Happy Birthday Jonathan : original drawing


Creator: Brainard, Joe, 1942-1994
Date(s): undated
Call Number: GRA 0099, Item 0005
Language: Materials entirely in English.
Abstract: Includes one original drawing by American painter, illustrator, and author Joe Brainard (1942-1994).
Physical Description: 1 item drawing : marker, black image 14 x 9 cm, glued to board 20 x 12 cm
Source: Purchase, 2009.
Processing: Processed and encoded by Lora J. Davis, October 2009. Finding aid prepared using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Biographical and Historical Notes

American painter, illustrator, and author Joe Brainard was born March 11, 1942, in Salem, Arkansas. Brainard grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he attended high school with future New York School poets Ron Padgett and Dick Gallup. At the age of 19 Brainard moved to New York City, where he met and befriended additional New York School poets, including Ted Berrigan and Kenward Elmslie. He became a frequent collaborator with members of the New York School, illustrating more than a dozen books of poetry over his 30 year career. He worked most frequently with Kenward Elmslie, with whom he was in a long-term relationship and spent summers in Vermont.

In addition to working as an illustrator, Brainard also authored over 18 volumes of prose-poems, designed sets for several plays (including LeRoi Jones’s "The Toilet" and Frank O’Hara’s "The General"), and exhibited several collections of collage, watercolor, and painting.

Brainard died from complications of AIDS in Manhattan on May 25, 1994.


Smith, Roberta. "Joe Brainard, Artist, Theater Set Designer And Poet, Dies at 52." New York Times, May 27, 1994, B8.

Scope and Content Note

Includes one original drawing by American painter, illustrator, and author Joe Brainard (1942-1994). The drawing is of a teddy bear with a small bow tied around its neck and the phrase "Happy Birthday Jonathan" written on its chest. Behind the bear is a hand-drawn checkerboard pattern. The drawing, which was done in black marker, is glued to a white backing board. The item is unsigned and undated.

Using these materials

Shelving Summary

  • Shelved in SPEC GRA manuscript boxes

Access Information

The collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

GRA 0099, Item 0005, Joe Brainard, Happy Birthday Jonathan : original drawing, Special Collections, University of Delaware Library,Newark, Delaware.

Related Materials in this Repository

This item forms part of GRA 0099 Miscellaneous Graphic Materials.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library, https://library.udel.edu/static/purl.php?askspec

Container List

Happy Birthday Jonathan : original drawing, undated Box 1, Item 0005

Names & Subjects