Guide to the Kate Rennie Archer Papers MS.066

Processed by UCSC OAC Unit
University of California, Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz 95064

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Abstract: Archive contains correspondence, manuscripts of published and unpublished poems and stories, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, photographs and miscellaneous items documenting the literary activity of a San Francisco Bay area poet and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

box-folder 1:1-5

I. Correspondence, 1915-1970,

Physical Description: 5 folders

Scope and Contents note

Consists of outgoing, and incoming correspondence. Correspondents included are Julia Altrocchi, Helen Faulkner, Florence R. Keene, Frona Lane, Arthur L. Price, and Jennette Yeatman. Majority of the outgoing correspondence consists of letters written to Mrs. (Gita) Lewis Specker, a friend from a San Francisco Browning Society.

Arrangement note

Incoming letters are arranged alphabetically by a corporate or last name.
box-folder 1:1

Outgoing, 1932, 1953, 1963-1970

box-folder 1:2-5


box-folder 1:2

Letters in regards to publishing & other literary activity, A-Z, 1915,1939-1963

box-folder 1:3

Letters from friends and fans, A-Z, 1915-1968

box-folder 1:4

Fan mail redirected from radio KFRC after reading of "The Constant Heart", Feb 1932

box-folder 1:5

Unknown, 1939-1963, n.d.

box-folder 1:6-9

II. Biographical, 1914-1962,

Physical Description: 4 folders

Scope and Contents note

Contains biographical notes, legal documents, articles written about Kate Rennie Archer, and her business card.

Scope and Contents note

Chronological arrangement.
box-folder 1:6

Biographical notes by Mrs. Archer

box-folder 1:7

Finance, contracts & other legal documents, 1914-1955

box-folder 1:8

Newspaper Articles about K.R.A., 1931-1962

box-folder 1:9

Ephemera, 1933, n.d.

box-folder 1:10-11

III. Family Papers, 1907-1963,

Physical Description: 2 folders

Scope and Contents note

Contains material relating to Douglas Archer Sr.'s music activity in Edinburgh, as well as correspondence from the son Douglas Archer Jr. and his family.

Arrangement note

Chronological arrangement.
box-folder 1:10

Douglas Archer Sr., Opera programs and clippings, 1907, 1910, 1922

box-folder 1:11

Douglas Archer Jr. and his family, Correspondence to his parents, 1942-1963

box-folder 2:1-6

IV. Activity, 1936-1963,

Physical Description: 6 folders

Scope and Contents note

Correspondence and various printed material regarding to Kate Rennie Archer's literary and teaching activity.

Arrangement note

Arrangement chronologically where possible.
box-folder 2:1

Clubs and Societies:

box-folder 2:1

Poets of the Pacific, programs, journal, certificate of merit, 1941, 1943

box-folder 2:1

California Writer's Club, roster, 1951

box-folder 2:1

California Federation of Chaparral Poets, certificate

box-folder 2:1

The Poetry Society of America, Bulletin, Dec 1944, Feb-Mar, May 1953, Dec 1956, May 1963

box-folder 2:2-3


box-folder 2:2

Technical Adult School, Oakland, printed copy of "Original Poems by Class in Poetry and Verse, 1948-1949

box-folder 2:3

Dominican Grammar School, Collection of student poems, 1949,1951-1952

box-folder 2:4-5

Poetry Workshop:

box-folder 2:4

Incoming & outgoing correspondence, 1955

box-folder 2:5

Notes, publicity drafts, newspaper clippings, blank contest entry form

box-folder 2:6

Programs and announcements for lectures and readings, 1936, 1953,n.d.

box-folder 3:1-5:7

V. Manuscripts, [1927]-1967,

Scope and Contents note

Contains typed and hand written manuscripts of published and unpublished poems, stories, as well as broadcast scripts and speeches, a score, a notebook, miscellany draft fragments, notes, and writing source material.

Arrangement note

Arranged alphabetically by title, where possible. Untitled groups of poems, which were found attached as a set, were kept intact.
box-folder 3:1

Source material; newspaper clippings of stories & publisher information, 1934-1966

box-folder 3:2

"Afternoon in a park, Bad Sassendorff, Germany, and other works", 1967

box-folder 3:3

"Broadcast script", KYA, corrected & annotated typescript, Jun 1949

box-folder 3:4

"Bus Trip", set of 3 poems, typescript, n.d.

box-folder 3:5-7

"Call Frae the Heather":

box-folder 3:5-6

Corrected typescript (poems were broadcasted over KYA), n.d.

box-folder 3:7

Corrected and edited scripts for a dramatic reading, 1936

box-folder 3:8-9

"Coffee Shop", corrected typescripts, Oct 1946, n.d.

box-folder 3:10

"Epicure Evening", Handmade pamphlet of poems and sketches in a menu, n.d.

box-folder 3:11

"For One Who Stayed", poems, typescript, n.d.

box-folder 3:12

"Frae the Heather" broadcast outlines of Scottish songs, typescripts, Nov 1949

box-folder 3:13

"The Gipsy in Me", collection of stories, corrected typescript, [1927]

box-folder 3:14

"Growth", poem which received a Browning Society Award, 1962

box-folder 3:15

"Harvest of War", corrected typescript, n.d.

box-folder 3:16

"Make Straight the Way", corrected typescripts, n.d.

box-folder 3:17

"My Son Enlist", a poem, corrected typescript, n.d.

box-folder 3:18

"Night Clerk Western Union", corrected typescript, n.d.

box-folder 3:19

"Persimmon Harvest", incomplete set of poems, and receipts, 1954

box-folder 3:20

"Personality", writing of nine different human personalities [by K.R.A ?], n.d.

box-folder 3:21

"Return Freight", narrative picture poem, corrected typescript, 1934

box-folder 3:22

"Roses and Fire: Lyrics", corrected typescript, n.d.

box-folder 4:1

"Saga of Service: For City Hospitals Everywhere", 3 corrected typescripts

box-folder 4:2

"Seeing the World at One and Three Fifty Cents per Mile: 8000 miles for 1.22 dollars", article sent to N.Y. Post, typescript, 1931

box-folder 4:3

"Tumbleweed Trail", 2 corrected typescripts and notes, 1936

box-folder 4:4

"Song of a Little Brother", complete and incomplete typescript sets, corrected

box-folder 4:5-7

Single poems by title, A-Z, typed and hand written versions

box-folder 4:8-9

Untitled groups of poems, corrected and uncorrected typescripts

box-folder 4:10

Untitled poems, drafts

box-folder 5:1-2

Short stories and essays by title, B-W

box-folder 5:3

Story and essay fragments, outlines

box-folder 5:4

Speeches; "Child Poetry Lines and Laughter", "Old Songs and New", "Poetry Day 1953", "Shakespeare and Stratford Today", "These are Scots"

box-folder 5:5

Score for "The Gray Ship", music and words by K.R.A, scripted by hand, n.d.

box-folder 5:6

Notebook, contains drafts for poems, addresses, and misc. notes

box-folder 5:7


box-folder 2:7-15

VI. Printed Material, 1934-1960,

Physical Description: 9 folders

Scope and Contents note

Contains galley proofs, a collection of periodicals and newspaper clippings of K.R.A.'s poems and articles, as well as clippings of miscellany publicity and bookreviews.

Arrangement note

Newspaper clippings are devided into groups by a periodical title.
box-folder 2:7-8

Galley proofs:

box-folder 2:7

"Frae the Heather", 2 corrected copies

box-folder 2:8

"Petals of the Guelred-Rose", 3 corrected copies

box-folder 2:9

"Night Clerk Western Union", Glenwood ed. [pamphlet], 1960's

box-folder 2:10

Cards, 1947, 1959

box-folder 2:11

Poems in journals; "Daphne in Change", Envoi, and "Wild Halcyons", The Navy, v.61:10, Oct 1956

box-folder 2:12

Poems; newspaper clippings from:

box-folder 2:12

The Albany Herald, featured in "The Red Kite", 1937-1942

box-folder 2:12

The Carmel Pine Cone-Cymbal, featured in "Poetry", 1942-1952

box-folder 2:12

The Courier, featured in "The Poetic View", 1933-1934

box-folder 2:12

The Maple Leaf, n.d.

box-folder 2:12

The Oakland Tribune, featured in "Other Fellows", 1928-1958

box-folder 2:12

The San Francisco Examiner, 1939, 1941-1942

box-folder 2:13

Poems; newspaper clippings from misc. publications, 1935-1958, n.d.

box-folder 2:14

Articles in journals and newspapers, 1934, 1954, n.d

box-folder 2:15

Book publicity and book reviews, flyers & clippings, 1935, 1937, 1941, 1943, 1955

box-folder 6:1-2

VII. Scrapbooks, 1933-1937, 1951-1952,

Scope and Contents note

Contains two scrapbooks of newspaper clippings documenting Mrs. Archer's and her son's budget travel across the Atlantic in 1930's, and miscellany publicity in regards to her literary activity in early 1950.

Scope and Contents note

Chronological arrangement.
box-folder 5:8

VIII. Photographs, [1890-1960],

Physical Description: 1 folders

Scope and Contents note

Contains 30 photographs, including individual and group portraits of Kate Rennie Archer (1910's, 1960's), Douglas Archer Sr. ([1890], 1930's, 1960's), and Douglas Archer Jr. (1930-1960).

Arrangement note

Arranged by size; 8x11, 5x7, and 4x5
box-folder 2:16

IX. Realia, 1912, n.d.,

Physical Description: 1 folders

Scope and Contents note

Contains a framed drawing of Kate Rennie Archer and a package of wedding rice.

Arrangement note

No arrangement.
box-folder 5:10-12

X. Miscellany, 1928, 1944-1956,

Physical Description: 3 folders

Scope and Contents note

Collection of writings by other than K.R.A. and other miscellany publications.

Arrangement note

No arrangement.
box-folder 5:10

Poetry by other than K.R.A., booklets and copies:

box-folder 5:10

A Dozen New Poems, by Gavin Arthur, [inscribed by author], 1954

box-folder 5:10

Tropic Earth, by Clifford Gessler, [inscribed by author], 1944

box-folder 5:10

Typed and hand written copies of Nora May French's poems

box-folder 5:11

Writings by other than Kate Archer:

box-folder 5:11

"Yada Lecture", unknown author, Feb 1956

box-folder 5:11

"Fire & Ice: The Two Satan's", by Jennette Yeatman, carbon copy

box-folder 5:12

Miscellany publications:

box-folder 5:12

The West Minster Magazine, v.35:3, Autumn 1946

box-folder 5:12

"The Truth About the War", Major George A. Drew, reprint of MacLean's, Canada's National Magazine, Jul 1928