Upcoming Events

Ina Coolbrith and San Francisco: Her City of Love and Desire
Monday, January 22, 2018, 5–7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

Bret Harte called her the “sweetest note in California literature,” and Charles Warren Stoddard dubbed her the “pearl of all her tribe.” Coolbrith was crowned California’s first poet laureate in San Francisco 102 years ago, a gesture that also made her the first state laureate in America. Her first love was poetry, but she earned a living as a librarian, first in Oakland where she mentored Jack London, and later at the Mercantile Library and the Bohemian Club, where she was an honorary member.

Aleta George, journalist and author of “Ina Coolbrith: The Bittersweet Song of California’s First Poet Laureate,” will speak about Coolbrith, her love of San Francisco, and her constellation of literary friends.

Click here to RSVP

Print-Your-Own Broadside Party
Monday, January 29, 2018, 5–7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Printing at 6 PM

To celebrate National Puzzle Day, January 29, 2018, the Book Club of California shares its love of history, literature, and the book arts with a bibliophlic word search challenge printed on the Club’s Columbian Press.

Join us for a hands-on celebration of the Book Club and National Puzzle Day with Li Jiang, Lemoncheese Press.

A limited number of broadsides will be printed. Participation on a first come first serve basis. No early arrivals. Doors open at 5:00pm.


Exhibition Opening: Catching the Light
Monday, February 5, 2018, 5–7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Remarks at 6 PM

Catching the Light: Broadsides from Southern California offers examples of the mature work of selected book artists from Santa Barbara to San Diego. Charting a rigorous course – the braiding of intuition, craft and art.

Exhibition Opening on Monday, February 5, 2018 and on view February 5, 2018 through April 30, 2018.

Remarks by curator Carolee Campbell, proprietor, Ninja Press.

RSVP for the Exhibition Opening on Monday, February 5, 2018

Evening in the Library: The Love of Beautiful Books
Monday, February 12, 2018, 5–7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

Producing a beautiful book is a labor of love. Every facet, whether simple or elaborate – the materials, the type, the binding, the selection of text, and the ornamentation – shows the care of its creator. But where the production is labor, the admiration is pure joy. For this event, we’ll be looking at some of the exquisitely made materials in the BCC Library, poring over details and looking at the design choices that contribute to the book as a harmonious whole. Materials will be chosen with an eye for group enjoyment, including playful typography and design, intriguing structures and decoration, glorious gilding, and (of course!) some Valentine-red bindings. Please bear in mind that for preservation concerns, the library is kept on the chilly side.

A members-only talk by Elizabeth Newsom, librarian, Book Club of California. Details to come.

Book Collecting 101: The First in a Series for Young Collectors
Monday, February 26, 2018, 5–7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

Are you new to book collecting? Do you love books and would like to collect them, but don’t know where to start? None of us were born knowing how to collect books. We learn it by spending time with books, and by talking with other people how know about books – including book collectors, booksellers, and librarians.

This talk, “Book Collecting 101”, will introduce you to the four foundational elements of determining the basic value of a book – desirability, availability, edition, and condition. We will also talk about some ideas for beginning a book collection and options for building your collection, as well as how to know whether books you buy today will increase in value over time.

A talk by Laurelle Swan, proprietor, Swans Fine Books. Details to come.

Cookery & Connections: A Collector’s Passion
Monday, March 5, 2018, 5–7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

Why would a collector buy a poor copy of a book with an inscription to an unknown person rather than a pristine copy with a neat author autograph? And who were Elizabeth Robins Pennell, Alice Richardson, and Bertha Haffner-Ginger, and what is their connection to America’s greatest food writer? Book Club of California president Randall Tarpey-Schwed will answer these questions and others in his wide-ranging illustrated talk that profiles some of world’s greatest collectors of books on food & wine and describes the thrill of unraveling the connections that inscriptions can reveal.

An illustrated talk by Randall Tarpey-Schwed, president, Book Club of California.

Franciscan Frontiersmen: How Three Adventurers Charted the West
Wednesday, March 14, 2018, 5–7 PM

This is an encore of the original presentation that took place at the Book Club of California on November 27, 2017.

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

Based on a newly published book of the same title, this presentation explores the lives of three pioneering friars, Pedro Font, Francisco Garces, and Juan Crespi, who accompanied Junipero Serra to California in the last half of the eighteenth century. Drawing on the long-forgotten journals, extensive trail observations, and correspondence of the three padres, as well as the author’s own exhaustive field research, the presentation will provide fresh insights into the rigors of daily life on the frontiers of New Spain. These three Franciscans were the chaplains and official diarists of Spain’s pathfinding expeditions on the West Coast of North America. In the tumult of the Spanish crown’s colonization, Font, Garces, and Crespi endured terrifying storms at sea, starvation, scurvy, and lonely isolation as they carved trails through uncharted lands. Together, they explored a swath of the continent that was larger and more important than that explored by Lewis and Clark a generation later. But their exploits have been overlooked, because Americans are eager to learn their English past but largely ignore their Spanish past.

A talk by Robert Kittle, journalist and historian.

At The Gamble House, 4 Westmoreland Place, Pasadena, CA 91103

Looking At/Seeing Through: The Portable Broadside
Monday, March 19, 2018, 5–7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

A talk by Harry and Sandra Reese, proprietors, Turkey Press & Edition Reese. Details to come.

The 2018 Oscar Lewis Awards
Monday, March 26, 2018, 5–7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

Join us for a ceremony celebrating the recipients of the 2018 Oscar Lewis Awards in Western History and the Book Arts. 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 Book Club secretary from 1921-1946.

Please click here for more information about the awards and a list of past recipients.

Robert E. Cowan

Robert E. Cowan: Prince of California Bookmen
Monday, April 9, 2018, 5–7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

Robert E. Cowan (1862–1942) ranks as the greatest bookman devoted to California history as well as the first bookseller of note to specialize in the subject. He also served as the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library’s first librarian. In 1914 Cowan’s monumental A Bibliography of California and the Pacific West became the first monograph published by the Book Club of California. Lecturer Gary F. Kurutz presents an overview of Cowan’s illustrious career, the writing of his bibliography, his work at the Clark Library, and the heroic effort of UCLA to secure Cowan’s Californiana collection.

A talk by Gary Kurutz, executive director, California State Library Foundation.

The Fifth Annual Bay Area Books Arts Student Showcase
Monday, April 16, 2018, 5–7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

A pop-up exhibition of work and presentations by select students enrolled in Bay Area book arts programs. Details to come.

California Wine: Past, Present, and Future
Monday, April 23, 2018, 5–7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

A talk by Axel Borg, wine and food science bibliographer, and Peter Brantley, director of online strategy, UC Davis Library. Details to come.

Exhibition Opening: Peregrine Press
Monday, May 7, 2018, 5–7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Remarks at 6 PM

Remarks by curator John Crichton, proprietor, Brick Row Book Shop. Details to come.

The Second Annual Next Generation Printers Showcase
Monday, May 14, 2018, 5–7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

A presentation and pop-up exhibition of work by emerging Bay Area fine printers.

Yosemite People
Monday, May 21, 2018, 5–7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

Described as street photography in the wilderness, Yosemite People is a photography project and book by Jonas Kulikauskas. Carol McCusker, curator of photography at the Harn Museum of Art, describes the project best: “For the first time, a photographer is entering Yosemite as the WPA documentary photographers of the 1930s might, with a shifted priority on people rather than on nature.” The evening will also feature a small pop-up exhibition of photographs.

An illustrated talk and pop-up exhibition by Jonas Kulikauskas, artist and photographer.

Driven into Paradise? Lion Feuchtwanger and other German-speaking Exiles in Los Angeles, 1933-1945
Thursday, May 24, 2018, 6–8 PM

Hospitality at 6 PM | Presentation at 7 PM

An illustrated talk by Michaela Ullmann, Exile Studies Librarian, University of Southern California Department of Special Collections.

At the Women’s City Club of Pasadena, 160 N. Oakland Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101

Smiling into Ruin: the Creative Life of Charmian Kittredge London
Monday, June 4, 2018, 5–7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

A talk by Iris Jamahl Dunkle, author and poet laureate of Sonoma County. Details to come.

Evening in the Library: Arnold Fawcus and the Trianon Press: a San Francisco Story
Monday, June 11, 2018, 5–7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

A members-only talk by John Windle, proprietor, John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller. Details to come.

Field Trip: Sutro Library and the SFSU Historic Collections & Frank V. de Bellis Collection
Friday, June 15, 2018, 10 AM–2 PM

A members-only field trip led by Sutro and San Francisco State University librarians. Ticketed event.

Revenants: the Memories of Books
Monday, June 25, 2018, 5–7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

An illustrated talk by Meredith Miller, artist and senior photographer at Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Libraryuthor and journalist. Details to come.


Details to come. Please check back for updates or subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest information on events, exhibitions, and publications.

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