Combs, Tram, 1924-

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Elisha Trammel (Tram) Combs, Jr. was born September 25, 1924 in Riverview, Alabama. The son of Elisha Trammel, a cotton mill superintendent, and LaFaye Hunt Combs, Combs was educated in Southern schools until 1936, when his family moved to San Francisco. He became a writer and bookseller and lived in the San Francisco Bay Area until 1951 when he moved to St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, owning and operating a bookstore. He was associated with many well-known writers and was active in gay literary circles and contributed to early gay periodicals such as the "Mattachine Review" and "One." His publications include: Pilgrim's Terrace: Poems American West Indian (Editorial La Nueva Salamanca, 1957) with a forward by William Carlos Williams; Saints Thomas' and Francis' Cities Songs o' Tram (privately reproduced, 1958); Artists * Boys * Cats: Lovers * Judges * Priests: Ceremonies in Mind (privately printed, 1959); But Never Mind: Poems, etc.: 1946-1950 (Golden Mountain Press, 1961); Saint Thomas./ Poems. (Weslayan University Press, 1965); and Briefs: Poems (Hillside Press, 1966).

From the description of Tram Combs papers : and other material, 1956-1973 (bulk 1958-1966). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122393127

American poet and bookseller Tram Combs (Elisha Trammell, Jr.), born September 25, 1924, in Riverview, Alabama, was the son of Elisha Trammel Combs, a cotton mill superintendent.

From the description of Tram Combs correspondence, 1953-1965. (University of Delaware Library). WorldCat record id: 608549215

"Tram Combs." Kinsman, Clare D. Contemporary Authors. Volume 1316, First Revision. (Detroit: Gale 1965). Page 173. "Ms B91. Clark, Agnes Selkirk, 1898-1983." Landscape Architecture Records. Fairfield Historical Society Library, Fairfield, Connecticut (accessed March 2012).

American poet Tram Combs (Elisha Trammell, Jr.) was born September 25, 1924, in Riverview, Alabama.

Combs attended the University of Washington from 1943-1944 and in 1945 he received a certificate of professional competence in meteorology from the University of Chicago. During these years he also served in the U. S. Army Air Forces as a meteorologist, attaining the rank of 2nd lieutenant.

In 1948, he graduated from the University of California with an A. B. Later he studied electronics engineering at Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From 1948 to 1951 Combs worked as an oil chemist for Tidewater Associated Oil Company in Avon, California, and from 1951 to 1952 managed his own Island Studios, Inc.

In 1952 Tram Combs established a book shop, Tram Combs Book, in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. His book shop specialized in material related to the middle and southern Americas.

Tram Combs's first published book of poetry was pilgrim's terrace: poems american west indian (1957), which included introductions by Kenneth Rexroth and William Carlos Williams. Other books by Combs include: Saints Thomas' & Francis' cities songs o' Tram (1958), Ceremonies in Mind: artists, boys, cats, lovers, judges, priests (1959), but never mind (1961), Saint Thomas: poems (1965), and Briefs: poems (1966).

American landscape architect Agnes Selkirk Clark was born in Janesville, Wisconsin, in 1898.

From 1915 to 1918, Clark (then Selkirk) attended the Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture in Groton, Massachusetts. In her first position Clark worked in the Des Moines office of Pearse & Robinson as a drafter and planting supervisor, from 1918 to 1919.

Agnes Clark moved to New York City in 1920, where she worked for well-known landscape architect and teacher, Ellen Biddle Shipman for two years. After marrying architect Cameron Clark, she opened her own office at 101 Park Avenue in New York and continued her practice there until moving to Fairfield, Connecticut.

Clark was elected a fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects in 1952. Her work primarily includes residential commissions at estates in Santa Barbara, California; Phoenix, Arizona; New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

In the 1960s, Clark and her husband retired and moved to the Caribbean, and later, in 1969, to Guatemala, where Clark died in 1983.

From the guide to the Tram Combs correspondence with Agnes Selkirk Clark, 1958, (University of Delaware Library - Special Collections)

American poet and bookseller Tram Combs (Elisha Trammell, Jr.), born September 25, 1924, in Riverview, Alabama, was the son of Elisha Trammel Combs, a cotton mill superintendent. He attended the University of Washington from 1943–1944. In 1945 He received a certificate of professional competence in meteorology from the University of Chicago. During these years he also served in the U. S. Army Air Forces as a meteorologist, attaining the rank of 2nd lieutenant. In 1948 he graduated from the University of California with an A. B. He also did some course work at Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the area of electronics engineering.

Combs worked for a brief period (1948–1951) as an oil chemist for Tidewater Associated Oil Company in Avon, California and later (1951–1952) managing his own Island Studios, Inc.

Beginning in 1952 Tram Combs established his book shop in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. His book shop specializes in material related to the middle and southern Americas. This was his occupation during the span of years of the correspondence in this collection.

As a poet Combs has written a number of books of verse. Some of his published works include pilgrim's terrace: poems american west indian (1957), Saints Thomas' & Francis' cities songs o' Tram (1958), Ceremonies in Mind: artists, boys, cats, lovers, judges, priests (1959), but never mind (1961), Saint Thomas: poems (1965), and Briefs: poems (1966). His poetry was also published in issues of BIM.

Kinsman, Clare D. Contemporary Authors . Volume 1316, First Revision. (Detroit: Gale 1965). Page 173.

From the guide to the Tram Combs correspondence, 1953–1965, (University of Delaware Library - Special Collections)

Biography

Elisha Trammel (Tram) Combs, Jr. was born 25 September 1924 in Riverview, Alabama, the son of Elisha Trammel, a cotton mill superintendent, and LaFaye Hunt Combs. Elisha Jr. was educated in Southern schools until 1936, when his family moved to San Francisco.

As a youth, Tram was primarily interested in botany, physics, and chemistry. While serving in the U.S. Army Air Force he attended University of Washington in 1943 and 1944. He received a certificate of professional competence in meteorology from University of Chicago in 1945. Combs left the air force in 1946 after serving as a meteorologist and becoming a second lieutenant. For the next two years he attended Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (studying electronics engineering) and the University of California, where he received an A.B. in physics in 1948.

From 1948-51 Combs worked as an oil chemist at the Tidewater-Associated Oil Company in Avon, California. Also during the late 1940's he began to write poetry under the guidance of Kenneth Rexroth, Lawrence Hart and Josephine Miles. Discovering his inclination towards writing and the arts, Combs abruptly changed careers in 1948, becoming the owner and manager of Island Studios, a photographic studio in the Bay Area.

In 1951 Combs moved to St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. There, using his talents as a bibliophile, linguist, and poet, he managed and owned Tram Combs Books - a bookshop specializing in the literature and history of middle and southern Americas. Combs also involved himself in community, cultural and political activities in St. Thomas. He served as a founder and trustee of the Virgin Islands Art Museum (1955-56), helped to develop a Boy Scouts of America chapter, worked on building a local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and participated in disaster relief work. He was an active member of the Gay literary community, both in the Virgin Islands and the U.S., and he regularly submitted articles and suggestions to Gay periodicals such as MATTACHINE REVIEW and ONE.

Generally, Combs' works received favorable reviews. He earned the respect of noted contemporary poets such as Kenneth Rexroth and William Carlos Williams -- both of whom wrote forewords to Combs' first book. However, Combs' writing never received public acclaim or commercial success. Some critics complained of his verse's sentimental tone, overabundance of private references, and modifying clauses. Others praised his verbal compression, his unusual typography, his detailed attention to nature and fellow human beings, and his honest, intense, but quiet voice. As William Carlos Williams wrote, "It is in the construction of a verse about an island sunset, that the reader will find what is hidden for him there; not what he thinks he will find but something surprising, amazingly simple and altogether delightful."

Bibliography: pilgrim's terrace: poems american west indian (Editorial La Nueva Salamanca, 1957); Saints Thomas' and Francis' cities songs o' Tram (privately reproduced, 1958); artists * boys * cats: lovers * judges * priests - ceremonies in mind (privately printed, 1959); but never mind: poems, etc.: 1946-1950 (Golden Mountain Press, 1961); st. thomas./ poems. (Weslayan University Press, 1965); and Briefs: poems (Hillside Press, 1966). Periodical publications include LIBERATION, ONE, SAN FRANCISCO REVIEW, TRACE, BIM, MATTACHINE REVIEW, BETWEEN WORLDS, and ANAGOGIC and PAIDEUMIC REVIEW.

From the guide to the Tram Combs Papers, 1946-1964, (University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Dugmore, Edward, 1915-. Edward Dugmore interview, 1994 May 13 and June 9 [sound recording]. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Deutsch, Babette, 1895-1982. Babette Deutsch papers, ca. 1880s-1982, bulk (1920s-1960s). New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Dugmore, Edward, 1915-. Oral history interview with Edward Dugmore, 1994 May 13-June 9 [sound recording]. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Combs, Tram, 1924-. Two Tram Combs Christmas-New Year's Day greetings, and notes on two cards, 1959-1960 and 1960-61. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Gordon Cairnie papers, 1922-1973. Houghton Library
creatorOf Combs, Tram, 1924-. Correspondence with Prof. and Mrs. Yvor Winters, 1950-1959. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
creatorOf Ferlinghetti, Lawrence. Lawrence Ferlinghetti correspondence with Tram Combs, 1957-1964. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Whalen, Philip. Correspondence : with Tram Combs, 1964 June 21-July 8. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
creatorOf Combs, Tram, 1924-. Letters, 1966-1969 : St. Thomas, V.I., to John Eliot Alden. Brown University, John Hay Library
creatorOf Tram Combs correspondence, 1953–1965 University of Delaware Library - Special Collections
creatorOf Combs, Tram, 1924-. Tram Combs correspondence, 1953-1965. University of Delaware Library, Hugh M Morris Library
creatorOf Combs, Tram, 1924-. Tram Combs papers : and other material, 1956-1973 (bulk 1958-1966). California Digital Library
creatorOf Tram Combs correspondence with Agnes Selkirk Clark, 1958 University of Delaware Library - Special Collections
referencedIn Babette Deutsch papers, ca. 1880s-1982, 1920s-1960s New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Tram Combs Papers, 1946-1964 University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Alden, John Eliot, 1914-1991, person
correspondedWith Auerhahn Press corporateBody
associatedWith Barlow, R. H. (Robert Hayward), 1918-1951. person
correspondedWith Cairnie, Gordon. person
correspondedWith Caughey, John, correspondent. person
correspondedWith Clark, Agnes Selkirk, 1898-1983 person
correspondedWith Clark, Dolores Corinne person
associatedWith Deutsch, Babette, 1895-1982. person
associatedWith Dreiser, Theodore, 1871-1945. person
associatedWith Dugmore, Edward, 1915- person
associatedWith Ferlinghetti, Lawrence. person
associatedWith Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997. person
correspondedWith Mattachine Society corporateBody
correspondedWith May, James Boyer person
correspondedWith Nesmith, Robert I. person
correspondedWith Priest, Alan, 1898-1969 person
correspondedWith Segura, Gonzalo person
correspondedWith Stern, Gerd person
correspondedWith Stiles, Knute person
associatedWith Whalen, Philip. person
associatedWith Winters, Yvor, 1900-1968, person
Place Name Admin Code Country
California--San Francisco
Virgin Islands of the United States
California--San Francisco Bay Area
Subject
Gay liberation movement--United States
Landscape architects--United States--20th century
Poets, American--20th century
Beat generation
American poetry
Christmas cards
Beat generation--Poetry
Art, Modern--20th century
American poetry--20th century
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1924

Information

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SNAC ID: 16438612