Slim Brundage Papers

Institution: Newberry Library
60 W. Walton St.
Chicago, IL 60610
Phone: 312-255-3506
Date: 1955-1991
Extent: 4.6 Linear Feet
Finding Aid

Biographical/Historical Note:
Chicago house painter, writer, and founder and self-proclaimed "janitor" of the College of Complexes, a Near North Side forum where speakers and the audience debated controversial topics and read poetry. During the late 1920’s Brundage frequented the Dill Pickle Club, where he may have worked for a time. With this club’s 1932 closing Brundage founded the first College of Complexes which lasted only a few months. He then started a hobo college, the Knowledge Box (1936-1937), operated a second College of Complexes (1951-1961), founded a similar organization called the Culture Vulture (1961-1962), and reinstated the College of Complexes in 1965. By the late 1960’s Brundage began spending winters in Mexico and gradually ended his involvement with the College. He apparently moved to California in the mid-1970’s and died there at the age of eighty six in 1990.

Scope and Content Note:
Primarily writings and personal correspondence of Slim Brundage, together with correspondence, press releases, speaker solicitations, and poetry relating to the College of Complexes. Among Brundage’s writings are several about the Dill Pickle Club, Bughouse Square, and the College, two attempts at autobiography, a novel about union politics and corruption, and a wide variety of unpublished and published newspaper articles and letters to the editor. College of Complexes materials date mainly from 1964-1972, and there are also materials relating to the Culture Vulture. Among the correspondents are friend and sometime agent Roy Alexander, and College of Complexes colleagues David Jacobson and Meta Toerber. There are also materials relating to a legal dispute with Brundage’s Culture Vulture partner Theodore Zimmerman and to the writing of Brundage’s memoirs by Samuel Henderson. Also includes one reel-to-reel tape labeled "Madalyn Murry - Speech, Questions and Rebuttal" (no date).

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