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Joel Climenhaga papers


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Biography Series, 1922-2000

Correspondence Series, 1912-2000

Literary Works, 1939-2000

Subjects, 1922-2001

Photograph Series, 1929-1997

Slides, 1987,1989

Media Series, 1932-1997

Scrapbooks, 1966,1981,1983-88,1990,1997

Oversized Items, 1994,1949,1965-1993,1997,1999

Printed Material

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Joel Climenhaga papers, 1912-2001 | Morse Department of Special Collections

By Cynthia Harris

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Collection Overview

Title: Joel Climenhaga papers, 1912-2001Add to your cart.

Primary Creator: Climenhaga, Joel (1922-2001)

Extent: 68.0 Linear Feet

Arrangement: The collection is organized in nine Series: 1) Biographical; 2) Correspondence; 3) Literary Works; 4) Subjects; 5) Photographs and Slides; 6) Media; 7) Scrapbooks; 8) Oversize; and 9) Printed Material.

Date Acquired: 02/01/2001

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Joel Climenhaga Papers (1912-2001) consist primarily of his literary works and correspondence to and from family and friends. The collection is organized in nine Series: 1) Biographical; 2) Correspondence; 3) Literary Works; 4) Subjects; 5) Photographs and Slides; 6) Media; 7) Scrapbooks; 8) Oversize; and 9) Printed Material.

The Biographical Series consist of two boxes which include Climenhaga's baby book, family genealogy, obituary and memorial service program, and 1987 Kansas State University retirement tributes.

The Correspondence Series is made up of fourteen boxes and arranged alphabetically. Climenhaga was a prolific and voluminous writer. He corresponded with Mina Cooper, Carlos Cortez, Charles Jones, George Moberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Kenneth Patchen to name a few. Within the Charles Jones correspondence there are letters by LBJ (Lyndon B. Johnson) and from people who opposed him agreeing with the NCAAP- these letters were signed by "a white Christian" or "a white, white, American." There are twenty-four folders of correspondence between Climenhaga and Fred Shaw. The two men planned to turn their correspondence into a book titled The Mephisto Addenda. Before this could manifest, Fred Shaw passed away. The Climenhaga's were good friends with Kenneth and Miriam Patchen and there is extensive correspondence between the two families. The sub-series "Correspondence to Poetry Magazines" is listed alphabetically by magazine title and consists of one box.

The sub-series "Correspondence Log" is arranged chronologically and is stored in eighteen boxes. It is similar to a journal as Climenhaga made personal entries on specific dates and if those dates corresponded with writing or receiving a letter, the letter was included. Names of those who Climenhaga corresponded includes Marlon Brando, Milton Bernard, John and Emma Climenhaga, Mina Cooper, Norman Fedder, Henry Miller, Kenneth Patchen, George Savage, Fred Shaw, Wesley Van Tassel, Myrna Wolfe, and Kenneth Woodroofe. These letters were pulled from the alphabetical listing by Climenhaga. It is not known why Climenhaga separated these letters.

Literary Works is comprised of twenty-two boxes which contain Climenhaga's plays and poems, as well as fiction stories and essays. During his lifetime Climenhaga had at least seven columns in various newspapers and newsletters. Three of his columns One Man's Frontier, One Man's Journey, and Dear Good People often had the same material while the introduction was sometimes different or a sentence or two rearranged. One Man's Journey was also broadcasted on the KKSC Radio station at Kansas State University during the 1980s. Climenhaga was a notorious recycler of paper. He often used recycled paper which can be confusing to researchers. If researchers pay close attention, however, they just might find that "recycled" paper useful after all, as it could be a part of another story, poem, etc., whether written by Climenhaga or one of his many friends or colleagues. Climenhaga wrote his first poem at age six. By 1989, he had written approximately 2,500 poems of which 1,200 had been published in various magazines and journals. Volumes of his published poems include: The Age of Pollution; Belief in Chaos; Hawk and Chameleon; The Month of the Shadow on My Heart; Ninety-Nine Messages from Separate Places; None of this Really Matters a Great Deal Now; One Hundred and One Songs are Promised for Tomorrow; Preliminary Walk into the Sweat of Dying; Report on the Progress of the Bearded One's Homework; Spontaneity is a Deceiving God; and The Thirteenth Winter.

Subject Series is contained in seventeen boxes and is organized alphabetically. It includes names such as Charles Jackson Jones, Jr. who was married to artist Molly Ramolla, Kenneth Patchen and Larry Smith. It also includes programs from plays produced, written, and directed by Climenhaga. Other programs include plays produced at the Purple Masque Theatre, Kansas State University; by the Pine Cone Players, Grand Lake, CO; and at UCLA.

The Photograph and Slides Series consists of one box and includes photos of the 1976 Pine Cone Players, Grand Lake, CO, production of Mark Twain. Photos taken at the Purple Masque Theatre, Kansas State University include the 1981 production of Kenneth Patchen's Don't Look Now, the 1989 production of Dust-Storm Wedding and Climenhaga's own play the Marriage Wheel. The Slides consist of Kenneth Patchen's art poetry.

Comprised of seven boxes, the Media Series includes cassette tapes, reel to reel tapes, VHS video tapes, and computer disks. The computer disks contain some of Climenhaga's manuscripts that were incorporated in Literary Works Series. The cassette tapes include interviews with Ben Nyberg and Jonathan Holden, 1985 letters from Charles Jones, and Climenhaga's 1980s One Man's Journey recorded at KKSU radio, Kansas State University. The reel to reel tapes include several different readings from Patchen's Don't Look Now. The VHS tapes include the "50th Anniversary of the 1939 Pottstown High School Graduates" of interviews with Earl "Yogi" Storm, Dr. Joel Esner, and Raymond Elliott conducted by Bill Achatz. Climenhaga was unable to attend this anniversary gathering where he and others were inducted into the Alumni Honor Roll. Climenhaga created a video to be played at the anniversary program and it is included in this series. The tape Miriam Is Not Amused, a film by Kim Roberts, 1996, is a profile of the life of Miriam Patchen with interesting information about her husband Kenneth Patchen. The most interesting tapes in this series, however, are the interviews with Joel Climenhaga. The one that stands out the most is the one created by the Manhattan, Kansas Art Councils, 1992, where John Biggs interviews Climenhaga.

There are some very interesting interviews with Joel Climenhaga, especially the one filmed by the Manhattan, Kansas Arts Council titled Joel: Creative Profile. Another VHS tape of interest is Miriam Is Not Amused, a film by Kim Roberts, 1996. This is a profile of the life of Miriam Patchen with interesting information about her husband, Kenneth Patchen.

Scrapbooks are contained in one box. The most notable is the Marriage Wheel by Joel Climenhaga with his notes written on the sides of each page. Another item of interest is the 1983-1988 Travel Journal. Climenhaga kept notes of his summer travels, how many miles he traveled, where he traveled to, and when and where he stopped to eat.

The Oversize Series is made up of one box that includes art, art poetry, poetry and program posters. Notable sketches in this series are the drawing of Joel Climenhaga by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and the greeting to the Climenhagas from Carlos and Marianna Cortez in 1972. Kenneth Patchen's art poetry shows up in Lee Artz's "Passion for Peace," Peace Works, Mid-Peninsula Peace Center, Palo Alto, California and in Steven Ratiner's "The Picture Poems of Kenneth Patchen," California Living, 1983. There are four Kenneth Patchen poems included: "The Way Men Live Is a Life," 1944, "A Poem For Christmas," 1961, "What I'd Like To Know Is, 1967" and "A Mercy Filled & Defiant Xmas To All Still Worthy To Be Called Man," 1970. Program posters from the Kansas State University Purple Masque Theatre that are interesting include Mark Edward's Larger Than Life, 1978, Cindy Helfertstay's From Heaven to Hell, 1978, and Chloris Killian's 1981, The Dust-Storm Wedding. Other items of interest includes Climenhaga's 1987 retirement certificate from Kansas State University and a letter from the then Provost, Owen J. Koeppe.

Stored in twenty boxes, the Printed Material includes Climenhaga's poetry magazines, published by him under his publishing company, Transient Press and other research journals and books.

Biographical Note

1922      Apr 09, born in Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) Africa

1929      Family left Africa for Canada

1930      Moved to Oklahoma

1933      Moved to California

1937      Moved to Pennsylvania

Began writing career, while living in Pennsylvania he wrote a series of short stories and some poems based on memories of his early childhood in Africa

1939      Went to work on a farm in Pennsylvania

1939-1941 Attended Messiah College, Grantham, PA, majored in English and Journalism, did not graduate

1941      Worked for newspaper in Pennsylvania, The Mercury under Shandy Hill as a proofreader

1942      Moved to California, worked at Upland Lemon Growers Association

1943      Worked as a proofreader for San Bernardino Sun-Telegraph, in California

1944      Worked for Kaiser Iron and Steel Mill in Fontana, CA

1945      Jun 02, Entered the U.S. Army as conscientious objector, was chief clerk in the locator card file section at Camp Ellis,    Illinois and at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD

1946      Discharged from Army

1947-1948 Went back to work at Upland, CA, Lemon Growers Association (laborer in lemon packing house)

1947      Feb, became active participant in a community theatre for the first time while living in Southern California

1948-1950 Attended Chaffey College, Ontario, CA, majored in Theater Arts, Art, and English

1949      A.A. in Theater Arts, Art, and English from Chaffey College, Ontario, CA

1950      Summer, attended Pomona College, Claremont, CA, took course in Elementary Education

1950-1956 Sep, Attended UCLA

1951      Worked for Aircraft-Marine Products while in school

1952      Won Best Director Award and Best Playwright Award at the Kap & Bells Theater Arts Banquet

1953-1955 Graduate Reading Assistant, UCLA

1953      B.A. in Theater Arts, UCLA

Starred in movie Teen-Age Devil Dolls, alternate title One-Way Ticket to Hell, character - Sven Bergman, filmed in Los Angeles, CA, an Independent Film

1955      May, Won the Samuel Goldwyn Award of $1,000 for play Marriage Wheel while graduate student at UCLA

Marriage Wheel also won $100 from the Theatre Americana in Altadena, CA

Awarded a Rockefeller Fellowship in Playwrighting, $3,000 for one year 4 days after winning the Goldwyn award

Won the Samuel French National Collegiate Playwrighting Grant, $100; wrote One-Act Play, Heathen Pioneer 6 days after the Rockefeller Fellowship

Dec 21, Married Zoe Lenore Motter

1956      Published Heathen Pioneer: a comedy in one act (New York: S. French)

Summer, Had to take 3 courses in the field of Secondary Education in order to teach in Pennsylvania - History of Secondary Education in the United States; Teaching in the Secondary Schools; and Principles of Guidance in the Secondary Schools took these classes at UCLA

Summer, met Ray Bradbury in a Westwood Village, CA, bookstore

1956-1957 Instructor of English and Director of Drama at Central Dauphin High School, Harrisburg, PA

1957-1958 Worked as proofreader of technical manuals for Douglas Aircraft, Inc., Santa Monica, CA

Attended UCLA

1958      Jun, M.A. in Theater Arts, UCLA1958-1961 Assistant Professor of English, Wilmington College, Wilmington, OH

1959-1961 Director of Creative Writing, Wilmington College, Wilmington, OH

1961      Left Ohio for Emerson College but did not stay because of dispute over living arrangements for his family

Originated Transient Press, Pacific Grove, CA has been located in Palo Alto, CA; Menlo Park, CA; Chapel Hill, NC; Canton, MO; Grand Lake, CO; Moss Beach, CA; Manhattan, KS; Warren, OH; Tarkio, MO; LeMars, IA; Ellensburg, WA; and Bisbee, AZ.

Seed, published under Transient Press imprint

1961-1962 Attended Stanford University, Stanford, CA, took graduate work in Drama and English

1962-1963 Visiting Associate Professor of Dramatic Art (Playwrighting) at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC

1963-1968 Associate Professor of Speech, Drama, and English, Culver-Stockton College, Canton, MO

1963      Summer, Guest Lecturer in Playwriting and Writing for the Screen, University of Georgia, Athens, GA                         

Aug, Dept of English, University of the Americas, Mexico City, Mexico                           

Published Marriage Wheel, a comedy in three acts (New York: S. French)

1964      Dec, went to Chicago to a Convention of American Educational Theatre Association, took family, met Carlos Cortez for first time in person

1964-1968 Chairman, Department of Speech and Drama, Culver-Stockton College, Canton, MO

1964-1966 Published Jacaranda, a monthly magazine (Canton, MO: Transient Press)

1966-1967 Leave of Absence from Culver-Stockton College, Canton, MO

Graduate Teaching Assistant, Stanford University, Stanford, CA

Guest Lecturer in Creative Writing, Free University of Palo Alto, Palo Alto, CA

1967-1968 Attended Stanford University, took graduate work in Drama and English1960s Ferment, Rananim, Open Letter published

1968-1987 Associate Professor of Theatre, Member of Graduate Faculty, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS

1968-1972 Director of Theatre, Kansas State University1969-1974 Lecturer in The Writing of Poetry and Autobiographical Writing, University for Man

1972-1987 Coordinator of the New Play Program, Kansas State University

1972      Published Hawk and Chameleon, (New York: Authors Press of America)

1973-1974 Attended Kansas State University, took graduate work in Higher Education with special emphasis on the community college and its curriculum

1974      Lecturer in Public Speaking, Old Trooper University, Fort Riley, KS

1975      Attended University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, took graduate work in Theatre and Creative Writing

1976-1979 Summers, Producer of Pine Cone Players, Grand Lake, CO

1977-1978 Sabbatical Leave from Kansas State University

1979      Attended University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, took graduate work in Theatre and Creative Writing

1979-1980 "One Man's Frontier" column in Flinthills Journal, Wamego, KS       

1979-1982 Lecturer in The Writing of Poetry and Autobiographical Writing, University for Man, Manhattan, KS

1970s    Published journals under Transient Press: Awakening, The Back Shelf Dispatch, Below Ground Level, Counsel for the Offense, Foundation, Greenage, Inner Dimension, Jonah's Gourd, Lighthouse in the Coming Storm, Noah, Only Two Believers, Qua Qua, Rock Drill, Scop, Stone Cottage, This Time, White Lion and Zymosis

1980      Published Celebrations of Anonymous People, Manhattan, KS

1980-1984 Tutor in Humanities and Literature, International College, Los Angeles, CA

1981-1987 Bi-monthly Radio Program, "One Man's Journey" broadcasted over Radio Station KSAC, which later became Radio Station KKSU, Kansas State University

1982-1983 Leave of Absence from Kansas State University

1983      Published, Ninety-Nine Messages from Separate Places, Manhattan, KS

1984      Published, Themes for Mister Fagan, Manhattan, KS

1984-1987 Lecturer in The Writing of Poetry and Autobiographical Writing, University for Man, Manhattan, KS

1985      Published Report on the Progress of the Bearded One's Homework: comprised of a sequence of 8 poems, together with 26 other poems of similar theme (Tarkio, MO: Transient Press)

Attended Kansas State University, took graduate work in Higher Education with special emphasis on the community college and its curriculum

1987      Retired as Associate Professor, from Kansas State University

1987-1991 Professor of Theatre Arts and English, and Coordinator of the New Play Program, Tarkio College, Tarkio, MO

1988-1993 Wrote "Dear Good People" columns for The Gleam (LeMars, IA), The Americus Forum (Americus, KS), and the Times-Tribune (Tarkio, MO)

1989      Spring, Guest Artist in Theatre Direction, Kent State University, Trumbull Campus, Warren, OH

Apr-May, directed Kenneth Patchen's Don't Look Now a Play in Two Acts, Kent State University, Kent, OH

1989      Published, None of this Really Matters a Great Deal Now: 30 poems concerning early love and its aftermath (Tarkio, MO: Transient Press)

1990      Published The Age of Pollution and 21 other poems (Tarkio, MO: Transient Press)

Published, Belief in Chaos: 33 poems of intuition and growth (Tarkio, MO: Transient Press)

Published Hawk and Chameleon: and 36 other poems (Tarkio, MO: Transient Press)

Published, The Month of the Shadow on My Heart: a poem-sequence (Tarkio, MO: Transient Press)

Published, One Hundred and One Songs are Promised for Tomorrow: and 49 other new poems (Tarkio, MO: Transient Press)

Published Report on the Progress of the Bearded One's Homework (Tarkio, MO: Transient Press)

Published The Thirteenth Winter: a sequence of 50 prose poems (Tarkio, MO: Transient Press)

1991-1992 Professor of Theatre Arts and Coordinator of the New Play Program, Teikyo Westmar University, LeMars, IA

1992      Retired

1994      Moved to Bisbee, AZ

1996      Associate Faculty in English and Theatre Arts, Cochise College, Douglas, AZ

1997      Jul 15, Teenage Devil Dolls, released on a VHS recording (Los Angeles, CA: Rhino Home, 1953)

Summer, Guest Lecturer in Poetry, The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, The Naropa Institute, Boulder, CO   

1998      Spring, Adjunct Lecturer, Visiting Professor in Playwriting, The Department of Theatre Arts, Central Washington  University, Ellensburg, WA

1999-2000 Jun 08, Member of Board of Directors, Bisbee Repertory Theatre

Oct, Co-Vice President of Board of Directors, Bisbee Repertory Theatre Chair of the Committee on Policy, Bisbee Repertory Theatre

2000      Nov 01, died

2001      Published posthumous Starting from Eighty Six Thousand Five Hundred and Fifty Three: a Sequence of Journey Poems (Johnstown, OH: Pudding House Publications)

Administrative Information

Repository: Morse Department of Special Collections

Access Restrictions: No access restrictions: All materials are open for research.

Use Restrictions: The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Physical Access Note: Original materials available during open hours of repository and any digitized materials that are online are available with Internet access.

Acquisition Source: Zoe Climenhaga

Acquisition Method: Donation.

Preferred Citation: [Item title], [item date], Joel Climenhaga papers, Box [number], Folder [number or title], Morse Department of Special Collections, Kansas State University Libraries.

Processing Information: The collection was processed by Cynthia Harris, Manuscripts/Collections Processor and Tamara DeRossi, student assistant.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Biography Series, 1922-2000],
[Series 2: Correspondence Series, 1912-2000],
[Series 3: Literary Works, 1939-2000],
[Series 4: Subjects, 1922-2001],
[Series 5: Photograph Series, 1929-1997],
[Series 6: Slides, 1987,1989],
[Series 7: Media Series, 1932-1997],
[Series 8: Scrapbooks, 1966,1981,1983-88,1990,1997],
[Series 9: Oversized Items, 1994,1949,1965-1993,1997,1999],
[Series 10: Printed Material],

Series 10: Printed MaterialAdd to your cart.

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