Peattie, Noel 1932–2005

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Peattie, Noel 1932–2005

(Noel Roderick Peattie)

PERSONAL: Born November 28, 1932, in Menton, France; immigrated to United States, 1933; died of complications during surgery, January 13, 2005, in Davis, CA; son of Donald Culross and Louise Heegaard (Redfield) Peattie; married; wife's name Alice. Education: Pomona College, B.A., 1954; Yale University, M.A., 1955; University of California, Berkeley, M.L.S., 1961. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Society of Friends (Quaker). Hobbies and other interests: Printing, sailing.

CAREER: California State University, Los Angeles, cataloging librarian, 1961–66; University of California, Davis, humanities librarian, 1966–92. Founder of newsletter, Sipapu.

MEMBER: American Library Association, California Library Association.

AWARDS, HONORS: Jackie Eubanks Memorial Award, 1995, for outstanding achievement in promoting the acquisition and use of alternative materials in libraries.


(With Donald Culross Peattie) A Cup of Sky, Houghton (Boston, MA), 1950.

A Passage for Dissent: The Best of Sipapu, 1970–1988, McFarland (Jefferson, NC), 1989.

(With John Swan) The Freedom to Lie: A Debate about Democracy, McFarland (Jefferson, NC), 1989.

Amy Rose: A Novel in Four Parts, Regent Press (Oakland, CA), 1995.

Western Skyline (poems), Regent Press (Oakland, CA), 1995

Hydra and Kraken; or, The Lore and Lure of Lake-Monsters and Sea-Serpents, Regent Press (Oakland, CA), 1996.

In the Dome of St. Laurence Meteor (poems), Regent Press (Oakland, CA), 1999.

King Humble's Grave: New Poems, Regent Press (Oakland, CA), 2001.

Sweetwater Ranch: New Poems, Regent Press (Oakland, CA), 2003.

Inner Life; or, The Politics of Daydreaming (with Notes from the Dreamer) (essays), Regent Press (Oakland, CA), 2005.

The Testimony of Doves: New Poems, Regent Press (Oakland, CA), 2005.

Contributor to Nuke: A Book of Cartoons, by Bert Dodson, McFarland (Jefferson, NC), 1988.

SIDELIGHTS: Noel Peattie was a librarian and writer whose life and work reflected his concern for truth, freedom, and social justice. He was born in France but raised in Santa Barbara, California. He worked for many years as a librarian in California, while also publishing poetry, essays, and a novel. Peattie was founder and publisher of the newsletter Sipapu, a biannual review of counterculture literature. Some of the most outstanding pieces reviewed in Sipapu were collected and published in book form as A Passage for Dissent: The Best of Sipapu, 1970–1988. A writer for Whole Earth Review called the Sipapu newsletter "slyly witty" and credited it with providing reassuring evidence of healthy dissent and freedom of speech.

Peattie's poetry focuses on rural life, and was collected in several volumes, including In the Dome of St. Laurence Meteor, King Humble's Grave: New Poems, and Sweetwater Ranch: New Poems. His concern with issues of freedom and censorship, especially within the world of libraries, is addressed in The Freedom to Lie: A Debate about Democracy, a book adapted from public debates held between Peattie and John Swan at the American Library Association's 1998 annual conference. Mark Stover, a reviewer for RQ, named this book "required reading for all librarians."



RQ, fall, 1990, Mark Stover, review of The Freedom to Lie: A Debate about Democracy, p. 149.

Whole Earth Review, summer, 1991, review of Sipapu, p. 105.


Noel Peattie Home Page, (October 24, 2005).



Library Journal, February 15, 2005, p. 21.