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Bason (Robert E.) Capra Press publisher's collection
Printers Mss 87  
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Collection Overview
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This collection consists of over 300 books (many first editions) published by the Capra Press of Santa Barbara, California. The collection includes original signed contracts, photographs, notes, and advertising materials.
From On Collecting Capra Press by Robert E. Bason: "The line between book collecting and bibliomania is apparently thin. I may have crossed it when, twenty-some years ago, I started collecting books printed by Santa Barbara's own Capra Press. For no known reason, I had earlier begun a collection of books by Santa Barbara authors. That, I soon realized, was a hopeless task. Everyone in Santa Barbara is writing a book. The list was endless - and growing. I eventually gave up and donated my books to Special Collections at UCSB. But, in the process, I had come across some beautifully-printed books by Capra Press and thus began my fascination with Noel Young and all things Capra. Eventually, in about 2000, I tried to meet Noel - but by this time he was well along in years and poor health and, while still friendly and congenial, his printing heydays were over and even his memories were gone or going. It was then that I found out that his family was in the throes of closing down Capra Press, not having found a buyer. It took me only a few days to decide that I really wanted to buy the Press and try to keep it going. It took longer for the family to decide to sell to me. Capra Press was, after all, an institution of some renown. Ultimately, I prevailed and it was a happy day for me when, in 2001, I became the second owner (and, by default, the publisher) of Capra Press. Now, in 2014, the end result of this collecting or mania (you decide!), is what I am proud to call "The Publisher's Collection of Capra Press." Of the over 300 books published by Capra, some 95% are present in this collection. Most are signed by the authors, often inscribed to Capra Press or its publishers. "Lying in" (as we like to say in book collecting circles) in many of the books are original letters from the authors, pictures, notes and advertising materials. In a number of them are the original signed contracts for publication. The high spots of Capra Press publishing are almost all present in this collection: almost the entire 41-volume signed, limited and trade editions of Capra's famous Chapbook Series, all the Henry Miller books, Raymond Carver, Ross MacDonald, Gretel Ehrlich, Robert Easton, Lawrence Durrell, Anais Nin, Erica Jong, Kay Boyle, Thomas Sanchez, Lawrence Clark Powell, Kenneth Rexroth, Peter Beagle, John Sanford, Tess Gallagher, Alex Comfort, and on and on. Certainly, as one of my literary friends said, "Well, this collection will never be done again."
13 linear feet (13 cartons)
Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Research Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Research Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Research Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.
The collection is open for research. The collection is stored offsite. Advance notice is required for retrieval.