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Boss Collection

Identifier: PCMS-0045

Scope and Content Note

The Boss Collection contains correspondence, manuscripts, production material, photographs, business financial records, newspaper clippings, and ephemera related to the production of Boss Books Press' little magazines, books, and poem cards. The collection is arranged in four main series. The series publications includes correspondence and production material including photographs, offset negatives, mock-ups, galley proofs, original manuscripts, material samples, and costs for both published works and a handful of projects unfinished upon his death including work by Marcel Duchamp, Francesco Clemente, Man Ray, and Jean Cocteau for BossCards; the beginnings of Boss, issues 6-8; and a book about the surrealist painter Pavel Tchelitchew.

The business records have been organized into three series: editorial, distribution, and grants. Editorial contains all material related to the production of Boss Books Press including correspondence, catalogues, flyers, letterhead, copyright and ISBN forms, and unused and returned submissions; distribution contains material related to the distribution of published work including mailing lists, distributor correspondence, listings, and book fair material; grants contains application material and collected material for fulfilling grant requirements. All folder labels have been directly transcribed from the original folders; folder order has been imposed.


  • 1966-1996


Language of Materials

Collection material is in English.

Terms of Access and Use

The Boss Collection is open for research.


Copyright of papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the Poetry Collection before requesting photocopies and/or publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Once permission is obtained, most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.

Historical Note

Reginald P. Gay was born in Connecticut in 1937, but spent most of his life in New York City. Boss was founded with the production of Taylor Mead on Amphetamine and in Europe, and Boss journal, issue 1, in 1966. Gay published 5 issues of the journal, and a handful of books, poem cards, broadsides, and postcards, leaving many projects unfinished due to his untimely death in 1996, after splenectomy complications.


8 Linear Feet (15 manuscript boxes, 1 oversize box)


Collection contains editorial and business records for the five issues of Boss magazine (1966-1979), BossCards, Boss postcards, and books published by Boss Books. Material includes production material, correspondence, interviews, newspaper clippings, photographs, film stills, negatives, manuscripts, original artwork, and business financial records.


Collection is arranged in four series: I. Publications; II. Editorial; III. Distribution; and IV. Grants.

Acquisition Information

The Boss Collection was donated to the Poetry Collection circa 1999.

Accruals and Additions

No further accruals are expected to this collection.

Separated Materials

The following material has been integrated into the Poetry Collection. Items bearing notes and inscriptions have been photocopied and facsimiles have been placed in the manuscript collection.

  1. poem card: "The Reports" by Sam Abrams
  2. poem card: "Inscript" by Sam Abrams
  3. "88 Kisses" by Jonina Herter, photographs by Norman Gay
  4. "Night Blossoms" by Lewis Sanders, signed
  5. "A Guide to Computer Art" by Gay Leonhardt, numbered and signed
  6. "The Chairs and Who Goes In Them" by Gay Leonhardt

Processing Information

Processed by Elliot McNally.


Finding Aid for the Boss Collection PCMS-0045
Finding aid prepared by Elliot McNally
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Local Best Practices
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.
The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources' "Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives" Project.

Repository Details

Part of the The Poetry Collection Repository

420 Capen Hall
Buffalo New York 14260-1674 US
716-645-3714 (Fax)