Scope and Contents Note
Title: James Boyer May correspondence,
Date (inclusive): 1956-1972
Date (bulk): (bulk 1956-1965)
Collection number: MS 165
May, James Boyer
2 document boxes
University of California, Santa Cruz. University Library.
Special Collections and Archives
Santa Cruz, California 95064
Abstract: This collection correspondence between Kenneth Patchen, Miriam Patchen and James Boyer May between 1956-1972, as well as a
small collection of printed material documenting Kenneth Patchen's jazz-poetry period and his degenerating medical condition.
Physical location: Stored in Special Collections & Archives: Advance notice is required for access to the papers.
Collection open for research.
Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and
their heirs. For permission to publish or to reproduce the material, please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
James Boyer May Correspondence. MS 165. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, University of
California, Santa Cruz.
Acquired, June 1987
James Boyer May,(December 30,1904 - February 21,1981), was a minor poet, essayist and a publisher. He ran the small but influential
Trace from 1952 through 1970 in Los Angeles.
Trace printed listings of small press activities connecting Alan Swallow of Denver to Len Fulton's
Dustbooks in Northern California. May recollected, "
Trace was called a 'Bridge' by various people - and it was - between people in many parts of the world... It's my belief, and I
think it could be documented, that we had an influence on the language itself."
The friendship between May and Kenneth Patchen began with a strong review in
Trace of Patchen's newly issued works
Hurrah for Anything, and
When We Were Here Together (1957), and continued throughout the 1960's. May appeared to Patchen as a possible source of help in his efforts to obtain
financial support from the literary community. Sadly, the letters in this archive are a chronicle of his failure.
Scope and Contents Note
This archive mainly consists of outgoing and incoming correspondence between the Patchens and James Boyer May.
The bulk of the letters provide a chronological commentary by Kenneth Patchen and his wife Miriam, beginning in his famous
poetry-jazz period and continuing through the trauma of his medical condition. The letters are in turn hopeful, humorous,
A small portion of the material is printed material on Kenneth Patchen; ephemera and clippings covering fundraisers, jazz-poetry
and publishing activities.
James Boyer May/Amsberry Poetry Collection. University Archives and Special Collections, Pollak Library, California State
(The collection focuses on American small press poetry publishing from the mid-to-late Twentieth Century including Los Angeles
poet and publisher James Boyer May's business archives and correspondence files)
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in
the library's online public access catalog.
May, James Boyer--Archive
Authors, American--20th century
Poets, American--20th century--Correspondence
Patchen, Kenneth--1911-1972--Kenneth Patchen archive