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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Toothpaste/Coffee House Press Records

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1970-
Creator: Toothpaste/Coffee House Press
Extent: 16.00 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0461
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: 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.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs: Box 23.

Access: This collection is open for research.


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

Preferred Citation: Toothpaste/Coffee House Press Records, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman

The Toothpaste Press originated in Iowa City, Iowa, in the 1970s, an outgrowth of Allan Kornblum's literary magazine, Toothpaste. Moving to West Branch, Iowa, it was a fine letterpress publisher of literary books. In 1984, the operation was again moved, this time to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where it was renamed Coffee House Press.
Allan Kornblum was born in New York. He dropped out of New York University, but participated in workshops at St. Mark's Poetry Project. There he became aware of Iowa City. Moving there in 1970, he enrolled in Harry Duncan's typography class. Within two years, he had bought himself a used letterpress and started his own business. By 1984, Kornblum and his wife, Cinda, had published seventy books and pamphlets and more than one hundred sixty broadsides at the Toothpaste Press.

The first portion of the records of the Toothpaste Press are arranged chronologically within an alphabetical sequence and date from 1970 to 1984. They consist of subject files, correspondence, manuscripts, financial records, and other papers relating to the daily operations and the literary output of this private press.

The 2003 and subsequent addenda are broken into series. The first series is artwork. Where it is known, a note is inserted into the folder of the book to which the artwork belongs, referring the reader to this series.The second series is made of up correspondence. Here are letters having to do with business affairs and with manuscripts for which we do not have the manuscript. The third sequence is financial, where are kept all things pertaining to the monetary matters of Coffee House Press. The fourth series is miscellaneous, into which was put anything that did not fit elsewhere, as well as query letters, "no to manuscript" letters, "no to sample" letters, and "yes to sample" letters. The fifth series is the oversize materials, where are kept the manuscripts too large to fit into regular boxes. The last series is the manuscripts, arranged alphabetically by the last name of the author. This series is broken into separate pages, with links to each page.

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.

Large art materials are shelved in Oversized Boxes 4 and 4a at s33:17:4; very large art materials are shelved in Map Case 12, drawer 17.

Browse by Series:
The detailed description has not been entered into the repository.
To view the content list, please follow this link.