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Stephen Michael Tomaske Memorial Collection of Thomas Pynchon: Finding Aid
mssTomaske papers  
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Collection Overview
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The collection contains biographical research materials related to author Thomas Pynchon (1937-) collected by librarian and Pynchon scholar Stephen Tomaske (1956-2002). Many of the documents are photocopies of originals obtained from various libraries and institutions.
Thomas Pynchon (born 1937) is an award-winning author, whose books include V. and Gravity’s Rainbow. His fiction is known for being dense and complex. Especially because of his closely-guarded privacy, his life and works are the subject of scholarly study and debate around the world. Stephen Tomaske (1956-2002) was an avid Pynchon fan and scholar. A student assistant and later a staff member in reference services at the library at California State University Los Angeles, he was familiar with various research methods, meticulously requesting background information about Pynchon from libraries and institutions across the U. S. in his spare time. He researched Pynchon’s family history, youth and literary works, collecting a biographical research collection as his legacy.
Approximately 2,500 pieces.
Use Restrictions:
Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department, with the following restrictions: Tomaske obtained a copy from the Ford Foundation of Pynchon’s autobiography, submitted to the Ford Foundation with a grant application. The material was later sealed by the Foundation, who asked that Tomaske return his copies. He did so. Transcriptions of the text in full or in part have been redacted and are to be sealed until January 2, 2040, in accordance with the Ford Foundation’s restriction on the original material (Box 10, Folder 1 [redacted]; Box 22, Folders 7 and 9 [sealed]). Other correspondence with the Ford Foundation and application materials are not sealed. The correspondence between Stephen Tomaske and Luc Herman, Tomaske’s taped interview of Herman, and Herman’s notes are sealed for Mr. Herman’s lifetime (Box 21, Folder 7 and 26, Box 22, Folder 6, and Box 25, Folder 10). The correspondence between Stephen Tomaske and Terry Reilly is sealed until January 2, 2033 (Box 21, Folders 14 and 38). For more information, contact Reader Services.