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Archer (Kate Rennie) Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography
  • Preferred Citation
  • Finding aid revision statement
  • Collection of Personal Papers
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Material Cataloged Separately
  • Publication Rights

  • Contributing Institution: University of California, Santa Cruz
    Title: Kate Rennie Archer papers
    Creator: Archer, Kate Rennie, 1863-1960?
    Identifier/Call Number: MS.066
    Physical Description: 2.5 Linear Feet 6 boxes.
    Date (inclusive): 1907-1970
    Date (bulk): 1930-1960
    Abstract: Archive contains correspondence, manuscripts of published and unpublished poems and stories, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, photographs and miscellaneous items documenting the literary activity of a San Francisco Bay area poet and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 of Material: English .


    Collection is open for research.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Kate Rennie Archer, 1966.

    Outgoing correspondence to Gita Lewis Specker donated by 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".

    Preferred Citation

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

    Finding aid revision statement

    This finding aid was revised in the Reparative Archival Redescription Project in 2021-2022. Previous versions of this finding aid are available upon request.

    Collection of Personal Papers

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

    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.

    Material Cataloged Separately

    Books authored by Kate Rennie Archer have been cataloged and physically separately from the archive:

    Missing Title

    1. Call frae the heather; Published Mills College, Oakland, Calif., The Eucalyptus press, 1940. [PS3501.R335C3]
    2. Night clerk western union (of time and communications). [N.p.] Glenwood editions [n. d.] [PS3501.R335N5 ]
    3. Persimmon harvest. San Francisco, The Abbey Press, 1955. [PS3501.R335P4]
    4. Petals of the guelder rose. Berkeley, Calif., Gillick Press [c1941]. [PS3501.R335P44]
    5. Tumbleweed trail. San Francisco, the Canterbury Press, [c1936]. [PS3501.R335T8]

    Publication Rights

    Copyright for the items in this collection is owned by the creators and their heirs. Reproduction or distribution of any work protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires permission from the copyright owner. It is the responsibility of the user to determine whether a use is fair use, and to obtain any necessary permissions. For more information see UCSC Special Collections and Archives policy on Reproduction and Use.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Poets, American -- California -- 20th century
    Poets, American -- California -- 20th century
    Women poets, American -- 20th century