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Guide to the Tom and Rita Bottoms Collection
MS 176  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Tom and Rita Bottoms collection
    Date (inclusive): 1946-1958
    Collection number: MS 176
    Collector: Bottoms, Tom and Rita
    Extent: 1 flat
    Repository: University of California, Santa Cruz. University Library. Special Collections and Archives
    Santa Cruz, California 95064
    Abstract: This collection contains printed material; three painted books and two silkscreen portfolio sets by author Kenneth Patchen.
    Physical location: Stored offsite at NRLF: Advance notice is required for access to the papers.
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

    Administrative Information


    Collection 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

    Tom and Rita Bottoms collection. MS 176. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Tom and Rita Bottoms, 1997-2001.

    Administrative History

    Rita Bottoms, the Head of Special Collections at UC Santa Cruz from 1966-2003, played a central role in establishing and promoting Kenneth Patchen Archive. The main collection includes over 150 Patchen's "painted poems", colorful paintings that incorporate free-verse poetry and surrealistic and whimsical creatures and images to manuscripts of poetry and prose, as well as Patchen's letters, other painted books editions, papier-mache creatures, and recordings of some of his poetry readings.
    During a period of four years, 1997-2001, Mrs. Bottoms and her husband donated their collection of Kenneth Patchen painted books and silkscreen portfolios. The volumes were donated to be used as exhibition copies with intention of enhancing the existing Kenneth Patchen collection, and to help to promote the other Patchen collections and Patchen's works outside the repository.
    The silkscreen print portfolios were loaned on two occasions to institutions overseas: In June 1998, they were the focus of events at two major London venues, a reading at the Tate Gallery and an exhibition at the Royal Festival Hall's Poetry Library. In June 1999 Rita Bottoms, accompanied by Miriam Patchen, delivered two portfolios containing over 30 serigraphed pages and participated in a public program and exhibition focusing on the UCSC's Kenneth Patchen Archive at Centro Studi Americani in Rome, Italy.
    Along with silkscreen prints there are three Kenneth Patchen's painted book editions, which were purchased from the collection of Hortense Baer, a patron of the author.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Printed material is divided into two series: Painted Books, and Silkscreen Prints.
    The Painted Book series initially began out of economical necessity in 1942. Unable to publish an expensive fine print edition of The Dark Kingdom, Patchen's aesthetic concerns propelled him to create individually designed and hand-painted book covers. The one-of-a-kind covers included a total of nine titles, ranging from 50 to 108 copies per title.
    The silkscreen portfolio editions, Glory Never Guesses (1955), and A Surprise for the Bagpipe Player (1956) represent Patchen's creative midpoint, illustrated poems that stretch the boundaries of a traditional book format. The unbound editions were produced from the original manuscript pages screened onto handmade Japanese paper in a variety of textures and colors. A total of 200 copies were hand printed by Patchen's friend Frank Bacher in San Francisco.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Bottoms, Tom and Rita--Archives
    Patchen, Kenneth, 1911-1972.--Glory never guesses.
    Patchen, Kenneth, 1911-1972.--Poemscapes.
    Patchen, Kenneth, 1911-1972.--Sleepers awake.
    Patchen, Kenneth, 1911-1972.--A Surprise for the bagpipe player.
    Patchen, Kenneth, 1911-1972.--When we were here together.
    Authors, American--20th century.
    Poets, American--20th century--Archives.

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Painted books.
    Silkscreen prints.

    Other Index Terms Related to this Collection

    Patchen, Kenneth, 1911-1972--Kenneth Patchen archive
    Bacher, Frank

    Related Material

    The Kenneth Patchen Archive at UCSC includes the following related collections: