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Chapbooks Collection

Identifier: SCA-0079

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of 200 volumes published from 2000 to 2019, and includes works by Queens College faculty member Kimiko Hahn and other writers and poets like Sandra Cisneros, Stephen Dunn, and Louise Glück. At least 48 of the volumes are published by Ugly Duckling Presse, a nonprofit publisher for poetry, translation, experimental nonfiction, performance texts, and books by artists. The collection also includes volumes associated with Lost and Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative, and the New American Poets Series, published by the Poetry Society of America, which was presented biannually from 2003-2015.

Titles in this collection can be searched by going to OneSearch, choosing QC Libraries, choosing Subject in the Search filter, and typing chapbooks as a search term. When the results are listed, refine the results by using "Filter My Results" and select "Archives Rosenthal Library Level 3" under Location.


  • Publication: 2000 - 2019

Conditions Governing Access

Appointments to examine materials must be made in advance. Please email for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproductions may be provided to users to support research and scholarship. However, collection use is subject to all copyright laws. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Historical Note

A chapbook, according to its dictionary definition, is “a small book containing ballads, poems, tales, or tracts.” Chapbooks originated in sixteenth century Europe, shortly after the invention of the printing press, and were popular through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries when literacy became widespread in the population. They were essentially smaller, thinner, and cheaper versions of popular literature, hawked and sold in the streets by travelling salesmen who were also called chapmen. “Chap,” in fact, comes from an Old English word that meant “trade.”

Contemporary chapbooks are generally still more modest in size and have smaller print runs compared to regular books. They generally consist of poems, short fiction and essays, and contemporary experimental literature. They are usually released by small and alternative presses, for an audience interested in new and emerging writers.

Established literary figures also release some of their works as chapbooks. Some of these writers are featured in this collection. Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street (1983) is an enduring classic and her short fiction about Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera is a chapbook entitled Puro Amor. Lydia Davis is critically acclaimed for her short fiction and has won the Man Booker International Prize. Her chapbook entitled The Cows is published by Sarabande Press. Stephen Dunn has won a Pulitzer Prize for his poetry and one of his poem sequences is published as a chapbook entitled Keeper of Limits: The Mrs. Cavendish Poems. And Louise Glück has won numerous awards for her poetry, capping an illustrious and ongoing career with a Nobel Prize in Literature in 2020. Her poem October is published as a chapbook by Sarabande Books.

The annual NYC/CUNY Chapbook Festival has been celebrating the form with book fairs, lectures, exhibitions, new releases, and readings by chapbook authors. In 2021, the Chapbook Festival was online and organized by the CUNY MFA Affiliation Group, involving the MFA programs at Brooklyn College, City College, Hunter College, and Queens College. The first event included a presentation by poet and editor Matvei Yankelevich on the history of the chapbook and the importance of its role in giving voice to artists outside traditional centers of power. This was followed by performances from the Cornelius Eady Trio and poetry readings from Cornelius Eady. Distinguished Professor Kimiko Hahn was a major figure in the festival's organization and her donation of chapbooks to Queens College Special Collections and Archives was designed to complement the festivities.


“Chapbook.” Wikipedia, Accessed March 2021.

Milligan, Bryce. “In Praise of the Lowly Chapbook.” Publishing Perspectives, 6 Nov. 2009,

Richardson, Ruth. “Chapbooks.” British Library, 15 May 2014,


200 Volumes

Language of Materials



Chapbooks are small books of poems, essays, or fiction. This chapbook collection consists of 200 volumes published from 2000 to 2019, and includes works by Queens College faculty member Kimiko Hahn and other writers and poets like Sandra Cisneros, Stephen Dunn, and Louise Glück.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Items in this collection were collected and donated by Kimiko Hahn, award-winning poet and Distinguished Professor at the Department of English. The items were transferred to Queens College Special Collections and Archives in 2020.

Chapbooks Collection
Patricia Reguyal
March 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Queens College (New York, N.Y.) Special Collections and Archives Repository

Queens College Library, CUNY
Benjamin Rosenthal Library RO317
65-30 Kissena Boulevard
Flushing 11367 USA us