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Guide to the Kate Rennie Archer Papers, 1907-1970
MS 66  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Material Cataloged Separately
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Kate Rennie Archer papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1907-1970
    Collection number: MS 66
    Creator: Archer, Kate Rennie
    Extent: 2.5 linear ft

    6 boxes
    Repository: University of California, Santa Cruz. University Library. Special Collections and Archives
    Santa Cruz, California 95064
    Abstract: Archive contains correspondence, manuscripts of published and unpublished poems and stories, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, photographs and miscellaneous items documenting the literary activity of a San Francisco Bay area poet and a poetry teacher Kate Rennie Archer.
    Physical location: Stored offsite at NRLF: Advance notice is required for access to the papers.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permission to publish or to reproduce the material, please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    Kate Rennie Archer Papers. MS 66. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Kate Rennie Archer, 1966.

    Outgoing correspondence to Mrs. Specker donated by Mrs. Lewis Specker, 1971.


    Scottish poetess, Kate Rennie Archer (given name Catherine), was born in Glasgow to a traveling shipping family. She spent most of her childhood moving around the Europe, as well as lived both in Malta and Algiers. She married a Scottish Royal Horse Artillery Captain, Douglas Archer in 1912. She was not only a trained teacher specializing in literature, folk lore and music, but she served in the Red Cross as a qualified nurse during the World War I. Her husband's unstable health forced the couple and their young son Douglas Jr. to move from Edinburgh, in search of a milder weather, to California in 1927. Always known for her active spirit, she and her 10-year-old son made history by traveling on a 'shoestring budget from San Francisco to Glasgow' in the 1930's, a voyage which received wide press coverage in the US. At the outbreak of the World War II the Archer's supported the war efforts in the Bay Area while their son Douglas Jr. Archer joined the military serving under the Royal Canadian Air-Force in Great-Britain. Deeply effected by the sights and aftermath of the two wars, many of her writings are about war and portrayals of the psychological effects of these events.
    Kate Rennie Archer's lifelong passion for writing poetry started at a very early age. Her first poem was published in "Glasgow Weekly" at 12 years of age. In the Bay Area she devoted over a decade to teaching creative writing at Dominican College in San Rafael, and established a Poetry Workshop at 1515 Gough Street in San Francisco in the 1950's. Never forgetting her roots, she was passionate interpreter and advocate of Scottish poetry through lectures, readings, and radio programs. Authoring either under a name of Kate Rennie Archer or K.R.A., she steadily contributed poetry through out her life to newspapers and journals, such as New York Times, Oakland Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Maple Leaf, The Carmel Pine Cone-Cymbal. Her main body of work remains the following published collections of poetry:
    • Jock Tamson's Bairns: and other poems, Glasgow, Gowans, 1934.
    • Tumbleweed Trail, San Francisco, Ca, Canterbury Press, 1936.
    • Petals of the Quelder-Rose. Mills College, Oakland, ca, Eucalyptus Press, 1940.
    • Recurrent Vigil, Berkeley, Ca, Gillick Press, 1943.
    • Coffee Shop, Berkeley, Ca, Gillick Press, 1947.
    • Persimmon Harvest, San Francisco, Ca, The Abbey Press, 1955.
    • Night Clerk, Western Union: of time and communications, Glenwood Edition, 1960's
    Kate Rennie Archer on the vocation of a poet:

    "We are not spectacular because poetry as an art has no pictures to show, no music to soothe and charm, it is a reserved and solitary process, and only comes to notice as protest or prophecy, as encouragement or condemnation in emergency".

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The archive covers Kate Rennie Archer's literary and teaching activities between 1930-1960. The bulk of the material consists of manuscripts of poems and stories that portray her observation on regional and world events, especially the Great Wars, and captures various California scenary and locals during her time. The archive also consists of correspondence, personal papers, realia, photographs, scrapbooks and miscellany publications. Negatives and published books have been separated from the archive (see Separated Material for more detailed listing.)

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Archer, Kate Rennie--Archives.
    Poets, American--20th century--California.
    Poets, American--California--San Francisco Bay Area.
    Women poets, American--20th century.
    Women poets, Scottish--California.

    Material Cataloged Separately

    Negatives have been transferred to the Negative Collection, McHenry Library.
    Books authored by Kate Rennie Archer have been cataloged and physically separately from the archive:
    • Call frae the heather; Published Mills College, Oakland, Calif., The Eucalyptus press, 1940. [PS3501.R335C3]
    • Night clerk western union (of time and communications). [N.p.] Glenwood editions [n. d.] [PS3501.R335N5 ]
    • Persimmon harvest. San Francisco, The Abbey Press, 1955. [PS3501.R335P4]
    • Petals of the guelder rose. Berkeley, Calif., Gillick Press [c1941]. [PS3501.R335P44]
    • Tumbleweed trail. San Francisco, the Canterbury Press, [c1936]. [PS3501.R335T8]

    Related Material

    Collection of Personal Papers

    Kate Rennie Archer. Huntington Library and Art Gallery. Manuscript Division (Papers, 1931-1969).