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Jacob Zeitlin Papers

Identifier: MS-0277

Scope and Contents

The Jacob Zeitlin Papers consists mostly of bookseller and publisher Jacob Zeitlin’s professional papers dealing with Zeitlin and Ver Brugge Booksellers and Zeitlin’s various publishing outlets. Materials in this collection include Zeitlin’s poetry, articles and speeches, correspondence, announcements of exhibits hosted by or dedicated to Zeitlin, bookseller’s catalogs, and biographical material about Zeitlin and his bookshops.

The Biographical Files series consists of newspaper articles regarding Zeitlin’s career and character, invitations sent to and by Jacob Zeitlin or Josephine Ver Brugge, materials from Zeitlin’s personal collection, ephemera from Zeitlin & Ver Brugge Booksellers, the publication of Zeitlin’s obituary and announcement of Zeitlin & Ver Brugge Booksellers’ closure. This series is organized chronologically.

The Correspondence series consists of letters to and from Helen May and Arthur Johnson, Louis A. Kenney, general outgoing mail, and ‘greetings’ messages sent to patrons of Zeitlin & Ver Brugge Booksellers. The correspondence with the Johnsons consists of discussions regarding social and professional meetings and books purchased by the couple from Zeitlin & Ver Brugge Booksellers. Correspondence with Louis A. Kenney consists of information in relation to the Ernst Zinner Manuscript Collection and other materials purchased by the San Diego State University Library from Zeitlin & Ver Brugge Booksellers. This series is organized chronologically.

The Writings series consists of three subseries; poetry, nonfiction, and newsletters. The poetry subseries contains poetry written by Zeitlin as early as 1930. The nonfiction subseries contains articles, speeches, bibliographies, and materials related to library science that had been written by Zeitlin throughout his career. The newsletters subseries contains only one newsletter, the Red Barn Almanac, where Zeitlin and Ver Brugge Booksellers recorded its hours, most recent publications, upcoming events, and various bibliographies. Each subseries within this series is arranged chronologically.

The Catalogs series consists of bibliographies and prices for the variety of materials sold by Zeitlin throughout his career and at his various store fronts. This series is arranged chronologically.

The Exhibitions series documents exhibitions of rare books, fine art and prints, including exhibitions organized by Zeitlin and Josephine Ver Brugge and those to which they contributed. The materials consist of pamphlets, invitations, and posters. This series is arranged chronologically.


  • Creation: 1928 - 1988


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in some or all of these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creator(s) of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of archival collections is such that multiple creators are often applicable and copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. In any case, the user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, obtaining publication rights and copyright infringement. When requesting images from Special Collections & University Archives for publication, we require a signed agreement waiving San Diego State University of any liability in the event of a copyright violation.

Biographical Note

Jacob Zeitlin (1902-1987) was a Los Angeles-based bookseller, publisher and author, and with his wife Josephine Ver Brugge, was proprietor of Zeitlin and Ver Brugge Booksellers. Zeitlin was born in Wisconsin to an Orthodox Jewish family. He lived for a time in Fort Worth, Texas and married his first wife Edith Motheral, with whom he had a daughter, Judith. Zeitlin and Edith divorced in 1929 and Zeitlin remarried to Jean Weyl in 1933. Zeitlin and Jean had a son, David, and divorced in 1937. Zeitlin moved to Los Angeles in April 1925 and began working as a book peddler in several shops, including Bullock's and Holmes Book Company, before opening his first storefront in 1927 on Hope Street. Zeitlin also began publishing works under the Zeitlin and Primavera Press imprints. With associates Phil Hanna, Carey McWilliams, Ward Ritchie, and Lawrence Clark Powell, Zeitlin operated Primavera Press Incorporated in the early 1930s. In addition to his work as a publisher, Zeitlin wrote poetry, bibliographies, catalogs, and articles and speeches pertaining to the prominent figures in the book trade, printing, publishing, and libraries.

In 1937 Josephine Ver Brugge wrote Zeitlin seeking a job opportunity, and the two later went into business by opening up a storefront selling periodicals. They married in 1939 and had two children, Joel and Adriana. Zeitlin & Ver Brugge Booksellers opened in 1948. The storefront on La Cienega Boulevard occupied a red barn that had previously been an antique store. Zeitlin & Ver Brugge Booksellers sold rare books and prints to institutions and university libraries in the United States and Europe, including the National Gallery of Art, The British Museum, San Diego State University, and the University of California, Los Angeles. In addition, the shop sponsored events and exhibitions in and around Los Angeles. Zeitlin and Ver Brugge published a regular catalog, as well as books, newsletters, and other materials. Zeitlin continued working, writing and speaking up until his death in 1987 and the closure of Zeitlin & Ver Brugge Booksellers the following year.


1 Linear Feet (One record carton)

Language of Materials



I. Biographical Files, 1969-1988

II. Correspondence, 1943-1987

III. Writings, 1930-1985

1. Poetry, 1930-1979

2. Nonfiction, 1950-1985

3. Newsletters, 1953

IV. Catalogs, 1928-1987

V. Exhibitions, 1962-1982

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Jacob Zeitlin and Josephine Ver Brugge



Related Materials

Ernst Zinner Manuscript Collection, MS-0279

Louis A. Kenney Papers, MS-0393

Friends of the San Diego State University Library Records, MS-0336

Related Materials at other Repositories

Jacob Zeitlin Papers, 1926-1987 at University of California: Los Angeles Library Special Collections

Zeitlin (Josephine Ver Brugge) Aldous Huxley Collection at California State University Northridge Special Collections & Archives


Zeitlin, Jacob. “Interview of Jake Zeitlin.” By Joel Gardner. UCLA Library Center for Oral History. 1980.
Jacob Zeitlin Papers
Grace Dearborn
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • May 2023: Processed by Grace Dearborn, May 2023.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego CA 92182-8050 US