In a city with a negative sense of historic preservation, many Detroiters have taken it upon themselves to care for texts that represent special parts of the city's history, and to nurture an understanding of the world in relation to the interests of Detroiters.
Trinosophes is home to the book collections of Jim Kennedy, Ronald Aronson, Brad Duncan, and Gotham Book Mart.
Book Collection of Jim Kennedy
Jim Kennedy (1947-2008) was the former president of Big Rapids Distribution, a popular independent distributor of underground newspapers, radical literature, and underground comics based in the Cass Corridor. Big Rapids was founded as a cooperative circa 1970 as the Keep On Truckin' Coop. Late in life Kennedy lived at Bohemian National Home located in the former Western Market district in southwest Detroit, where he originally installed this library. Kennedy died from liver and kidney failure on August 19, 2008 at Henry Ford Hospital. He was 60 years old.
Book Collection of Brad Duncan
Brad Duncan (b. 1978) is a political activist, prolific book collector, archivist, and a dear friend of Trinosophes. Now based in Philadelphia, Duncan was a staff person at Trinosophes' predecessor, Bohemian National Home (2005-2008), and a long time participant in the Detroit Left. His archive includes flyers, pamphlets, and paper ephemera published by Detroit-based radical movements (such as the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, Facing Reality, Black Workers Congress, and the International Socialists) as well as anti-colonial movements from Angola to El Salvador to Ireland. This small selection from Duncan's sprawling collection includes titles on labor history, Black history, Marxism, feminism, radical art, and 20th-century protest movements.
Book Collection of Ronald Aronson
Ronald Aronson grew up in Detroit and was educated at Wayne State University, U.C.L.A., the University of Michigan, and Brandeis University. Swept up in the political activism of the 1960s, he became a community organizer in the African American neighborhood of New Brunswick, New Jersey and an editor of Studies on the Left. He taught at Wayne State University from 1968 to 2013. Author or editor of eleven books, he is an internationally recognized authority on French existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. In 1987 and again in 1990 he was guest lecturer at the University of Natal/Kwazulu and received an honorary degree from that university in 2002 for his contribution to the struggle to end apartheid. One of his lifelong concerns has been to study and write about the nature of political commitment. His current book project is We: Reviving Social Hope Today, to be published by University of Chicago Press.
Gotham Book Mart
Poetry and non-fiction from the shelves of the legendary store, Gotham Book Mart, NYC, (1920-2006).
70,000 books constitute an influential archive of poetry chapbooks, contemporary literature and popular subjects donated to the Penn Libraries, including rare works by Detroit poets, such as George Tysh and Faruq Z. Bey, among others. Trinosophes Library features select finds from this iconic bookstore that was so integral in the development and recognition of the literary arts of the 20th century.
In addition to those collections, Trinosophes has accepted donations from the personal collections of friends, including journalist Walter Kim Heron, who has contributed Ear Magazine issues from the 1970s-1980s, and musician Chris Handyside, who has given copies of the influential Radical America pamphlet (c. 1970s-1980s).