William Eisenlord's City Lights photos, ca. 1959

An amazing Shig discovery today (in a chain of really really great research discoveries lately, ranging from Selden Kirby-Smith's poetry, to Joanne Kyger's Japan journals pinpointing the day that Shig arrived in Kyoto, and yes yes there's more.) The Smithsonian Archive of American Art has just digitized the collection of San Francisco photographer William Eisenlord's photos of City Lights Bookstore from 1953-1959. Apparently there was an exhibition of Eisenlord and fellow photographer Ed Nyberg's work at the San Francisco Museum of Art, January 30, 1976 entitled " Poets of the City", where these photographs were displayed to the public. Sadly, Mr. Eisenlord appears to have passed on in 1976, otherwise I would have reveled in the chance to interview him on his early impressions of the store and its guardian, Shig Murao.