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Donna Barr Papers

Identifier: MS-0072

Scope and Contents

Materials in the Donna Barr Papers document the professional career and creative process of Donna Barr. The collection includes a variety of document types including correspondence, original artwork, and research materials. A large part of the papers consist of versions of her illustrations, manuscripts, and personal documents. The papers have been divided into ten series: Correspondence, Administrative Files, Desert Peach, Stinz, Bosom Enemies, Hadar and the Colonel, Other Works, Audio and Visual Media Materials, Born Digital Materials, and Original Artwork.

The Correspondence series dates from 1970-2014, and includes files primarily pertaining to Donna's interactions with fans. It includes birthday and holiday greetings, thank you cards, fan-authored comic strips, paper dolls, and postcards. Several of the envelopes were illustrated either by Barr or her fans. The series also includes correspondence with her family in the early 1970s. The series is filed chronologically by date.

The Administrative Files date from 1985-2014, and include files primarily pertaining to Barr's professional career. The series includes four subseries. The topical Subject Files are composed of business correspondence, art class materials, invoices, pamphlets, flyers, notes, legal referrals, contact information, and directories. The Consignment Work subseries includes illustrations, flyers, newsletters, pamphlets, greeting card layouts, and journals. The Awards & Recognition subseries is composed of awards and certificates of achievement and recognition. The Press Clippings series contains various newspapers clippings, newsletters, and magazines articles written by Barr and about her. The series and all its subseries are filed chronologically by date.

The following Series represent the published and unpublished titles of Donna Barr's manuscripts and illustrative works:The Desert Peach comic materials date from 1919-2003, and includes the records of Barr's creative work for the series. The subseries is composed of manuscripts, musical production files, announcements, press clippings, illustrations, media, and artifacts. The Stinz series is composed of comic strip stories, manuscripts, illustrations, artifacts, and photographs. The Bosom Enemies series is composed of comic strips stories and illustrations. The Hader and the Colonel series consists of comic strips, book drafts, and illustrations. The Other Works series documents the creation of numerous shorter works, or works which are not very well documented in the collection. It includes various comic strip stories, short stories, illustrations, and manuscripts. The series and all its subseries are filed chronologically by date, when possible.

The Audio and Visual Media Materials, c. 1987-2006, represents audio and video recordings from The Desert Peach musical production and various interviews with Donna Barr.  The series also contains 35mm slides of artwork. Please note: All of the Audio and Visual Media Materials represented in the papers are restricted for access. Please contactSpecial Collections and University Archives at for more information.

The Born Digital Materials represent professional and personal documents and art work originating on various media formats, including ZipDiscs, 3.5 floppy discs, CDs, and DVDs. The Born Digital Materials in Series 9 are restricted.  Please contact Special Collections and University Archives at for more information.

The Original Artwork series is an oversize extensive collection of original artwork from 1988-2012. The series includes all the rough sketches, penned ink art, line drawings, and colored panels and covers for The Desert Peach, Stinz, and other miscellaneous titles. The materials also include original paintings and watercolors of various non-comic related material. It is arranged into three subseries: The Desert Peach, Stinz, and Other Works.


  • Creation: 1963-2014


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research. All of the Audio and Visual Media Materials represented in the papers and the Born Digital Materials in Series 9 are restricted. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives at for more information.

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

Donna Barr, an accomplished artist and prolific writer, was born in Everett, Washington in 1952, and began drawing as a child in 1954. She served in the United States Army from 1970-73, and received a bachelors' degree in German from Ohio State University in 1978.

Barr is best known for her two comic book series Stinz (1984) and The Desert Peach (1986). Stinz tells the story of a society of centaur-like people living in a setting reminiscent of pre-industrial Germany, while The Desert Peach is about Pfirsich Rommel, the fictional and homosexual younger brother of Erwin “The Desert Fox Rommel,” and is set in North Africa during World War II. Subsequent publications included Hader and the Colonel (1987), Bosom Enemies (1987), and Barr Girls (1990). Her work has been translated into German, Japanese, Italian, and Croatian. Her most ambitious work is a series of handmade ornate, stitchery-covered bound sketchbooks, called the Black Manuscripts. In 1997, Barr started her own publishing company.

Barr has been a respected presence in drawn-book publishing throughout her career. Her drawn books, which cross the boundaries between art and writing, redefine traditional novels, artist's books, graphic novels, and book design and illustration. Her background in 20th-century German culture and language, literature, world mythologies, history, and religion informs her artwork, which is influenced by Japanese woodcuts, European fine arts, Victorian novels, Chinese poets, and Russian mystics. She works in pencil, ink, watercolor, and silkscreen.

Barr has been recognized throughout her career with numerous awards and honors, including The Xeric Grant 2000; The Bruce Brown Foundation Grant 2004; San Diego Comicon International's Inkpot, 1996; Seattle's Cartoonists Northwest's  Toonies, 1998; London Comic Creator's Guild's Best Ongoing Humor Series, 1992; the Washington Press Association's Communicator of Excellence for Fiction, 1997 and 1998.

Aside from her professional and personal writing, she has been involved in the Northwest community as a member of the Graphic Artists Guild, the National Writers Union, UAW/AFL/CIO, and a consultant for the Media curriculum in the Arts Department at Olympic College, in Bremerton, Washington. She lectures on her work at conventions and symposiums all over the United States, Canada, and Europe, and is well known to the growing drawn-book audience in Eastern Europe. She lives in Clallam Bay, Washington with her husband.


40.90 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

I. Correspondence, 1970-2014

II. Administrative Files, 1982-2014

    1. Subject Files, 1985-2014

    2. Consignment Work, 1975-2010

    3. Awards & Recognition, 1973-2010

    4. Press Clippings, 1987-2004

III. The Desert Peach, 1919-2003

    1. Manuscripts, 1919-2003

    2. Musical Production, 1943-1992

    3. Announcements, 1988-2000

    4. Illustrations, 1980-1995

    5. Additional Materials, 1941-2001

IV. Stinz, 1982-2003

V. Bosom Enemies, 1987-2001

VI. Hader and the Colonel, 1987-1999

VII. Other Works, 1981-2003

VIII. Audio and Visual Media Materials, ca. 1987-2006

IX. Born Digital Materials, c. 2000-2013

X. Original Artwork (Oversize), 1988-2012

    1. The Desert Peach, 1988-2012

    2. Stinz, 1985-2006

    3. Other Works, 1988-2012

Source of Acquisition

Donna Barr

Accruals and Additions

2008-021, 2009-012, 2009-018, 2009-046, 2010-002, 2010-003, 2010-037, 2010-039, 2011-055, 2012-012, 2012-031, 2013-005, 2013-018, 2014-003, 2014-011, 2014-020, 2014-026

Donna Barr Papers
Jossie Chavez
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

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