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Paul Kagan utopian communities collection

Call Number: WA MSS S-1737
Scope and Contents
The Paul Kagan Utopian Communities Collection contains both primary and secondary source material accumulated by Kagan while conducting research for his book, New World Utopias. In addition to personal correspondence pertaining to his research, and drafts of his manuscript for the book and related writings, Kagan's collection contains letters, photographs, documents, notes, writings, and other visual and printed material, which document several 19th and 20th century American utopian communities, most of which were located in California. The photographic component of the archive is particularly strong: numerous original photographs taken by community members are supplemented by field photographs that Kagan took in the 1970s, as part of his research.

The Kagan collection, housed in 56 boxes and comprising 29.25 linear feet, consists of five series: Series I, Walter Millsap Papers; Series II, William and Lucille Riker Papers; Series III, John and Agnes Varian Papers; Series IV, Paul Kagan Research Files; and Series V, Paul Kagan Writings. Boxes 38-47 contain Oversize material; boxes 48-55 contain Restricted Fragile Papers; box 56 contains Restricted Fragile Art Objects.

The size and internal cohesiveness of the first three series, which contain papers obtained from founders or members of four of the utopian communities (Llano del Rio and Newllano, Holy City, and Halcyon) sets them apart from the other source materials in the collection. Accordingly, Series I, II, and III are defined by provenance, while Series IV contains original and duplicates of source materials on these same and many other utopian movements, obtained from a number of other individuals, as well as from the research collections of other libraries and historical agencies. Finally, Kagan's own research correspondence and manuscripts are gathered together as Series V.

The organization of materials in Series I-IV is defined first by topic (name of utopian settlement) and then by format of material (correspondence, documents, photographs, other visual material, printed material, etc.). Series V is organized into materials relating to New World Utopias, and Other Writings. In a few instances, personal papers unrelated to the utopian experience but which accompanied the utopia-related papers from former members are included as well. A number of serial runs, as well as pamphlets and other Western printed ephemera, have been removed for separate cataloging; their provenance has been traced in catalog records. In addition, a number of newspapers in unreadable condition were discarded after it was verified that copies were available in other libraries. Appendix A lists those serials and other printed items removed for separate cataloging, as well as the serial titles and newspaper issues that were discarded.

Series I, Walter Millsap Papers (1892-1970), (boxes 1-13) contains correspondence, documents, writings, printed material, photographs, and other visual material, organized into three subseries: Llano del Rio and Newllano, Cooperative Work after Llano, and (Millsap's) Personal Papers.

The Llano del Rio and Newllano subseries includes material created during the years the colonies were active, as well as material produced after Newllano disbanded. The correspondence files contain originals of letters received and carbons of letters sent, all arranged in one chronological file. Most of the letters were sent or received by Walter Millsap, but letters of other colonists are present as well, including Newllano leader George Pickett, and prominent colonists Chester Peecher, Sid Young, and A. H. Moore. All but the first folder of correspondence was written after the disbanding of Newllano, and there is a distinct set of letters from former Llano colonists, written in 1944-1945 in response to a call by A. H. Moore for reminiscences about the colonies (box 1, folders 3-4). There are also letters from others relating to the foreclosure at Newllano, and the subsequent attempt to recover the property.

Reports and Communiqués, which belonged to Mellie Miller Calvert, an early Llano colonist, contains letters and newsletters written to all members of the Llano community after Newllano disbanded. Many of the reports and communiqués were written by Walter Millsap; in them he passed along news of the recovery of assets at Newllano, and drafts of his history of Llano, as well as announcements of upcoming stockholder meetings and minutes of meetings. Related materials are located in the extensive Writings section. These include essays by Walter Millsap in addition to various writings by Llano colonists. Millsap's works include a large number of drafts for Gateway to Freedom (box 1, folders 29-31, box 2, folders 33-37), a history of the Llano and Newllano colonies, which was published in part in Upton Sinclair's Epic News. (Excerpts of the Gateway to Freedom appear in newsletters found in the Reports and Communiqués.) Many of the manuscripts in the Writings by Others were written in response to A. H. Moore's request for reminiscences of Llano colony. Authors here include A. H. Moore himself, R. V. Shoemaker, Robert K. Williams, and Ernest S. Wooster.

Two sections, Documents, and Photographs and Postcards, contain only contemporary colony materials, including the minutes of the Llano del Rio General Assembly, Special Assemblies, and Board of Commission meetings from 1915-1917, as well as documents relating to the Newllano receivership case. Photographs and Postcards, which is arranged into Llano del Rio and Newllano groupings, contains a variety of photographic formats: simple snapshots, studio photographs, glass plate negatives (for which contact prints have been made), nitrate negatives (for which contact prints have been made), photographic postcards, and photograph albums. The work of Meyer Elkins, photographer at Llano Studio in California, is gathered together (box 2, folders 79-80). The glass plate negatives include a large number of personal images belonging to Llano colonist Alice Constance Austin, an architect and city planner, and probably were gathered by Walter Millsap. (Architectural records and drawings for buildings designed by Austin are filed with Printed Material and Other Visual Material, respectively.) In addition, there are six photograph albums present. Three of them contain some duplicative images of Llano del Rio, which suggests that the albums were intended to serve as yearbooks or some other sort of memorial.

Printed Material contains Austin's architectural records (mentioned earlier), plus miscellaneous newspapers, clippings, broadsides and pamphlets about Llano del Rio and Newllano. Following Printed Material are the Walter Millsap Research Files, which consist of materials he generated in the course of his work on a history of Llano and Newllano.

The second subseries, Cooperative Work after Llano, reflects Millsap's involvement with the United Cooperative Industries in Los Angeles, the Epic News newspaper, and Ucopia newsletter. The material is organized into Correspondence, Documents, Writings by Walter Millsap, Writings by Others, and Printed Material. The Correspondence consists principally of original letters to Walter Millsap and carbons of letters from him. There are three letters from Upton Sinclair in 1933 and 1934 in response to letters from Millsap (carbons of which are present) about articles in the paper Sinclair edited (box 6, folders 133-134). Some of the other letters present were written to Millsap as editor of Epic News. In addition to the Correspondence, the Documents and Printed Material contain information on Millsap's work with United Cooperative Industries. There are receipts and inventories for U.C.I., as well as the "Ucopia" newsletter that was sent out to U.C.I. members.

The third subseries, Personal Papers, is organized into Correspondence, Documents, Writings by Walter Millsap, Writings by Others, Photographs and Postcards, and Printed Material. Walter Millsap's correspondence with his parents includes several postcards from Llano del Rio in 1917, and from Newllano in 1919 (box 7, folders 160-161). There are also personal letters to and from other family members, including Walter's grandfather A. J. Millsap, Walter's father Leander W. Millsap, and Walter's mother, Cara Millsap. (The Record of Family Traits in the Documents section contains biographical information about his family, and biographical essays can be found in Writings by Walter Millsap.) Finally, there is a large quantity of correspondence with Eric Gast, an ex-Llanoite, regarding property that Millsap bought from Gast in return for some Llano stock. A related folder of documents is filed in the Documents section (box 8, folder 179).

Photographs and Postcards contains approximately 140 photographs, including cabinet photographs, one tintype and a large number of small format snapshots, consisting of formal photographs and snapshots of family, friends and city scenes. Photographers represented in the files are H. Cook of Woodland, California; Harold McCurry, Sacramento; Hemenway, Vacaville, Cal.; J.C. Shinkle, Woodland, Cal.; J.E.D. Baldwin, Rembrandt Studio, Sacramento; Soracco, California Art Studio. There are also photographs signed L.W.M., presumably Walter Millsap himself. Printed Material contains a large number of serials and pamphlets that reflect Millsap's interest in socialist activities, and includes copies of Upton Sinclair's I, Governor of California and The Lie Factory Starts (box 13, folder 242).

Series II, William and Lucille Riker Papers (1876-1969), (boxes 14-17) is organized into two subseries: Holy City and Personal Papers. As with the Millsap Papers, the Riker Papers include source material gathered from other colonists by William Riker. References to Irvin B. Fisher, chief engineer at Holy City, and later president of the Perfect Christian Divine Way, are frequent in the Holy City Correspondence and Photographs. The Papers relating to Holy City are arranged into Correspondence, Documents, Writings, Photographs and Postcards, Other Visual Material, and Printed Material. The bulk of the materials range in dates from 1940-1965; however, a large amount of undated material is also present. The Documents contain a file of financial records from the 1960s kept by Joseph Albert, Manager of Holy City. The Writings consist of manuscripts and paste-ups for Holy City newsletters (probably produced by William Riker); these have been left as found, as their lack of a discernable order is aggravated by their poor condition. Photographs and Postcards contains images of the Perfect Christian Divine Way School of Mastery in San Francisco, and include ten cyanotypes. Other Visual Material contains banners, illustrations for talks and displays, and posters and signs advertising the Perfect Christian Divine Way doctrine.

The subseries Personal Papers is arranged into William Riker, Lucille Riker, and Others and contains correspondence, documents, photographs, and printed material. Some of William Riker's earliest letters are exchanges with Irvin Fisher, who was incarcerated in the California State Prison at San Quentin. William Riker's correspondence also features letters of protest from Riker to the U.S. Attorney and the F.B.I. regarding "libelous and defamatory" statements made about him in The New Day by Father Divine, and includes a letter from J. Edgar Hoover dated April 9, 1943 (box 16, folder 281). The correspondence and documents reflect William Riker's attempt to get his former lawyer, Melvin Belli, disbarred. Lucille Riker's papers concern her attempts to get her song lyrics set to music and published. A copy of the sheet music for her song, "Please Don't Leave Me Daddy," is present, as are other song lyrics and a short story. Also in this section are formal portrait photographs of the Rikers taken by Leon's Photo Studio (San Francisco), Hartsook (San Francisco) and other California photographers.

Series III, John and Agnes Varian Papers (1893-1935), (box 18) contains source material on Halcyon: Correspondence, Writings, Printed Material, and Other Papers. Their correspondence consists principally of incoming letters. The first folder contains letters received at the beginning of the Varians' studies in the Eastern School of Theosophy, while they lived in Ireland, and also after their move to California. In them, the Varians discuss Theosophical ideas, and events in the Society in the United States and Ireland, with various associates/fellow Theosophists, including Annie Besant, William Q. Judge, and George William Russell. Correspondence written after their move to California in 1905 reflects the Varians' involvement in events at Halcyon and contains letters from Temple members about events at Halcyon, though the Varians themselves lived at Palo Alto until after 1912. A topic of particular interest seems to have been the controversy over the marriage of Dr. William Dower to Mrs. Jane Kent. Letters from both Dr. Dower and Mrs. Kent, as well as Francia LaDue, are present. The remaining papers include notes on Temple teachings, printed Temple pamphlets, and photographs of the Temple of the People and individuals there.

Series IV, Paul Kagan Research Files (1845-1980), (boxes 19-34) is organized into seventeen subseries. Ten contain source materials on utopian communities discussed in Paul Kagan's book, New World Utopias: Fountaingrove, Halcyon, Holy City, Icaria Speranza, Kaweah, Krotona and Ojai Valley, Llano del Rio and Newllano, Pisgah Grande, Point Loma, and the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. The other seven subseries represent modern utopian or shared communities that Kagan planned to include in his book, in a closing chapter that was later abandoned. Generally, documentation on the communities featured in his book is more extensive than that for those not treated.

Unlike Series I-III, each of which is defined largely by provenance, Series IV contains material without unity of provenance: there is both original material collected by Paul Kagan, as well as secondary material created during his research for the book, including additional material about Llano del Rio and Newllano, Holy City, and Halcyon, beyond that acquired from Millsap (Series I), Riker (Series II), or Varian (Series III) respectively.

A particular strength of Series IV is its photographic component: Fountaingrove, Krotona and Ojai Valley, Llano del Rio and Newllano, and Point Loma are especially well represented. There are vintage photographic prints, Paul Kagan's own photographs (used as illustrations for his book), as well as copy prints and negatives acquired from a variety of sources. Where possible, the institution holding the original images has been identified and contacted, and permission has been obtained to retain the copy prints and negatives in this collection, with the understanding that they are for reference use only, and are not to be reproduced. Other copy prints and negatives include ones whose source has not been identified as well as those that were made, probably by Kagan, from the original photographs in the first three series. No attempt has been made to match Paul Kagan's negatives to originals or to copy prints in the collection.

Almost every community file contains Paul Kagan's notes, as well as photocopies of the historian Robert Hine's notes. (Robert Hine is the author of California's Utopian Colonies, published in 1966.) Hine's notes are present only for reference use; they may not be reproduced. The community files also include pamphlets, clippings, and other printed material, as well as oral histories for individuals at Krotona and Ojai Valley, Llano del Rio and Newllano, Pisgah Grande, and Point Loma. (The oral history on Llano and Newllano is a transcript of an interview with Walter Millsap.)

The Farm is represented primarily by printed material, as are the Lama Foundation and the Self-Realization Fellowship. Fountaingrove is represented chiefly by photographs, which include many portraits of Japanese-Americans taken by Japanese-American photographers, a number of views of the Fountaingrove winery and countryside, and one image of a San Francisco street taken after the earthquake in 1906. Photographers represented in these files are: Imai (San Francisco), J. Ross (Santa Rosa, Cal.), Uchiyama (San Francisco), Piggott (Santa Rosa, Cal.), F. O. Haussler (Oakland), Taber (San Francisco), Tsuji Photo Studio (Oakland), J. H. Peters (San Francisco), H. Kempvanee (Santa Rosa, Cal.), T. J. Bruce (Marshall, Texas), Z. Yamabe (San Francisco).

For Halcyon, there is an essay by Harold Forgostein, guardian in chief of the Temple of the People (box 23, folder 384). Krotona and Ojai Valley are represented primarily by photographs and writings. The photographs include both formal portraits and snapshots, three complete albums featuring views of Krotona, and two folders of disbound leaves from albums. Photographers represented here include Chas. W. Beam, Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles; R. H. Stone, Los Angeles; Bryan-Brandenburg Co. Engravers, Electrotypers, Los Angeles; Witzel, Los Angeles; W. Schrempf, Hollywood. The seven folders of writings, some of which are undated, contain typescripts of essays by Annie Besant, and printed books by Annie Besant, H. P. Blavatsky, W. Q. Judge, and J. Krishnamurti. There is also an unsigned oil portrait of Annie Besant, measuring 26 1/2" x 22 (box 30, folder 475).

The section on Llano del Rio and Newllano contains photographs by Paul Kagan and Ernest S. Wooster, which appear to have come from a source other than Walter Millsap, whose photographs are to be found in Series I. There are also numerous copy prints and copy negatives: presumably, these were made from Walter Millsap photographs and printed material in the first series.

The files for Pisgah Grande, besides containing three oral histories, include "blest cloths" (squares of cloth about 2" x 3" with several Bible chapters and verses listed on them: box 31, folder 514) from Pisgah Grande and from Pisgah in Tennessee. Point Loma's section includes portraits of Point Loma colonists and photographs of productions of Greek plays. Two folders of photographs are from published photographic series produced there: the Loma Homestead Photographic Series and the Lomaland Photographic Series. In addition, there are four folders of photocopies or carbons of correspondence, documents, and writings belonging to Iverson L. Harris, a Point Loma alumnus who ran in the 1970s a Theosophical nonprofit educational and religious corporation named Point Loma Publications, Inc. (Correspondence between Paul Kagan and Harris is located in the New World Utopias Correspondence section of Series V.)

Other Communes contains mailings, pamphlets, newspapers, broadsides, and photocopies about additional utopian communities and related organizations, arranged in a general alphabetical run, by commune, except for the more extensive groups of material on the Farallones Institute Integral Urban House, Lemurian Fellowship, and Resource One, which are filed separately. This section also contains a number of periodicals, and a large Bible whose provenance is unknown.

Series V, Paul Kagan's Writings (1970-1976), (boxes 35-37) is organized into two subseries: New World Utopias and Other Writings. The New World Utopias subseries contains material about the publication of Kagan's book. The Correspondence is arranged alphabetically and includes both carbons of letters Kagan sent out and originals that he received. There are letters about the progress of his research, letters from publishers declining to accept his book for publication, an extensive correspondence file with Penguin Books, and letters of permission from institutions and individuals for photographs published in the book. The subseries also contains chapter drafts, layout proofs, and setting typescripts, a copy of the book itself (box 36, folder 664), and reviews of the book, as well as photographs of an exhibition based on the book, held at the Oakland Museum in 1975, and posters advertising the exhibition. The second subseries, Other Writings, contains material (including correspondence) pertaining to several articles Paul Kagan wrote, all dealing with the utopian movement.

Oversize contains oversize material from series I-V, and is listed in box order.
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.

Boxes 48-56: Restricted fragile material. Reference surrogates have been substituted in the main files. For further information consult the appropriate curator.

During the course of his research, Kagan acquired copy prints and negatives from other institutions. Where possible, the institution holding the original images has been identified and contacted, and permission has been obtained to retain the copy prints and negatives in this collection, with the understanding that they are for reference use only, and are not to be reproduced. Kagan also acquired photocopies of the historian Robert Hine's notes. They are for reference use only and are not to be reproduced.
Conditions Governing Use
The Paul Kagan Utopian Communities Collection is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The William Reese Company obtained the papers from Paul Kagan's widow and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library purchased them on the Frederick W. & Carrie S. Beinecke Fund for Western Americana in 1993. The 2009 acquisition was purchased from the William Reese Company in 2009.
Associated Materials
Walter Millsap / Keikichi Akana Imamura Family Papers (WA MSS S-1590)
1845 - 1986
Majority of material found within 1910 - 1975
29.54 Linear Feet ((58 boxes) + 9 broadsides, 2 art, 4 cold storage)
Related Names
Kagan, Paul, 1943-1993
Language of Materials