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Ramparts magazine and Scrimshaw Press records, 1965-1996 (bulk 1965-1980).
BANC MSS 97/46 c carton 3; BANC MSS 97/46 c carton 4; BANC MSS 97/46 c carton 5; BANC MSS 97/46 c tube 1; ...
Collection Overview


Ramparts magazine and Scrimshaw Press records, 1965-1996 (bulk 1965-1980)
Ramparts (Berkeley, Calif.)


Mitchell, Frederick C., 1933-1996


Scrimshaw Press


The records of Ramparts magazine and Scrimshaw Press contain materials collected by Frederick C. Mitchell from his own involvement in both organizations. The Ramparts material predominantly concerns the business side of the operation, with correspondence and reports relating to circulation, distribution, and financing. There is also a small amount of correspondence and notes concerning the magazine's editorial content. The Scrimshaw Press portion of the collection includes correspondence and early drafts of many of the Press's projects, some unpublished. This part of the collection also contains correspondence, reports, and legal documents concerning the Press's frequent financial troubles, and Mitchell's efforts to make connections with larger publishing houses. Also present are a number of slides of images apparently from books published by the Press. The collection also includes a small amount of material from Mitchell's other professional activities, including his involvement with the Friends of Photography, founded by Ansel Adams; with Fiberworx, a nonprofit center devoted to textile arts; and with Rags magazine.


1965 (issued)


Mitchell, Frederick C -- 1933-1996 -- Archives
Scrimshaw Press -- Archives
Ramparts (Berkeley, Calif.) -- Archives
Underground periodicals -- California -- San Francisco
Underground periodicals -- California -- Berkeley
Small presses -- California -- Berkeley
Publishers and publishing -- California -- Berkeley


COLLECTION STORED, IN PART, OFF-SITE: Advance notice required for use.
Ramparts magazine and Scrimshaw Press records, BANC MSS 97/46 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
Gift; of Margaretta Mitchell; 1997?
In English.
Frederick C. Mitchell was born in 1933 in Erie, Pennsylvania. He attended Yale University, graduating in 1955, followed by an MA in Spanish at Middlebury College (1960) and graduate work in Latin American history at University of California, Berkeley. Subsequently he taught history as an assistant professor at the University of Kansas. In 1963, he became involved in Ramparts magazine, becoming an investor in and director of the magazine in 1965. In 1967 he took on the role of editor, and in 1968 assumed a more administrative role as publisher of the magazine, responsible for advertising and subscriptions. His connection with Ramparts ceased in 1969, followed by a legal suit concerning his investment in the company. In that same year, Mitchell co-founded Scrimshaw Press, which he ran for the next ten years. After Scrimshaw's bankruptcy, Mitchell later worked in real estate. He died February 4, 1996.
Ramparts magazine was founded in 1962 by Edward M. Keating. It began as a liberal Catholic quarterly, but under executive editor Warren Hinckle became a monthly voice for the New Left, headquartered in San Francisco. From this perspective, the magazine covered such topics as the CIA's infiltration of student groups, the use of napalm in Vietnam, and the Black Panthers. Its publication of diaries by Eldridge Cleaver and Che Guevara boosted circulation, which at its peak reached nearly 300,000 readers (400,000 by some accounts). Editors of the magazine included Robert Scheer, David Horowitz, Peter Collier, and James Ridgeway. After an ill-fated attempt to become a bi-weekly and an expensive jaunt to cover the 1968 Democratic National Convention, the magazine lost many subscribers and came close to bankruptcy. The shifting political climate also raised questions about the publication's continued relevance. Ramparts survived for a time with a slashed budget and reduced staff, and finally ceased publication in 1975.
Scrimshaw Press was a small Berkeley publisher co-founded by Frederick Mitchell and Dave Bohn. It focused on small-run photographic books, such as Handmade Houses, on creative individual architecture, and Native Funk & Flash, on hippie fashion. Scrimshaw declared bankruptcy in 1979.

Physical Description:

2 cartons, 1 rolled item (3 linear feet)




BANC MSS 97/46 c carton 3
BANC MSS 97/46 c carton 4
BANC MSS 97/46 c carton 5
BANC MSS 97/46 c tube 1
BANC MSS 97/46 c carton 1
BANC MSS 97/46 c carton 2
BANC MSS 97/46 c
BANC MSS 97/46 c



Copyright Note:

COLLECTION STORED, IN PART, OFF-SITE: Advance notice required for use.