The Charles Olson Research Collection

The Charles Olson Research Collection

About Charles Olson

Charles Olson has come to be recognized in the few years since his death in 1970 as a major shaper of a postmodern American poetry, the chief successor to Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams. He was a leading voice of the so-called Black Mountain Poets, named for the experimental college with which all were at one time or another associated.  Read more…

A Guide To The Charles Olson Research Collection

The Charles Olson Research Collection is comprised of the personal papers, literary manuscripts, and library of the poet Charles Olson. The Collection includes a range of materials covering such diverse topics as the life and works of Herman Melville, Black Mountain College, history of Gloucester, Massachusetts, and the literary and cultural revolution of the 1960’s. Since their acquisition in 1972, the original papers have been augmented by numerous additions through purchase and by gift.  Access the full inventory for details…

Olson Library

The Charles Olson Library is comprised of books owned by Charles Olson, gift books provided to the poet during his lifetime, books from the library of Black Mountain College, and books added to the Library since the papers were acquired by Archives and Special Collections. A full listing of Olson’s library is provided via the Libraries’ online catalog.


The photograph gallery contains hundreds of photographs of Charles Olson, his family, friends, and correspondents. The gallery represents a selection of the photographic prints and negatives that reside in the Charles Olson Research Collection, comprised of original photographs owned by Charles Olson and prints donated to the Archives.

Charles Olson's Melville Project

Charles Olson began a serious study of the life and works of Herman Melville while a graduate student at Wesleyan University in the early 1930s. Olson’s Master’s thesis, The Growth of Herman Melville, Prose Writer and Poetic Thinker, was completed in 1933, but his work on Melville continued. Read more…

Rights & Related Collections

With the purchase of the Charles Olson papers in 1972, the University of Connecticut acquired from the estate the literary rights to all of Olson’s writing that remained unpublished at the time of his death.  Related materials including the personal papers of several Black Mountain poets and former Black Mountain College students are preserved and available for research in Archives and Special Collections. Read more about Rights and Permission, and Related Collections