The Book Club of California is offering in-person and online programs and activities. Hybrid events with in-person attendance and a streaming element are also held.
Please note that event times for in-person and online programs may be different. In-person events may require proof of vaccination and the wearing of masks. Capacity may be limited and advance registration for in-person events is required.
Unless otherwise noted, all events are free and open to the public and take place at the Book Club of California located at 312 Sutter Street, Suite 500 in San Francisco.
Please refer to the description under each event.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions, or call (415) 781-7532 ext. 2. Many of our staff will be working remotely so please contact them by email or phone. Staff contact information can be found on our website.
* Co-presented and co-hosted by Litquake
In 1885 Jane and Leland Stanford cofounded a university to honor their recently deceased young son. After her husband’s death in 1893, Jane Stanford, a devoted spiritualist who expected the university to inculcate her values, steered Stanford into eccentricity and public controversy for more than a decade. In 1905 she was murdered in Hawaii, a victim, according to the Honolulu coroner’s jury, of strychnine poisoning. With her vast fortune the university’s lifeline, the Stanford president and his allies quickly sought to foreclose challenges to her bequests by constructing a story of death by natural causes. The cover-up gained traction in the murky labyrinths of power, wealth, and corruption of Gilded Age San Francisco. The murderer walked.
Deftly sifting the scattered evidence and conflicting stories of suspects and witnesses, Richard White gives us the first full account of Jane Stanford’s murder and its cover-up. Against a backdrop of the city’s machine politics, rogue policing, tong wars, and heated newspaper rivalries, White’s search for the murderer draws us into Jane Stanford’s imperious household and the academic enmities of the university. Although Stanford officials claimed that no one could have wanted to murder Jane, we meet several people who had the motives and the opportunity to do so. One of these, we discover, also had the means.
An in-person presentation with Richard White, author in conversation with Julia Flynn Siler, author and journalist.
Charles Lamb’s library—a heap of sixty scruffy old books singed with smoke, soaked with gin, sprinkled with crumbs, stripped of illustrations, and bescribbled by the essayist and his literary friends—caused a sensation when it was sold in New York in 1848. The transatlantic book world watched as the relics of a man revered as the patron saint of book collectors were dispersed. Following those books through the stories of the bibliophiles who shaped intellectual life in America—booksellers, publishers, journalists, editors, bibliographers, librarians, actors, antiquarians, philanthropists, politicians, poets, clergymen—Denise Gigante brings to life a lost world of letters at a time when Americans were busy assembling the country’s major public, university, and society libraries. A human tale of loss, obsession, and spiritual survival, this book reveals the magical power books can have to bring people together and will be an absorbing read for anyone interested in what makes a book special.
An in-person presentation by Denise Gigante, author and Professor of Humanities at Stanford University
* The Windle-Loker Lecture Series on the History of the Illustrated Book
In 1973 Diane Vanderlip curated an exhibition at Moore College of Art in Philadelphia titled artists books. Within a few years, artists in North America and internationally quickly adopted this phrase inadvertently launching a new genre of contemporary art.
Artists’ books created after Vanderlip’s exhibition benefited from the Duchampian prompt: it’s an artist’s book if the artist says it is. Artists making work in book form identified as members of the Avant Garde, pop art, conceptual art, Fluxus, happenings, and the like. What differentiated the artists’ books of the 1970s and later, from those created in previous decades, was the act of intentionally making a new work as an artist’s book. Many new post-1973 artists’ books were autobiographical, highlighting how artists began using the book format to share personal stories, observances, travel experiences, and playful, conceptual observations.
After Artists’ Books will explore the impact and significance of Diane Vanderlip’s 1973 exhibition artists books, the exhibition catalogue, and how it influenced creative publications that followed, through to the present day.
An in-person presentation by Tony White, University Librarian, Dorothy H. Hoover Library, OCAD University, Toronto, Ontario
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