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Finding Aid to the Herbert Gold Papers, 1942-2011, bulk 1960-1995
BANC MSS 2011/186  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Herbert Gold papers
    Date (inclusive): 1942-2011,
    Date (bulk): bulk 1960-1995
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 2011/186
    Creators : Gold, Herbert, 1924-
    Extent: Number of containers: 23 cartons, 1 box Linear feet: 30
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    University of California, Berkeley
    Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
    Phone: (510) 642-6481
    Fax: (510) 642-7589
    Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
    URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
    Abstract: The Herbert Gold papers consist of writings (articles, essays, fiction, non-fiction, interviews, plays, poetry, screenplays, journals and notes), correspondence, legal files, news clippings and audio/visual materials which span the length of Gold's literary career.
    Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English
    Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94720-6000. Consent is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html. 
    Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Herbert Gold Papers, BANC MSS 2011/186, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Alternate Forms Available

    There are no alternate forms of this collection.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    American literature--20th century
    Beat generation
    Haiti--Description and travel
    Haiti--Social conditions
    Gold, Herbert, 1924--Journeys--Haiti
    Gold, Herbert, 1924--Archives
    Authors, American--California--20th century

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Herbert Gold papers were purchased by The Bancroft Library from Herbert Gold in 2011.


    No additions are expected.

    System of Arrangement

    Arranged to the folder level.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Dean Smith in 2011-2012.

    Biographical Information

    Herbert (Herb) Gold was born on March 9, 1924 in Cleveland, Ohio and raised in Lakewood, a suburb. After graduating high school, Gold served a brief stint in the military then spent a year hitchhiking around the country, taking odd jobs, and writing poems. His parents wanted him to stay in Cleveland and attend college there and then go on to medical school. Instead, he was accepted at Columbia College in New York and studied philosophy. While in New York, Gold fell in with the upcoming Beat Generation and got to know many of the writers who would give the generation its name (including poet Allen Ginsberg, with whom he maintained an on-again, off-again friendship for decades).
    Upon winning a Fulbright Scholarship, Gold moved to Paris with his first wife, Edith Zubrin, attending the University of Paris, where he finished his first novel ( Birth of a Hero, published in 1951) that launched his literary career. Gold's marriage to Zubrin ended in divorce (they had two daughters, Ann and Judith). To pay child support Gold became, as he called it, "the writing factory" and wrote regularly for Playboy and its imitators - not always using his real name.
    Gold moved around for some time, living in Haiti, Detroit, and hitchhiking around America. His experiences in Haiti (he returned numerous times throughout his career) was to have a profound and lasting impact resulting in works of fiction ( Slave Trade), non-fiction ( Best Nightmare on Earth), and numerous essays and articles.
    By the mid 1960s, Gold finally settled in San Francisco in time to chronicle the cultural and social upheaval of that era and the city that was a nexus of the counter-culture. Becoming an important fixture in the Bay Area literary scene, Gold's reportage of San Francisco, the mores and manners of its cultural life written with a mixture of love and biting irony, was published in works of fiction and in articles for the press and magazines. In the late 1980s, he wrote a weekly series, Travels in San Francisco, articles about various aspects of the city's life and denizens for the San Francisco Chronicle.
    He met his second wife, Melissa Dilworth, just around the time Fathers : A Novel in Form of a Memoir (1966), his most successful novel, was published. He had a daughter and twin boys with Dilworth though this marriage also ended in divorce.
    Although Gold has always been continuously linked to bohemian society, given his association with the Beat poets and authors, his Jewish heritage has been another deep abiding concern and influenced his writing as a whole, that of being an "outsider" looking in on a dominant Christian-American society.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Herbert Gold papers consist of writings (articles, essays, fiction, non-fiction, interviews, plays, poetry, screenplays, journals and notes), correspondence, legal files, news clippings and audio/visual materials which span the length of Gold's literary career.