

Reed Campus History

The original plans for the Reed College Campus were extremely ambitious, encompassing a paved quadrangle with fountain in the middle surrounded by buildings, most of which were never built. Although plans called for dormitories to be built across the canyon, so was a separate Women’s College. On display are early architect’s plans for both the campus and the Eastmorland residential development area and a 1976 student-drawn plan. (Upright Cases facing old Front Entrance)