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Guide to the William Nauns Ricks Papers, 1899-1963
BANC MSS C-H 137  
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: William Nauns Ricks Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1899-1963
    Collection Number: BANC MSS C-H 137
    Creator: Ricks, William Nauns
    Extent: Number of containers: 23 boxes Linear feet: 9.6
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the appropriate curator or the Head of Public Services for forwarding. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft 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], William Nauns Ricks Papers, BANC MSS C-H 137, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The William Nauns Ricks Papers were given to The Bancroft Library by Mrs. Elizabeth Ricks on November 10, 1961, with additions in March 1963.

    Scope and Content

    The William Nauns Ricks Papers contain more than 450 individual poems and nearly 100 short stories and other works of prose, written or collected by Ricks between 1899 and 1963. The collection also includes a small amount of correspondence and other personal and biographical material, along with a few papers of Elizabeth Ricks, chiefly correspondence and Papers relating to the Book Lovers Club.
    Many of Ricks' poems are scribbles on tiny scraps of paper, often revised several times prior to their publication, chiefly in newspapers or as greeting card verse. These have been arranged alphabetically by title or first line, and may include several drafts as well as clippings of published versions. Also included are several notebooks of poems, which appear to have been gathered together by Ricks for public readings. While these may include poems which also appear as individual poems, the notebooks do contain some unique titles and these have been listed by title or first line.
    Ricks was born in Wytheville, Virginia, on September 6, 1876, and came to California in 1889. An African-American veteran of the Spanish Civil War, Ricks worked at the information desk in the lobby of California Packing Corporation, but his chief occupation and interest was writing. Little is known about him, other than his activities as documented in his personal papers. Ricks was a member of several local writing organizations, active in his church, and frequently attended art, lecture, theater, and musical programs and events in the Bay Area. The Bibliography of California Fiction, Poetry, Drama... (Alameda County Library: Oakland, Calif., 1938) records that Ricks had resided in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Pasadena before coming to Berkeley. Ricks' own papers indicate that on March 19, 1922, he married Elizabeth Brown, who survived him and assembled the Glory Books contained in his personal papers.