Ina D. Coolbrith Papers: Finding Aid

Processed by Huntington Library staff in October 1955.
Manuscripts Department
The Huntington Library
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2203
Fax: (626) 449-5720
© 2000
The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.

Overview of the Collection

Title: Ina D. Coolbrith Papers
Date (inclusive): 1889-1932
Bulk dates: bulk 1906-1927
Creator: Coolbrith, Ina D. (Ina Donna), 1841-1928.
Extent: 864 pieces in 12 boxes
Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Manuscripts Department
The Huntington Library
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2203
Fax: (626) 449-5720
Abstract: This collection consists of correspondence and the personal papers of California poet Ina Donna Coolbrith (1841-1928), chiefly reflecting her life for the period after the San Francisco earthquake and fire.
Language: English.


Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

Administrative Information

Publication Rights

The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item]. Ina D. Coolbrith Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


Purchased in two lots from N. Kovach, December 6 1950, and February 20, 1951.

Biographical Note

Poet Ina Donna Coolbrith (1841-1928) moved with her family to Los Angeles, California in 1852, and she later lived in San Francisco. Her verse was published in two books, A Perfect Day (1881) and Songs from the Golden Gate (1895) and in various periodicals, including Overland Monthly, Californian, Harper's weekly, Century magazine, and Scribner's.
In the early days of the Overland Monthly, Coolbrith was associated with Bret Harte as an editor; gave encouragement to the young Joaquin Miller; and by the turn of the century had published several volumes of her own verse. The San Francisco fire destroyed her manuscripts and mementos and left her without employment. When the exposition was held in San Francisco she summoned a World Congress of Authors and in the same year was crowned poet laureate of California. She was poet laureate of California from 1915-1928.

Scope and Content

The collection consists of correspondence and the personal papers of California poet Ina Donna Coolbrith (1841-1928). The materials primarily date after 1906, as many of her manuscripts and mementos were destroyed in the 1906 San Francisco fire. The papers include letters from personal friends about her health, birthday greetings, etc., fan letters from readers and admirers, requests for her poems and for permission to use them, materials related the publication of her writings, material related to lecturer and editor George W. James and the Coolbrith Home Fund, and materials concerning the Congress of Authors in San Francisco (1915), including letters from numerous authors in response to her invitation to attend the event. There are also a few occasional references to poetry in American for the period of 1906 to 1925. Unfortunately the present collection contains little of importance bearing on Coolbrith's relation with such literary figures as Bret Harte, Joaquin Miller, or George Sterling. There are two boxes of ephemera at the end of the collection.
Correspondents represented in the collection include: Gertrude Atherton (12 pieces), Albert M. Bender (3 pieces), Amanda (Mathews) Chase (3 pieces), Ina Coolbrith (19 pieces), Bio (Terrill) DeCasseres (3 pieces), Iza Duffus Hardy (14 pieces), George Wharton James (26 pieces), Charles Meeker Kozlay (3 pieces), Charles Fletcher Lummis (7 pieces), Edwin Markham (8 pieces), Edward F. O'Day (5 pieces), James D. Phelan (4 pieces), Charles Phillips (11 pieces), Don Carlos Pickett (6 pieces), Herman George Scheffauer (4 pieces), and Edmund Clarence Stedman (7 pieces).
Some notable letters include two November 1926 letters from Albert M. Bender concerning George Sterling's death; an August 21, 1912 letter from Amanada (Matthews) Chase describing a visit to Katharine (Tynan) Hinkson; a February 9, 1912, letter from Ina Coolbrith to George Wharton James mentioning "I told you Harte did not like Joaquin & that we disagreed with regard to his talent ...", as well as another February 9, 1912, letter from Coolbrith to Laurie Haynes Martin regarding Bret Harte's career; a September 22, 1921, letter from George H. Himes, telling of printing a book for Joaquin Miller in 1868; correspondence from George Wharton James regarding the Coolbrith Home Fund; and "Five Quatrains for my friend, Henry Meade Bland" by Edwin Markham (June 1, 1918).

Related Materials in the Huntington Library


Arranged alphabetically by author, with ephemera at the end of the collection.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  


Coolbrith, Ina D. (Ina Donna), 1841-1928.
Poets, American -- California.
Poets, American -- 20th century -- Correspondence.
Women poets, American -- 20th century -- Archives.


Ephemera -- 20th century.
Letters (correspondence) -- 20th century.

Added Entries

Atherton, Gertrude Franklin Horn, 1857-1948.
Bender, Albert M. (Albert Maurice), 1866-1941.
Hardy, Iza Duffus.
James, George Wharton, 1858-1923.
Kozlay, Charles Meeker.
Lummis, Charles Fletcher, 1859-1928.
Markham, Edwin, 1852-1940.
O'Day, Edward F. (Edward Francis), 1883-1959.
Phelan, James D. (James Duval), 1861-1930.
Scheffauer, Herman George, 1878-1927.
Stedman, Edmund Clarence, 1833-1908.

Collection Contents

Box 1


Box 2


Box 3


Box 4


Box 5


Box 6


Box 7


Box 8


Box 9


Box 10


Box 11

Ephemera: newspaper clippings, printed ephemera, photographs, and cards

Box 12

Ephemera: envelopes