||The American novelist and playwright James Leo Herlihy was born in Detroit, Michigan, on February 27, 1927; he died in Los
Angeles, October 21, 1993. After leaving high school, Herlihy enlisted in the Navy in 1945, receiving his overseas orders
just two days before the end of World War II. From 1947-48, with money from the G.I. Bill, Herlihy attended Black Mountain
College in North Carolina, a small, experimental institution whose faculty included Merce Cunningham, John Cage, William De
Kooning, and other innovative figures in the arts. At Black Mountain Herlihy studied art, music, and literature, sharing
an attic dorm with Arthur Penn and Lyle Bongé. The photographer, artist, and sailor Lyle Bongé was born November 5, 1929 [cf.
letter dated 5 Nov 1987, F17], the son of Dusti Bongé (b. 1903- ), the Southern abstract painter. Originally from Biloxi,
Mississippi, Bongé attended Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where he studied art and shared a dormitory with James
Leo Herlihy. Bongé has published two photographic collections, The Sleep of Reason: Lyle Bongé’s Ultimate Ash-Hauling Mardi
Gras Photographs (1974) and The Photographs of Lyle Bongé (1982). His Mardi Gras photographs are characterized by a close-up
intimacy, which tames the wildness of the New Orleans festival, while his landscapes and cityscapes combine strong lines with
hallucinogenic abstractions. More recently, Bongé’s art work has extended to metal sculpture and pottery. The correspondence
of James Leo Herlihy and Lyle Bongé spans the dates 1968 – 1993. The majority of the letters in the collection were written
by Bongé (indicated “LB to JH” in the finding aid), but a significant number of Herlihy’s letters are present, providing a
consistent sense of the dialogue between the two lifelong friends.