Deena Larsen’s Donation to ELO


I found more archived papers and software  in a leftover old tub of stuff from my 2006 move, and I gave them to [ELO] so we can have more places to study these ephemera. –Deena Larsen, 30 November 2018

I love leftover stuff in tubs. They can––like this “stuff” that Deena gave us––be treasures for future generations to enjoy. 607 items of treasures to enjoy, to be exact. And they are all here in the Electronic Literature Lab inventoried, organized, and housed in archival folders and boxes just waiting for us to digitize them in the spring.

The Deena Larsen Collection consists of three boxes, categorized into 12 series:

  1. Published Works, 1992-2016
  2. Unpublished Works, 1997-2016
  3. Notebooks, 1995 and undated
  4. Miscellaneous Papers
  5. Photographs
  6. General Correspondence
  7. Personal Papers
  8. Other Author Materials
  9. Contracts & Royalty Statements (Not available online)
  10. Conference, Festival, & Event Ephemera
  11. Born Digital Literature by Other Artists
  12. Other Media

You can download all 18 pages of the inventory here, but if you rather, you can read some of the highlights of this trove, below:

  • Samplers includes 10 pages of color Print Outs of Quilt Pieces/ Story Logos. These show the original names of some of the stories that Larsen later changed for the final version of the work (e.g. “Locked” Images later became “Interlocked”]
  • Letters between Deena and Mark Bernstein of Eastgate Systems, Inc. provide exact dates for production and publication of her many works
  • We also have several versions of “Firefly” (including raw Flash files) saved on Larsen’s back up hard drive that she burned to a CD-ROM and included in the boxes
  • There are also two versions of Stone Moons, her unpublished work in Storyspace. We have been able to see one on the Performa as early native files and a second on a more recent iMac with Storyspace 3
  • Also intriguing are two hand-produced notebooks from Larsen’s trip to Japan in 1988
  • There are papers relating to ELO and trAce, bits of history always good to find laying around
  • We now have hundreds of photos of Larsen at various points in her life, including her trip to DAC 2004 in Melbourne, Australia
  • Scholars will love the letters she exchanged with other artists and scholars like Bill Bly, Susana Pajares Tosca, the late Adrian Miles, Geniwate, Margie Luesebrink, Stephanie Strickland, and others
  • I particularly enjoyed reading Larsen’s Christmas Letters she penned to close family and friends through the years
  • There are also archives that feature other artists like Kathryn Cramer, Julianne Chatelaine, William Dickey, William Goldman, and Chris Funkhouser
  • We can’t share the contracts with her publishers, but they provide great insight into the early period of publishing digital writing
  • The collection of conference, festival, and event ephemera will be very helpful for determining provenance of not only Larsen’s work but also that of her contemporaries circa 1993-2004
  • I was particularly delighted to see among the Born Digital Works by others, a CD-ROM containing Diana Slattery’s “Dissertation Appendix” featuring images of her Glide glyphs. #bestillmyheart
  • Of course, the big surprise was the back up hard disk filled with copies of Larsen’s work ––16 of her works that frankly I did not think I would be able to see much less have access to

As mentioned, we will be digitizing these files in the spring and making them available to scholars soon after. Files that provide provenance for her work will be uploaded to the ELO Wikibase.

Dene Grigar is Director and Professor of the CMDC Program. She specializes in electronic literature, emerging technologies and cognition, and ephemera.