Archive for September, 2012

Writing in books: the library of François-Louis Jamet

September 27, 2012

From Gerald Cloud, Head Librarian

For scholars and historians of the book, reader reception is one of the most difficult things to measure when evaluating how original or early owners responded to and interacted with the books they possessed.  Frequently, one can draw some conclusions about a reader’s response to a book from examining a list of titles of books owned by a particular person.  For example, one learns a great deal about the taste and sensibilities of book collector and New York attorney John Quinn (1870-1924) from reading the sale catalog of his personal library.  An important patron of the arts, Quinn collected books by English, American, and Irish authors, including Oscar Wilde.  Below is Quinn’s copy of Wilde’s Poems, London, 1882, autographed by Wilde:

Incidentally, the book sold at the Quinn sale (lot number 11058) in 1924 for $40.00, and Mr. Clark acquired it from A.S.W. Rosenbach for a ten percent commission.

The personal library of David Foster Wallace held by the Harry Ransom Center, Univeristy of Texas, Austin, and the Clark’s online database of books from Oscar Wilde’s Tite Street Library (beta site here) are two resource that offer an entry point into the libraries of authors who left marks in their books.  Although Wallace and Wilde both expressed their response to the books they read through marginalia and annontations, they cannot hold a candle to the erudite bibliophile François-Louis Jamet (1710-1778).

Jamet was a renowned enlightenment era book collector, a compulsive annotator, and a critic of contemporary intellectual, political, and religious thought in pre-revolutionary France.  The Clark recently acquired 17 volumes from Jamet’s library, the Claude Lebédel collection, and each volume contains marginalia, commentary, notes, extra-illustrations, and in a few cases the books have nearly as much manuscript material as they do printed text.

CAPTION: Shown here is the frontispiece to a volume of 20 different texts compiled and extensively annotated by Jamet, in which he comments on philosophy, religion, literature, medicine, natural history and more.

Most of Jamet’s personal library ended up in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, although some volumes remain in private hands.  The Lebédel collection ranges from an anti-Calvinist text of 1572, to two profusely illustrated adaptations of Aesop’s Fables (1678) and Ovid’s Metamorphoses (1679) by Isaac de Benserade, bound together by Jamet in 1766, to the prize volume of the collection, a clandestine edition of Voltaire’s Dictionnaire Philosophique, printed in Nancy, 1765, in which nearly every page is covered with Jamet’s remarks.

Jamet has added his own entries to Voltaire’s Dictionnaire, documenting his sources with citations from other texts, as well as identifying the correct location and printer of this edition in a manuscript note of the title page.

The scholarly richness of the collection is superb and will provide researchers with a multitude of entry points for understanding the thought, reading practices, and intellectual life of pre-revolutionary France.

Space Shuttle Endeavor peeks over the Clark’s roof!

September 21, 2012

We didn’t plan on viewing the space shuttle Endeavor on its flyover route today, but Librarian Nina Schneider recommended we head outside.  It was quite a shock to see the giant shuttle so low to the ground!  With a quick snap of an iPhone, we did manage to get one fun photo of the shuttle over our roof.   Mr. Clark would have been so pleased.

The nose of the shuttle appears just above the center of the Clark roof.

We hope all of our Los Angeles friends had a great view as well!


Eric Gill: a Complex Spirit

September 18, 2012

Join the staff of the Center and Clark Library and friends for an evening of visual interest and a lively lecture, as we open our doors for an Exhibition and the 2nd Annual Clark Library Open House.

The exhibition, Eric Gill: a Complex Spirit, will showcase the breadth of Gill’s skills as an artist and craftsman, and explore the thematic issues that informed his work from a young age.  A lecture on Gill will be presented by Paul Soady, an Associate Adjunct Professor at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.  Soady has been working extensively on a book inspired by Gill’s typeface, Perpetua, and the book will make its debut at this event.

Here is a look at the small edition of letterpress invitations Paul and Jennifer made for a mailing prior to the event.

Exhibition Invitation

We hope to see you there!

William Andrews Clark Memorial Library

2520 Cimarron Street, Los Angeles, CA 90018

Tuesday, October 9, 2012. 4:30 – 7:00 p.m.

Lecture on Eric Gill begins at 5:30p.m.

Exhibition curated by Jennifer Bastian

The exhibition runs October 3 – December 22, 2012.

Please RSVP by October 2nd by sending an email to, and include your name and the number of people attending.

Clark Quarterly!

September 13, 2012

NOT by Oscar Wilde:

Literary Forgery and Authorial Performance

given by Gregory Mackie, University of British Columbia

Thursday, October 4, 2012, 4:00 p.m.

In the 1920s, the name “Oscar Wilde” underwrote numerous dubious texts including forged manuscripts, association copies, and even fake Wildean ephemera. Since Wilde promoted all forms of performative artifice—including forgery—as the creation of “beautiful untrue things,” the forgers who annexed the name “Oscar Wilde” to their own materials did so, as it were, on his warrant. These writers turned to their advantage the incipient rehabilitation of Wilde’s discredited reputation by inventing Wilde fakes or, indeed, fake Wildes. By tracing a history of the production and circulation of “Wilde” forgeries, this talk seeks to illuminate the cultural work done by the rich signifying power of Wilde’s name in the literary marketplace.

Gregory Mackie is Assistant Professor of English at the University of British Columbia. His work concentrates on late-Victorian literature and culture, particularly Oscar Wilde, and early twentieth-century book history, architecture, and design. He is currently completing a book manuscript, tentatively entitled “‘Beautiful Untrue Things’: Literary Forgery and Oscar Wilde,” the early stages of which were supported by a Clark fellowship in 2008.

To attend this free event, please register here.

The Clark Quarterly Lectures 2012–13

The Clark Quarterly hosts four speakers a year at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library. The lecture topics focus on the history of the book, book collecting, publishing history, the book arts and fine printing, as well as those subjects central to the Clark—Oscar Wilde, and 17th- and 18th-century British & Continental literature, history, and culture.

Future lectures:

Thursday, December 13, 2012, 4:00 p.m.
Printing the Past and Casting the Future: A Typefounder’s Tale
—Raymond S. Nelson, Jr., National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

Thursday, February 21, 2013, 4:00 p.m.
The Creation of the French Café in Myth and History
—Thierry Rigogne, Fordham University

Thursday, April 18, 2013, 4:00 p.m.
From the Atelier Rémond (1793) to the Atelier Mutel (2008): Past and Future of an Engraving Studio in Paris
—Didier Mutel, Artist, Author, Bookmaker

Organized by Gerald Cloud, Clark Librarian, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library

Advance registration is required, and registration will open approximately 4 weeks prior to each lecture date. Please visit for details.

All lectures are supported by the UCLA Center for 17th- & 18th-Century Studies.

New events on the Clark horizon!

September 7, 2012

The Clark/Center 2012-2013  program calendar has been released!  Please take special note of our upcoming open house and exhibit talk on October 9th and be sure to RSVP to the Center if you are interested in attending.  Among all the exciting conference and bibliographic offerings on the calendar is our popular Chamber Music at the Clark, which the UCLA Newsroom featured today, along with a lovely video.  We hope that you will be able to join us at the Library & Center for one — or many! — of the coming years offerings!