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Finding aid of the James L. White Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: James L. White papers
    Dates: 1970-1981
    Bulk Dates: (bulk 1979-1981)
    Collection number: Coll2006-003
    Creator: White, James L., 1936-1981
    Collection Size: 4 archive boxes 1.5 linear feet
    Repository: ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives.
    Los Angeles, California 90007
    Abstract: Journals and drafts of poetry, in particular the posthumously-published anthology, The Salt Ecstasies , and prose of the poet James L. White (1936-1981).
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    The collection is open to researchers. There are no access restrictions.

    Publication Rights

    Researchers wishing to publish materials must obtain permission in writing from ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives as the physical owner. Researchers must also obtain clearance from the holder(s) of any copyrights in the materials. Note that ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives can grant copyright clearance only for those materials for which we hold the copyright. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain copyright clearance for all other materials directly from the copyright holder(s).

    Preferred Citation

    Box #, folder #, James L. White papers, Coll2006-003, One National Gay & Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift, together with the James White Review Association Records, the Tom Young Papers, and the David M. Lindahl Papers, of Philip H. Willkie, March 21, 2004.

    Processing Information

    Collection processed by Michael C. Oliveira, November 13, 2006.
    Processing this collection has been funded by a generous grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.


    James L. White was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on March 26, 1936. From the age of 16 he received training in classical ballet. He was later awarded a scholarship to the American Ballet Theater in New York City, and while serving in the U.S. Army in West Germany he danced for the State Ballet in Karlsruhe. White obtained undergraduate degrees from Indiana University and Colorado State University, and an MA in Literary Criticism from the latter.
    For three years in the 1960's, White worked as a poet-teacher with the Navajo in the American Southwest, where he created and directed the Navajo Folk Art Theater. In 1971, he relocated to Minnesota to serve as the Director of the Native American Project of the Poets in the Schools Program, and he later taught in the Writers in Schools Program sponsored by COMPAS (Community Programs in the Arts and Sciences). While teaching he collected and edited Time of the Indian (1976), contemporary poetry written by Native American children, and First Skin Around Me (1976), an anthology of American Indian writings. During the late 1970's, he worked with Allen Ginsberg at the Jack Kerouac School for the Disembodied Poetics, at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.
    In addition to anthologies of Native American writings, White published three anthologies of his own works during his lifetime: Divorce Proceedings (1972), Crow's Story of Deer (1974), and Del Rio Hotel (1975). In 1978, the Bush Foundation awarded him a Literature Fellowship that enabled him to complete his final anthology, The Salt Ecstasies , published posthumously in 1982. White's works were also published in The Paris Review, American Poetry Review, Ironwood, The Ohio Review, Kansas Quarterly, Sonora Review, and Prairie Schooner.
    White died of heart disease at his home in Minneapolis, in July 1981, at the age of 45.
    James White Review, 1, no. 1, 1983, 3.
    "James White Review Visits Madison." Out! 1987, 3.
    James L. White Papers, Coll2006-003, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.
    James White Review Association Records, Coll2006-004, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.
    Willkie, Phil and Kevin Burke. "Jim, His Friends and the Heaven-Cafeteria." James White Review, no. 1, 1983, 3.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    James L. White's Papers consist almost entirely of his journals and drafts of poetry and prose. The collection forms a single series, arranged by format: interview, journals, poetry, prose, and notes, each arranged chronologically. The journals form the bulk of the collection, and contain photographs and other documents as pasted inserts. White sanitized his papers prior to his death, and they have been re-arranged several times since his death. During the course of these re-arrangements, all loose documents were removed from the journals; these materials are now filed with the journals, but their precise context has been lost. Other materials include a transcript of an interview with White; drafts of his poetry, in particular of his final work, The Salt Ecstasies; two audiocassettes with comments on The Salt Ecstasies by Tess Gallagher; a small amount of prose; and notes on the writings of others.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Gays in literature
    Gay men's writings, American
    Gays' writing, American
    Poets, American--20th century
    White, James L., 1936-1981

    Related Material

    James White Review Association Records, Coll2006-004, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.
    Tom Young Papers, Coll2006-005, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.
    David M. Lindahl Papers, Coll2006-006, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.