Scope and Content
Title: Ina Coolbrith Circle Records,
Date (inclusive): 1921-1969
Collection number: MS 457
Ina Coolbrith Circle, 1919-1969
Extent: 3 boxes
California Historical Society, North Baker Library
San Francisco, California 94105-4014
Collection is open for research by appointment only.
Copyright has not been assigned to The North Baker Research Library. All requests for
permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing
to the Library Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf
of The North Baker Research Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended
to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be
obtained by the reader.
[Identification of item], Ina Coolbrith Circle Records. MS 457, California Historical Society, North Baker Research Library.
The Ina Coolbrith Circle was organized in 1919 in memory of Ina Coolbrith, California's first poet laureate. The stated purpose
of the Circle was the study of the history and literature of California, the discussion of member's works, and the assembling
and presentation of their personal and literary reminiscences.
The Circle was patterned after the California Literature Society, which was itself an outgrowth of a neighborhood youth club
founded by Ella Sterling Cummins Mighels, a California literary historian. The California Literature Society was informal
and met once a month at Coolbrith's home until 1916.
The Ina Coolbrith Circle met once a month, first at the St. Francis Hotel, then in the Assembly Room of the San Francisco
Public Library, and later at the Western Women's Club. More of a social club than a platform for established poets, the Circle
sponsored lecture presentations, poetry readings, musical programs and annual poetry contests. The members also maintained
a library and engaged in campaigns to save Ina Coolbrith Park in San Francisco, to name a Sierra Nevada peak after Ina Coolbrith,
and to prevent the state legislature from naming an unpublished poet (and member of the legislature) California poet laureate.
Ina Coolbrith was living in New York at the time the Circle was formed and met with its members for the first time in 1920.
In 1923 Coolbrith moved back to California and, between then and her death in 1928, journeyed each month to the St. Francis
Hotel to read poetry, discuss literature, and listen to lectures. The Circle continued after Coolbrith's death largely through
the efforts of Ina Peterson Cooke and Ina Cook Craig, her niece and grandniece respectively.
Ina Coolbrith, J. D. Rhodehamel and R. F. Wood. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young Univ. Press, 1973.
Scope and Content
The Ina Coolbrith Circle collection contains correspondence, announcements, newsletters, legal papers, financial statements
and newspaper clippings concerning the Circle, its members and activities between 1921 and 1969.
Bland, Henry Meade, 1863-1931
Coolbrith, Ina Donna, 1841-1928
- Literature - Competitions
- Literature - Addresses, essays, lectures
McGroarty, John Steven, 1862-1944
Norris, Gordon W., 1907-1961
- Poetry - Addresses, essays, lectures
- Poets -- San Francisco
- Poets -- California
- Women Authors -- California
- Women in California
Six photographs, three of Ina Coolbrith's grave, one of Anne Monroe, one of Ina Coolbrith Circle members in 1955, and one
showing the Circle conferring the 1955 poetry contest award, have been transferred to California Historical Society photograph