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Leonard Baskin and the Gehenna Press collection

Identifier: 11-MWalB02555

Scope and Contents

The Leonard Baskin and Gehenna Press collection, donated by Maurice and Edith Shulman in 1972, includes several books and ephemera printed by the Northampton (Mass.)-based publishing house. Baskin, famous for his woodcarvings, sculptures, and prints, founded the Gehenna Press in 1942 while studying art at Yale. He named the press after a line in John Milton’s "Paradise Lost."

The 27 books in the collection span 40 years of publication—1952 to 1992—and reflect the evolution of the Gehenna Press from a one-man printing house to a nationally recognized enterprise. Books of particular note include Baskin’s "Castle Street Dogs: Wood Carvings" printed in 1952, and "Horned Beatles and Other Insects: Etchings," published in 1958. Both feature Baskin’s artistic hand and represent modern versions of bestiaries popular in medieval times. 

In addition to books, the collection contains several folders of various printed material, including Gehenna Press exhibition catalogs, publication prospectuses, and holiday greeting cards, ranging from 1954 to 1998.

See also two letters from Baskin in the Autograph collection.


  • 1952-1998
  • Majority of material found in 1954-1969
  • Other: Date acquired: 19720000


Conditions Governing Access

Access to the collection is in accordance with the policies of the Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department, Brandeis University.  Please contact the department for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests to reproduce or publish material from the collection should be directed to the Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department, Brandeis University.


0.25 Linear Feet

3 oversized folders, 1 manuscript box other_unmapped

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged in three series: 1. Printed Ephemera, 1954-1991; 2. Oversized Material, 1964-1998; 3. Books Published by Gehenna Press, 1952-1992. Series one and two are arranged in original order and series three is arranged by call number.  For more information about each series, please consult the series descriptions in the box and folder listing.

Source of Acquisition

Donated by Maurice and Edith Shulman in 1972.

Appraisal Information

One folder containing photocopied press clippings about Baskin and articles by him was moved to the control file.

Related Materials

Also see two letters from Baskin in the Autograph collection.

Other Descriptive Information

Addenda to this collection may not be listed in the finding aid, but may be available for research use. Please contact us for more information.

Alex Wagner Lough
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Brandeis University Repository

415 South St.
Waltham MA

About Us

The Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department at Brandeis University consists of two collecting units, the University Archives and Special Collections. University Archives documents the history and development of Brandeis University and its faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Special Collections features a broad array of unique primary source materials across a wide range of disciplines that support research, teaching and learning at Brandeis. Learn more about our collections