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Ken Knabb

Ken Knabb (b. 1945) is an American radical political activist, known for his translations of Situationist publications into English, in particular of the cinematic works of Guy Debord. He is the founder of Bureau of Public Secrets

Ken Knabb holdings at Beinecke

The Ken Knabb Papers is comprised of material created by, related to, and compiled by the American political activist Ken Knabb. Spanning the period from the mid 1950s to the 2010s, it consists of correspondence, writings, printed material, photographs, audio visual material, electronic files and other papers. The archive documents

The collection consists of writings by Ken Knabb, prominent figures of the Situationist International (French, Italian and American sections) and a vast array of members of pro-situ, post-situ and anarchist groups around the world; Knabb's correspondence with U.S. and foreign pro-situ activists and anarchists, such as Isaac Cronin, Linda Wiens, Lorraine Perlman, Nick Brandt, Joel Cornuault, Nadine Bloch, Daniel and Francoise Denevert; pamphlets, newspapers, magazines, posters and others papers related to U.S. and international pro-situ activism and anarchism from the late 1960s to the 2000s (including reprints and photocopies of SI publications); printed material by, or relating to the American poet, translator and essayist Kenneth Rexroth; printed material compiled by Richard Kempton - the author of Provo: Amsterdam's Anarchist Revolt -  between 1960 and 1989  (books, newspapers and newspaper clippings with emphasis on the Sixties and post-Sixties, Californian counterculture newspapers such as Berkeley Barb); phonographic records as well as audio-recordings and video-recordings relating to Lettrism, the Situationist International, pro-situ groups and individuals in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Caribbean and France, Kenneth Rexroth and Lawrence Ferlinghetti; compact discs and digital video discs documenting public appearances by Ken Knabb.

Writings by Ken Knabb contain publications, unpublished drafts and notes from the 1970s to the 2000s, including index cards, drafts, proofs and reproductions of his Situationist International Anthology (first edition in 1981, revised and augmented edition in 2006); notes, drafts and publications of Berkeley-based pro-situ groups that Knabb was affiliated with in the early 1970s; notes, drafts and publications of Bureau of Public Secrets (since 1973); drafts and proofs of Knabb's books Public Secrets: Collected Skirmishes of Ken Knabb and The Complete Poems of Kenneth Rexroth; drafts and proofs of Knabb's translation of the complete cinematic works of Guy Debord.

The archive has not yet been catalogued. A comprehensive Finding Aid is still in progress. The accession number is GEN MSS 1456. The archive is in French and English.


Other Ken Knabb material at Beinecke

The Blind Men and The Elephant (1975)

Bureau of Public Secrets (1976)

Notice concerning the reigning society and those who would contest it / Tita Carrion, Robert Cooperstein, Isaac Cronin, Dan Hammer, Ken Knabb, Gina Rosenberg, Chris Shutes (1974)

Double-reflection: preface to a Ppenomenology of the subjective aspect of practical-critical activity (1974)

The Relevance of Rexroth (1990)

Thoughts on Leaving the 20th century (198-?)


Related collections

Guy Debord

Gruppe Spur

Jacqueline de Jong

Mustapha Khayati

Attila Kotanyi

Gianfranco Sanguinetti

Situationist International

The Situationist Times

Raoul Vaneigem

Ken Knabb


Bureau of Public Secrets (Ken Knabb's website)

Call It Sleep (a 1982 film by Isaac Cronin and Terrel Seltzer, making use of the situationist technique of detournement)

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