William F. Ringle Collection
Wednesday March 28th 2007, 10:39 am
Filed under: Collection Announcements

Are you searching for a copy of Outlaws of Amerika, a collection of communiques from the Weather Underground? Or how about Acid Temple Ball by Mary Sativa? Or A Vietnamese View of Human Nature, a 36-page booklet authored by Tom Hayden?

These are only three of more than 3,000 books dealing with the counterculture of the United States in the 1950s to 1970s which are housed in the Browne Library at Bowling Green State University.

The Browne Library acquired the collection from the estate of William F. Ringle in 1988. The collection covers such topics as radical social history and politics, ethnopharmacology and the drug culture, mysticism and spiritual life, communal living, and the underground press.

In addition to the books, it includes 1,000 serials; subject files, research and fieldwork notes, unpublished bibliographies, papers, and reports; and other research materials, including rare small press monographs, broadsides, flyers, and pamphlets.

The Ringle Collection has significantly enhanced the Browne Library’s holdings of research materials relating to the social and cultural history of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. This is especially true for the 1960s, an increasingly important topic for teaching and scholarly research. Of particular interest are the notes, bibliographies, papers, published items, and ephemeral materials compiled by Ringle for his research projects, which provide insight into the emergence of youth subcultures and protest movements in the 1960s, and their history and development throughout the next decade. The special strength of this collection is Ringle’s research material on the hippie and psychedelic drug subcultures of the era.

William F. Ringle (1933-1984) was born in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. During the 1950s, he studied geological engineering at the University of Oklahoma, and worked for various mining companies throughout the southwest. Ringle received a B.S. in anthropology in 1963 from Arizona State University and did graduate
work there and at the University of Illinois, where he taught from 1964-68. Ringle spent seven years teaching anthropology at Iowa State University. Ringle left Iowa in 1975 and began working for the Chicago Northwestern Railway as a brakeman and conductor, and also worked as a private contractor. He established the Bluff Creek Theoretical Institute, what he hoped would become a subsistence commune of working scholars and artists, in Boone, Iowa, where he lived until his death.

The Browne Library staff has compiled an itemized inventory of the serials in the Ringle Collections, and has completed a detailed register of the manuscript materials. The books and other monographs are fully cataloged and are accessible through the BGSU Libraries Catalog. We also have a research guide for this collection on our web site.

Although the primary mission of the Browne Library is to support teaching and research, it is also open to the general public. None of the materials at the Browne Library circulate, but photocopies may be available through interlibrary loan. People wishing to visit the Browne Library and use the Ringle Collection are encouraged to contact the Library in advance.