Kenneth J. Carpenter Papers

Identifier: AC 0014

Scope and Contents

The Kenneth J. Carpenter Papers contain Carpenter's professional and personal papers, slides, and photographs. Included with the professional papers are materials concerning Carpenter's membership on the Faculty Senate's Athletic Program Committee and Women's Intercollegiate Athletics Board; his position as a member of the Executive Board, National Society of Professors, University of Nevada, Reno Chapter; and some materials related to the Black Rock Press and University Library.

Carpenter's personal papers include limited correspondence with western author George R. Stewart about his book, Sheep Rock and the Black Rock Desert for which the press is named, and hand-printed cards from Dorsey P. Alexander relating to his interest in book production. Additionally, information on his Yosemite high school reunion, which took place in 1993, and Carpenter's memoir from World War II are also included.

Slides and photographs contain over 5000 images primarily taken by Carpenter that document his and his wife, Pat's, travels throughout Nevada, California, and Baja California. Some photographs of the University of Nevada, Reno campus, including a small number of color slides of the 1970 Governor's Day protest, are also present as are some family photographs and portraits of Carpenter.


  • 1946-1999


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Biographical Note

Kenneth John Carpenter was born on April 16, 1916, in Glendive, Montana to Olga Petterson and Edmond Carpenter. He grew up in Yosemite Valley where his father worked for the National Park Service. He attended Mariposa Union High school in Mariposa, California, graduating in 1934, and, in 1941, enlisted in the Army Air Corps. He served in World War II with the 856th Bomb Squadron in England and France. He received a Presidential Citation for his work on developing night radar mapping of the east coast of continental Europe.

After the war, Carpenter received a bachelor of arts degree in English Literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He then attended the University of California, Berkeley where he received graduate degrees in literature and library science. Upon graduation, he served as an administrative assistant to the library director and head of the rare book library at U. C. Berkeley. In 1962, Carpenter was hired as a librarian at the University of Nevada, Reno. While there, he served as the assistant director and head of the Special Collections Department. He retired in 1981.

Always interested in printing and fine books, Carpenter and his wife, Pattricia (Pat) Healey Evans, founded the Black Rock Press at the University of Nevada, Reno in 1965 with the purchase and donation of an 1837 Columbian handpress, which they donated in 1971. Carpenter taught printing classes at UNR and directed the activities of the Press until 1986. In 1998, the Black Rock Press printshop was renamed the Kenneth J. Carpenter Printing Studio.

In addition to his work in the library and the Black Rock Press, Carpenter was also active in the Faculty Senate and served as an Executive Board member for the University of Nevada, Reno Chapter of the National Society of Professors.

Carpenter died in Reno on December 31, 1999.

[Biographical information taken from Carpenter's obituary.]


12 Linear Feet (10 boxes, 2 shared boxes, 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials



Kenneth J. Carpenter, librarian, came to the University of Nevada in 1962. Among the positions he held until his retirement in 1981, was assistant and associate library director, and head of the Special Collections Department. In addition, he and his wife, Patricia, founded the Black Rock Press in 1964, dedicated to the practice and teaching of finely printed books. The collection consists of minutes, reports, and correspondence and is arranged into four series: Athletic Program Committee, 1972-1973, the Women's Intercollegiate Athletics Board, 1972-1974, the University of Nevada, Reno, chapter of the National Society of Professors, 1972-1975, and limited personal correspondence, 1963-1974, which include his correspondence with western author, George R. Stewart.


Arranted into the following series: 1) Professional Papers; 2) Personal Papers; 3) Slides and Photographs

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Kenneth J. Carpenter in 1976. Additional material donated by JoAnne Peden in 2019.

Related Materials

See also:

Black Rock Press Records, AC 0436 University Library Records, AC 0455 The Dial Club Records, AC 0385

  • Unidentified slides of trip to France with Ken's original numbers 70F1-70F72.


Guide to the Kenneth J. Carpenter Papers
Karen Gash and Jessica Maddox
Approximately 1998
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • December 2020: Reprocessed to better reflect materials donated in 2019.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. University Archives Repository

Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
University of Nevada, Reno
Reno NV 89557-0322 USA
775-682-5724 (Fax)