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Finding Aid to the Ward Ritchie Papers
Press coll. Archives Ritchie  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Access Points
  • Biography
  • Arrangement
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Ward Ritchie Papers,
    Date (inclusive): ca. 1930-1978
    Collection ID: Press coll. Archives Ritchie
    Origination: Ritchie, Ward, 1905-1996
    Physical Description: 182 boxes (90 linear feet)
    Repository: William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
    Los Angeles, CA 90018
    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 previous to your visit.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Source of Acquisition/Provenance

    • 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)
    • 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.

    Access Points

    Ward Ritchie Press--Archives.
    Private presses--California--Los Angeles.
    Printers--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 was given to the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library in several stages.
    The contents are divided by the donor and when the gift was received. Boxes 1 through 113 have been arranged by Ritchie's original filing system. Job envelopes are put in chronological order. Personal letterhead printing is placed in alphabetical order.
    In the following finding aid, there is a broad listing of the contents in each box and folder. Most of the job envelopes contain invoices, page proofs, sketches, some galley proofs, and the final product.
    Oversized items such as galley proofs or illustrations can be found in the map drawer titled "Ward Ritchie." Other oversized items (not listed in this finding aid as of 2-22-99) can be found on the map drawer finding aid. These items are marked "Gift of Ward Ritchie."
    When requesting items, please state box number, series, and folder number.

    Scope and Content

    The Ward Ritchie Press collection consists primarily of job packets, typescripts, manuscripts, lectures, correspondence, photographs, ephemera, sketches, page and galley proofs, poetry, and some personal items.

    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.