Finding Aid to the Flora J. Arnstein Papers, 1897-1990, undated, bulk 1926-1985

Finding Aid written by Anastasia Karel
The Bancroft Library
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
© 2007
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Finding Aid to the Flora J. Arnstein Papers, 1897-1990, undated, bulk 1926-1985

Collection Number: BANC MSS 85/144

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California
Finding Aid Written By:
Anastasia Karel
Date Completed:
July 2009
© 2009 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Flora J. Arnstein papers.
Date (inclusive): 1897-1990,
Date: undated,
Date (bulk): bulk 1926-1985
Collection Number: BANC MSS 85/144
Creators : Arnstein, Flora J.
Extent: Number of containers: 4 cartons, 1 box, 1 filebox, 6 oversize volumes Linear feet: 7.5
Repository: The Bancroft Library
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
Abstract: The Flora J. Arnstein Papers document the career of a San Franciscan alternative educator and writer.
Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English
Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Information for Researchers


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94720-6000. Consent is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. See: 
Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Flora J. Arnstein Papers, BANC MSS 85/144, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Alternate Forms Available

There are no alternate forms of this collection.

Related Collections

Ongoings: poetry, teaching, family in San Francisco, 1885-1985 : oral history transcript (BANC MSS 86/92)
Lawrence Arnstein papers, 1915-1979 (BANC MSS 80/83)

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Women authors, American--California
Women poets, American--20th century
Alternative education--California

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

The Flora J. Arnstein Papers were given to The Bancroft Library by Edith Jenkins on June 12, 1990.


No additions are expected.

System of Arrangement

Arranged to the container level.

Processing Information

Processed by Anastasia Karel and Rachel Gulbraa in 2009.

Biographical Information

Flora Jacobi was born on August 10, 1885, in San Francisco. She married Lawrence Arnstein in 1910, and was a co-founder of the Presidio Open Air School (now Presidio Hill) with her sister-in-law Helen Salz in 1917. She began writing poetry at the age of 40, and incorporated it into her teaching. Two of her notable pupils were Pierre Salinger and Arthur Hoppe. In addition to publishing poems in various periodicals and as collections, she wrote several articles and a book on the benefits of teaching poety to children.
On the occasion of her 100th birthday, Arnstein was interviewed for Berkeley's Regional Oral History Office. This transcript provides a much fuller biography. Arnstein continued to write and publish until her death in February 1990.

Scope and Content of Collection

The Flora J. Arnstein Papers contain many of her writings, some teaching materials and other personal items. Her correspondence, much of which is in Series 1, is not extensive but does represent important relationships during her life, including her parents. There are also six oversize scrapbooks that document the different parts of Arnstein's life.

Container List


Series 1 Correspondence 1897-1990, undated

Physical Description: 0.4 linear feet (22 folders)



Scope and Content Note

This series contains a mix of Arnstein's professional and personal correspondence.
Carton 1, Folder 1

Bush, Martin H. 1964-1967


Syracuse University
Carton 1, Folder 2

Brandenstein, Henry 1928


to Fred Jacobi, FJA's brother; all copies
Carton 1, Folder 3

Clark, Walter Van Tilburg 1964-1969

Carton 1, Folder 4

Coles, Robert 1968-1981

Carton 1, Folder 5

Elkas, Jon 1956-1973, undated

Carton 1, Folder 6

Fields, Sara 1927-1954, undated

Carton 1, Folder 7

Hutchinson, Robert 1969-1980, undated

Carton 1, Folder 8

re: I Met Death One Clumsy Day 1967-1971

Carton 1, Folder 9

Kaufman, Shirley 1965-1990, undated

Carton 1, Folder 10-11

Letters from students 1933-1978, undated

Carton 1, Folder 12

Lopate, Phillip 1976-1979, undated

Carton 1, Folder 13

Mearns, Hughes 1940-1953

Carton 1, Folder 14

Parents (FJA's) 1897-1925

Carton 1, Folder 15

Poetry magazine 1929-1983

Carton 1, Folder 16

Rafael, Ruth 1973-1983

Carton 1, Folder 17

Salinger, Mabel Circa 1925-1951

Carton 1, Folder 18

Stegner, Wallace 1951; 1982-1989

Carton 1, Folder 19

A-L 1926-1989, undated

Carton 1, Folder 20

M-S 1928-1989, undated

Carton 1, Folder 21

T-Z 1928-1989, undated

Carton 1, Folder 22

Unidentified 1929-1989, undated


Series 2 Writings 1897-1989, undated

Physical Description: 3.4 linear feet (2 cartons, 8 folders, 2 oversize volumes, 1 filebox)



Scope and Content Note

This series contains many of Arnstein's writings, separated into two subseries, poems and other. The majority of these writings are in draft or unpublished form; exceptions are noted.

SubSeries 2.1 Poems 1926-1989, undated

Physical Description: 1.7 linear feet



Scope and Content Note

Primarily collections of poems around a theme, some include annotations or criticism by friends and colleagues.
Carton 1, Folder 23

After Their Kind: a Bestiary 1928, undated

Carton 1, Folder 24

Along the Way (Aphorisms) Circa 1988

Carton 1, Folder 25

And Now Good Morrow to Our Waking Souls 1934

Carton 1, Folder 26

Animals, with criticism by Shirley Kaufman Undated

Carton 1, Folder 27

Aphorisms Undated

Carton 1, Folder 28

Copies of three collections undated


Of shoes and ships and sealing wax; A pocketful of wry; And cabbages and kings
Carton 1, Folder 29

Criticism by Laurence Hart unated

Carton 1, Folder 30

Legacy of Hours Undated

Carton 1, Folder 31

Light poems Undated

Carton 1, Folder 32-33

Light Widening 1979-1989, undated


Lists of published poems Undated


includes place of publication
Carton 1, Folder 34

Ms. and ts. drafts

Filebox 1

Note cards

Carton 1, Folder 35-37

A Moment's Transit Undated

Carton 1, Folder 38-39

"New" poems 1988-1989

Carton 1, Folder 40-41

Ordered Turbulence Undated

Carton 1, Folder 42-43

Prolong the Day 1988, undated

Carton 1, Folder 44

Published 1930-1968, undated


some in ts. form

Scrapbooks 1926-1982

Carton 1, Folder 45

Clippings 1926-1952

Oversize Volume 1

Published poems 1954-1982

Carton 2, Folder 1-3

Select publications 1929-1976


includes issues of Poetry, and the National Poetry Anthology from 1953
Carton 2, Folder 4-9

Selections Undated

Carton 2, Folder 10-15

Time Out of Mind 1987, undated

Carton 2, Folder 16

Two Poems Undated


with comments by Walter V. T. Clark
Carton 2, Folder 17-18

Unidentified Circa 1980s


SubSeries 2.2 Other 1897-1984, undated

Physical Description: 1.6 linear feet



Scope and Content Note

Contains articles about poetry and education, stories, graded essays for school, and writings not by Arnstein. There are also unpublished drafts of book-length prose.

Adventure into Poetry 1951-1957

Carton 2, Folder 19

Correspondence and reviews 1951-1954

Oversize Volume 2

Scrapbook of reviews 1951-1957

Carton 2, Folder 20

Bay Leaf and Fool's Gold 1983


children's poems published by Oakland Unified School District
Carton 2, Folder 21

Dear Harriet Undated


Carton 2, Folder 22

Early pieces 1897


published in The Pastime, a periodical created by Helen and Gertrude Arnstein while students at Miss Murison's, a private school in San Francisco
Carton 2, Folder 23-24

Education-related 1939-1972


includes drafts, published versions, and correspondence
Carton 2, Folder 25

Education publications 1938; 1963-1977

Carton 2, Folder 26-39

Essays for school 1951-1957, undated


two folders of general and twelve folders of titled essays, by FJA for classes in writing; many essays are graded
Carton 3, Folder 1

Gerontology in Person 1978


unpublished essay
Carton 3, Folder 2

A Girl and Her Grandparents 1981


published in Western States Jewish Historical Quarterly
Carton 3, Folder 3

Growing Up in the Nineties 1976


photocopy of article published in San Francisco Chronicle
Carton 3, Folder 4

The Growth of Poetic Criteria in Children 1938


published in Progressive Education
Carton 3, Folder 5

Honeymoon Vignette Undated

Carton 3, Folder 6

I Met Death One Clumsy Day Undated


Carton 3, Folder 7-9

Lengthening Days Undated


autobiographical, unpublished
Carton 3, Folder 10

Life with Father Undated


Carton 3, Folder 11

Old stories Undated

Carton 3, Folder 12

Pony Pegasus radio scripts 1941-1949


program on KPFA; includes correspondence about idea
Carton 3, Folder 13

Poetry in the Elementary Grades 1939


published monograph
Carton 3, Folder 14

Report on Project to Bring Education in Child-rearing to Housebound Mothers of Young Children Undated

Carton 3, Folder 15

Reviews 1951-1984


about FJA's writings
Carton 3, Folder 16-19

Stories Undated

Carton 3, Folder 20

Teachers & Writers Magazine 1977


vol. 8, issue 2, in honor of FJA
Carton 3, Folder 21

The Time is Now Undated

Carton 3, Folder 22-26

Vignettes Undated

Carton 3, Folder 27

General Undated


Series 3 Teaching Materials 1928-1975, undated

Physical Description: 1.2 linear feet (33 folders, 1 oversize volume)



Scope and Content Note

The materials in this series are primarily from Arnstein's work at the Presidio Open Air School. Of note are the student projects, which include handmade books of poems and yearbooks; the majority of these items date from the 1930s.
Carton 3, Folder 28

Class presentations 1965

Carton 3, Folder 29-32

Grammar lessons Undated


Poems by students 1931-1975, undated

Carton 3, Folder 33-38

Groups III, IV 1932-1934

Carton 4, Folder 1-11

Groups III, IV, V, and unidentified 1931-1975, undated

Carton 4, Folder 12

Programs for plays 1932-1939, undated

Carton 4, Folder 13

Reading games Undated

Carton 4, Folder 14

Record of teenagers' group 1928-1929


likely a group that met at FJA's home
Carton 4, Folder 15

Salinger, Pierre 1982


student of FJA; three items including letter from FJA
Oversize Volume 3

Scrapbook created by students 1936

Carton 4, Folder 16

Storybooks Circa 1930s


written by FJA
Carton 4, Folder 17

Student newsletter 1935-1936

Carton 4, Folder 18

Student projects Undated

Carton 4, Folder 19

Utah children's poems 1936

Carton 4, Folder 20-21

Yearbooks 1932-1934


primarily poems, includes some photographs
Carton 4, Folder 22

Young Eyes Circa 1960s


unpublished copy of children's poems (likely students at Presidio school)

Series 4 Personal 1917-1990, undated

Physical Description: 2.5 linear feet (1 box, 14 folders, 3 oversize volumes)



Scope and Content Note

This series contains materials that are not writings or teaching materials. There is some correspondence here that could not be separated without losing some of the original context of the materials. The educational materials here are from Arnstein's personal academic pursuits, specifically the courses she took to improve her writing.

100th birthday 1985

Carton 4, Folder 23

Correspondence and related materials

Carton 4, Folder 24

Small scrapbook

Oversize Volume 4

Large scrapbook

Oversize Drawer A

Certificates of honor

Oversize Volume 5

102nd birthday scrapbook 1987

Oversize Volume 6

103rd birthday scrapbook 1988

Carton 4, Folder 25

104th birthday 1989


pages from a scrapbook
Carton 4, Folder 26-29

Arnstein, Lawrence 1917-1979

Carton 4, Folder 30

Biographical Undated


includes family tree
Carton 4, Folder 31-33

Cheyney-Trent Correspondence courses in poetry 1929-1930


includes lessons, poems by FJA, and correspondence from instructor
Carton 4, Folder 34

Course on how to write a novel Undated


lecture notes and assignments; UC Extension
Carton 4, Folder 35-36

In Memory of Flora J. Arnstein 1990

Box 1, Folder 1

Materials on group for enriched aging 1980-1983


led by Marge Lozoff, includes poems by FJA
Box 1, Folder 2-10

Notebooks 1930-1989, undated

Box 1, Folder 11

Notes 1951, undated


possibly from lectures on how to write
Box 1, Folder 12

Publicity 1951-1985

Box 1, Folder 13

Writers Conference at University of Utah 1947-1956


notes and writings