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Leonard Baskin Prints

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 7 Feb 2013

Biographical History

Leonard Baskin (1922-2000) was an American printmaker, illustrator, bookmaker, printer, author and teacher. In 1942, while still a student at Yale, he founded the Gehenna Press whose output over the next fifty years included books of original poetry (some of which were both written and illustrated by Baskin), illustrated books of Baskin's woodcuts and other artists' work, and literary works illustrated with engravings by himself or other artists. In 1974 Baskin sold the press to Howard McGrath and moved with his family to Devon in England, where they remained for nearly ten years. In 1983 they returned to the United States and Baskin resumed publication under the Gehenna Press imprint. A close friend and long-time collaborator was the poet Ted Hughes, with whom Baskin designed and published A Primer of Birds (Gehenna Press, 1981) and several other works. Baskin died in 2000 (as did Ted Hughes) and Gehenna Press published its final work, a new version by Hughes of Aeschylus' Oresteia, in 2001.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Leonard Baskin Prints consists of original prints, most from Baskin's Gehenna Press. Included are prints of Baskin's engravings from an exhibit as well as illustrations by Anthony Hecht for "The Seven Deadly Sins," broadsides, announcements of publications, and other items. There is also one handwritten signed letter from Baskin to Fritz Eichenberg, German-American illustrator and engraver.

Arrangement of the Collection

Prints from the same publication are placed together, but otherwise there is no particular order.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has the papers of a number of artists and illustrators, and Leonard Baskin material appears in several of these others collections. For example, the Spiral Press Records contain the text of Baskin's speech of acceptance on receiving the medal of the American Institute of Graphic Arts New York in 1965. To locate all related material, please search our collections for "Baskin."

Subject Headings


Baskin, Leonard, 1922-2000.
Hecht, Anthony, 1923-2004.

Corporate Bodies

Gehenna Press.


Illustrators -- United States.
Printmakers -- United States.
Publishers and publishing.
Small presses -- United States.

Genres and Forms

Broadsides (notices)
Prints (visual works)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Leonard Baskin Prints,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Purchase, 2013.

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