Archive for March, 2013

Finding What You Seek: Catalogs + Finding Aids

March 21, 2013

As many of you know, the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library is a UCLA library and, as such, our holdings are represented in the UCLA Library online catalog. Searching the catalog can tell you what resources UCLA’s many libraries and archives have for you to explore, peruse, and read.

But what if you are looking for materials specifically within the Clark’s collections? How might you focus your search? And what if you cannot find in the online catalog what you think should be there? Here are a few tips to help you to discover what you seek.

First, go to the UCLA Library catalog. You’ll see in the lower right-hand corner of the search box a blue button, with a white arrow, labeled “Set Other Search Limits.”

set other search limits

Click this button, which takes you to a page where you can limit your search by “Location.” In the Location menu, scroll down and click on “Clark Library,” then click on the “Set Limits” button at the bottom of the page.

set limits

You will then be returned to the main page of the UCLA Library catalog, with an added note in purple stating, somewhat emphatically: “Search limits are in effect!”

search limits in effect

You are now able to search just within the Clark’s collections. But there is one important caveat: Make sure that your search is a “Keyword” search. If you change the search option to Author List, Title, or anything else, the catalog will erase your Clark Library location limit. This is not intuitive, so please ask us if you have questions.

One additional note regarding the online catalog: Once you have found a record that interests you, be sure to click the “Detailed Record” button at the top of the screen to see more about the item’s physical description, provenance, and other potentially pertinent information.

detailed record

There are two other sources that you can use to find what you seek within the Clark’s collections. The first is our collection of finding aids on the Online Archive of California. Here we post the descriptions of our archival materials, including manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, artwork, and other non-printed documents.

The second is our card catalog.

Clark card catalog

We indeed still have a card catalog, conveniently located in the foyer to the library’s reading room. During the retrospective conversion process in which our catalog cards were converted into digital data and added to the UCLA Library online catalog, a number of Clark materials were inadvertently excluded. The card catalog thus contains records of materials that are not in our online catalog and continues to be an essential searching tool.

We encourage our readers to let us know when they find materials in the card catalog, but not in the online catalog, so that we can add the missed records into the latter. But those interested in doing research at the Clark should be prepared to search our holdings in the card catalog as well as the online catalog. Think of it as a hybrid search model — a sometimes non-intuitive, potentially complex, but rewarding process. And the Clark staff are always here to help.

Murmurs from the Montana Collection, Part Two: Idah Meacham Strobridge

March 8, 2013

From Nicoletta Beyer, Library Assistant.

“Chasms where the sun comes late, and leaves while yet it is early afternoon.” (Land of Purple Shadows, 2)


My favorite library experiences are born from the discovery of a new book and following its trail through history. The sleuthing can be more fruitful in some cases than others.

In the case of The Land of Purple Shadows (1909), I unearthed an unexpected history of terrible tragedy and personal rebirth. The author of Shadows was a woman named Idah Meacham Strobridge. Born in 1855, she was a wife, mother, and cattle rancher from the Great Basin desert of Nevada. As her parents ran a hotel that hosted many westward travelers, the landscape of Strobridge’s childhood was speckled with wagon trains, new railroads carrying homesteaders, Mexican vaqueros, Chinese placer miners and Native Americans from the Paiute and Bannock tribes. Come the 1880s, Idah met her husband Samuel Strobridge and they began a family together on a ranch not far from her parents.

The Strobridges’ first son died the day after birth. The severe winter of 1888 – 1889 brought blizzards that killed most of the family’s cattle herd and pneumonia took the lives of Idah’s husband and one other son. The following year her last son died as well, leaving Idah alone on a broken ranch in the solitary Nevada desert.


After such catastrophic devastation, Idah Strobridge carried on, working as a guide for prospectors of the mining industry while she maintained the cattle ranch. It was at this time that her identity as mother and wife ended and what remained was an empty slate of the future. She began writing under the pseudonym George W. Craiger and completed three novels; tales of a Nevadan love of desert life as well as painful solitude. She established a book binding business in the attic of her ranch house, the Artemisia Bindery.


In 1901, Strobridge left her Great Basin home behind for a fresh start in Los Angeles, California. Here in Southern California, she recreated her Artemisia Bindery and published her three novels, respectively featuring illustration by Maynard Dixon (see image above) and painting by Frank P. Sauerwen. She was welcomed into the local bohemian fine press and literary culture, becoming close with legends like Mary Austin and Charles Fletcher Lummis, and received awards for her book binding artistry.


Her works are now regarded as icons of the old western desert culture of Nevada, as well as artifacts of Southern Californian book arts history. The Clark Library came into these three limited editions by way of Ward Ritchie in 1996.



Published Works:

Strobridge, Idah Meacham. In Miners’ Mirage-Land. Los Angeles: Baumgardt Publishing Company, 1904.

Strobridge, Idah Meacham. The Loom of the Desert. Los Angeles: Artemisia Bindery, 1907

Strobridge, Idah Meacham. The Land of the Purple Shadows. Los Angeles: Artemisia Bindery, 1909

“Wilde in San Francisco”

March 8, 2013

From Gerald W. Cloud, Clark Librarian

At the 46th California International Antiquarian Book Fair in San Francisco last month I asked Ed Maggs the question I ask as many booksellers as will listen, “Do you have any Wilde material?”  Ed replied that he did indeed and produced from his glass-fronted cabinet the photograph shown here:

William Morton Fullerton (1865-1952)

William Morton Fullerton (1865-1952)

Portrayed here is William Morton Fullerton (1865-1952), in an original cabinet portrait, inscribed “To André Raffalovich from William Fullerton. 1887.”  A quick check of the Clark’s catalog revealed that the library already owned correspondence between Wilde and Fullerton (in particular, a four page letter which Mr. Clark acquired in the Dulau sale, described thus: “Addressed from Paris, 1899. Commencing ‘Monsieur Melmoth’. A pathetic letter, refusing with extreme politeness and reluctance a request for a loan” [Dulau, 96]).

Hoping for a good story I asked, “But who was William Fullerton?” Mr. Maggs did not disappoint, and he kindly provided the follow account:

“William Morton Fullerton was one of the most interesting non-entities of the fin-de-siècle. His early literary talent never really developed throughout a career of jobbing journalism that peaked early with his coverage for The Times of the Dreyfus trial, and he is remembered now for the astonishing variety and vigor of his love life.

Leon Edel, in his one volume life of Henry James, on Fullerton: “Singularly attaching… a dashing well-tailored man with large Victorian moustaches and languid eyes, a bright flower in his button hole, and the style of a ‘masher’. He had considerable sexual versatility.” [see photo]

After Harvard, where he was intimate with George Santayana and close to Bernard Berenson, he moved to London where he befriended the writer and socialite Hamilton Aidé and became the lover of the notorious Lord Ronald Gower, sculptor and model for Lord Henry Wotton in The Picture of Dorian Gray. There was a long affair with the Ranee of Sarawak, Margaret Brooke, a short marriage to a Parisian woman who later blackmailed him (she was covertly paid off by Henry James and Edith Wharton), and a short but very intense love affair with Wharton. He was one of the “younger ardent men” (Edel) who gathered round James in the early 1890s, when he “made himself agreeable in a tender romantic way”, and is widely supposed to have been a large part of the inspiration for the character of the journalist Densher in The Wings of a Dove. The fling with Edith Wharton was a remarkable episode, in which one suspects the 46 year old novelist had her first fully realized sexual relations, the intensity of which led to the writing of the pornographic short story Beatrice Palmato, published in Lewis’s biography. Her letters to Fullerton, now at the University of Texas and partially published in the UT Library Chronicle, show a woman aware of Fullerton’s impossibility, but unable, on grounds of emotional intoxication, to let him go.

The recipient, André Raffalovich (1864-1934), wealthy aesthete and quintessential Uranian poet, established a literary salon in Mayfair, somewhat in the shade of Wilde’s salon in Chelsea. He was the life partner of John Gray (1866-1934), poet and nominal inspiration for the eponymous Dorian G. Gray fled the Wilde scandal into the arms of the Catholic church, and removed himself to Edinburgh, the predominantly Protestant of Scotland’s two great cities. Raffalovich followed him and, in the sort of gesture reserved unto the wealthy, built him a church. Raffalovich established his literary artistic circles in Edinburgh, and the two continued to see each other, once a week, after Mass. A small footnote is that the acquisition of Gray and Raffalovich’s library (from the church) marked the beginning of the career of Anthony d’Offay, initially a bookseller and later to become one of the giants of the modern art trade.” [courtesy of Ed Maggs]

Who could resist such a colorful character as Fullerton?  In any case, I could not and the photograph has been added to the Clark’s growing collection of Oscar Wilde and his Circle.