2020 Oscar Lewis Awards

The Book Club of California congratulates the recipients of the 2020 Oscar Lewis Awards:

Mary Austin & Kathleen Burch
Oscar Lewis Award for the Book Arts

Kathleen Burch and Mary K. Austin at a dinner for the San Francisco Center for the Book, circa 2009.

In 1996, Mary Austin and Kathleen Burch co-founded the San Francisco Center for the Book. Its letterpress and bookbinding studios, workshops, exhibitions, and events serve thousands of students and book workers each year.

Austin, an Ohio native, graduated from Wellesley College in 1982 and helped start The Museum of Printing History in Houston, TX and the San Francisco museum Explore Print!, which she also directed. Austin has been an advocate of fine printing and the book arts for over 35 years. She is an artist, book collector, philanthropist, and proprietor of the Underground Press.

Burch, a native of Vallejo, CA, graduated from Mills College in 1973 and founded Burch Typografica, a San Francisco type and design studio, in 1979. A past president of the BCC, she serves on the board of the Internet Archive and was a Xerox PARC artist-in-residence. She is active in the keepsake culture of California and designed the BCC’s Centennial programs of 2012 and the M.F.K. Fisher keepsake of 2008, both major Book Club keepsakes.

These two women have built a community of book arts training and appreciation that is truly unequalled. Countless people in the Bay Area and beyond are endlessly grateful to them for what they have so generously created.


John Briscoe
Oscar Lewis Award for Western History

John Briscoe

John Briscoe is a poet, author, restaurateur, San Francisco lawyer, and board member of the Historical Society of the United States District Court in San Francisco. His historical publications include two books, Tadich Grill: The Story of San Francisco’s Oldest Restaurant and Crush: The Triumph of California Wine.

He has also written and published scholarly essays on historical California figures such as Garret W. McEnerney, Stefan A. Riesenfeld, and Louis F. Claiborne, and he contributed to the definitive history of the San Francisco District Court, the oldest federal court in the West. Briscoe is a Distinguished Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, which will publish his oral history this fall.

Crush is the vividly told story of how California wine gained global recognition. Briscoe recounts wine’s usual relationship with California from the very first vintage through multiple calamities to its startling triumph at a blind tasting in Paris in 1976. Through this innovative perspective, Briscoe profiles the larger story of California. Briscoe has, through verve and a distinctive flair for writing, made California’s past accessible to a broad audience. Crush has won numerous awards and is destined to become a classic not only of wine literature but also of California’s history, people, and culture.


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:

Dr. Rose Marie Beebe and Dr. Robert Senkewicz (2019)
Brewster Kahle (2018)
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:

Fred and Barbara Voltmer (2019)
Betsy Davids (2018)
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)
Eleanore 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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