American Haiku Records

Name of the Collection

American Haiku Records, 1871-2001 Bulk: 1963-1971
7.85 cubic feet (22 boxes)
Accession Number 2018.06

Provenance of the Collection

The records were created by the founders of American Haiku magazine, James Bull, Donald Eulert and Gayle Webster Bull. The records have been stored in the Bull's home in Mineral Point, Wisconsin since the magazine ceased publication in 1967. The collection was transferred to the Mineral Point Library Archives in August of 2018.

Organizational History

American Haiku was the first magazine published in the United States that focused on English language haiku. It was founded in 1963 by James (Jim) Bull, his colleague, Donald (Don) Eulert and his wife, Gayle Webster Bull in Platteville, Wisconsin. Jim Bull and Don Eulert were professors of English at the University of Wisconsin/Platteville. Jim and Don were co-editors. Gayle Webster Bull joined the magazine as its business manager. American Haiku published 12 issues in 6 volumes from 1963 until 1968. A 7th issue was planned for 1969 but not published.

Jim Bull's interest in Haiku began while he was hospitalized in Japan during the Korean War. A Japanese hospital orderly brought Mr. Bull books related to Japanese culture and literature including tanka and haiku. He continued to read English language haiku after he returned to the United States. After graduate school, Mr. Bull was hired to teach at the University of Wisconsin's Platteville campus where he met Don Eulert.

Don Eulert studied Creative Writing and American Studies. He began teaching at the University of Wisconsin, Platteville at the same time as Jim Bull. The two men were assigned a joint office. In a discussion with Mr. Bull, Mr. Eulert mentioned his expertise in small magazine publishing and Mr. Bull asked if he would help produce a magazine of English language haiku. Mr. Eulert agreed to help.

Mr. Bull devised a haiku contest to be judged and printed in the first issue. The announcement was mailed to all the creative writing classes in American colleges and universities. In addition, he ran an advertisement in the New York Review of Books. John Ciadi, the Review's poetry editor, took note and mentioned the magazine launch in his column. Beginning with the second issue, essays on Haiku and book reviews were included, many of these were written by Jim Bull.

Don Eulert was co-editor for American Haiku’s first two issues in 1963. Then, in 1964, the next 2 issues were published by Clement Hoyt in Texas. Mr. Hoyt began studying Zen under the tutelage of Nyogen Senzaki in 1936 and learned to write haiku from this master. The second issue published in Texas included Harold Henderson, a renowned Japanese art scholar, as the “Editor of Poetry.”

American Haiku returned to Platteville, Wisconsin in 1966. In 1966, Robert Spiess joined as the poetry editor with Mr. Bull taking the role of editor of prose. Robert Spiess was already a recognized haiku poet and would become one of the most influential voices in English language haiku. After his tenure at American Haiku, he became the editor of Modern Haiku and the author of 10 books of haiku poetry.

The magazine also published three high quality chapbooks of haiku. These included: County Seat, by Clement Hoyt; The Heron’s Legs by Robert Spiess and Marsh Grasses by O Southard.

As a ground breaking magazine for the art of haiku poetry, American Haiku entertained submissions from many of the country's early pioneers in the art form. Some of the poets who first saw their work in print in American Haiku went on to become leading figures in the genre. Poets like J.W. Hackett, O M Southard, Helen Chenoweth, Gustave Keyser and Nick Virgilio all found a forum.

After retiring from the University, the Bulls moved to Mineral Point, Wisconsin where they opened a vintage book store known as Foundry Books. Jim Bull died in 2005. Gayle Bull continued to live in Mineral Point until her death in 2019.


None. Open to researchers at the Mineral Point Library Archives reading room.

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of seven record series. 

Series I: Magazine Editions and Manuscripts contains two copies of each of the 12 issues of American Haiku as well as mockups for the printer.  All of the mockups exists except the two numbers of volume II that were published in Texas.  The Series includes a mockup for 1969 that was not printed.  There are indices to articles and poets. The three chapbooks published by the magazine are here.

Series II: Administrative Files includes the organization’s business documents from art and style sheets to form letters.  The editors traded subscriptions with various other journals and that exchange list can be found here.  Publicity and marketing files contain press clippings and tear sheets, advertisements and book promotions.  Files from the Black Ship festival in Japan are here.  

Series III: Financial Records in this series include the magazine’s financial statements, paid receipts and annual subscription sales organized chronologically.  The latter documents the prestigious colleges and libraries subscribing to this unique magazine.  

Series IV: Correspondence Files were sorted alphabetically by Jim Bull.  In addition to the alpha files, some individuals have their own file.  Most folders contain only letters received with very few replies extant.  Notable people appearing in this Series include Robert Bly, Helen Chenoweth, Harold Henderson, Robert Spiess, Nick Virgilio and many others.    

Series V: The Writings of James and Gayle Bull.  The series contains numerous unpublished writings about haiku by Jim and Gayle Bull.  Most are articles but 6 folders contain manuscripts for books.

Series VI: Reference Files contain photocopies, tear sheets and newspaper clippings of articles pertaining to Haiku, Japanese art and culture, and contemporary examples of Haiku.  It presents an interesting history of the art form.  Folders are organized alphabetically by author of the article.  Each box contains a bibliography.   

Series VII: Hokusai Sketchbook An 1877 Japanese edition of woodblock prints by K. Hokusai.

Box Inventory of the Collection

Box # Contents of Folders Date Span
Series I: Magazine Editions & Manuscripts
1 American Haiku vol. I – vol. VII (set one) 1963-1968
1 American Haiku vol. I – vol. VII (set two) 1963-1968
1 American Haiku Newsletter – no. 1, 2 3 1967
1 Index of Articles 1963-1968
1 Index of Poets 1963-1968
2 American Haiku vol. I, no. 1 manuscript 1963
2 American Haiku vol. I, no. 2 manuscript 1963
2 American Haiku vol. III, no. 1 manuscript 1965
2 American Haiku vol. III, no. 2 manuscript 1965
2 American Haiku vol. IV, no. 1 manuscript 1966
2 American Haiku vol. IV, no. 2 manuscript 1966
3 American Haiku vol. V, no. 1 manuscript 1967
3 American Haiku vol. V, no. 2 manuscript 1967
3 American Haiku vol. VI, no. 1 manuscript 1968
3 American Haiku vol. VI, no. 2 manuscript 1968
3 American Haiku vol. VII, no. 1 manuscript (unpub) 1969
3 American Haiku vol I -VI, Portable Document Format no date
3 County Seat, Clement Hoyt 1966
3 The Heron’s Legs, Robert Spiess 1966
3 Marsh Grasses, O Southard 1967
Series II: Administrative File
4 Biographical file: Gayle (Webster) Bull no date
4 Biographical file: James E. Bull 1963, 1967
4 Biographical file: Donald Eulert 1962
4 Biographical file: Hoyt, Clement 2012
4 Biographical file: Spiess, Robert 2002-2012
4 “Anguilla Journal” of Robert Spiess no date
4 Advertising Files 1966-1968
4 Art for American Haiku no date
4 Award: Western World Haiku Society 1973
4 Black Ship Festival 1967
5 Black Ship Memorabilia 1967
5 Class Notes “Teaching Haiku” 1970
5 Circulation Statistics 1965-1966
5 Computerized On-line Haiku 1974
5 Copyrights 1965, 1968
5 Day-Glo Haiku Contest 1967
5 Distributors 1963
5 Dunklin County Press 1965
5 Exchange List 1963-1965
5 Form Letters no date
5 Japan Airlines Haiku Contest 1964
5 Mass Mail File 1962-1965
5 Press Clippings/Tear Sheets 1963-1966
5 Production Files 1966-1968
5 Promotion – General 1967
5 Promotion – Country Seat by Clement Hoyt 1966-1967
5 Promotion – Heron’s Legs by Robert Spiess 1966
5 Publicity – Wisconsin Writers Interview 1963
5 Red Ozier Press/Steve Miller 1978
5 Review/Complimentary Copies 1963-1967
5 Reviews: Heron’s Legs 1966
5 Rewrites: J.W. Hackett 1963-1967
5 SWEA Season Project 1967
5 Subscription Forms no date
5 Symposium/County Seat Performance 1967
5 Termination Announcement 1968
5 Union Printing Company 1962-1963
Series III: Financial Records
6 Bank Account 1963-1969
6 Book Sales 1966-1967
6 Expense Registers/Paid Receipts 1962-1968
6 Financial Statements 1962-1963
6 Subscriptions Received 1962
6 Subscriptions Received 1963
6 Subscriptions Received 1964
6 Subscriptions Received
6 Subscriptions Received
6 Subscriptions Received
6 Subscriptions Received
7 Subscription Summaries
Series IV: Correspondence
8 Correspondence: “A” 1964-1967
8 Correspondence: “B” (2 folders) 1964-197
8 Correspondence: Brandt, Harry 1963-1968
8 Correspondence: “Ca - Co” 1963-1965
8 Correspondence: “Co-Cr” 1964-1967
9 Correspondence: Chenowith, Helen 1964-1968
9 Correspondence: “Da – Di” 1963-1968
9 Correspondence: “Do – Du” 1964-1968
9 Correspondence: “E” 1963-1968
9 Correspondence: “F” 1963-1970
9 Correspondence: “G” 1963-1971
10 Correspondence: Henderson, Harold (3 folders) 1962-1971
11 Correspondence: Hoyt, Clement 1963-1967
12 Correspondence: “H” 1964-1985
12 Correspondence: “I” 1967-1968
12 Correspondence: “J” 1964-1970
12 Correspondence: “K” 1963-1973
12 Correspondence: Kanterman, Leroy 1966-1971
12 Correspondence: Kerr, Walter 1964-1966
12 Correspondence: Keyser, Gustave 1964-1967
12 Correspondence: “L” 1964-1983
13 Correspondence: “M” 1964-1971
13 Correspondence: “N” 1964-1967
13 Correspondence: “O” 1964-1966
13 Correspondence: “P & Q” 1963-1980
13 Correspondence: Pebworth, Ted-Larry 1964-1965
13 Correspondence: “R” 1965-1968
13 Correspondence: Rath, Sarah Lindsay 1970-1971
13 Correspondence: Remington, George 1962-1963
13 Correspondence: “Sa – Sm” 1964-1968
13 Correspondence: “Sn – Sw” 1964-1968
13 Correspondence: Southard, O 1962-1968
14 Correspondence: Spiess, Robert 1964-1990
15 Correspondence: “T” 1963-1968
15 Correspondence: “U & V” 1964-1973
15 Correspondence: Ullsvik, Dr. 1966
15 Correspondence: “W” 1963-1967
15 Correspondence: White, Lourine (Poetry Dial) 1966
15 Correspondence: “X, Y & Z” 1963-1968
16 Correspondence: Virgilio, Nicholas 1963-1984
Series V: Writings by James and Gayle Bull
17 “The Second Line” no date
17 “The Nature of Haiku & Senryu” no date
17 “Trees in Haiku” no date
17 “Seasonal Association: The Cricket & Autumn” no date
17 “Review of Kenneth Yasuda’s The Japanese Haiku 1963
17 Review Oraga Haru by Issa 1963-1964
17 The Flat Stone 1964
17 “Sentimentality in Haiku” (mss) 1964
17 “Definition of Haiku” 1964
17 Color in Haiku (mss) 1964
17 “Egolessness in Haiku” 1966
17 “Season Reference in Japanese & American Haiku” 1966
17 “A Seasonal Collection of Haiku” 1966
17 Bibliography of Haiku (mss) 1966
17 American Haiku Anthology (mss) 1967
17 Form and Technique in Haiku (mss) 1967
18 “On Elegance in Haiku” 1968
18 The Haiku Rewrites of J. W. Hackett (mss) 1963-1970
18 “Clement Hoyt: An American Shiki” 1970
18 “Haiku: Poetry for Everyone” 1970
18 “Maturity of Form in Haiku” 1970
18 “Pseudonyms of English Language Haiku Poets” 1970
18 “Pseudonyms of Haiku Poets” 1970
18 “Review of Typhoon! & Haiku in Hawaii” 1970
18 “Review of The Turtle’s Ear by Robert Spiess” 1971
18 “Teaching Haiku to Children” 1980
18 Miscellaneous Notes no date
Series VI: Reference Files (alpha by author)
19 Adachi to Chenowith (45 folders) 1902-1970
20 Davidson to Luca (47 folders) 1914-1979
21 McAlpine to Yogi (35 folders) 1871-1969
22 The Works of Robert Spiess 1967-2001
Series VII: Hokusai Sketchbook
22 Hokusai Sketchbook 1877

Collection Arranged by Shan Thomas and Cindy Taylor, 2018
Finding Guide Written by Shan Thomas, 2022