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Finding Aid to the Ward Ritchie Papers Press coll.Archives.Ritchie
Press coll.Archives.Ritchie  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Processing Information
  • Provenance
  • Restrictions on Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biography
  • Arrangement
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Material

  • Title: Ward Ritchie Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: Press coll.Archives.Ritchie
    Contributing Institution: William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 126.0 Linear feet 213 boxes
    Date (inclusive): 1930-1978
    Location: This collection is housed at SRLF. Advanced notice is required to view these items; contact the Clark Library to arrange the collection's retrieval prior to your visit.
    creator: Ritchie, Ward, 1905-1996


    Collection is open for research.

    Processing Information

    The collection was originally processed in 1998 by Clark Library staff. In 2014, the finding aid was reorganized into seven series and an additional 31 boxes were processed and added to the finding aid by Patricia Garcia.


    • Gift, 1988-1994, from Ward Ritchie (boxes 1-113)
    • Gift, 1996, from Ward Ritchie (boxes 114-149, 153-156, 158-164, 178-182)
    • Gift, 1996, from Edwin Carpenter (box 151)
    • Gift, 1996, from Albert Sperisen (box 152)
    • Gift, 1996, from Stephen Tabor (box 157)
    • Gift, 1997, from Gloria Stuart (boxes 165-171)
    • Gift, 1997(?), Ward Ritchie Estate (boxes 183-213)
    • Deposit, 1998, from Ritchie family (boxes 172-177)

    Restrictions on Use

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

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Ward Ritchie Papers, ca. 1930-1978. William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, University of California, Los Angeles.


    Ward Ritchie was born in 1905 in Los Angeles, and grew up in a series of residences in the Los Angeles and Pasadena areas. His father was in the pharmaceutical trade. He attended Marengo Avenue School and Occidental College, transferring to Stanford, University of the South, and back to Occidental again. After a brief try at law school at USC he decided to make a career the book arts, influenced by a reading of T.J. Cobden-Sanderson's Journals. By examining examples of fine printing, mainly at the Huntington Library, he learned the elements of book design, and a semester at Frank Wiggins Trade School gave him some technical knowledge. He began printing in 1929. The next year he talked himself into an "apprenticeship" with François Louis Schmied, the French art-deco designer, illustrator, and printer. After four months with Schmied he returned to Los Angeles and a brief job with bookseller Jake Zeitlin.
    Ritchie became one of the principal figures in the fine-printing movement in Southern California. He printed for the Primavera Press, and took commissions as the Ward Ritchie Press, which he incorporated in 1932. Gregg Anderson entered into partnership, and the printing firm was subsequently called Anderson & Ritchie, with the name Ward Ritchie Press being retained for publishing ventures. At the outbreak of World War II, Anderson joined the Army (he was killed in 1944), and Ritchie left the press for Douglas Aircraft, where he produced technical manuals. The press continued under the management of Joseph Simon and became a large commercial establishment. Between 1943 and 1950 Ritchie worked as production manager at the advertising agency Foote, Cone and Belding, though he remained associated with the press and did designs for them. In 1950 he returned to the press full-time, and the firm (renamed Anderson, Ritchie & Simon) kept growing until Ritchie retired in 1972. (The press continued under different ownership until 1978.) In his retirement, in Laguna Beach, he bought a hand press and began printing small editions himself under the name Laguna Verde Imprenta. He died early in 1996. Ritchie married, first, Janet Smith (with whom he had two sons), and second, Marka Detrick, who brought three sons from a previous marriage. His close friends included librarian Lawrence Clark Powell and actress and printer Gloria Stuart.


    This collection is arranged into eight series:
    Series I. Associated Presses & Business Records Series II. Biographical & Personal Papers Series III. Correspondence Series IV. Subject Files Series V. Ephemera Series VI. Miscellaneous Series VII. Edwin Carpenter Acquisition Series VIII. Items Shelved Separately

    Scope and Content

    The Ward Ritchie Press collection consists primarily of papers ranging from 1928-1996, with the bulk of materials originating from 1930-1970. The collection includes job packets, typescripts, manuscripts, lectures, correspondence, photographs, ephemera, sketches, page and galley proofs, poetry, and some personal items. The "Associated Presses and Business Records" series consists of job packets, printer's overs, manuscripts, typescripts, amd mock-ups that are largely related to Ritchie's work with The Ward Ritchie Press, but also include business records relating to Anderson & Ritchie, Anderson, Ritchie & Simon, and Laguna Verde Imprenta. It also includes assorted typescripts and manuscripts that have an unknown provenance but were collected by Ritchie. The "Biographical and Personal Papers" series includes oral and performed works, personal photographs, gifted artwork, videos of birthday celebrations, and other works collected by Ritchie. The collection of oral and performed works include speeches and lectures given at Zamorano & Roxburghe Club meetings, Clark Library events, and Occidental College award ceremonies. The "Correspondence" series contains letters to noteable figures such as Lawrence Clark Powell, Gloria Stuart, Robinson Jeffers, Rockwell Kent, and Jake Zeitlin. Since Ritchie had working relationships with many of his friends, the series is composed of a mixture of business and personal correspondence. The "Subject Files" series includes collected items relating to other presses (Black Cat Press, Castle Press), universities (Caltech, Occidental, UCLA), clubs (Zamorano, Rounce & Coffin), and special collection libraries (Huntington Library, Clark Library).

    Related Material

    Printing and publishing in Southern California {oral history transcript} / Ward Ritchie, interviewee. UCLA Oral History Department interview, 1969. Available at Dept. of Special Collections, UCLA and the William Andrews Clark Library, UCLA.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Ward Ritchie Press.
    Printers--California--20th century
    Private presses--California--20th century