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Jennie Skerl Paul Bowles collection

Identifier: MSS 0663

Scope and Content Note

The Jennie Skerl Paul Bowles collection contains correspondence from Paul Bowles to American Beat scholar Jennie Skerl, as well as additional correspondence, notes, and transcripts of interviews about Bowles's life, work, and Tangier literary circle.

The collection contains eight letters and two postcards from Bowles to Skerl. The early letters indicate that Skerl had planned and completed a trip to Tangier during which she met Bowles and spent several evenings at his home, where she watched him entertain guests and informally interviewed him. The collection includes Skerl's notes of her recollections of these visits, which she had been required to compose after leaving Bowles's home, as he had declined to give formal interviews.

Also present in the collection is correspondence between Skerl and other individuals regarding Bowles and the Tangier literary circle. Correspondents include Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Bowles biographer Gena Dagel Caponi, Ned Rorem, and Gore Vidal.

Copies of transcripts of interviews conducted by Caponi in preparation for Paul Bowles: Romantic Savage (1994) are also included; the interviews were conducted between 1984 and 1987 with individuals who had known Paul and Jane Bowles personally: Aaron Copeland (1900-1990); Virgil Thomson (1896-1989); David Diamond (1915-2005); Maurice Grosser (1903-1986); and Oliver Smith (1918-1994).

The collection also contains two items related to Jane Bowles: a playbill for a 1993 production of Jane Bowles' In the Summer House and the playbill insert which features several reminiscences about Jane Bowles by fellow artists and writers including Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs.


  • Creation: 1985-1997
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1985-1988


Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library,

Biographical Note

American Beat scholar Jennie Skerl served as the associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at West Chester University. She is also a founding board member and former President of the Beat Studies Association (founded December 2004). She met Paul Bowles in May 1985 when she visited his home in Tangier, Morocco, where he hosted "open-house" style social gatherings each evening. Skerl's publications include William S Burroughs (1985), William S. Burroughs at the Front: Critical Reception, 1959-1989 (co-editor, 1991), A Tawdry Place of Salvation: The Art of Jane Bowles (1997), and Reconstructing the Beats (2004).

"Jennie Skerl." European Beat Studies Network. (accessed February 19, 2013). Additional biographical material derived from the collection.


.3 linear foot (1 box)


American Beat scholar Jennie Skerl (born 1944) met American author and composer Paul Bowles (1910-1999) on a visit to Tangier, Morocco, in 1985. This small collection comprises correspondence with Bowles and others, as well as Skerl's research materials related to Paul Bowles and his literary circle in Tangier.


Gift of Jennie Skerl, December 2011, and May, 2014.

Related Materials in this Repository

MSS 0163, Paul Bowles papers

MSS 0165, Christopher Sawyer-Lau├žanno papers related to Paul Bowles

MSS 0323, Paul Bowles letters to William Saroyan

MSS 0324, Paul Bowles letters to John Martin

MSS 0099, F0838, Paul Bowles letters to Pud Gadiot

Shelving Summary

  1. Box 1: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript boxes (1 inch)

OCLC Number


Processed and encoded by Elyse Brown, February 2013. Updated by Dustin Frohlich, August 2016.

Jennie Skerl Paul Bowles collection
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
2013 February 19
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Delaware Library Special Collections Repository

181 South College Avenue
Newark DE 19717-5267 USA