James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Archives November 2011

Last summer Charles Schermerhorn donated three charming poetry books written by James H. Ramp. Ramp was born on August 20, 1898 and died in San Francisco on February 15, 1968 at the age of 69. In addition to his poetry, short stories and novels, he wrote the play The Grand Illusion in 1936. His work is in only a few libraries around the world.

The donated books were originally sent by Ramp to George Brammer of 641 O'Farrell Street in San Francisco. One untitled book of typewritten poems is signed: "A few of the latest for George -- J 1929." The Feet of Beauty was printed at Pacific Press Printers, 228 McAllister St., San Francisco; it is similarly inscribed: "George -- J[im] 1929." A third paperbound booklet titled Afterwhiles was printed by The Herald Printing Co., Fredonia, Kansas, for the Fredonia High School class of 1918.

Mr. Schermerhorn has made other book donations to the Hormel Center's collection. Some of those titles are now part of the pulp novel collection which was primarily established through the archival and book donations of Barbara Grier and Donna McBride. Grier and McBride collected literature that touched upon GLBT relationships and they maintained a card file of these books with entries for each author. Their card file includes references to four of Ramp's short story collections.

In The Ideal Gay Man: The Story of Der Kreis, Hubert Kennedy includes the following entry on Ramp's work in Der Kreis: "Another San Francisco writer was James Ramp...His first short story was published in April 1965; it was followed by seven more before the end of 1967. There were also four poems by him. ... Ramp's stories could best be described as gay fantasies. The characters are often working-class men who don't fit in because they love opera or read Walter Pater, for example. They usually have a large [pen!$] and are hungry for sex, but hold out for true love, which they always find at the end of the story, after intervening difficulties. And they apparently 'live happily ever after': one story mentions that a couple has been together for ten years, another for fifteen. The writing is entertaining, with many amusing puns. It's all too good to be true-but fun."

The library's pulp collection includes Consenting Adult, The Love Smeller, A Far Country, This Fierce Heart and Wild Strawberry Patch. There is also a poem by Ramp in the anthology In Homage to Priapus.