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Sylvester & Orphanos Collection and Archive: An Introduction

Collection Overview & Highlights

In the Red Room cover
Paul Bowles. In the Red Room (Book Cover]. 1981. Sylvester & Orphanos Collection. Library of Congress Rare Book and Special Collections Division. View Library of Congress catalog record for this item.

The Rare Book and Special Collections Division holds the complete catalog of publications by the LGBT publishing firm Sylvester & Orphanos, the publisher's archive, some personal papers of Stathis Orphanos, and a selection of Orphanos' photographs. Sylvester & Orphanos published 26 titles over a period of 30 years, beginning in 1976 with Christopher Isherwood's Christopher and His Kind. The firm would go on to publish works by noted 20th-Century authors, such as Graham Greene, Paul Bowles, Nadine Gordimer, Tennessee Williams, James Merrill, John Cheever, Margaret Drabble, John Updike, Reynolds Price, and Gore Vidal among others. In 2004, the firm published a tribute to the Greek artist Yiannis Tsarouchis (LC catalog: Tsarouchēs, Giannēs) in a Tériade Éditions inspired portfolio. The portfolio includes reproductions of the artist's works with tributes composed by literary, entertainment, and business figures. Stathis Orphanos was also a photographer, and the firm's final publication in 2006 was My Cavafy, a large folio of poetry by Greek-Egyptian poet Constantine Cavafy combined with selected photographs by Orphanos.

Collection Finding Aid

The Sylvester & Orphanos Publishers archive is arranged by publication and includes correspondence with authors, printers, and binders; manuscripts; galley proofs; paper samples; binding samples; art work; and stamp dies used in binding.


Examples from this unique collection are highlighted below:

A Sampling of Sylvester & Orphanos Publications

Town and Country Lovers by Nadine Gordimer (1980)

Published almost simultaneously in a larger collection entitled, A Soldier’s Embrace, Town and Country Lovers is a short story from the South African author and Nobel Prize in Literature recipient. Bound in black and white cloth with alternating black and white hearts. Printed by Grant Dahlstrom at the Castle Press in an edition of 330 copies. Signed by the author.

Town and Country Lovers - Book Cover
Cover
Town and Country Lovers - title page
Title page

A Weed Among the Flowers by Graham Greene (1988)

Afterword by Stephen Spender. Illustrations by Vance Gerry. A miniature book, A Weed Among the Flowers is the second book by Graham Greene to be published by Sylvester & Orphanos. In his notes, Stathis Orphanos relates that Greene was so pleased with their printing of his book A Quick Look Behind, that he wanted them to publish another story. Bound in green cloth with a custom-made case. Printed by Patrick Reagh in an edition of 330 copies. Signed by Greene and Spender.

A Weed Among the Flowers 1
Custom clamshell box
A Weed Among the Flowers 2
Clamshell box open showing book inside

Samos by James Merrill (1980)

First published by The New Yorker Magazine, "Samos" is a single poem by James Merrill. Sylvester & Orphanos published it in book form in 1980. Merrill dedicated the volume to Doris Jackson, the mother of his life-partner, David Jackson. Bound in green cloth with black and gold stamp. Samos was designed by Grant Dahlstrom and printed at the Castle Press in an edition of 330 copies, with all copies signed by the author. The Rare Book and Special Collections Division holds four copies of Samos, two in the Sylvester & Orphanos collection, and two in the Rare Book collection. The two copies in the Rare Book collection were owned by James Merrill and one is a presentation copy to his friend, Alfred Corn, and includes an original poem and stamp by Merrill.

Samos cover
Cover
Samos 2
Fly-leaf showing inscription

The inscription reads:

Alfred ...
Nymphs of the Isle, directly he was born,
Lent their music to the ear of Corn.

14.viii.80 - with love from Jimmy

Sex is Politics, and Vice Versa by Gore Vidal (1979)

This story first appeared in the January 1979 issue of Playboy before it was published by Sylvester & Orphanos in book form. Numbered copies are bound in white cloth with red and blue stamping and lettered copies are bound in black leather. Printed by Grant Dahlstrom at the Castle Press in an edition of 330 copies. Signed by the author.

Sex is Politics Cover
Cover
Sex is Politics title page
Title page

It Happened the Day the Sun Rose by Tennessee Williams (1981)

A first edition by the American playwright. Bound in black cloth and with a woodcut on the title page by Greek artist Achilles Droungas. Printed by Patrick Reagh in an edition of 330 copies and signed by the author.

It Happened the Day the Sun Rose - cover
Cover
It Happened the Day the Sun Rose - Title page
Title page

A Sampling of the Sylvester & Orphanos Archive Collection

The Sylvester & Orphanos Archive collection holds the archival materials related to the production of the firm’s 26 books. The archive is arranged by book title, and includes correspondence with authors, manuscripts, galleys, author-corrected proofs, signed agreements, designs and artwork, binding samples, and dies. The archive also includes some samples of Orphanos's writing, including a short series of memoirs of his meetings with authors and entertainers and his Room of Vines, a short story that takes place on the island of Samos beginning in the days of Anacreon, through Ottoman occupation, and to the present day.

Below are some examples of materials in the archive.


Town and Country Lovers (1980) by Nadine Gordimer

Archive

Author-corrected proof

Archive

Binding cloth sample

Town and Country Lovers spine die

Spine title die

Town and Country Lovers cover

Final published work


Samos (1980) by James Merrill

Samos - Author-corrected proof
Author-corrected proof
Samos - Stamp used for cover
Stamp used for cover
Stathis Orphanos with James Merrill
Stathis Orphanos with James Merrill
Samos cover - Final published work
Final published work

It Happened the Day the Sun Rose (1981) by Tennessee Williams

It Happened the Day the Sun Rose - woodcut plate
Woodcut plate by Achilles Droungas
It Happened the Day the Sun Rose - Woodcut print
Woodcut print
 

 

Title page - Final published work
Final published work - title page

Stathis Orphanos Photography

The Rare Book and Special Collections Division holds 281 photographs by Stathis Orphanos. These were given to the library as gifts by Orphanos and are arranged in the same order in which he kept them: Literature & Entertainment, Military Images, Stathis & Friends, Soccer Images, Greeks, Travel Images, and Forefathers of the Modern Gay Movement. Below is a list of subjects who sat for Orphanos and who are represented in our collection.

Alexopoulos, Helene
Algarme, John
Andersson, Jon
Bachardy, Don
Barker, Clive
Bartel, Paul
Barth, John
Barthelme, Donald
Baskin, Leonard
Bentley, Eric
Bloch, Robert
Bloom, Claire
Bond, Steve
Boyd, William
Bradbury, Ray
Bridges, James
Brinnin, John Malcolm
Broughton, James
Brown, Forman (AKA Richard Meeker)
Bruder, Camille (Camy)
Burden, Shirley
Cacoyannis, Michael
Cadmus, Paul
Caldwell, Erskine
Carroll, Jim
Caulfield, Maxwell
Chappell, Warren
Cheever, John
Clark, Tony
Coover, Robert
Courelas, Angelos
Cowley, Malcolm
Cukor, George
Dassin, Jules
De Kooning, Elaine
Diamantidou, Despo (Δέσπω Διαμαντίδου)
Dickey, James
Droungas, Achilles (Αχιλλέας Δρούγκας)
Ellison, Harlan
Elytis, Odysseas (Οδυσσέας Ελύτης)
Emboden, William
Ford, Charles, Henri

Ford, Ruth
Fuentes, Carlos
Galanos, James
Gavras, Costas (Κωνσταντίνος Γαβράς)
Ghika, Nikos (Νίκος Χατζηκυριάκος – Γκίκας)
Greene, Graham
Gunn, Thom
Harris, Julie
Hart, Allan
Hart, Brian
Hay, Harry
Hjortsberg, William
Hockney, David
Horst, Horst P.
Hovland, Theodore, Sgt.
Irving, John
Isherwood, Christopher
Karidis, Nikos (Νίκος Καρύδης)
Katsoulis, Marigo
Keneally, Thomas
Kennedy, William
Kepner, Jim
Kight, Morris
Killins, John Oliver
Larson, Jack
Lawford, Valentine
Lawrence, Jerome
Lee, Robert E.
Legg, Dorr
Mahfouz, Naguib
Makris, Michalis
Maupin, Armistead
Max
McAvoy, Brian
Merrill, James
Moore, Brian
Morales, Esai
Moss, Howard
Orphanos, Stathis
Pan, Hermes
Perfetto, Giovanni
Price, Reynolds

Purdy, James
Quintero, Jose
Reed, Rex
Rivers, Larry
Roren, Ned
Roth, Philip
Rugo, Bart
Sarton, May
Schifrin, Lalo
Schlessinger, John
Schulberg, Budd
Scott, Lizabeth
Selby, Hubert, Jr.
Simkin, Daren
Spender, Stephen
Spheeris, Penelope
Stone, Robert
Styron, William
Sylvester, Ralph
Tamang, Indra
Tassell, Gustave
Teske, Edmond
Theodorakis, Mikis (Μιχαήλ (Μίκης) Θεοδωράκης)
Tierney, Lawrence
Tsitouras, Angela (Αγγέλα Τσιτουρας)
Tsitouras, Dimitris (Δημήτρης Τσίτουρας)
Updike, John
Van Doren, Mamie
Vassilikos, Vassilis (Βασίλης Βασιλικός)
Veee, Juli (Gyula Visnyei)
Vidal, Gore
Vidstrand, Nils
Walton, Bill
Warrick, Alexandra
Warrick, Evangelos (Grayson)
Watson, Kenny
Wilbur, Richard
Williams, John A.
Wilson, Colin
Xarhakos, Stavros (Σταύρος Ξαρχάκος)

A Sampling of Stathis Orphanos's Photography

All photographs below are by Stathis Orphanos.

Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal

Claire Bloom

Claire Bloom

James Merrill

James Merrill

Ruth Ford

Ruth Ford

John A. Williams

John A. Williams

Penelope Spheeris

Penelope Spheeris

James Broughton

James Broughton

Julie Harris

Julie Harris

James Bridges, Jack Larson, and Max.

James Bridges, Jack Larson, and Max

Leonard Baskin

Leonard Baskin

Warren Chappell

Warren Chappell

Tony Clark

Tony Clark

Odysseas Elytis

Odysseas Elytis

Achilles Droungas

Achilles Droungas

Evzone

Evzone

Sailor White

Sailor White

Sailor

Sailor

Harry Hay

Harry Hay

Ralph Sylvester

Ralph Sylvester

Julie Veee (Gyula Visnyei)

Julie Veee (Gyula Visnyei)

Allan Hart

Allan Hart

Soccer

Soccer

Esai Morales

Esai Morales

Stathis Orphanos Self-Portait

Stathis Orphanos self-portrait

Mamie Van Doren

Mamie Van Doren

Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy

Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy