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Variously a playwright, critic, editor, librarian, teacher, and printer, Porter Garnett (1871-1951) was born in San Francisco and was for many years an active figure in the Bay Area literary scene. A member of the Bohemian Club for many years beginning in the 1890s, he wrote and produced plays and masques for the Club, whose members included his good friends Jack London and George Sterling. Like many members of the Club, he was involved in journalism, working as a newspaper critic and editor. With Gelett Burgess, he founded the magazine The Lark in 1895. From 1907 to 1912, he served as an assistant curator at the Bancroft Library at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1922, he became professor of graphic arts at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There, he founded the Laboratory Press, where he taught and practiced fine printing until the press closed in 1935.
A letter from Porter Garnett to Edward Gordon Craig, September 1, 1911
In this letter to the innovative theater director and critic, Garnett describes his failed Bohemian Club Grove production, The Green Knight: A Vision. He suggests that its failure with a Californian--and therefore, he implies, provincial--audience is a mark of the play's success as a truly modern work. Later in the letter he alludes to his volume The Bohemian Jinks: a Treatise (1908) and to Craig's strong interest in puppets and marionettes.