18 – Design, 2


Don Cushman, author

Mary Ann Hayden, designer

Sombre Reptiles Press (1978-1984), small press

Poet Jerry Ratch and artist Mary Ann Hayden founded Sombre Reptiles Press in Berkeley, California, in 1978. Design was fundamental to the success of this award-winning press, which published 18 books of prose and poetry between 1978 and 1984. Sombre Reptiles featured Hayden’s original artwork and illustration in Don Cushman’s book of prose poetry, Kill Jim (1981), which was an homage to detective fiction. Each copy contained tipped-in sheets of handmade paper by Oakland artisan Donald Farnsworth and an original collage by Mary Ann Hayden.

All items from the Sombre Reptiles Press records

  1. Kill Jim. Typescript with notes to the compositor and figures, undated
  2. Kill Jim. Paste-up, undated
  3. Kill Jim. Dummy with tipped-in collage by Mary Ann Hayden on blank pages, undated
  4. “Available titles” [sales list], 1981
  5. “Sombre Reptiles” [upcoming titles and sales list], 1980
  6. American Institute of Graphic Arts. AIGA Book Show. Certificate of Excellence, Kill Jim, 1981
  7. Hayden, Mary Ann. Pages from design portfolio for Kill Jim, 1981