Glimpse of Leonard Cohen Archives - Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto

March 4, 2012 

Photo posted on twitter by Matthew Kirschenbaum, Associate Professor of English and Associate Director of MITH, University of Maryland

Below: UofT Library photos from wikipedia

The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library.
Robarts Library is in the background

Upper floors shelving of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library,
viewed from the southern atrium reading room

Article posted by Anne on the leonardcohenforum (here)

140 Boxes

This is an article from UofT magazine about the recent addition to The Rare Book Library of 140 Banker's boxes of material from Leonard. I typed it out this morning, this issue isn't online yet.

He's Our Man

In the early 1960s, UofT's Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library purchased manuscripts from young poet and writer Leonard Cohen - Including drafts of Beautiful Losers (acquired before publication) and Let Us Compare Mythologies. Almost half -a century later, Canada's most revered poet has contributed more of his literary past to U of T: a staggering 140 banker's boxes that trace his life from bohemian writer to iconic singer-song-writer to Buddhist monk.

"UofT's been very kind to me over the years - and when I really needed it. They bought manuscripts when I was about 25 years old - and they did that twice - so I feel very grateful to the university and to the library,” says Cohen, 71.

UofT archivist Richard Landon and his wife, Massey College librarian Marie Korey, packed the first 99 boxes during a visit to Los Angeles in 2005. Cohen and his partner and musical collaborator, Anjani Thomas, also sifted through the papers, which were housed at his daughter's antique store. The day before Passover, Cohen sang part of the Seder service to the UofT couple and regaled them with stories over dinner. (Cohen, who lived for many years at Mount Baldy Zen Centre in L.A., said his teacher, Joshu Sasaki Roshi, taught him the art of contemplation. He, in turn, taught Roshi how to drink single malt scotch.)

The newly acquired literary treasures include manuscripts on Death of a Lady's Man and Stranger Music and a handbound copy of The Spice-Box of Earth (inscribed "For Mother with love, Leonard. December 1965, Montreal"). 

There is correspondence with poets Irving Layton and Allen Ginsberg, and photos taken at a studio session with Phil Spector and Joni Mitchell in the 1970s. There is also an abundance of fan mail that ranges from the serious to the seriously disturbed” jokes Landon.

When the last of the banker's boxes have been catalogued and put in order, is there anyone in particular Cohen envisions studying his literary material? "Oh, any kind person,” says Cohen. "Anyone with the capacity to forgive". 

From: UofT Magazine, Autumn 2006 by Stacey Gibson

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