Finding Aid for the Wilder Bentley Papers, 1930-1945, undated.

Processed by Clark Library staff; machine-readable finding aid created by Caroline Cubé
William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
2520 Cimarron Street
Los Angeles, CA 90018
Phone: (323) 731-8529
Fax: (323) 731-8617
© 1998
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Wilder Bentley Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1930-1945.
Press Coll. Archives: Bentley
Creator: Bentley, Wilder, 1900-1989
Physical Description: 6 boxes 3 linear feet
Repository: William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
Los Angeles, CA 90018
Physical location: Some portions of this collection are housed off-site. Please contact Clark Library staff at least 2 weeks in advance if you would like to view the materials in this collection.
Language of Material: Collection materials in English

Administrative Information

Source of Acquisition/Provenance

Gift, 1945-58 from Wilder Bentley.
Purchase, 1945-50 from Wilder Bentley.
Purchase, 1949 from Dawson's Bookshop.
Gift, 1957 from J. E. Reynolds.


Collection is open for research.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright has not been assigned to the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, UCLA. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Clark Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, UCLA 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.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Wilder Bentley Papers, 1930-1945, undated. (Press Coll. Bentley). William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, University of California, Los Angeles.


Wilder Bentley was born in San Francisco in 1900. He attended Yale University and the University of Michigan. He spent several years in Europe, providing relief work with French war orphans and later traveling. He worked at the Laboratory Press at the Carnegie Institute of Technology from 1931-33. He became an honorary associate member of the American Institute of Graphic Arts in 1932. He printed books for the Archetype Press and the Greenwood Press and taught in the School of Humanities, San Francisco State College.


The collection has been arranged in the following series:
  1. Printing activities, 1930-1944, undated
  2. Wilder Bentley and other activities besides printing, 1932-1945, undated
  3. Other persons associated with Bentley, undated
When requesting items, please state box number, folder number, and title.

Scope and Content

This collection consists of correspondence, manuscripts, designs, and miscellaneous printed ephemera related to the activities of Wilder Bentley and his work with the Archetype Press. Also included are materials related to his non-printing endeavors and to his friends and colleagues.

Access Points

Bentley, Wilder, 1900-1989
Poetry, American
Printing---Study and teaching

Container List


Series I.  Printing activities, 1930-1944, undated

Box 1, Folder 1.

Pollio The Fourth Eclogue by Virgil, The Parable of the Sower, The Price of Printing by Hand, 1930; and The Frankeleyn's Tale

Box 1, Folder 2.

Works Published at his Press: Broadsides and Pamphlets

Scope and Content Note

(Carol, 1938 (William Austin); Psalm XXIII/ A Psalm of King David, 1936; The Printer's Mistress to his Wife (Barbara Cowles); Snowfall, 1931 (Giosue Carducci); The Nativity, 1942 (Giles Fletcher the Younger); The Wise Men and the Shepherds, 1944 (Sidney Godolphin); Harbor and City of Monterey, 1938 (George Harding); Birthday Piece of Porter Garnett (Walter Leuba); Hymn on the Morning of Christ's Nativity, 1943 (John Milton); Hirose Tanso to a Friend, 1937).
Box 1, Folder 3.

Reviews of Press Books

Scope and Content Note

(newspaper clippings from New England Quarterly, San Francisco Chronicle, New York Times Book Review)
Box 2, Folder 1.

Inserts, labels, and other printing connected with press work

Scope and Content Note

(Pacific Adventures Number One: The King of California; The Cat and the Cherub; Bookmark Ballads: No. 1 for Padre Vicentio; The Ideal Book; Some Chinese Ghosts; Dedications by Kathleen Norris; Maurice Sterne: Murals in the Library of the Department of Justice ...; Yosemite: September 1938).
Box 2, Folder 2.

Book prospectuses and book catalogs

Scope and Content Note

(The Frankelyns Tale; Font's Complete Diary: A Chronicle of the Founding of San Francisco; The Adventure of Padre Vicentio; The Right Eye of the Commander: A New Year's Legend of Spanish California; Some Chinese Ghosts; The Immortal Garland, Terza-Rima Sonnets (22 copies); Newton's Principia in Modern English Rendering; From the Sierra to the Sea; The Poetry Folios; A Native American).
Box 2, Folder 3.

Christmas cards

Scope and Content Note

(Ansel and Virginia Adams, Wilder and Ellen Bentley, Olga Cleese, Mary and Lloyd Hoff, Thomas W. McDonald, Frank and Ellen Mather, Stanley Poweel, Max and Dorothea Radin, Dexter Newell and Libby Richards, A.M. Witherspoon)
Box 2, Folder 4.


Scope and Content Note

(Wilder Bentley, William Henry Davenport, Jo and Reuel Fick, M.M. Hart, Maud Russell, Mary and Lloyd Hoff, George Otis Smith, University of California Press)
Box 2, Folder 5.

Announcements, business cards, programs

Scope and Content Note

(Photography exhibit for Ansel Adams, 1939; Program for Amphion Club Annual Concert, 1938; Griff Borja, KLS Oakland, La Voz de las Americas Hispañas, Japan Society of San Francisco, Dorothy McDonald announcement, Exhibition of Chiura Obata, Haruko Obata business card, Alexander G. Weygers, Charles Saunders announcement)
Box 2, Folder 6.

Bentley's Press: Stationery and announcements

Scope and Content Note

(stationery, package label for the Archetype Press, notice of disbanding of Archetype Press 1940)
Box 2, Folder 7.

Archetype press memorabilia

Scope and Content Note

(announcements, press notices, letters, Roster and Record of the Broadside Club 29 November 1938, Goudy Newcastle clipping)

Series II.  Wilder Bentley and other activities besides printing, 1932-1945, undated

Box 3, Folder 1.


Scope and Content Note

(De Young Museum San Francisco, 1943; The Art of Wilder Bentley; On Cultivating the Dragon: Experiments in Hybrid Art; Recollections in Tranquillity of the Calligraphy of Time and Tide; UCLA; A Message to the Pacifica House; My Motivation and Objections; The War Masks Series of Monotypes)
Box 3, Folder 2.

Lectures given by Wilder Bentley

Scope and Content Note

(An Apology for the Hand Press; Lifelong Learning: The Printing of Poetry; Lectures on Fine Books--California Guild of Bookbinders; The Fifty Books of the Fifty Books; Is A Gift or Bequest to a Library a Behest to Display)
Box 3, Folder 3.

Teaching activities

Scope and Content Note

(Announcing Six Fine Arts Courses on the History and Art of the Book; History and Aesthetics of Fine Printing, 1932; The Art of the Book: Fine Printing: Theoretical Typography)
Box 3, Folder 4.

Correspondence from Wilder Bentley

Scope and Content Note

(Alfred Frankenstein, Walter Heil, De Young Museum, Miss Haberl, William Dennis, H. Richard Archer)
Box 3, Folder 5.

Correspondence to Wilder Bentley (arranged alphabetically by correspondent)

Scope and Content Note

(British War Relief Association of Northern California, Donald Cameron, M.H. De Young Memorial Museum, Thomas Fairbanks Co, The Grolier Club, A.C. Jewett, Librarie Ancienne, Mills College, James Laughlin, Oxford University Press, Elaine Rushmore, Society for the Prevention of Progress, US Department of State, Swarthmore College Library, Vander MacIver, Yale University Library)
Box 3, Folder 6.

Articles, clippings, and other items (ephemera)

Scope and Content Note

(Fine Printing in California; Fog Over San Francisco; The Matter of Taste: How It Behaves in Typography; Birth of the Roxburghe Club; Notes for Bibliophiles: Earliest Printing in California; The Printing House of Paris)
Box 4, Folder 7.

MS. verses by W.B.

Scope and Content Note

(Excursion on the Bay, Joaquin Murietta, New Albion, Salvage, The Archaeologists at Shellmound, Three Flights Up, Tiburon, Unheroic Couplets)
Box 4, Folder 8.

Arcadian Reminiscences of a Pioneer Pedagogue (TS., 25 leaves)

Box 4, Folder 9.

Cherokee Poetry (95 leaves)

Box 4, Folder 10.

Report on Christopher Columbus and the Voyage of Ulysses in Dante's Room (18 leaves)

Box 4, Folder 11.

Doel Reed: The Artist and the Craftsman, An Appreciation (TS., 5 leaves)

Box 4, Folder 12.

From the Embarcadero or Marginalia from an Old Tide Book (TS., 55 leaves)

Box 4, Folder 13.

Ms--Hellesphere (26 leaves)

Box 4, Folder 14.

Ideals and Idols (TS., 26 leaves)

Box 4, Folder 15.

Leonardo at Stromboli or The Longing to Know a Dialogue (6 leaves)

Box 4, Folder 16.

The Letters of Hale Dwight Worthington to his Mother on Diverse Subjects of Interest

Scope and Content Note

(TS., 16 leaves)
Box 4, Folder 17.

Larnin Air a Strange Thing, Rufe! (TS., 12 leaves)

Box 4, Folder 18.

Oklahoma Idylls (TS., 34 leaves)

Box 4, Folder 19.

A Prospectus: Orders of the Mind (TS., 2 leaves)

Box 4, Folder 20.

A Rabelais Bibliography in English (TS., 3 leaves)

Box 4, Folder 21.

Will Rogers: A Tragic Farce in Two Short Acts with an Intermission for Fatigued Fatalists

Scope and Content Note

(TS., 14 leaves)
Box 4, Folder 22.

Theoretical Book Typography: An Esthetic Investigation (TS., 86 leaves)

Box 4, Folder 23.

Towards a Prelum and Scriptorium at Chadwick Seaside School (TS., 3 pages)

Box 4, Folder 24.

Tributes to Porter Garnett

Scope and Content Note

Collectanea in Honor of the Eightieth Year of an Arduous Journey and a Fervent Will Anthology for Porter Garnett (TS., 7 leaves)
Porter Garnett and the Laboratory Press: A Few Philosophical Notes by Wilder Bentley -TS., (4 leaves) Porter Garnett and the Laboratory Press: A Few Philosophical Notes by Wilder Bentley--Castle Press
Porter Garnett: 1871-1951. Master of the Laboratory Press Carnegie Institute of Technology, 1922-1935 (TS., 10 leaves)
The Pacific Printer and Publisher
Box 4, Folder 25.

Published works

Scope and Content Note

  • A Landscape of the Seasons
  • Notes on the Amateur Handpress
  • The Printer to the Poet
  • City Lights
  • Two Monotypes
Box 4, Folder 26.

Wilder Bentley--artwork

Box 5, Folder 27.

Letter designs by Wilder Bentley

Box 5, Folder 28.

Wilder Bentley's designs for The Architectural Forum

Scope and Content Note

The Architectural Forum Competition (2 copies) page layouts, 6 leaves negatives of page layouts, 8 leaves
Box 5, Folder 29.

Writings about Wilder Bentley

Scope and Content Note

  • A Survey of Contemporary Hand Press Printing in Northern California
  • Renowned Artist at State
  • Wilder Bentley
  • Printer's Art Interprets Spirit of Author's Work
  • A Comp's Eye View of Wilder Bentley and the Archetype Press
Box 5, Folder 30.

Lists of books sold by Wilder Bentley to the Clark Library

Box 5, Folder 31.

Personal ephemera

Scope and Content Note

  • photograph (photo taken at the Archetype Press in 1939 by Robin Faber)
  • United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (application for employment 1945, 11 leaves)
  • Pocket notebook, addresses

Series III.  Other persons associated with Bentley, undated

Box 6, Folder 1a.

An Essay on Scholarship (Joseph Addison)

Box 6, Folder 1b.

A Birthday Party for Albert Bender

Box 6, Folder 1c.

Ten Commandments, To A Mouse, Chaucer

Box 6, Folder 1d.

A Resolution in Four Sonnets of a Poetical Question Put to me by a Friend Concerning Four Rural Sisters (Charles Cotton)

Box 6, Folder 1e.

The Pickwick Club Goes Down to Keep Christmas at Dingley Dell (Charles Dickens)

Box 6, Folder 1f.

The Oop Unit (Porter Garnett)

Box 6, Folder 1g.

Sermon on Space (David Greenhood)

Box 6, Folder 1h.

To Jumbo (James Hart)

Box 6, Folder 1i.

Laboratory Press: A list of broadsides, brochures, and books

Box 6, Folder 1j.

Thomas Joseph McDonald Recalls his Frisco of the Eighties

Box 6, Folder 1k.

The Pirates of Penzance--Chadwick School playbill

Box 6, Folder 1l.

An Evening with William Morris

Box 6, Folder 1m.

Shakespeare/ Sonnet 24 and The Dagger Soliloquy

Box 6, Folder 1n.

Charles and Dorothy Shaw Christmas Greeting 1939

Box 6, Folder 1o.

Le ciel est, par-dessus le toit (Paul Verlaine)

Box 6, Folder 2.

Wilder Bentley, Jr.

Scope and Content Note

(Last Breath ... (Bruce Baillie); Incipit ... (Wilder Bentley); Adrift in Valueland ...(Wilder Bentley, Jr.); Lord of Hosts; Our Father=PaterNoster=Notre Pere; Never Imitate)
Box 6, Folder 3.

Writings by William Saroyan

Scope and Content Note

(The Circus; The Fifty-Yard Dash; The Journey to Hanford; Locomotive 38; Memoirs of an Athlete; A Nice Old Fashioned Romance with Love Lyrics and Everything; the Pomegranate Tress; The Summer of the Beautiful White Horse)
Box 6, Folder 4.

Harmer Davis--Rigging of Star of India in Oakland Estuary (photographs)

Box 6, Folder 5.

Lloyd Hoff--The Printer to the Poet (ink drawing), The Right Eye of the Commander (ink drawing), vignette, sketches, trial illuminations.

Box 6, Folder 6.

Chiura Obata--cartoons of Poor Fish, Just Fish (pencil drawing), specimens of illuminations

Box 6, Folder 7.

Material about Chiura Obata

Scope and Content Note

(newspaper clippings, TS., Chiura Obata and the Universal Language of Art: An Appreciation)
Box 6, Folder 8.

Alexander Weygers

Scope and Content Note

(Vignette, wood engraving used in The Printer's Mistress to His Wife, Fisherman's Wharf, Mission Dolores engraving, engravings)
Box 6, Folder 9.

Designs for end sheets

Scope and Content Note

(46 designs for end sheets)