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Finding Aid to the Aya Tarlow Papers
BANC MSS 2003/232 c  
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Aya Tarlow Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1954-2002
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 2003/232 c
    Creator: Aya, 1932-
    Extent: Number of containers: 9 boxes, 2 volumes, 2 oversize boxes, and 12 oversize folders Linear feet: approx. 5.0
    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: Consist of correspondence, writings, artworks, scrapbooks, flyers, announcements, clippings, biographical and miscellaneous materials that primarily illuminate the life as poet and intimate player of the Beat scene in San Francisco and Los Angeles during the 1950's. Correspondents include Wallace Berman, George Herms, ruth weiss, and Christopher Tree. Includes artworks of Aya Tarlow and Elias Romero, as well as of other artists.
    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, with the following exceptions: Fragile artwork culled from Series 1: Correspondence and Series 3: Artworks (housed in Box 9) are restricted. Permission of Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts or Curator for the Pictorial Collection required to view items.

    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, 94270-6000. 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], Aya Tarlow Papers, BANC MSS 2003/232 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
    Title: Auerhahn Press records, 1959-1967.
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 71/85 c
    Title: City Lights Books records, 1953-1970.
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 72/107 c
    Title: City Lights Books records: additions, 1947-[on-going] (bulk 1970-1994).
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 77/89 c
    Title: Bruce Conner papers, 1962-[ongoing].
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 2000/50 c
    Title: Bill Deemer correspondence, 1965-1995.
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 77/94 c
    Title: Jay DeFeo papers, 1901-1997 (bulk 1970-1989).
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 98/56 c
    Title: Lawrence Ferlinghetti papers, 1919-[ongoing].
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 90/30 c
    Title: Michael McClure papers, [ca.1963-1975].
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 76/91 c
    Title: Michael McClure papers : additions, [ca. 1972].
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 77/65 c
    Title: Michael McClure papers : additions, 1800-2002 (bulk 1970-2000).
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 2003/222 c
    Title: David Meltzer papers.
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 2003/256 c
    Title: Ruth Weiss miscellany, 1973-[ongoing].
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 99/84 cz

    Separated Material

    Printed materials have been transferred to the book collection of The Bancroft Library.
    Photographs have been transferred to Pictorial Collection of The Bancroft Library.
    Objects have been transferred to Pictorial Collection of The Bancroft Library.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Aya, 1932- --Archives.
    Romero, Elias Lee--Correspondence.
    Berman, Wallace, 1926-1976--Correspondence.
    Herms, George, 1935- --Correspondence.
    Weiss, Ruth, 1928- --Correspondence.
    Tree, Christopher--Correspondence.
    Romero, Elias Lee--Pictorial works.
    Artists, American--California.
    Poets, American--California.
    Authors, American--California.
    Beat generation--California.

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Aya Tarlow Papers were purchased by The Bancroft Library in January 2003.


    No additions are expected.

    System of Arrangement

    Arranged to the folder level.

    Processing Information

    by Dean Smith in 2006

    Biographical Information

    Born Idell Rose Tarlow on August 14, 1932, in Los Angeles, California, Tarlow studied piano and dancing while growing up in Los Angeles. At 13, she began writing and compiling collections of poems and drawings. Upon finishing high school, Aya attended Los Angeles City College for a year but quit full time enrollment when she married; however, she continued taking poetry and writing classes. At this time she also began to have her work occasionally published in small press magazines. At 23, Tarlow caused a family stir when she divorced her first husband in order to marry Elias [Lee] Romero whom she met at a poetry class they both attended.
    After living in a Riverside, California farmhouse for a brief period, Tarlow and Romero moved to San Francisco. They arrived just as the Beat movement was emerging in the coffee houses, bars and bookstores in North Beach. Quickly becoming part of the scene, they reveled in the freedom and creative energy surrounding them. Tarlow read her poetry in local Beat venues, while Romero created "light shows" (a medium that later became ubiquitous during the Hippie era). Traveling between San Francisco and Los Angeles during the late 1950s, Tarlow and Romero formed a nexus between the Beat scenes in northern and southern California. Of the many Beat luminaries they encountered, Tarlow was to befriend many of the major visual artists of the era, notably, Wallace Berman and George Herms, actor Dean Stockwell and Beat poets ruth weiss and David Meltzer. Tarlow and Romero divorced in the early 1960's.
    It was during the early 1960s that Tarlow developed a passion for photography and began exhibiting her photographs. Continuing through the 1960's she also had three plays produced that included the production The Edge at the Open Theater in Berkeley, California in 1966, and published three books of poetry that included, Poems for Selected People and Marks of Asha. She also was introduced to Zen Buddhism at this time and began practicing with the famous Zen master, Suzuki Roshi, in San Francisco. Tarlow also continued to reach out to the diverse creative community surrounding her and forged new friendships that included performance artist Rachel Rosenthal, filmmaker/artist Steven Arnold, poet Clayton Eshelman and author Anaïs Nin.
    Having returned to Los Angeles in 1970, Tarlow founded the journal, Matrix: For She of the New Aeon, a feminist literary magazine that sought a spiritual approach to women's issues. In the mid-1970s with her third husband, William Royere, Tarlow co-founded the Araya Foundation, a non-profit healing arts center where she taught astrology (a life long devotion).
    In the '80s Tarlow co-produced, wrote, edited and shot stills for a 90-minute television documentary about Buddhist persecution in Asia, A Religion in Retreat, and became active in the Vietnamese and Tibetan immigrant communities in Los Angeles. Following the death of husband William Royere in 1989, Tarlow moved to Sedona, Arizona in 1991 where she continued her astrological counseling and founded the Wise Woman Lodge. Her most recent book, Way of the Warrior Priestess, an exploration of the divine feminine spirit, was published in 1999. Aya Tarlow currently lives in the Bay Area.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Aya Tarlow Papers, 1954 - 2002, consist of correspondence, writings, artworks, scrapbooks, flyers, announcements, clippings, biographical and miscellaneous materials that primarily illuminate her life as poet and intimate player of the Beat scene in San Francisco and Los Angeles during the 1950's.
    Tarlow's correspondence, though relatively brief, is rich in detail and texture and features many prominent players of the LA Beat scene, notably visual artists Wallace Berman, George Herms, and poet ruth weiss. However, it is Tarlow's correspondence with the lessor known figures of the LA Beat scene, e.g., musician and poet Christopher Tree, that provide some of the more telling and quotidian details of Bohemian life and culture during the Eisenhower years. Tarlow's correspondence to and from Bill Spencer (musician and composer) is especially rich in relaying the texture of the aesthetic, musical and social passions of the era. Many pieces of correspondence double as "mail art."
    Complimenting the correspondence are writings (which include several issues of Semina, the Beat poetry publication that defined its generation and Tarlow's own literary publication, Matrix: For She of the New Aeon), flyers and announcements, and newspaper and magazine clippings that document the Beat era and its concomitant aesthetic concerns and social issues as well as social issues that extended into the 1960s.
    Of particular noteworthiness are two scrapbooks and various artworks. Being collections of drawings, poems, announcements, clippings, photographs and correspondence, one of the scrapbooks comprises a record of Elias Romero's work and the other a record of Tarlow and Romero's broader circle of friends and colleagues. The artworks in Tarlow's papers document the aesthetic issues and ideas of the Beat sensibility and features various drawings and collages by George Herms as well as works by lesser known artists, e.g. Arthur Richer.