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Graywolf Press Records

Identifier: Mss095

Scope and Content Note

The Administrative series consists of a several subseries. The series includes (4) boxes of correspondence, including letters written to Graywolf founder Scott Walker (personal and press related) from 1972-1994. Letters are arranged chronologically with certain authors (Tess Gallagher, John Haines, etc.) retaining their own folders. The correspondence continues from 1994-1997 with the incoming and outgoing correspondence of director Fiona McCrae. The Administrative series also contains six (6) boxes of General Administrative Materials from 1977-2008, to include operational records, materials related to book fairs, rights and permissions, newsletters, and international titles, are arranged chronologically; two (2) boxes of Financial materials, including meeting minutes, agendas, and correspondence; eight (8) boxes of fundraising materials related to Grants and Development; and seven (7) boxes of Marketing related materials, to include sales kits, tip sheets, advertisements, brochures, and catalogs. The Sales Kits include author background information, publication details, reviews, and excerpts for all titles published by Graywolf between 1988-2011.

The Books series contains titles published by the press from 1974-2014 as well as Other Books -- titles produced by other publishers. In most cases, the Other titles are different editions of the same title published by Graywolf, including international versions published in languages other than English. Though not consistent, for most Graywolf titles there are multiple final published works as well as a galley copy in the collection. Books are arranged alphabetically by author last name.

The Catalogs include seasonal Graywolf catalogs of new and backlist titles arranged chronologically from 1984-2014. In 2002, Graywolf started a distribution partnership with Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (FSG), and catalogs produced by FSG are arranged chronologically from 2002-2009. Correspondence related to catalog production is arranged chronologically from Spring 1987 through Winter 2005.

Editorial materials include correspondence, reviews, cover art, publicity materials, contracts, permissions, and financial information about Graywolf authors and their published works. The twenty-four (24) boxes in this series are organized alphabetically by author last name.

Original and edited manuscripts, in addition to multiple edited versions of page proofs for titles published by the press are contained in the Manuscripts and Proofs series. Also included for some titles are proof fragments, which often contain edited versions of the front and back matter of the publication (credits, indexes, appendices, etc.).

The Production series contains broadsides, cover mechanics, posters, proofs, and other design materials produced to create book covers and promotional materials. The series contains seven (7) boxes, each of which are organized alphabetically by title.

Press clippings regarding the press specifically, in addition to specific authors and publications, are contained within the Publicity series. Contents consist mainly of articles clipped and/or photocopied from literary publications and the popular press to include reviews of a specific work and profiles about Graywolf or their authors. Multiple folders in Box 1 contain “Review Trackers,” which are lists of every article and/or review published about a particular Graywolf title. Box 2 within this series contains photographs of authors that were used for the promotion of their books.

Audio cassette, CD, DVD, photographic, Umatic, and VHS materials are contained within the Audio/Visual series, dating from 1987-2014. The series contains recorded interviews, readings, and spoken word editions of books, in addition to three scrapbooks of photographs of Graywolf Press staff, authors, and events.

Awards received by Graywolf Press, including the Minnesota Book Award (1992), The National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry (2007), and other awards and recognitions constitute one additional box of materials within this collection.


  • 1972-2014

Language of Materials


Restrictions on Access

The collection is open and available for use by researchers in the Andersen Library Reading Room.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright is retained by the copyright holder.

Historical Note

Graywolf Press emerged from the private publication of four editions of the literary magazine Twelve Poems, edited by Scott Walker, in 1974. Each edition was printed by letterpress and hand-sewn into pamphlet form. Later that year, Walker collaborated with Linda Foster to start Graywolf, which initially operated out of the Copper Canyon Press in Port Townsend, Washington. Eventually, operations were moved to a shop set up behind Walker’s home. In 1976, Graywolf produced it’s first full-length publication, Instructions to the Double, by poet Tess Gallagher. Foster and Walker co-produced one additional title in 1977, John Haines’ In a Dusty Light, after which Foster left the partnership and Walker assumed sole direction of the press.

Graywolf’s first publications were letterpress-printed and hand-sewn chapbooks of poetry, but the press gradually expanded to publish other genres such as novels, essays, and memoirs. Graywolf has published multiple titles from, and developed long-standing relationships with the following authors: Elizabeth Alexander, Charles Baxter, John D’Agata, Percival Everett, Tess Gallagher, Albert Goldbarth, Tony Hoagland, Jane Kenyon, Ander Monson, Per Petterson, Carl Phillips, Vijay Seshadri, Tracy K. Smith, William Stafford, David Treuer, and Brenda Ueland, among others. Both Smith and Seshadri were awarded the Pulitzer Prize in poetry for their Graywolf published works, Life on Mars (2012), and 3 Sections (2014), respectively. Several Graywolf authors have won multiple national and international honors for their works.

In 1984, Graywolf was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and with an award from the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) in 1985, the press was moved to new offices in St. Paul, Minnesota. In 1987, Graywolf published a new edition of If You Want to Write, by Minnesota author Brenda Ueland. An anniversary edition was published by Graywolf in 2007, and the work later became the press’ best-selling title.

In March of 1994, Scott Walker resigned as the head of the press. Page Cowles, president of the Board of Directors, served as interim director until a new director, Fiona McCrae, was hired in October of 1994. Under McCrae’s leadership, the press took on new ventures to include an educational partnership with the College of Saint Benedict in Saint Joseph Minnesota in 1997. The partnership created an author residency program at the college and also initiated the S. Mariella Gable Prize, an annual award that acknowledges literary excellence. In the 2000 decade, Graywolf entered into a distribution partnership with the publishing house Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, and also began publishing translated works, which has increased the press’ services and widened it’s author base.


288 boxes


This collection include books, manuscripts, proofs, catalogs, and AV materials related to Graywolf Press.


The collection is organized in the following series:

  1. Administrative
  2. Books
  3. Catalogs
  4. Editorial
  5. Manuscripts and Proofs
  6. Production
  7. Publicity
  8. Audio/Visual
  9. Awards
  10. Ephemera

Physical Location

MLAC (D21-26); 2015 exhibit in HB (R1, D1, S13); unproc accruals at PS


Purchased 2009. Additional accretion received 2014.

Related Material

Related collections at the University of Minnesota Libraries include: Scott Walker Collection of Graywolf Press (Mss095a).

Select materials in this collection have been digitized and are available online in Umedia by visiting:

Processing Information

The collection was processed and finding aid written by Literary Manuscripts staff, 2012 and 2015.

Graywolf Press Records
Kathryn Hujda
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Upper Midwest Literary Archives Collecting Area