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Toothpaste/Coffee House Press Records

Identifier: MsC0461

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Scope and Contents

This collection is currently undergoing construction. Should you have any questions about it or its materials please reach out to Special Collections.

Founded in West Branch, Iowa and, based on his Iowa City magazine of the same name, Toothpaste Press served as a fine press that worked with independent authors and presses. Founders Allan and Cinda Kornblum eventually moved to Minneapolis, where they redeveloped the press under the name of Coffee House Press. The poems, short stories, and other creative work from a wide range of authors, both published and unpublished, as well as correspondence and records from both presses, have been gathered in this collection, organized as follows:

Series 1: Correspondence. All correspondence with Toothpaste Press (1970-1984), Coffee House Press (1984-2000), and their founders. The files have been listed alphabetically by last name or organization. Files that do not contain a specific correspondent are gathered at the end of the series. Please note that the order of the files here may not match the order they are found within the boxes. When requesting items, make sure you are requesting the relevant box.

Series 2: Authored Works. Poems, short stories, or other creative works within the collection. These have been purposefully separated from correspondence. Folders contain drafts, copies, or proofs of the named work, not communication about it. Some creative work may be found within the folder of the respective correspondent from Series 1, but, regardless of what folder it may be in, most of the work is referenced in this series. The files are also ordered by the author's last name or the press that is associated with the work.

Series 3: Printing and Publication Materials. Proofs and other materials that may have been used in publications from the press. The materials found in this series are not written materials and are unauthored.

Series 4: Newsletters and Magazines. Publications from presses. Most of the materials in this series are from other presses and were received as part of partnerships, memberships, or subscriptions.

Series 5: Conference and Exhibition Materials. Programs, leaflets, and invitations for pbulic events, including book fairs, conferences, and other exhibitions. Materials are organized alphabetically by the name of the event.

Series 6: Book and Publisher Lists. Lists of books and works along with descriptions and cost as presented by presses. Some lists are provided by publishers themselves; others are colelcted by outside organizations.

Series 7: Business Materials. General records, paperwork, and files from Toothpaste Press and Coffee House Press associated with daily operations.

Series 8: Financial Records. Records and invoices for and from Toothpaste Press and Coffee House Press. Most files within the series are organized alphabetically by business, organization, or buyer.

Series 9: Grant and Award Applications. Applications and other materials for special arts grants and other funding for Toothpaste Press and Coffee House Press.

Additional addenda from 2003 onward are currently separated by year of acquisition and generally consist of correspondence and submitted manuscripts related to Coffee House Press. Some additional artwork and press records can also be found. Please note that the addenda within this collection remain unprocessed.

Since the University receives an addition for Coffee House every few years, this collection will continue to grow. We will attempt to organize this collection in a way which will accommodate this growth, however, users should be sure to familiarize themselves with the organization in order to use this collection effectively.


  • Creation: 1970-2007


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.


175.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Private press founded and operated by Allan and Cinda Kornblum in Iowa City in 1970. Comprised of subject files, correspondence, financial records, etc. relating to the daily operations and literary output of the private press.

Physical Location

Art boxes 4 and 4a are shelved at n37:08:6; the really big items are in Map Case 12: drawer 17.

Deaccessioned 20 ft 2/2009. jlr

Oversized boxes 2 and 3 (UNPROCESSED) at n37:08:7

Addendum 2004, Boxes 1-2, at n13:05:4

Addendum 2004, Boxes 3-16, at n13:13:3-n13:14:2

Addendum 2005, 6 Wonder Boxes, at n13:14:6-n13:15:2

Addendum 2006, 37 Wonder Boxes, at n13:14:3-6; n13:15:2-n13:17:6

Addendum 2008: Marketing/Sales: n13: 18: 1-4

Addendum 2008: Financial: n13: 18:5-7; n14: 1: 1-2

Addendum 2008: Miscellaneous: n14: 01: 3-7

UP Addendum July 2008 s38:15-17

UP Addendum s54:2-3; s38:14-17

UP Addendum 2010 n14:02:6-n14:04:1, 19 Wonder Boxes. 25 ft

UNPROCESSED Addendum 2011, 16 Wonder Boxes, at n66:02:2

Unmarked box at n37:14:5

UP Addendum 2013 10.5 ft at B211

Preservica Internal URL

Method of Acquisition

This collection is an ongoing collection, purchased by the University of Iowa Libraries.

Related Materials

Statement from Jim Hanson

My papers (which include a whole lot of 1970s-1980s poetry material aside from the Toothpaste and Coffee House material) have been donated to the Special Collections Research Center of the University of Chicago library. Dr. Daniel Meyer, the archivist there, received the material.

Allan and Cinda always made sure I had copies of a lot of what was printed, so I wanted to make sure that all that goes somewhere where someone could study that whole world of poetry and printing in the future. As you probably know, Allan designed beautiful things.

Other Descriptive Information

Processing Information

Alan Kornblum established The Toothpaste Press in Iowa City in 1970, moving it to West Branch, and then, in 1984 to Minneapolis where it was renamed The Coffee House Press.


It seems to have been Press practice to file both accepted and rejected manuscripts. Some authors are now contacting us for return or destruction of the documents they submitted; if they can provide evidence that they asked this of Coffee House, we are generally agreeing to the request. If there is no evidence of a request, we are reluctant to disturb the archive, but it also may have greater copyright or other legal sensitivity.

If you're handling a Coffee House Press query related to a manuscript, be sure to read any cover correspondence in the folder to see if there is any reason to think it should be restricted _before_ promising or permitting photocopies. If you think there may be concerns, it's probably best to refer it to me (or in my absence consult with Greg). I hope we have no flood of these!

SFH 8/6/2007

Jacque Roethler
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)