Archive for the ‘collections’ Category
By Nina Schneider, Rare Books Librarian
If you haven’t heard (yet!), the Clark is closed for about fourteen months while the building is retro-fitted for earthquakes. Anyone who has experienced the world of construction knows that there is a lot of preparation required before any building activity can start. We’re taking advantage of this period—during meetings, paperwork, and site prep – to do something we’ve wanted to do for many years: reorganize the Clark Library’s fine press collection.
The books that are in the North and South book rooms are those printed in limited editions by private presses primarily during the 20th century, although there are a few 19th (and now 21st century) titles that share the shelves. Since the 1980’s these books were organized by the name of the press, and then alphabetically by main entry, title, and year. Occasionally, the Clark would receive large numbers of items that made interfiling impractical and so some of these collections were scattered wherever we could find room. Following the alphabet took the staff from the main floor of the North book room to the main floor of the South Book room to the mezzanine of the North book room to the mezzanine of the South book room. But wait…if you wanted any book printed (or collected) by Ward Ritchie, you needed to go to the mezzanine of the South book room, and then go back to the mezzanine of the North book room. The staff realized that there had to be a better way, especially after a number of paging requests took an hour (or more) to fill because of the challenge of finding the item.
Academic, public, and private libraries use different classification systems to organize their stacks. Some, such as the Dewey Decimal System and the Library of Congress classification system, organize books by subject. Small libraries organize their books by size, color, or date of acquisition. Although the Clark’s rare and reference books are organized by the Library of Congress classification system, re-classifying the press collection would be Herculean as each of the 10,000 books would need to be recataloged in order to do this. After much discussion and some trial and error, we have come up with a sustainable solution: reorganizing the current collection so that the books are shelved alphabetically by press name but then numbered according to location. For example, all books measuring 11-28 cm that were printed, designed, or written by Eric Gill are now “Press coll. Gill #”. If they measure less than 11 cm, then they are classified as “tiny”; over 28 cm are classified as “folio” or “double folio” for those over 45 cm.
We are also reorganizing how the book rooms are laid out, so that “Press coll. A…” starts on the mezzanine of the North book room, down to the main floor then over to the main floor of the South book room and ending on the mezzanine on the south side. We are allowing extra space at the end of each shelf in order to accommodate future acquisitions.
This is also an excellent opportunity to reconcile the shelf reading project undergone by some of our work/study students and our volunteer, Karen K. It has helped to locate books marked “NOS” (not on shelf) – we’ve already figured out that many of those have been moved to either the miniature book section or to the folio sections, without the updated location added to the card or catalog record.
In the end, this project will benefit both the Clark staff and our patrons. It’s a bit of a luxury to have this time to work on it.
For more information about the Clark’s seismic retrofit: http://www.c1718cs.ucla.edu/clarkclosure15.htm
For more information on library classification systems: http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Library_classification
Ramon Novarro was not the only Hollywood star to visit the Clark Library and sign the guest book — Mr. Clark’s guest book provides some interesting corroborating evidence about his friendship with actress Marie Dressler. There are two very friendly letters from Dressler to Mr. Clark in our institutional archive – one a condolence letter on the death of Clark’s wife Alice in 1918 and the other to thank Clark for sending flowers on her birthday in 1933. Now we know that Dressler also visited the Clark Library in 1927 and brought along her friend, the screenwriter Frances Marion.
The screenwriter of many of Mary Pickford’s biggest hits (and her best friend), Marion was also responsible for helping to rebuild Dressler’s Hollywood career in the late 1920s. She was a powerful and intelligent force in Hollywood throughout the silent period and beyond and would likely have found much to admire and appreciate about Mr. Clark’s library building and its contents.
These ladies’ names jumped out at me right away because of my academic background in film history (especially because I know and once worked for Marion’s biographer Cari Beauchamp), and I am sure that those with other areas of expertise are likely to react the same way to other names in the guest book.
If you have any insights or information about the other folks that visited the Clark in late 1927, please leave a comment below or let us know on Facebook or Twitter! We recognize a couple of names (Mrs. Mars F. Baumgardt, near the bottom, was the wife of Mr. Clark’s astronomer), but if there is anyone here that you know (or feel like researching), we would love your help.
(and by the way, just in case you are interested, Without Lying Down, the feature-length documentary on Frances Marion based on Cari Beauchamp’s biography of the same name will be will be airing tomorrow April 25th on Turner Classic Movies, alongside several films written by Frances)
While moving material to get ready for our seismic retrofit project, I came across the Clark Library guest book, begun by William Andrews Clark, Jr. in 1924 and used until 1957, when the pages were completely filled. Because this item was stored in a different location than the rest of the Clarkive (as we affectionately call our institutional archive), I had actually never seen it before.
Bound in repurposed antiquarian binding, the guest book’s pages (at least those from the years Mr. Clark was alive; I didn’t examine the post-1934 pages closely) contain a who’s who of Clark family and friends, library and book collecting luminaries, Los Angeles and Montana society folks and a smattering of Hollywood celebrities.
- Robert E. Cowan, Clark Librarian and bibliographer
- Cora Edgerton Sanders, Clark Librarian and longtime family employee
- Harrison Post, Assistant Librarian and Mr. Clark’s romantic partner
- John L. Templeman of Butte, UVa classmate, lawyer and close friend
- D.F. Bogardus, bookbinder from the Huntington Library
- Judge William I. Lippincott of Butte, family friend
- Robert O. Schad, Head Librarian at the Huntington Library
- Alice Millard, bookseller and owner of La Miniatura
- John Henry Nash, printer
- Robert D. Farquhar, architect of the Clark Library
- Caroline Estes Smith, secretary of the Los Angeles Philharmonic
- Parish Williams, baritone and insurance agent
- Virginia M. Tanner, widow of Walter Miller Clark, Mr. Clark’s cousin who died on the Titanic
- James R. Polsdorfer, UC Berkeley alum – his connection to Clark is unclear
- Georges Jomier, French teacher and language coach
- Allyn Cox, muralist and painter of Clark Library murals
- William A. Clark, III, Mr. Clark’s son
Other visitors documented in the book were a little bit more of a surprise:
Silent film heartthrob Ramon Novarro lived just steps away from the Clark library & estate, and was part of a tour party on April 1, 1930 that also included his close friend Florence “Pancho” Barnes (pioneering female aviator), Louis Samuel (Novarro’s assistant who built this landmark house and also embezzled most of Novarro’s money), Grace Marion Brown (Samuel’s girlfriend and an illustrator who designed some of Mr. Clark’s Christmas cards), Robert I. & Josephine Rogers (former bank executive who owned a Robert Farquhar home in Beverly Hills), and Charles and Kathleen Hamill (lawyer and member of Chicago Symphony Orchestra board of directors).
Because most of Mr. Clark’s personal correspondence and papers no longer survive, any sources for information about his extended social circle are extremely valuable to us. There are hundreds of visitors recorded between 1924 and Mr. Clark’s death in 1934, and for all of the names that I recognize, there are many more that I don’t. I will continue to share more pages from the guestbook over the coming months and will be looking for some help to uncover information about who these visitors to the library really were – the pages above can’t be the only ones that contain fascinating people. Stay tuned for more updates and more images soon!
By Erin Hurley, Archival Processing Intern
The Clark library recently acquired the More House Archive, a large collection of Victorian manuscripts, scrapbooks, and drawings of a family with distant connections to Oscar Wilde – the Hope-Nicholson family of More House located at 34 Tite Street, Chelsea. Tite Street was a hub of artistic and literary activity in the 1890s, and its residents included not only Laura Hope (the central figure in the More House archive), but Oscar Wilde himself, as well as a number of well-known painters of the day, like James McNeill Whistler, and Pre-Raphaelites such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Edward Coley Burne-Jones.
The More House archive is large – over 70 boxes, many of them containing handwritten letters to or from Laura Hope. As I have been processing the collection, a number of fascinating love stories have emerged – the most central of which is between Laura Hope (nee Troubridge) and her husband of 16 years, Adrian Hope. More House was the name of their first home together on Tite Street. There are hundreds of letters between the two of them (sometimes several letters per day!), including their so-called “letters of engagement,” written between 1884 and 1888 and also published in the book Letters of Engagement 1884-1888: The Love Letters of Adrian Hope and Laura Troubridge. The letters are sweet – full of terms of endearment, and often including tokens of affection like pressed flowers, newspaper clippings, or drawings. The couple was married on August 2, 1888 (“such a lovely bright day of sunshine,” writes Laura) and spent three weeks honeymooning aboard a houseboat on the River Thames called the Crocodile. They reportedly enjoyed a very happy marriage until Adrian’s death from appendicitis in 1904, and had two children – Jacqueline and Esme (who, sadly, died as a child).
Laura and Adrian eventually became the guardians of Oscar Wilde’s two children with Constance Lloyd after his imprisonment for “gross indecency” in 1895. They were also distantly related to another scandalous figure of the day – Una Vincenzo Troubridge (nee Taylor) who became infamous for her relationship with Radclyffe Hall, author of The Well of Loneliness. The More House archive contains a number of letters from Una to Laura, as well as letters from Una to Laura’s daughter Jacqueline, who was just two years younger. Una had previously been married to Laura’s brother Ernest (an admiral in the Royal Navy during World War I) but left him to pursue a relationship with Hall. The two women lived together happily for nearly 30 years, and cut a rather glamorous figure, as evidenced by this photo of them in matching outfits at the Ladies Kennel Club Dog Show in 1920.
The Clark will be closed this Thursday and Friday, November 27th and 28th, in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.
In honor of tomorrow’s turkey-centered festivities, I went looking for turkeys at the Clark. They are not very abundant here, either in the stacks or outside, but to my surprise I found that we do have a set of the 1840 Royal Octavo edition of John James Audubon’s Birds of America, which contains two of Audubon’s drawings of the noble Meleagris gallopavo. Though our set is currently shelved with our other rare books on natural history, it is technically part of our Montana collection, as it was purchased with the bulk of that collection in 1924 from collector Charles N. Kessler. The lithographs are not quite as break-taking in this small size as they are in the first edition elephant folios of Birds of America, but they are still quite nice.
Unlike inside the library where we have a least a couple, Wild Turkeys do not number among our avian visitors outside — unsurprisingly we are a little too urban for their tastes. Other species drawn by Audubon are commonly found at the Clark and across LA, though — Audubon’s Warblers, Hermit Thrushes, Northern Mockingbirds, Spotted Towhees and Mourning Doves, just to pick a few. The library grounds also attract more unusual visitors, like the Yellow-Throated Warbler, which is a rare visitor to Southern California, but with which Audubon was quite familiar from his time living in the southeastern US. This particular bird was spotted yesterday near the Clark’s gatehouse and got some local birders excited about adding it to their LA County life lists.
You may think all of this bird talk is, well, for the birds, but you may want to keep the Clark’s outdoor attractions in mind when you return after Thanksgiving, still full of turkey, stuffing and pie. Even if you don’t care about our warblers, brisk walks around our gardens might seem awfully appealing as you get in shape for another big meal at the end of December!
By Katherine Monroe, student library assistant
Halloween is almost upon us, and the Clark collection is ready to provide you with all of your necessary remedies against any curses you may receive come All Hallow’s Eve. William Drage’s Daimonomageia. A Small Treatise of Sicknesses and Diseases from Witchcraft and Supernatural Causes. Never before, at least in this comprised Order, and general Manner, was the like published. Being useful to others besides Physicians, In that it Confutes Atheistical, Sadducitical, and Sceptical Principles and Imaginations was published in 1665 with the intent to provide anecdotal evidence of witchcraft and necromancy in the world, and how one may hope to survive it.
Are you unsure if you are cursed or merely suffering from the effects of too much candy? Drage gives seven signs that point to sorcery:
- “If the Sick voids things that naturally cannot be bred in the Body, nor put therein from without, distrust Witchcraft…”
- “Strange and wonderful Convulsions, indomitable and inexpressible Torments, with other things preceding, or supervening, gives suspicion of Witchcraft…”
- “If the Sick complaineth of such a Woman or Man suspected for a Witch, and faith, There he (or she) stands; or Now he (or she) comes, though no Body else see anything… Judge this certainly to be by the power of the Devil, and commonly to be administred by Witches through malice, by the performance of foolish Ceremonies…”
- “A fourth sign of Witchcraft is, if the sick Prophesy, and foretel truly things that afterward come to pass, and speak beyond the course of Nature… [If] the Sick fly, or run up the Walls with their Feet uppermost, or leap from one place to another, strongly and fiercely, at a great distance: Be sure it is not naturally…”
- “A fifth Sign of Witchcraft is, If the Sick is twisten, contorted, and his Chin drawn to his Forehead, and neck turned behind him, or face rather… and lye long as if dead…”
- “A great Sign is, If any thing that comes from the Sick be burnt or harmed, and the suspected Woman suffers in such manner… [and] the Sick is eased much and clearly, suspect her for a Witch, and the Disease to be from her…”
- And finally, Drage cautions his readers to remember that “All Diseases that are caused by Nature, may be caused by Witchcraft; But all that are caused by Witchcraft, cannot be caused by Nature.”
So before you take an antacid to relieve your possible chocolate-induced stomach pains, make sure you are not actually suffering the effects of a spell or curse. Drage cautions you not to offend any man or woman suspected of being a necromancer or witch, and to hang rosemary, mistletoe, and ivy around your house, “because the Ancients judged those to defend Houses from evil Spirits.” If, come November 3rd, you are still showing signs of sorcery, or even possession (about which Drage also writes), stop by the Clark and see what else he prescribes in his Daimonomageia. And be careful who you encounter this Halloween season – perhaps not all the wee ghoulies and beasties coming to your door are there for the treats!
A reminder to join us, if you can, for the inaugural meeting of the Clark Library Book Club tomorrow at 4pm in the North Book Room. We’ll be discussing An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears. Feel free to come no matter how much you’ve read–there won’t be any quizzes or assignments!
We’ll kick off our discussion by looking at original editions of texts written by the real-life versions of characters in the story like John Locke, Robert Boyle, and Richard Lower. Bring your questions and comments or send them in advance to Rebecca Munson (email@example.com). Hope to see many of you soon!
Mark your calendar for our future fall meetings:
November 20th – Peter Ackroyd, Hawksmoor
December 18th – Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies
From Reading Room Assistant Katherine Monroe
“There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”
-Lord Henry Wotton, from Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray
October 16th marks the 160th birthday of Oscar Wilde, poet, author, lecturer, and well-known face of the Aesthetic Movement in both England and America. The Clark Library’s own collection of books, manuscripts, letters, and other materials relating to this man is the most comprehensive in the world, making this library a must-see for anyone interested in Wildeiana.
Included in the collection is a first edition of his poem, “Ravenna,” which won the Newdigate Prize in 1878. This book is even more precious for the hand-embroidered cover made by his wife, Constance, which depicts pomegranates (the fruit of love) and tiny gold sequins, interspersed with the title of the work, Oscar’s byline, and the initials AH and CW. Also of note are two inscriptions inside, one by Oscar Wilde and the other by Constance, who gave the book to Arthur Humphreys, the AH of the initials on the cover.
A pen and ink drawing mounted on cardboard, captioned, “Aesthetics v. Athletics,” is particularly applicable to this sport-crazed season. The Aesthete, a caricaturized Oscar Wilde, remarks, “This is indeed a form of death, and entirely incompatible with any belief in the immortality of the soul,” while a crowd of bugling men race off in one direction behind him.
One of the Clark’s copies of Salomé, a play Wilde wrote in 1893, is an especially beautiful Art Deco edition, printed in 1927 by the Grabhorn Press, with wood block illustrations designed and cut by Valenti Angelo. The frontispiece is especially vivid, with a nude Salomé, statuesque and elongated in true Art Deco form, gazing down upon the head of Iokanaan which has been offered up to her on the sword of the executioner.
Oscar Wilde’s lecture tour in America is well-represented at the Clark, as well, in the numerous pamphlets and programs advertising his route around the country. One program for “Art Decoration,” a lecture he gave in Philadelphia on May 10th, 1882, is especially interesting for its printing technique. A sheer sheet of paper, folded in half, has the program information on the front and a portrait of Wilde on the inside of the back fold. When viewed together, the faint portrait supplies the background to the red lettering, providing a beautiful memento of the lecture that happily made its way to the Clark’s collection.
This is not even the tip of the proverbial iceberg for what the Clark has to offer anyone interested in the life of Oscar Wilde or his circle of friends and family. Manuscripts, letters, trade cards, and even scripts from movie adaptations of his literary works fill the shelves of the collection. For a man who spent his life seeking fame and attention, the collection stored at the Clark Library attests to his success. Happy 160th birthday, Oscar Wilde!
It is my pleasure to invite you to join us for a new series of events open to anyone and everyone with an interest in literature, history, and the Clark collections. The Clark Library Book Club will meet monthly to discuss a book chosen for its ability to bring to life an aspect of the library’s holdings. We’ll spend time with spies and alchemists, witches and traitors, printers and players, and many famous figures in literary history.
Our first meeting will take place on Thursday, October 23rd at 4pm in the North Book Room. In honor of Halloween, we will be reading Iain Pears, An Instance of the Fingerpost. The full schedule of Fall 2014 meetings can be found below. Updates and information about future meetings will be posted here. To suggest future readings or ask a question please contact Rebecca Munson (firstname.lastname@example.org). Hope to see you soon!
Clark Library Book Club
Fall 2014 Meetings
October 23rd – Iain Pears, An Instance of the Fingerpost
November 20th – Peter Ackroyd, Hawksmoor
December 18th – Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies
At 4p.m. in the North Book Room