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Guide to the Serpent's Tail/High Risk Archives
ca. 1990-1997
 MSS 86 MSS.086

Fales Library and Special Collections
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
3rd Floor
New York, NY 10012
Phone: (212) 998-2596

Fales Library and Special Collections

Collection processed by Tania Friedel from November 1997-July 1998

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on July 20, 2017
Description is in English.

Scope and Content Note

The Serpent's Tail/High Risk Archive is a part of the Downtown Collection at the Fales Library, New York University. The Fales Library is the primary special collections division of the NYU libraries, housing over 167,000 volumes of English and American literature from 1700 to the present. Strengths of the collection include the development of the English and American novel, with an emphasis on the Gothic and the Victorian novel. The Downtown Collection, of which the High Risk Archive is a part, is a comprehensive collection of author and business files, printed materials, manuscripts, photographs and other materials related to the Downtown New York scene from ca. 1975 to the present.

The archival portion of the Serpent's Tail/High Risk Archive is comprised of the correspondence, manuscripts and contracts of authors who published with High Risk Books, press binders on High Risk and Serpent's Tail authors, business and administration files, production files, publicity, reviews, photographs, sales catalogues, posters, ephemera, and some audio/visual and printed material. The Serpent's Tail/High Risk Archive contains a comprehensive collection of High Risk Books files during the years of its operation. Ira Silverberg's original organization of the archive was preserved as much as possible.

Series I (Author files) subseries A contains four boxes of High Risk author files. This subseries is arranged alphabetically by author and includes information on appearances and events, contracts, royalty and sub-rights, correspondence, author data, production, publicity, and reviews. Series I, subseries B contains three boxes of Serpent's Tail author files, arranged by author and further subdivided by title. Also included are authors/titles published collaboratively by both Atlas Press and Serpent's Tail.

Series II (Business and administrative files): Contains five boxes of editorial and general correspondence, as well as correspondence with the U.K. office, Atlas Press, and Consortium Book Sales and Distribution. It also includes business files pertaining to customer accounts, advertising, events, trade shows, the High Risk website, marketing research, academic and review requests, publication schedules, permissions, and budgets.

Series III (Manuscripts): Contains five boxes of manuscripts found scattered throughout the collection. This series also includes versions of texts that reflect the various stages of production (from manuscript to advance uncorrected proof).

Series IV (Production files): Contains two boxes of production materials, sometimes with manuscripts. All galleys were removed and catalogued for the Fales Downtown Collection.

Series V (Publicity and Promotion), subseries A contains three boxes of promotional materials, sales kits, and material removed from press binders and put in folders for the collection. Series V, subseries B contains author photographs and slides of authors and cover art. Series 5 subseries C contains sales catalogues from High Risk, Serpent's Tail, and Consortium Book Sales and Distribution.

Series VI (Miscellaneous), subseries A contains subject files on Paul Miller, a.k.a. DJ Spooky, and Richard Tremblay, a.k.a. Rick Trembles. Series VI, subseries B contains printed material. Series 6 subseries C contains ephemera. Series 6 subseries D contains computer disks from the High Risk office.

Accretion 2011 - Series VII (Cookie Mueller Material): contains manuscripts, newspaper and magazine publications, and drafts of Cookie Mueller's writings. It also contains personal photographs, drawings, and other materials belonging to Cookie Mueller.

Flat: There is one flat oversize box that contain oversize materials from series 1, 5 and 6. Posters of William Burroughs from series I are located in the map case.


Folders are arranged alphabetically by name/subject within each series. Oversize materials are separated into their own container.

The files are grouped into six subject oriented series.

  1. Series I: Author Files
  2. Series II: Business and Administrative Files
  3. Series III: Manuscripts
  4. Series IV: Production Files
  5. Series V: Publicity, Photographs and Sales Catalogs
  6. Series VI: Miscellaneous
  7. Accretion 2011 - Series VII: Cookie Mueller Materials
  8. Flat Box - Series I: Author Files
  9. Flat Box - Series V: Publicity, Photographs and Sales Catalogs
  10. Flat Box - Series VI: Miscellaneous