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Ray Reynolds; Writer, Book Collector, California Historian

July 25, 2001

Ray Reynolds, 82, book collector and author who also wrote about California history, died Sunday in Santee near San Diego of complications from a ruptured aortic aneurysm.

Born in Small Point, Newfoundland, and raised near Hartford, Conn., Reynolds earned a bachelor's degree at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania and a master's degree in English literature at Los Angeles' Occidental College. During World War II, he served in Italy and North Africa as a journalist with Stars and Stripes.

He worked for a succession of newspapers until 1961, when he became a founding teacher of journalism at Grossmont Community College in San Diego. Over the years, Reynolds developed an expertise in collecting, dealing in and writing about rare books.

Among his own books are "Cat'spaw Utopia," about Albert Kimsey Owen's 19th century attempt to establish a utopian colony on the west coast of Mexico; "The Insider's Guide to Old Books, Magazines, Newspapers and Trade Catalogs" (coauthored with Ron Barlow); and "California the Curious." Historian Kevin Starr wrote the forward to that 1989 compendium of unusual California tidbits, noting, "Reynolds has arranged for his readers a Zen garden. Each fact is exquisitely emplaced."

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