Guide to the Tom and Rita Bottoms Collection

Processed by UCSC OAC Unit
The University Library
Special Collections and Archives
University Library
University of California, Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, California, 95064
© 2004
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Guide to the Tom and Rita Bottoms Collection

Collection number: MS 176

The University Library

Special Collections and Archives

University of California, Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, California

Contact Information:

  • Special Collections and Archives
  • University Library
  • University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Santa Cruz, California, 95064
  • Email:
  • URL:
Processed by:
Date Completed:
October, 2004
Encoded by:
© 2004 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

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:

Collection Contents

box 1

Painted Books 1946-1958

Physical Description: 3 volumes

Series Scope and Content Summary

Contains three titles each limited to 75 copies with individually painted covers and holograph colophons by the author. Arranged by title.
Box 1

Poemscapes Jonathan Williams, Highlands, NC, Series: Jargon 11 1958

Physical Description: 5.25" x 8"

Scope and Content Note

Note: This is copy no. 11
Box 1

Sleepers Awake. Padell Book Company 1946

Physical Description: 6.25" x 9"

Scope and Content Note

Note: This is copy no. 36
Box 1

When We Were Here Together. New Directions 1957

Physical Description: 9" x 9.75"

Scope and Content Note

Note: This is copy no. 11
box 1

Silkscreen Prints 1955

Physical Description: 2 portfolios, 34 printed sheets

Series Scope and Content Summary

Contains two incomplete sets of Patchen silkscreen portfolios measuring 12" x 15". Originals containing 18 serigraphed poems with decorations and drawings reproduced from original manuscript pages, a title sheet, and a self folding portfolio. Limited to 200 copies, printed on Japanese handmade papers, several of which were hand colored by Patchen. Silkscreen reproduction by Frank Bacher, 1955.
Included also is one loose sheet.
Box 1

Glory Never Guesses, and other pages 1955

Physical Description: 17 sheets black cover
Box 1

A Surprise For The Bagpipe Player 1955

Physical Description: 16 sheetsred cover
Box 1

"To Whomever these village fires still have meaning, for Miriam..." 1955

Physical Description: 1 sheet