Dryad Press had its origins in Dryad magazine, a literary journal co-founded by Merrill Leffler and Neil Lehrman in 1967 in the Washington, D.C., area. In 1974, the press published the first book bearing its imprint and has since published over sixty works, primarily volumes of poetry, which often have Jewish themes or subjects. Many of the authors published by Dryad are associated with the state of Maryland, by birth, education, or current residence. Much of the collection consists of correspondence with authors as well as with individuals and institutions involved in the publication and promotion of literary works. Major correspondents include Rod Jellema, Neil Lehrman, Myra Sklarew, Herman Taube and Paul Zimmer. Additionally, the collection includes manuscripts, proofs, printers' specifications, mock-ups, paste-ups, bluelines, galleys, and typescripts; photographs, slides, and negatives; reviews, articles, and clippings; brochures, flyers, and posters; financial statements, bills, invoices, receipts, and address lists; as well as copies of the actual publications of the press.
This collection is open for research.
Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.
16.5 Linear Feet
The archives of Dryad Press span the years 1966 to 2018. Much of the collection consists of correspondence with authors, as well as with individuals and institutions involved in the publication and promotion of literary works. Additionally, the collection includes manuscripts, proofs, printers' specifications, mock-ups, paste-ups, bluelines, galleys, and typescripts; photographs, slides, and negatives; reviews, articles, and clippings; brochures, flyers, and posters; financial statements, bills, invoices, receipts, and address lists; as well as copies of the actual publications of the press. Most items are in English, although a few are in Hebrew and Macedonian.
Dryad Press had its origins in Dryad magazine, a literary journal co-founded by Merrill Leffler and Neil Lehrman in 1967 in the Washington, D.C., area. Nineteen issues of this poetry magazine were issued sporadically between 1968 and 1978. In 1974, Dryad Press published the first book bearing its imprint. Since then, Dryad Press has issued over sixty works, primarily volumes of poetry. The press has also published novels, works of non-fiction, compilations, and translations of works originally published in other languages, including Hebrew and Macedonian.
For most of its existence, Dryad Press has been based in Takoma Park, Maryland, home of Merrill Leffler. Leffler, who has worked as an engineer and writing instructor, also worked as an editor for Maryland Sea Grant College, a unit of the University of Maryland. In June 2011, Leffler was appointed Poet Laureate of Takoma Park, Maryland. Many Dryad publications also listed an office in San Francisco, where accountant Neil Lehrman resided. Leffler performed most of the editorial duties for the press, while Lehrman oversaw financial matters, especially in the early years. Dryad Press is a non-profit and tax-exempt corporation, receiving support for some of its publications from grants and contributions of individuals.
In the 1990s, Dryad Press co-published, in cooperation with Syracuse University Press, Moshe Dor and Barbara Goldberg's edition After the First Rain (1998) and Joyce Reiser Kornblatt's The Reason for Wings (1999). In 2004, Dryad Press entered into a distribution agreement with University of Wisconsin Press and, subsequently, in 2006, with the University of Alaska Press. The University of Wisconsin Press distributed Irene Awret's They'll Have to Catch Me First (2004); Ephraim Sten's 1111 Days in My Life Plus Four (2006); Josef Katz's One Who Came Back (2006); Herman Taube's Looking Back, Going Forward (2002); and Ronny Someck's The Fire Stays in Red (2002). The collaboration with the University of Alaska Press produced Reed Whittemore's Against the Grain (2007). Other projects were collaborations with Mosaic Press, Olami Press, Tropos Press, the Jewish Folk Arts Society, and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation.
Though a small and independent press, Dryad Press publications are significant. Many of the authors published by Dryad Press are associated with the state of Maryland, by birth, education, or current residence. The press has issued numerous works with Jewish themes or subjects; an outstanding example is Myra Sklarew's From the Backyard of the Diaspora, which won a Jewish Book Council award in 1976. Dryad Press consistently publishes nationally recognized work, despite its small budget and the limited audience for the types of work it publishes. Dryad has carved a respectable niche for itself in the local literary community, the contemporary American poetry scene, and American Jewish literary culture.
This collection is organized into six series.
In December 1991, Merrill Leffler donated the archives of Dryad Press to the University of Maryland Libraries. He transferred additional materials in 1992, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2018, and 2019.
Staples and metal paper clips were removed and replaced with plastic clips. All material was placed in acid-free folders and acid-free boxes. Clippings were photocopied onto acid-free paper, and the originals destroyed. Duplicates were discarded, and publications were separated and placed in appropriate storage containers. Photographs were isolated from manuscript materials and placed in Mylar sleeves. Those marked with an asterisk have negatives. Separation sheets were placed in the folders from which the photographs were removed. Beginning in 1999, personal correspondence, other personal items, and some photographs were returned to Merrill Leffler at his request.