Ashleigh Brilliant Papers, 1964-2002

Overview of the Collection

Brilliant, Ashleigh, 1933-
Ashleigh Brilliant Papers
1964-2002 (inclusive)
.5 cubic feet, (1 document box)
Collection Number
Dr. Ashleigh Brilliant was an Assistant Professor of History at Central Oregon College (later Central Oregon Community College) from September, 1964 until June, 1965. The circumstances of his departure were controversial and attracted much attention. The collection contains personal papers, published works, newspaper articles, meeting minutes, and an ACLU report.
Central Oregon Community College
2600 N.W. College Way
Bend, OR
Telephone: 5415551212

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Dr. Ashleigh Brilliant was born December 9, 1933 in London, England. He came to the US in 1956 and became a naturalized citizen in 1969. Dr. Brilliant received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1964 and arrived at Central Oregon College in September, 1964 as an Assistant Professor of History. In October of 1964, he formed the Parnassus Society, an informal group that met to share an appreciation of art, music and history. Due to controversy generated by the Parnassus Society and, in particular, the playing of a recording of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl,” Dr. Brilliant’s contract was not renewed at the end of the 1964-65 school year. From 1965-1967, he was a Professor of History at Chapman College, Floating Campus Division (later known as the Semester at Sea program). In 1967, Dr. Brilliant settled in San Francisco and started Brilliant Enterprises, the company through which he produces epigrammatic “Pot-Shots” postcards and related products, including the “Brilliant Thoughts” series of books.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection includes the papers of Dr. Ashleigh Brilliant relating to the circumstances of his departure in June, 1965 from Central Oregon Community College, then known as Central Oregon College (COC). The circumstances of Dr. Brilliant’s departure were controversial; local and national media covered the story and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) investigated. The papers include Dr. Brilliant’s narrative, Dr. Brilliant’s correspondence, meeting notes, ACLU records, contemporary media coverage and the text of a speech Dr. Brilliant delivered at COCC in April, 2002.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

The text of Dr. Brilliant's 2002 speech, entitled "Free Speech in Bend and Beyond" is available at his website.

Restrictions on Use

Central Oregon Community College is the owner of the materials in the Barber Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. COCC does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. Written permission must be obtained from the copyright holder before any publication use.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


The collection is arranged in 5 folders, with two loose items.

Location of Collection

Barber Library, Central Oregon Community College

Location of Originals

Originals of materials are in the possession of Dr. Brilliant.

Acquisition Information

Reproductions of the materials were provided by Dr. Ashleigh Brilliant in 2001.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
I Book I 5 November 1964 - 3 February 1965
II Book II 3 February 1965 - 17 March 1965
III Book III 17 March 1965 - 15 October 1994
IV Howl 1956
V Correspondence, Speeches, and Ephemera, 2001-2002 2001-2002

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Academic freedom

Corporate Names

  • Central Oregon Community College

Geographical Names

  • Bend (Ore.)


  • College teachers