Archive for October, 2010

Item of the Week: The Second Annex

October 7, 2010

The second annex is one of the  most important parts of the Clark Library, but is an area few visitors will ever actually see. Part of the underground stacks, the second annex contains the majority of our rare books, manuscripts and artwork, and its doors are locked at all times.  In 1968, however, when the second annex was finished, photographers snapped some rare shots of what things look like in this staff-only area.

Designed by architects Winston Cordes and Ralph Crosby, the second annex (like its sibling, the first annex, which mainly houses our reference collection) is located underneath the library’s vast central lawn.  Koppers, the company responsible for the waterproof cocoon, which keeps the annex safe and dry underneath the grass and the trees, were so proud of the job they had done that they sent out press releases comparing the project to the Fort Knox of books.

Assistant Librarian Virginia Wong, looking pleased to be so snug underground

As their press release stated, “It’s fireproof, earthquake-proof, and waterproof, even though sprinklers operate daily above it.”  It even appears that they had pictures taken to support their publicity efforts, most of which are included in this post.  They were taken by Hollywood photographer Delmar Watson.

Today, the second annex looks largely the same as it does in these 1968 images and the cocoon has done its job very very well (apart from a mold outbreak several years ago which resulted in the closure of the library).

Virginia Wong, in the stacks

This last image is not related to the construction of the second annex, but it was also taken the same day in 1968, and I can’t resist sharing it.  The Clark’s lounge has gone through a lot of transformations in the last several years, and though the staff has been working on making it a bit more comfortable, this photo shows us how far we have to strive in order to bring it back to its former glory.

The Clark lounge in the swinging sixties

Upcoming library events…

October 6, 2010

More information to follow, but for now


October 22 at 3pm

Mechanized Man Knows No Fancy:
A Report on the Eric Gill visual archive project at the Clark Library:
a talk by Jennifer Bastian


October 29 at 3pm

The Third Annual Clark Library Halloween Party!


November 6 at 3pm

The Sixth Annual Kenneth Karmiole Lecture on the History of the Book Trade:
Bankruptcy and the 18th-century Book Trade
A lecture given by Christine Ferdinand, Magdalen College, Oxford


A small portion of the Gill artwork archive, photograph by Jennifer Bastian


Item of the Week: A Clark Tribute to Gloria Stuart

October 1, 2010

From Albany Bautista, Library Assistant:

Gloria Stuart, actress, painter, printer and friend of the Clark Library, passed away September 27 at her home in Los Angeles at the age of 100.  Ms. Stuart is best known for her role in Titanic, but she had an substantial early screen career making a total of 46 films from 1932 to 1946.  In 1946, she abandoned her movie career until her comeback in “Titanic” over 30 years later. That film earned her an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress.

The best motion picture of 1997 : Titanic, by its author, director & producer James Cameron

After leaving Hollywood, Ms. Stuart learned to paint and held her first one woman show in 1961 at the Hammer Galleries in New York.  In 1983 she re-connected with Ward Ritchie, the best friend of her first husband Gordon Newell and they began an autumn romance which lasted until Ritchie’s death in 1996.  Ritchie taught her to print and she became a respected designer of hand printed artist’s books and broadsides under her own imprint, Imprenta Glorias. Institutions like the Getty and the Victoria & Albert own her work — and so does the Clark.  Above, a small book Stuart produced to commemorate James Cameron’s acceptance speech at the 1997 Academy Awards.

Below, a gallery of images from several other works by Stuart, including Boating with Bogart (1993), Portrait by Don Bachardy, Christopher Isherwood’s Commonplace Book, March fifteenth, nineteen eighty-three, and A Slight Diversion.