Forever Saroyan is hiring a full-time archivist!

Update - This position has been filled. Thank you for your interest.

Introducing Christopher J. Garcia

 

Job Description:

Archivist/Editor (lone arranger)

Schedule flexible up to 40 hours per week

Starting hourly salary and benefits depend on level of experience. Hourly range: $30-$35

Forever Saroyan, LLC

San Jose, California

Forever Saroyan is a privately owned and funded archive dedicated to preserving and promoting the legacy of 20th century writer William Saroyan. Under the direction of the managing director, the archivist is responsible for the oversight and maintenance of a collection of correspondence, rare books, original artwork and other media relating to Saroyan, in addition to the development of various historical and creative publishing ventures. This is an ideal position for an early career archivist, writer, or editor looking for experience in private archives and research. The candidate must be a strong self-starter who thrives on working independently and possesses excellent written communication skills.

Essential duties and responsibilities:

  1. Archival (25%):

- Processing, digitizing, and cataloging documents.

- Performs original research on Saroyan and associated topics as needed, utilizing internet sources, primary sources, and offsite research at institutional archives.

- Communicates daily in person and via email with the director and other individuals associated with various ongoing projects.

- Works to coordinate occasional outreach and public presentations.

- Selects and purchases books, rare materials, and archival preservation supplies.

  1. Editorial (75%)

- Plans, designs, and develops creative projects based on materials in the archive and materials associated with Saroyan’s life and work.

- Transcribes, proofreads, and annotates multiple ongoing projects.

- Works closely with associated graphic designers, primary research sources, copyright specialists, and printers.

Required:

- Familiarity with Outlook, Dropbox, Microsoft Office, Acrobat, image manipulation software.

- Experience with digitization and archival preservation practices. Comfortable operating a flatbed scanner and copy machine, familiarity with basic office equipment.  

- Knowledge of archival practices and processes.

- Strong academic background in Library Science, Literature, Editing, Creative Writing, or combination. MLIS preferred.

- Excellent written skills, research skills and the ability to self-organize.

Desired:

- Background in American literature and/or Armenian studies.

- Experience in genealogy research.

  • Working knowledge of written and/or spoken Armenian.

Position will be open until filled.

To apply, please send resume and cover letter to

Saroyan and the Grabhorn Press: A Lasting Friendship

27 saroyan

Archie Minasian and Wiliam Saroyan in Saroyan's San Francisco home, 1949

              Getting published by a large publisher like Random House or Doubleday is usually a dream for writers. Mass production can lead to a spot on the bestseller lists, which can lead to fame and fortune. But what about the self-publishers and small presses? Historically, small presses have been places of prestige. Unlike small publishers, small presses produce limited edition and specialized publications and are sometimes run by only one or two people. Small presses tend to favor creative and experimental efforts to improve the cultural landscape. These businesses have thrived in America (and beyond) for centuries as artisanal institutions. Walt Whitman and Mark Twain, both heavy influencers on Saroyan, favored small presses, for example.1

              Saroyan liked to publish through small presses and also self-published his 1936 short story collection, 3 Times 3. Of the small presses, he worked with The Creative Arts Book Company in Berkeley, Black Archer Press, and notably had a long relationship with The Grabhorn Press, the subject of this article.

              The Grabhorn Press was established in San Francisco in the early 1920s by Edwin and Robert Grabhorn. Later, Edwin’s wife Marjorie and Robert’s wife Jane joined the team. The press was known for its use of hand-set type, handmade paper and binding, and elegant design. Later, Jane ran imprint presses Jumbo Press and Colt Press. In 1965, Edwin retired and Robert partnered with Andrew Hoyem to create Grabhorn-Hoyem Press. In 1974, Hoyem created Arion Press and in 2000 established The Grabhorn Institute, a nonprofit honoring the Grabhorns.2 Both Arion Press and the Grabhorn Institute operate today in The Presidio in San Francisco, under new ownership.

Grabhorn3 1

Jane and Robert Grabhorn [n.d.] (Book Arts & Special Collections, San Francisco Public Library)

 

              Saroyan printed several books with Grabhorn Press, building a playful friendship and professional partnership with Jane Grabhorn. Their delightful correspondences can be found in the William Saroyan Papers, 1926-1981 collection at the Stanford University Special Collections. Their collaborations include A Christmas Psalm 1935 (1935), Farewell Speech of King Edward The Eighth Broadcast from Windsor Castle the Tenth Day of December, MCMXXXVI (printed by Grabhorn, published by Ransohoffs, 1938) and Hilltop Russians in San Francisco (1941).

FAREWELL KING                         FAREWELL KING FIRST PAGE 

Cover and first page of Farewell Speech of King Edward The Eighth Broadcast from Windsor Castle the Tenth Day of December, MCMXXXVI (printed by Grabhorn, published by Ransohoffs, 1938)

 

              To get a sense of their friendship, we present three letters between Jane and William in 1963 (edited for length, copyright Stanford University Libraries):

“Dear Sir:

              PLEASE SEND MONEY.

              In the meantime, the photographs arrived, carefully bent, according to your instructions. And we thank you.

              Well, anyway, also I broke two ribs falling against a wall can opener. You think that’s easy, you got another thing coming. I mean it’s relatively easy if you discount damage to the can opener; to do it and leave the can opener absolutely intact, is a major feat of acrobatic skill.

This I did;

I also have a disease which I believe would be called in olden days the Seven Years Itch. Oh this is troublesome beyond words, and humiliating. I feel like an unclean fugitive as I flit from doorway to doorway, scratching and hoping no one is looking.

I send love, - we all do.,

Clickety-clack, Jane”

 

Saroyan responds,

              “Dear Madam,

              Yours of the undated instant saying please send money comes as an astonishment since it is well-known that money isn’t everything if in fact in the final analysis it is anything by far. And clickety-clack, although surely Latin, is obviously used in another sense, perhaps meaning why am I fat or what is the moon? Jane, you have simply got to stop stumbling upon can openers, but never, never give up the itch, one has so few friends.

Love, and love to all of you: Bill”

 

Jane responds,

              “It’s lovely hearing from you and I have pinned your letters and the picture of you and me holding hands on my mirror next to the prom-dance cards, the colt drawn by Henry Miller and my Communist Party membership certificate dated 1930. (They never renewed it; claimed I wouldn’t stay in my cell like a good girl should.)”

        

              At this point they had known each other for almost 30 years. Though I haven’t included it here, their letter content alternated between professional discussion and friendly joking, moving seamlessly between the two. It’s clear they had built a strong relationship over the decades.

              Saroyan also introduced the Grabhorns to his cousin, the poet Archie Minasian. In 1950, Colt Press published Minasian’s The Simple Songs of Khatchik Minasian, a collection of poems. Jane also interacted with Saroyan’s son, Aram.

              The friendship between the Grabhorns and William is a bright star in the history of printer-artist relations. This is part of the reason that Forever Saroyan partnered with The Grabhorn Institute to host our exhibit: The World of William Saroyan. Though the exhibit was originally scheduled for April 2020 and was delayed due to the spread of coronavirus, we intend to reschedule and once again join Saroyan to Grabhorn, continuing this legacy of friendship.

             The following are images of Grabhorn originals and their reprints:

 Arion Christmas Psalm

               In 2015, Arion Press reprinted A Christmas Psalm 1935 for Forever Saroyan

                                 

swansfinebooks grabhorn christmas psalm 1935                                  Psalms 35 Arion 1st pg  

First page of original 1935 Grabhorn Press printing                                  First page of 2015 Arion Press reprint

 

hilltop russians abebooks                                                        molokaneorg Hilltop c small

Original 1941 Grabhorn Press cover and flyleaf of Hilltop Russians in San Francisco  

3 Hilltop Russians1                                   4 Hilltop Russians2

 2020 Technology Press (San Jose) abridged reprint

 

 simple songs heritage auctions                                simple songs magus amazon

1950 original Colt Press printing of The Simple Songs of Khatchik Minasian        1969 reprint by David Kherdian's Giligia Press

 

References:

1. Henderson, Bill. “The Small Book Press: A Cultural Essential.” The Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy, vol. 54, no. 1, 1984, pp. 61-71. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4307694. Accessed 8 Sept. 2020.

2. Baughman McDowell, Kelci. “Grabhorn Press: Home. History, resources, and tools for consulting SCU's Grabhorn Press holdings.” Santa Clara University Research Guides. Santa Clara University. https://libguides.scu.edu/grabhorn. Updated 9/4/2020. Accessed 9/8/2020

 

Article written by Dori Myer, Archivist, Forever Saroyan, September 2020

William Saroyan the Visionary at the Book Club of California

Update: view a recording of the presentation here!

39 otyam photo033

We are proud to announce the presentation of "William Saroyan the Visionary" via Zoom, hosted by the Book Club of California

Forever Saroyan's Managing Director and founder, Charles Janigian, will give a 75-minute presentation about what makes William Saroyan relevant today and why he should be brought back into the Californian and American literary canons. It will feature slides containing images of Saroyan's artwork, photographs, and ephemera from Forever Saroyan's collection.  

 

Sign up via the Book Club of California's website

Date: 8/31/2020 (Saroyan's birthday)

Time: 5p-6:15p 

Cost: Free to the public

Webinar is limited to 100 guests/viewers, so act fast!

 

Check out the Book Club's full list of programs and policies here:

https://www.bccbooks.org/programs/

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