Huncke Blog

Particularly Little Jack

This blog & site is a work in progress - documenting the somewhat clumsy process of sorting through the archives of Herbert Huncke - by co-editors Jerry Poynton & Leslie Winer - & preparing Herbert's work for re-publication.  There is a mountain of material including archives from Stanford, Columbia & private papers, film, letters & various ephemera held in private collections.  This is That.

We'll post bits & pieces of what we're doing here - as well as some anecdotal material.  Requests for anything you might want to see taken.  Ask & we'll look for it.   & Please, if you have any stories or memories of Huncke feel free to leave them in the comments or you can contact us at




Allen Ginsberg:

An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

"In 1949 Ginsberg moved out of East Harlem and into downtown Manhattan where Herbert Huncke and several of his friends began storing stolen goods. The police raided the apartment and Ginsberg served eight months in the New York Psychiatric Hospital where he met Carl Solomon who offered further challenges to his convictions about poetry. Ginsberg continued to write the collection of poems later published in 1972 as The Gates of Wrath."


Dear Leslie,

This paragraph--it is amazing a university library would have this written in this way.  While it is true the Jack Melody, Vicki Russell, Herbert Huncke and Allen Ginsberg were storing goods in Allen's place--downtown from East Harlem--I believe East 68th, 58th Street--the implication here is way wrong.  ("downtown Manhattan," 58th Street?)

Allen was quite interested in Vickie and Little Jack.  (I suspect, particularly Little Jack.)

Allen participated as a look-out for heists and went off with Vickie and Little Jack, excluding Herbert, who was beginning to feel left out as the three of them would go out with out him. Herbert told me he was looking to move out because Allen had taken such a strong interest in Little Jack and Vickie, Herbert was beginning to feel like a fifth wheel.

The police arrived at Allen's door after Allen, Vickie, and Little Jack had, unsuccessfully, tried to run over a New York City motorcycle policeman who noticed Little Jack driving the wrong way on a one way street in Queens.

Taking pursuit, Little Jack flipped the car, making a fast turn.  Occupants fled.  The car had stolen goods in it, and Allen's notebooks.

Allen had been detailing his crime sprees in his notebooks. Burroughs learned of this and told Allen to get the notebooks out of the apartment. It was Allen's intent to bring the notebooks to a safe place.  This is what he was doing--taking goods to a "new" pawn shop and his notebooks to a safe house in Queens--when Little Jack screwed-up.

When the car flipped, Allen lost his glasses, fled with the others and left his notebooks which detailed the crimes and had Allen's contact information. This is how the police found Allen's apartment.  He left his address at the scene of the crime.

After Allen fled, he immediately phoned Herbert who was at the apartment.  Allen told Herbert to "clear the place out" as the cops would be arriving.

Herbert looked around and decided he could not singlehandedly clear the apartment out--there was a cigarette machine in the living room--and decided to make the place look as "neat" as possible.  (Herbert didn't know about the notebooks now in police hands.)

When the cops arrived, they were not interested in Herbert. He was not in the car that tried to run over one of New York finest. They almost didn't arrest him but did in the end because he was in the apartment.

Once at the station, they found Herbert had "a screamer" (arrest warrant) from Detroit.

Once in jail--Allen retreated to a corner of the cell, wept and began reciting Jewish prayers. Herbert told me he lost respect for Allen when he saw that.

Allen's brother, a lawyer, visited Herbert a few days later and asked Herbert if he would mind if they postpone the trial for as long as possible--as Allen's name as Columbia student--was blazed in the press. Herbert agreed.

Little Jack's mother was a mafia doyen in Brooklyn. Vickie Russell's father (I think this is true) was a Detroit judge. They were both released to their family. Allen was put in the psych ward for six months and Herbert sent to prison for five years.