Finding Aid to the Carol Tarlen and David Joseph Papers 1977-2010 SFH 73

Finding aid prepared by Dee Dee Kramer
San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA, 94102
(415) 557-4567

Title: Carol Tarlen and David Joseph Papers
Collection Identifier: SFH 73
Contributing Institution: San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 557-4567
Physical Description: 3 cartons, 3 manuscript boxes (4.25 linear feet)
Date (inclusive): 1977-2010
Abstract: Chiefly typescripts of poetry, fiction, essays, reviews and criticism by Carol Tarlen and her partner/husband, David Joseph; together with a small amount of personal papers and publications. Joseph's papers include files related to his editorial and translation work. Many of Tarlen's files were collected or compiled by Joseph in preparation for their posthumous publication.
Physical Location: The collection is stored onsite.
Languages represented: The bulk of the collection is in English, with a few files in Spanish.
Creator: Joseph, David
Creator: Tarlen, Carol


The collection is available for use during San Francisco History Center hours, with photographs available during Photo Desk hours. Collections that are stored offsite should be requested 48 hours in advance.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the City Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Francisco Public Library as the owner of the physical items. Copyright is retained by the donor and his family members in perpetuity.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Carol Tarlen and David Joseph Papers (SFH 73), San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.


Donated in two accessions by David Joseph in July 2009 and May 13, 2010.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements note

870 files (31.7MB) of electronic files (mostly Microsoft Word 97-2003) in the collection were received on CD-R. Preservation copies have been made and stored on the Library's internal hard drive, and a set of public access copies has been stored on a flash drive and added to the collection.

Biographical/Historical note

Carol Tarlen was a San Francisco working class poet and writer, as well as a union, labor, and peace activist, who died in 2004. She was married to writer and poet David Joseph, her collaborator and partner.

Related Materials

See also the blog from 2009, Carol Tarlen Lives .

Scope and Contents

Chiefly typescripts and drafts of poetry, fiction, essays, reviews and criticism by Carol Tarlen and her partner and husband, David Joseph; together with a small amount of personal papers and publications. Many of Tarlen's files were collected or compiled by Joseph in preparation for their posthumous publication.
Joseph's papers include files related to his editorial and translation work. Significant files include those of Working Classics magazine; a small number of files on writer colleagues; and files documenting Tarlen and Joseph's travels and correspondence in Nicauragua in the 1980s. Also included are a large number of blog entries by Joseph from 2008-2010.


The collection is divided into Series 1: Carol Tarlen Papers; and Series 2: David Joseph Papers. Each series is arranged by type of material; manuscripts and typescripts within each series are arranged by genre, then alphabetically by title.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Joseph, David -- Archives
Tarlen, Carol -- Archives
San Francisco (Calif.)--Social conditions
Women writers.
Working class writings, American.


Series 1 Carol Tarlen Papers


Organized in five subseries: 1.1 Typescripts; 1.2 Published Writings; 1.3 Editorial notes; 1.4 Ephemera and Clippings; and 1.5 Miscellaneous Personal Papers.

Subseries 1.1 Personal Papers

Box 1, Folder 1

Letters from David Joseph, 1977-1979

Box 1, Folder 2

Incoming correspondence and snapshot photos

Related Materials

Some correspondence with publishers can also be found filed with individual manuscripts, as submitted.
Box 1, Folder 3


Box 1, Folder 4

Personal copy of Edward Albee's American Dream

Box 1, Folder 5

Ephemera and Clippings


Subseries 1.2 Typescripts


Arranged by genre.



Files are arranged alphabetically by title, with all available versions included in each file.
Box 2, Folders 1-4

The Arsonist Sings in Her Cell

Box 2, Folder 5

Autobiography: Red Trash

Box 2, Folder 6

The Church of Holes

Box 2, Folder 7

Dateline: Nicaragua

Box 2, Folders 8-16, Box 6, Folder 1

Erasing Borders

Box 2, Folders 17-18

Follow Me Down: 69 Poems

Box 2, Folder 19

Letter to Patricia Shaw

Box 2, Folders 20-21

Love Cycle: A Fiction, a Romance, a Story Told in Nine Poems

Box 2, Folder 22


Box 2, Folders 23-27

Small Deaths and Other Attempts at Living

Box 2, Folder 28

Trailer Trash / White Trash

Box 2, Folders 29-30

What Makes Us Human: Collected Poems 1974-2004

Box 2, Folders 31

White Trash: An Autobiography

Box 6, Folder 3

White Trash: Poems/Fiction

Box 2, Folder 32

Marin Contest

Box 2, Folder 33

May Day Reading

Box 2, Folders 34

SF Bay Guardian Reading [1994]

Box 2, Folder 35

Women's Day Reading

Box 2, Folders 36-37

Unidentified typescripts

Box 2, Folders 38-40

Partial unidentified typescripts

Box 2, Folder 41, Box 6, Folder 2

Miscellaneous poems



Box 2, Folders 42-43

4385 Gina Street

Box 2, Folders 44-45

Autobiography: Red Trash

Box 2, Folder 46

Autobiography: White Trash

Box 2, Folders 47-48


Box 2, Folder 49

Blood on the Carpet

Box 2, Folders 50-52

Charity's No Substitute for Love

Box 2, Folder 53

Charity's No Substitute for Love and Other Stories

Box 2, Folders 54-55

Charity's No Substitute for Love: The Book

Box 3, Folders 1-2

The Doe

Box 3, Folder 3


Box 3, Folders 4-7

Everybody's Happy in America

Box 3, Folders 8-9

The Fifth Angel

Box 3, Folders 10-11

Getting Hard

Box 3, Folders 12-13

Going Blind

Box 3, Folders 14-15

Grayson's Friend

Box 3, Folders 16-18

In Memoriam: Johnny Avila

Box 3, Folders 19-20


Box 3, Folders 21-23

Just Like That

Box 3, Folders 24-25

Letter from an English Prison

Box 3, Folder 26

Letter from an English Prison: Four Stories

Box 3, Folders 27-28

The Man Who Fed Birds

Box 3, Folders 29-30

Miss Sidney's Marvelous Morning

Box 3, Folders 31-32

No One's a Virgin Anymore

Box 3, Folders 33-35

Now Cissy is Five

Box 3, Folders 36-38

Pizza Pete, Jewel Thief Kate, and the Underground City

Box 3, Folder 39

Prisoner No. 25; The Arsonist Sings in Her Cell

Box 3, Folders 40-41


Box 3, Folders 42-44

Ruby and Opal

Box 3, Folder 45

The Sandinistas Are Coming

Box 3, Folders 46-48


Box 3, Folders 49-52

The Terrorists

Box 3, Folder 53

The Terrorists and Other Stories

Box 3, Folders 54-55

These Women

Box 3, Folders 56-57

Tort Reform

Box 3, Folder 58

The Traveler's Christmas

Box 3, Folders 59-60

!Viva Christo!

Box 3, Folder 61

White trash

Box 3, Folder 62

Partial unidentified typescript

Box 3, Folders 63

Miscellaneous short stories


Criticism, Reviews, Essays

Box 3, Box 64

The D.P.: Finding a Homeland in Louise Nayer's Keeping Watch

Box 3, Folder 65

Eudora Welty's Use of Sexual Imagery

Box 3, Folder 66

The Failure of the Liberal Consensus and the Fall of Camelot

Box 3, Folder 67

From the Journal of a Union Maid

Box 3, Folder 68

Jonathan Baumback, the Life and Times of Major Fiction

Box 3, Folder 69

The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne by Brian Moore and Group Portrait with Lady by Heinrich Boll: A Comparison

Box 3, Folder 70

The Memory of Class and Intellectual Privilege

Box 3, Folder 71

The Memory of Class and Intellectual Privilege: and Other Critical Works

Box 3, Folder 72

October and After--As Seen by Vladimir Mayakovsky, Poet

Box 3, Folder 73

On the Golden Bowl by Henry James

Box 3, Folder 74

Poems from Prison and Belly Song: Two Books by Etheridge Knight

Box 3, Folder 75

A Room of One's Own and Mrs. Dalloway: A Comparison

Box 3, Folder 76

Spring and All: A Naturist Examination

Box 3, Folder 77

Term papers

Box 3, Folder 78-79

The Text of a Speech


Subseries 1.3 Published writings

Box 1, Folder 6


Box 1, Folder 7

Broadside "Alicia, on her 16th birthday"

Box 1, Folder 8-9


Box 1, Folder 10

"Carol's Publications"


Subseries 1.4 Editorial work

Related Materials

See also Working Classics files in Series 2: David Joseph Papers.
Box 1, Folder 11

Real Fiction


Series 2 David Joseph Papers


Subseries 2.1 Personal papers

Box 4, Folder 1

Incoming correspondence, 1970s

Box 4, Folder 2

Incoming correspondence from Clay Joseph, 1977-1980

Box 4, Folder 4

Email correspondence re: Carol Tarlen's death, 2004

Box 4, Folder 3, Disk 1

Miscellaneous correspondence, 1981-2006

Box 4, Folder 5, Disk 1

Carol Tarlen and family obituaries

Disk 1, Box 4, Folder 6, Box 6, Folder 4

Ephemera and Notes


Subseries 2.2 Poetry and Prose


Files are arranged alphabetically, by title of piece or as marked by David Joseph.
Disk 1, Box 4, Folder 7


Box 4, Folder 8

Academic essays

Box 4, Folder 9, Disk 1

"Breaking Through the Sounds of Silence"

Box 6, Folder 7

Broadside: 9 poems

Box 4, Folder 10

"Charity's No Substitute for Love": Adapted for the stage

Box 4, Folder 11


Box 4, Folder 12

"In the Crane Cafe"

Box 4, Folder 13

"Dear Draft-Board"

Box 4, Folder 14

"Dear Miss Boulanger"

Box 4, Folders 15-16, Box 6, Folder 6

Diana Brooks Vargas (translation of)

Box 4, Folder 17


Box 4, Folder 18

"Dream Journal"

Box 4, Folder 19

"An Encounter with Katherine"

Disk 1

"Evergreen Notebook," Feb. 2008

Box 4, Folder 20

"Foolish Wives" / "Theater Entries"

Box 4, Folder 21

"With Margaret Randall in Managua"

Box 4, Folders 22-23, Disk 1

"The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down a Thousand Times"

Box 4, Folder 24, Box 6, Folder 5

Miscellaneous poems

Box 4, Folder 25

"None of the Figures in Boxes"

Box 6, Folder 8

Notes from free Nicaragua

Box 4, Folder 26

"The Old Man in the Garden"

Disk 1

"Praying" Nov. 30, 2009

Box 4, Folders 27-28, Disk 1

"Praying, and The Sleepwalker"

Box 4, Folder 29

"From Project Catch-up to the Cruel World"

Box 4, Folder 30

"Seattle Journal"

Box 4, Folder 31

Short stories

Disk 1, Box 4, Folder 32

"Sixth Street"

Box 4, Folder 33, Disk 1

"The Sleepwalker" Jan. 29, 2010

Box 4, Folder 34

Story ideas

Box 4, Folder 35

"Theater entries from my diary" in Diarist's Journal 1992

Box 4, Folder 36

"Translation work"

Box 4, Folder 37

"The Wood" manuscript

Box 4, Folder 38

"The Wood" galley

Box 4, Folder 39

Work diary 1991-1992

Box 4, Folder 40


Box 4, Folder 41

"The Year I Learned to Struggle"


Subseries 2.3 Editorial work

Related Materials

See also Series 1: Carol Tarlen Papers and David Joseph's electronic files from CD.

Working Classics: paste-ups, files, and publications, 1982-1992

Box 4, Folder 42

Printed issues, 1982-1992

Box 4, Folders 43

March 1992 uncollated

Box 4, Folder 44

May 1992 master,

Box 4, Folder 45

1992 master

Box 4, Folders 46-47


Box 4, Folder 48

Paste-up copy undated

Box 6, Folder 9

Paste-up [Vol. 2 No. 2]

Box 4, Folder 49

Dummy mock-up [Vol. 2 No. 3]

Box 4, Folders 50

Submissions and drafts, April 1992

Box 4, Folder 51

Filler file: poetry, also prose, for column ends in [prose issues?] undated

Disk 1

"Carol's documents," 2007-2009

Physical Description: 137 files, 4 Folders (12.4 MB)

Scope and Contents

Chiefly drafts of collected and selected poems and other compilations of Carol Tarlen's writings, under multiple titles and filenames, as compiled and edited by Joseph. Includes individual poems, fiction, and essays by Tarlen, some or all of which may be files for said compilations; as well as drafts of introductions and query letters by Joseph related to his efforts to publish these manuscripts. Also included are GIF, JPG, and HTML files for Julia Stein's obituary of Tarlen for Pemmican: An Online Magazine of Poetry. Some files may be duplicated in paper in Series 1: Carol Tarlen Papers.

Subseries 2.4 Miscellaneous literary and labor files

Box 5, Folder 1

Paul Bailiff "The Veil"

Box 5, Folder 2

Louis Biro "In Fact"

Box 5, Folder 3

Karen Brodine

Box 5, Folder 4

Dolly Connelly "Project Catch-Up" article

Disk 1

Derek Dabkoski, Jan. 29, 2007

Box 5, Folder 5

Jeff Goldthorpe

Box 5, Folder 6

League of Revolutionaries for a New America (LRNA),

Box 5, Folder 7

Mill-Hunk Herald, 1983-1986

Box 6, Folder 10

Poetry Round-Up

Box 5, Folder 8

Bob Shaw "Times of a Truck-Driving Man"

Disk 1

Patty Shaw Poems, July 13, 2007

Box 5, Folder 9

Julia Stein "Industrial Music: Tom Wayman and Contemporary Working Class Poetry"

Box 5, Folder 10

Talkin' Union 1981-1987

Box 5, Folder 11

Nellie Wong "Like the Secretary She Is"

Disk 1

Subseries 2.5 Blog entries 2008-2010

Physical Description: 620 files, 1 folder (14.8 MB)

Scope and Contents

Blog entries by David Joseph, written in the wake of Carol Tarlen's death.