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Guide to the Ina Coolbrith Circle Records, 1921-1969
MS 457  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • History
  • Scope and Content
  • Added Entries
  • Material Transferred

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Ina Coolbrith Circle Records,
    Date (inclusive): 1921-1969
    Collection number: MS 457
    Creator: Ina Coolbrith Circle, 1919-1969
    Extent: 3 boxes
    Repository: California Historical Society, North Baker Library
    San Francisco, California 94105-4014
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The North Baker Research Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Library Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The North Baker Research Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Ina Coolbrith Circle Records. MS 457, California Historical Society, North Baker Research Library.


    The Ina Coolbrith Circle was organized in 1919 in memory of Ina Coolbrith, California's first poet laureate. The stated purpose of the Circle was the study of the history and literature of California, the discussion of member's works, and the assembling and presentation of their personal and literary reminiscences.
    The Circle was patterned after the California Literature Society, which was itself an outgrowth of a neighborhood youth club founded by Ella Sterling Cummins Mighels, a California literary historian. The California Literature Society was informal and met once a month at Coolbrith's home until 1916.
    The Ina Coolbrith Circle met once a month, first at the St. Francis Hotel, then in the Assembly Room of the San Francisco Public Library, and later at the Western Women's Club. More of a social club than a platform for established poets, the Circle sponsored lecture presentations, poetry readings, musical programs and annual poetry contests. The members also maintained a library and engaged in campaigns to save Ina Coolbrith Park in San Francisco, to name a Sierra Nevada peak after Ina Coolbrith, and to prevent the state legislature from naming an unpublished poet (and member of the legislature) California poet laureate.
    Ina Coolbrith was living in New York at the time the Circle was formed and met with its members for the first time in 1920. In 1923 Coolbrith moved back to California and, between then and her death in 1928, journeyed each month to the St. Francis Hotel to read poetry, discuss literature, and listen to lectures. The Circle continued after Coolbrith's death largely through the efforts of Ina Peterson Cooke and Ina Cook Craig, her niece and grandniece respectively.
    Ina Coolbrith, J. D. Rhodehamel and R. F. Wood. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young Univ. Press, 1973.

    Scope and Content

    The Ina Coolbrith Circle collection contains correspondence, announcements, newsletters, legal papers, financial statements and newspaper clippings concerning the Circle, its members and activities between 1921 and 1969.

    Added Entries

    • Bland, Henry Meade, 1863-1931
    • Coolbrith, Ina Donna, 1841-1928
    • Literature - Competitions
    • Literature - Addresses, essays, lectures
    • McGroarty, John Steven, 1862-1944
    • Norris, Gordon W., 1907-1961
    • Poetry - Addresses, essays, lectures
    • Poets -- San Francisco
    • Poets -- California
    • Women Authors -- California
    • Women in California

    Material Transferred

    Six photographs, three of Ina Coolbrith's grave, one of Anne Monroe, one of Ina Coolbrith Circle members in 1955, and one showing the Circle conferring the 1955 poetry contest award, have been transferred to California Historical Society photograph collection.