University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

Asa Pieratt
Collection of Ephemera
relating to Kurt Vonnegut

1972 - 1996

Manuscript Collection Number: 301
Accessioned: Gift of Asa Pieratt, 1987-1996.
Extent: 1 linear ft.
Content: Magazines, brochures, posters, typescripts, flyers, correspondence, reviews, programs
catalogs, interviews, addresses, and essays.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: July 1994, by Anita A. Wellner.

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Table of Contents

Biographical Notes

Asa Pieratt

Librarian and bibliographer Asa Pieratt was born August 30, 1938, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He received a B.A. from Kalamazoo College in 1961 and an A.M.L.S. from the University of Michigan in 1965. He also studied at Universidad de los Andes (1959), Jane Greenfield Bindery (1968-1969), and Columbia University (1969-1970).

Mr. Pieratt worked on the library staffs of numerous colleges and universities, including the University of Michigan (1962-1964); Miami-Dade Junior College (1965-1966); Bowling Green State University (1966-1967); University of New Haven, Connecticut (1967-1973); and the University of Delaware (1973-1992), from which he retired in 1992.

Pieratt co-authored, with Jerome Klinkowitz, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.: a descriptive bibliography and annotated secondary checklist (1974); Donald Barthelme: a descriptive bibliography (1978); and Kurt Vonnegut: a comprehensive bibliography. He also contributed to The Vonnegut Statement (1973).

In addition to Mr. Pieratt's interest in and collection of material related to Kurt Vonnegut, he also collects postcards and has written Postcard Pageantry: celebrations of major and minor expositions, fairs, and events in early twentieth-century America (1978).

Mr. Pieratt resides in Newark, Delaware.

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

American novelist Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. was born on November 11, 1922, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Between 1940 and 1947, Vonnegut attended classes at several universities, including Cornell University (1940-1942), Carnegie Institute of Technology (1943), and the University of Chicago (1945-1947). He received a Master of Arts from the University of Chicago in 1971.

During World War II, Vonnegut was an infantryman in the U.S. Army, who was subsequently captured and held as a prisoner of war in Dresden. He survived the February 13, 1945, firebombing of Dresden by the Allied forces, which took the lives of 135,000 German civilians. The story of Billy Pilgrim in Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five, is based on Vonnegut's Dresden experience.

Since his first novel, Player Piano, published by Scribner in 1952, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. has written twelve novels, including The Sirens of Titan (1959), Mother Night (1962), Cat's Cradle (1963), God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (1965), Slaughterhouse Five (1969), Breakfast of Champions (1973), Slapstick (1976), Jailbird (1979), Dead-Eye Dick (1982), Galapagos (1985), Bluebeard (1987), and Hocus Pocus (1990).

In addition to his novels, Vonnegut has written several plays, including Happy Birthday, Wanda June (1960) and Between Time and Timbuktu (1972); short fiction, collected in Canary in a Cathouse (1961) and Welcome to the Monkey House (1968); as well as essays, juvenile literature, and autobiographies. His two autobiographical "collages" (his subtitle for each) are titled Palm Sunday (1981) and Fates Worse than Death (1991).

A number of Vonnegut's novels have been produced as plays or films; of these, the most widely known is Universal's 1972 film version of Slaughterhouse Five.

In the 1990s Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. continues to write and to lecture at universities, churches, and national conferences. He is an outspoken opponent of censorship and war.


Locher, Frances Carol (ed.) Contemporary Authors. Volumes 77-80. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1979. pp. 423-424.

May, Hal and Deborah A. Straub (eds.) Contemporary Authors. New Revision Series, Volume 25. Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1989. pp. 464-474.

Scope and Content Note

The Asa Pieratt Collection of Ephemera Relating to Kurt Vonnegut consists of one linear foot of magazine articles, posters, flyers, lectures, tickets, reprints, catalogs, programs, correspondence, and a few typescripts, all of which have a connection to Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. or his work. Collected by Asa Pieratt, the ephemera currently spans the years 1972-1996. Mr. Pieratt continues to collect and donate material to this collection.

The four series into which the collection is organized reflect the variety of material in the collection. Series I. "Material written or presented by Vonnegut" includes photocopies of Vonnegut's drafts of a preface to the 25th anniversary edition of Slaughterhouse-Five and of his ideas for a screen treatment of Slapstick. The series also includes magazines which contain excerpts from Vonnegut's novel Jailbird, his musical Requiem, and his address to the 25th General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association. The series also includes a pamphlet of Vonnegut's anti-war lecture, "Fates Worse Than Death," as well as flyers and tickets for his lectures at Midway College and the University of Northern Iowa.

Series II. "Performances, productions, and exhibitions based on work by Vonnegut" consists mainly of flyers, programs, reviews and posters which are related to Slaughterhouse -Five, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, Requiem, "Who Am I This Time?," and Make Up Your Mind. The material related to Vonnegut's Requiem also consists of several letters, including a photocopy of a letter from Vonnegut to Pieratt remarking on their participation in opening night festivities for Requiem. An invitation and price list for an exhibition of Vonnegut's drawings is also part of Series II.

Series III. "Materials relating to publication of Vonnegut's work" consists primarily of publishers' catalogs which advertise books written by Vonnegut. However there are also several books reviews of Vonnegut's work and a poster advertising the Seymour Lawrence editions of Vonnegut's books.

Series IV. "Material about Vonnegut and his work" includes magazines which contain interviews with Vonnegut or articles describing Vonnegut's speaking engagements; or flyers and publishers' catalogs advertising bibliographies and films featuring Vonnegut.

This collection provides an interesting array of sources which focus on the life and work of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., particularly regarding his speaking engagements and interviews.

Related collections:

Ms 99 Screenplay for Kurt Vonnegut's Slapstick

Ms 99 Photocopy of proofs for Vonnegut's Jailbird

Ms 99 Photocopy of proofs for Vonnegut's Palm Sunday

Ms 259 Seymour Lawrence Publishing Files Related to Kurt Vonnegut

Ms 299 Asa Pieratt Papers Relating to Kurt Vonnegut: a comprehensive bibliography

Ms 300 Jerome Klinkowitz Papers Relating to Kurt Vonnegut

Arrangement Note

This collection is organized in four series, as follows: Series I. "Material written or presented by Vonnegut," Series II. "Performances, productions or exhibitions based on work by Vonnegut," Series III. "Material relating to publications of Vonnegut's work," and Series IV. "Material about Vonnegut and his work. The material in each series is arranged in chronological order.

Because Mr. Pieratt continues to add material to this collection, the numbering of folders is not sequential for the collection, but rather is unique for each series.

Contents List

Box -- Folder -- Contents

1         Series I.  Material written or presented by Vonnegut, 1975-1993
               Includes the text of the preface, lectures, an excerpt for Jailbird, text for
               Requiem, remarks at "An Authors Symposium for Congress," Vonnegut's
               screen treatment for Slapstick, and flyers or tickets for Vonnegut

     F1   "An Author's Symposium for Congress," 1975 Jun 18
          Booklet of  remarks, sponsored by the Coalition for Fair Copyright Protection.

     F2   "An Excerpt for the Best-seller Jailbird," 1979 Oct
          In United Mainliner, two copies.

     F3   "Fates Worse Than Death," 1982 May 23
          Text of Vonnegut's lecture at St. John the Divine (New York), published by the
          Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation (Spokesman pamphlet no. 80).

     F4   "Requiem: The Hocus Pocus Laundromat," 1986 Dec
          Photocopy of Vonnegut's article published in North American Review (Dec 1986). 
          See also Series II for other material relating to Requiem.

     F5   "Love Is Too Strong a Word," 1987 Jan-Feb
          Magazine and photocopy of Vonnegut's article based on his address at the 25th
          General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association, Rochester, NY, on
          June 25, 1986.  Published in The World (Jan-Feb 1987).

     F6   "Iowa Student as Critic," 1989 Apr 7
          Ticket for Vonnegut's address at the University of Northern Iowa.

     F7   "How to Get a Job Like Mine," 1993 Nov 1
          Flyer for a lecture at Midway College, Lexington, Kentucky.

     F8   Preface to the 25th anniversary edition of Slaughterhouse-Five, [1993]
          Photocopy of typescript sent to Don Farber by Vonnegut.

     F9   "Screen Treatment for Slapstick," [n.d.]
          Photocopy of typescript of Vonnegut's ideas for a film version of Slapstick.

     F10  "Merlin," 1996 Sep
          Photocopy of a beer label which bears a short story written by Vonnegut
          specifically for the "Denver Public Libation" series created by the Wynkoop
          Brewing Company to honor the new Denver Public Library.  Also included are
          photocopies of publicity for the series and Vonnegut.  Wynkoop also created a
          "Kurt's Mile-High Malt" brew, with a label bearing a Vonnegut self-portrait. 

    F11  "A Very Young Author and Photographer - Jill Krementz at Fifty,
	February 19, 1990"
	Photocopy of a printed keepsake which was distributed to guests at
	Krementz's 50th birthday party.  Includes text by Vonnegut.

 2         Series II.  Performances, productions, and exhibitions based on work by
               Vonnegut, 1976-1996

     F1   Twyman 1976-1977 Film Supplement, 1976-1977
          Includes ad for Slaughterhouse-Five.

     F2   "Kurt Vonnegut's God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater," [1979]
          Programs and flyers for the Entermedia (NY) production.

     F3   "Kurt Vonnegut: Calligraphics - An Exhibition of Drawings," 1980 Oct 20-Nov 15
          Price list and invitation for The Margo Feiden Galleries (NY) exhibition of
          drawings by Vonnegut.

     F4   Requiem, 1988 Mar-Jun
          Poster, flyers, program, correspondence and reviews relating to the world premiere
          of Vonnegut's Requiem, on March 13, 1988 at the Unitarian Universalist Church,
          Buffalo, NY.  Includes a photocopy of a letter from Vonnegut about opening
          night.  The poster has been removed to oversize storage.  See also Series I for
          article by Vonnegut which includes text for Requiem.

     F5   Who Am I This Time? [1989] Sep 15-Oct 2
          Program, poster, flyers and reviews relating to the Arden Theatre Company in
          Residence at the Walnut Street Theatre (Philadelphia) production of Who Am I
          This Time?  which is based on three stories by Kurt Vonnegut.  The poster has
          been removed to oversize storage.

     F6   Make Up Your Mind, 1993 Apr 8-May 2
          Flyer and text for the program for The New Group (NY) performance of
          Vonnegut's play Make Up Your Mind.

     F7   Mother Night, 1996 Sep 2-8
          Photocopy of a review of the film version of Vonnegut's novel.

     F8   "From Russia With Love," 1996
          Photocopies of articles about an exhibition of artwork by Vonnegut, as well as
          poetry and readings by Russian poet Yevtushenko at the University of Charleston,
          West Virginia.

3         Series III.  Material relating to publication of Vonnegut's work, 1981-1988
               Includes publishers' catalogs and posters which advertise books by
               Vonnegut or magazine articles about his books.

     F1   Delta Books - Trade Paperbacks, 1981
     F2   TWA Ambassador, 1982 Jan
     F3   Publishers Weekly, 1982 July 2
     F4   Dell 1982 - College Paperbacks, 1982
     F5   Delacorte Press & Delta Trade Paperbacks, 1982-1983
     F6   Dell College Paperbacks, 1984
     F7   Dell Paperbacks, 1987
     F8   Dell Paperbacks, 1988
     F9   "Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.," [n.d.]
          Poster for Delacorte Press and Seymour Lawrence editions of Vonnegut's books. 
          Removed to oversize storage.

4         Series IV.  Material about Vonnegut and his work, 1972-1996
               Includes articles, interviews, programs with information about Kurt
               Vonnegut.  Also includes catalogs which advertise bibliographies of
               Vonnegut's work, or films and biographies about Vonnegut.

     F1   "Between Time & Timbuktu," TV Guide, 1972 Mar 11
     F2   Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.: A descriptive bibliography and annotated secondary checklist
          (Archon, 1974) brochure, [1974]
     F3   "Vonnegut Fights Back After Blunt Reviews," The Ann Arbor News, 1976 Nov 21
     F4   "Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.: A Self-Portrait," Films for the Humanities, 1976
     F5   Twayne Catalog, 1976-1977
     F6   "Vonnegut to Speak at ACRL Conference," College & Research Libraries News,
          1978 Jul-Aug
     F7   ACRL Program, 1978 Nov 8-11
     F8   "Looking for Mr. Vonnegut," Philadelphia, 1982 Nov
     F9   "No More Dangerous Than a Banana Split," American Libraries, 1983 Feb
     F10  Kurt Vonnegut: a comprehensive bibliography (The Shoe String Press, 1986)
          catalog, 1986
     F11  "Interview: Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.," Applause, 1987 Mar
     F12  "At Home With Kurt Vonnegut," Vis a Vis, 1987 Nov
     F13  "Kurt Vonnegut: The Man With Nothing to Say," Critique, 1988 Winter
     F14  "Literati in the Limelight," US Air, 1988 Jul
     F15  "Vonnegut: The Paradox of Hope," Drafting (University of Northern Iowa), 1988
     F16  Vonnegut Symposium (Quad City Arts, Iowa), 1989 Apr 4-5
          Flyers and reprint of all addresses delivered at the symposium.
     F17  "Vonnegut in Poland," [n.d.]
     F18  "Technology and Me," 1996 Sep
          Photocopy of an excerpt of an interview with Vonnegut as published in Harper's
     F19  "The Bomb and Us: Kurt Vonnegut & Friends Chat with the Russians," 1989 May
     F20  Quill & Brush, Catalog 94, 1993
	Cover bears a caricature of Vonnegut.

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