2018 Oscar Lewis Awards

The Book Club of California congratulates the recipients of the 2018 Oscar Lewis Awards:

Brewster Kahle
Oscar Lewis Award for Western History


A passionate advocate for public Internet access and a successful entrepreneur, Brewster Kahle has spent his career intent on a singular focus: providing Universal Access to All Knowledge.

He is the founder and Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive, one of the largest libraries in the world. Soon after graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he studied artificial intelligence, Kahle helped found the company Thinking Machines, a parallel supercomputer maker. In 1989, Kahle created the Internet’s first publishing system called Wide Area Information Server (WAIS), later selling the company to AOL. In 1996, Kahle co-founded Alexa Internet, which helps catalog the Web, selling it to Amazon.com in 1999.

The Internet Archive, which he founded in 1996, now preserves 20 petabytes of data – the books, Web pages, music, television, and software of our cultural heritage, working with more than 400 library and university partners to create a digital library, accessible to all.

Betsy Davids
Oscar Lewis Award for the Book Arts

Betsy Davids

Betsy Davids came to the making of books as a 30-year-old poet. Her Rebis Press, in partnership with James Petrillo, became known in the 1970s and 1980s for letterpress editions that integrated text and images by emerging writers and artists with nontraditional materials and structures. The concurrent Rebis performance work culminated with the perennial favorite A Voice from the Fire, about William Blake.

Her one-of-a-kind bookworks of the 1990s and 2000s drew upon dream and travel writing practices, everyday papers, handwritten text, and ephemeral printed materials. In the current decade, she has researched the making of palm leaf manuscripts in India and Sri Lanka and is developing a palm leaf engraving practice.

A 45-year retrospective exhibition, Sisters of Invention, (with Sas Colby and Jaime Robles) was held at the San Francisco Center for the Book in 2015.

At California College of the Arts (formerly Arts and Crafts), she pioneered the development of book art curriculum and facilities. She is now Professor Emerita, after teaching book art and writing from 1968 through 2010.

She was a founding board member of the Pacific Center for Book Arts and the College Book Art Association and has been involved in multiple ways with many book art communities.


The Oscar Lewis Awards were established by the Book Club of California in 1994 in honor of Oscar Lewis (1893-1992), San Francisco author, historian, and club secretary from 1921-1946.

Past recipients of the Oscar Lewis Award for Western History:

Robert Bringhurst (2017)
James Karman (2016)
Dr. Gray Brechin (2015)
Rebecca Solnit (2014)
W. Michael Mathes (2012)
Philip P. Choy (2011)
Thomas Pinney (2010)
Robert J. Chandler (2009)
Malcolm Margolin (2008)
Carl Nolte (2007)
Robert V. Hine (2006)
David F. Myrick (2005)
Robert G. Harlan (2004)
Kevin Starr (2003)
Ferol Egan (2002)
Muir Dawson (2001) and Glen Dawson (2001)
J. S. Holliday (2000), Msgr. Francis J. Weber (2000)
Allan R. Ottley (1999)
Gary F. Kurutz (1998)
Richard H. Dillon (1997)
Lawrence Clark Powell (1996)
Doyce B. Nunis, Jr., (1996)
Michael Harrison (1995)
Dr. Albert Shumate (1994)

Past recipients of the Oscar Lewis Award for the Book Arts:

Kitty Maryatt (2017)
Richard Wagener (2016)
Harry & Sandra Reese (2015)
Johanna Drucker (2014)
Carolee Campbell (2013)
Jonathan Clark (2012)
Clifford Burke (2011)
Charles Hobson (2010)
Graham Mackintosh (2009)
David Lance Goines (2008)
Patrick W. Reagh (2007)
Peter Rutledge Koch (2006)
Joseph J. D’Ambrosio (2005)
Eleanor Edwards Ramsey (2004)
Joanne Margarethe Sonnichsen (2003)
Carolyn and James Robertson (2002)
Wolfgang Lederer (2001)
Andrew Hoyem (2000)
Jack W. Stauffacher (1999)
S. Gale Herrick (1998)
Sandra Kirshenbaum (1998)
Marjorie G. Stern (1997)
Lewis and Dorothy Allen (1996)
Albert Sperisen (1995)
Stella Patri (1995)
Ward Ritchie (1994)

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