2012 Events (and earlier)

The Book Club of California 12.12.12 Birthday Luncheon
Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Book Club of California was founded on December 12, 1912. On December 12, 2012, we commemorated our first 100 years at the Julia Morgan Ballroom in the Merchants Exchange Building with 1912 era food, music, and decor.

Educating Heritage Librarians on the Pacific Rim: California Rare Book School–the Past, the Present, and the Future. A Talk by Susan Allen.
Monday, November 5, 2012, 5-7 pm

In conjunction with the course, Donors & Libraries, at The Book Club of California November 5-9, 2012.

Susan Allen is Director of the California Rare Book School.

Publication Party for
William Reagh: A Long Walk Downtown, Photographs of Los Angeles and Southern California, 1936-1991

November 3, 2012, 2 pm at the Los Angeles Public Library

With remarks by Patrick Reagh and Michael Dawson.

The Los Angeles Public Library
630 W. 5th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Mark Taper Auditorium

Parking is available at 524 S. Flower Street Garage.

This event is free and open to the public. Reservations NOT required.

Click here to view a PDF of the invitation.

Publication Party for Paul Frenzeny’s Chinatown Sketches
Friday, October 19, 2012, 6:30-7:30 pm at the California Historical Society

Celebrate the publication of The Book Club’s 230th book, by award winning author Claudine Chalmers, with a preface by Phlip P. Choy.

At the California Historical Society
678 Mission Street
San Francisco

Evening includes a short talk by Claudine Chalmers.


Artifacts and original artwork from the book will be on display.

Free and open to the public. To view a PDF of the invitation click here.

RSVP at bccatchs.eventbrite.com

The Book Club of California Centennial

The Book Club of California Centennial Symposium
OUT WEST: Fine Printing and the Cultural History of the Book in California
October 18-20, 2012

Special Ticketed Event!

Join us for a celebration of writing, books, fine printing, and collecting in California and the West, set in San Francisco during its most glorious season.

For more information about the Symposium and to register, click here.

Litquake Presents: Language and Politics: The Discourse of Power
Tuesday, October 9, 2012, 6 pm

Co-presented by the Stanford Humanities Center and UC Berkeley’s Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities

Faculty from Stanford and UC Berkeley examine how language affects politics and vice versa. From the Republican “rhetoric of contempt” to shades of totalitarian references in contemporary political discourse, the participating faculty members of both universities will engage in a wide-ranging and spirited discussion.

More information here.

Litquake Presents: Bay Area Book Currents: The Stories Behind Bookselling
Monday, October 8, 2012, 7 pm

This panel discussion pairs local booksellers and publishers to hash out the bookselling industry’s trajectories over the last century, against the backdrop of the Bay Area’s unique cultural environment. In the face of electronic content invasion, this evening’s participants have been instrumental in the book trade’s ongoing vitality, and their discussion will explore how the industry can define and shape the 21st century. Moderated by Oscar Villalon of ZYZZYVA.

More information here.

2-in-1 Publication Party and Exhibition Opening!
Monday, September 24, 2012, 5-7 pm

A 2-in-1 event at The Book Club of California. Please join us in honor of:

1. The publication of our 229th book, William Reagh: A Long Walkdown, Photographs of Los Angeles and Southern California, 1936-1991.

With remarks by Patrick Reagh and Michael Dawson.

At 100 years, Book Club publications are as stunning as ever. In the latest–exquisitely produced and letterpress printed by his son, Patrick–William Reagh’s 130 black and white photographs depict downtown Los Angeles through its many transformations in the 20th century. A treasure for anyone passionate about Los Angeles, urban development, documentary photography, the history of California, and, of course, fine press printing.

2. The opening of our Centennial Traveling Exhibition, Pressing Forward: The Book Club of California at 100.

With remarks by Mary Elizabeth Kenney, Curator of the BCC Centennial Traveling Exhibition at Santa Clara University.

This unique exhibition tells the story of the past one hundred years of The Book Club through its beautifully crafted books, keepsakes, and ephemera. The exhibition has been traveling throughout California since January 2012 and will continue to do so in 2013. Join us for its at-home debut!

Looking Backward: The Bay Area Antiquarian Book Trade, 1850-2000 (Second Edition, Revised)
An Illustrated Lecture by John Crichton, Proprietor of The Brick Row Book Shop.
Monday, September 10, 2012, 5-7 pm

Looking Backward is a historical survey of the San Francisco Bay antiquarian book trade from its inception in 1850 to the year 2000. The talk will bring together research and images from such sources as the Kemble Collections at the California Historical Society, numerous historians, scholars and private collections. The talk will contain almost 125 images, many of which have not been previously published or displayed.

John Crichton has been the proprietor of The Brick Row Book Shop in San Francisco since 1983. He is a past president of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America. He is currently president of the Book Club of California, vice president of the Bibliographical Society of America, and he is a member of the American Antiquarian Society.

An Appreciation for Al Nalbandian & Armenian Printing
Monday, August 27, 2012, 5-7 pm

Al Nalbandian in Conversation with Book Club members J. Zil and Bo Wreden.

In concurrence with its own Centennial, the Book Club of California is honored to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Armenian printing with San Francisco collector Albert Nalbandian. Al, as he likes to be known, will share insights and stories from a lifetime of collecting all things Armenian, particularly books printed in the Armenian alphabet. He will discuss how he became a collector; his pivotal role organizing an exhibition dedicated to Armenian-French graphic artist Edgar Chahine in 1976 at the Legion of Honor; his acquaintance with Armenian-American author William Saroyan; and much more. In conjunction with an article about Nalbandian’s dedication to the preservation of Armenian books and art by J. Zil and Bo Wreden, appearing in the Summer 2012 issue of the Quarterly News-Letter.


Lost on the Titanic: The Great Omar.
An Illustrated Talk by Dominic Riley
Monday, July 23, 2012, 5-7 pm

The Great Omar was the most fabulous, elaborate, and opulent binding ever created. It was embellished with over one thousand jewels, five thousand leather onlays, and a hundred square feet of gold leaf, and it took a team of craftsmen over two and a half years to make. It went down with the Titanic. This lecture describes the making of the fabulous Great Omar. It is also an account of the renowned bookbinding firm of Sangorski and Sutcliffe–who were known for their elaborate jeweled bindings–and the men who made this extraordinary book. Finally, it tells the moving story of life after the tragedy and of one young man in particular, who decided against the odds to recreate the binding, a venture which itself is mired in tragedy and which occupied him for the rest of his life.

Dominic Riley is a professional bookbinder specializing in the restoration of antiquarian books and the creation of contemporary fine bindings. He teaches bookbinding both in the UK and USA, and his prize-winning bindings are in collections world wide, including the British Library. He is a Fellow of Designer Bookbinders, Vice President of the Society of Bookbinders (both in the UK), and Past President of the Hand Bookbinders of California. He is also an accredited lecturer with the National Association of Decorative and Fine Art Societies.

An Elaboration on Collaboration
Kelsey Street Press & Book Collaborations

Laurie Reid and Rena Rosenwasser discuss Barbara Guest’s Symbiosis
Monday, April 30, 2012, 5-7 pm

Kelsey Street Press was established in 1974 and is one of the longest lived independent publishers of literature by women. The early books were handset and printed two pages at a time on a basement Vandercook Press in Berkeley, California. Now Kelsey Street is exploring the interactive capabilities of electronic media. At the heart of the Press remains the pleasures of the written page, books that can be held and carried. More about Kelsey Street Press may be found here.

Barbara Guest (1920-2006) rose to prominence in the late fifties as a member of the New York School of poets. Their innovative approach to poetry was influenced by modern art, especially surrealism and abstract expressionism. During Guest’s long career, she wrote an experimental novel, Seeking Air; a biography of the poet H.D., Herself Defined; and over twenty volumes of poetry. In the last decade of her life she relocated to Berkeley, California where she continued to write about and collaborate with artists. Among her works from that period are Defensive Rapture (1994), Stripped tales (1995), The Confetti Trees (1999) and Symbiosis, (2000). In 1999, she was awarded the Frost Medal for Lifetime Achievement by the Poetry Society of America.

Laurie Reid is a fine artist who lives and works in Berkeley and Oakland. Her work is shown regularly in galleries across the U.S. and is included in the collections of SFMOMA, the Museum of Modern Art in NY, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Gallery in Washington DC, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and the Yale University Art Museum, among others.

Rena Rosenwasser was born in New York and is a longtime member of the Bay Area poetry community. In 1974 she co-founded Kelsey Street Press in Berkeley, and in the mid-eighties she initiated a series of collaborations between writers and artists; she served as Director of the Press for over twenty years. She is the author of numerous editions of poetry. Elevators, her latest, was recently reviewed in Jacket at https://jacket2.org/reviews/archive/201201.

Gelett Burgess: San Francisco Bohemian. A Talk by Alfred Jan and Richard Lupoff
Monday, April 9, 2012, 5-7 pm

Frank Gelett Burgess (January 30, 1866 – September 18, 1951) was an artist, art critic, poet, author, and humorist. An important figure in the San Francisco Bay Area literary renaissance of the 1890s, particularly through his iconoclastic little magazine, The Lark, he is best known as a writer of nonsense verse.

Alfred Jan is a practicing optometrist with an MA in Philosophy, specializing in Aesthetics. As an art critic, he reviewed exhibitions in the San Francisco Bay Area from 1982 to 1995. He has edited four collections of short stories first appearing in pulp magazines of the 1920s-1940s.

Richard Lupoff is the author of more than sixty books, including volumes of criticism and cultural history, mysteries, and science fiction. He is also the Editorial Director of Surinam Turtle Press. In this capacity he has been largely responsible for the revival of interest in the works of San Francisco author Gelett Burgess.

Aubrey Beardsley, 1872-1898, The Slippers of Cinderella. Pencil, ink, and watercolor, 1894. Mark Samuels Lasner Collection, on loan to the University of Delaware Library.

Aubrey Beardsley and His Publishers. A Talk by Mark Samuels Lasner.
Thursday, March 29, 2012, 5-7 pm

Aubrey Beardsley (1872-1898) was, without question, the most provocative, famous, and influential British illustrator at the fin de siecle. Indeed the time of his brief career–from 1892 to his death in 1898–is often referred to as “the Beardsley period.” This illustrated talk explores the artist’s often overlooked relations with the three publishers who brought his work before the public–J. M. Dent, who virtually discovered Beardsley and commissioned the great edition of Malory’s Le Morte Darthur; John Lane, of the Bodley Head, who hired (and then fired) Beardsley as editor of the Yellow Book, the quintessential magazine of the 1890s; and Leonard Smithers, seller of pornography and maker of beautiful books, for whom Beardsley was the key to his efforts to publish the decadents. Many of the illustrations will be drawn from Mr. Samuels Lasner’s own collection.

Collector, bibliographer. and typographer Mark Samuels Lasner is Senior Research Fellow at the University of Delaware Library. He is the author of numerous publications, including The Bookplates of Aubrey Beardsley (Rivendale Press, 2008); A Selective Checklist of the Published Work of Aubrey Beardsley (Thomas G. Boss Fine Books, 1995); and England in the 1880s: Old Guard and Avant-Garde (University of Virginia Press, 1989; co-authored with Margaret Stetz). His life’s work has been the amassing of what Mr. Samuels Lasner calls “A Period Library,” one of the country’s foremost private collections of books, manuscripts, letters, and artworks by British cultural figures who flourished between 1850 and 1900.

The Black Cockade by Katharine Cameron, The Yellow Book, April 1897

Members-only tour of the exhibition The Angel Leaves the House. Wednesday, March 28, 2012, 2 pm, Mills College Olin Library

2 pm-BCC Members-only tour of the exhibition.

3 pm-Opening Reception with talk, The Aesthetic Woman, by Margaret Stetz,Mae and Robert Carter Professor of Women’s Studies and Professor of Humanities, University of Delaware

During the Aesthetic Movement women not only inspired art, they also made it. That women were active participants in the Cult of Beauty is sometimes overlooked, but women wrote, drew, painted, photographed, engraved, sculpted, printed, bound and sewed, often toiling unnoticed in the background. This exhibition highlights a few of the many contributions British women made to the art of the book between 1860 and 1920.

Exhibition curated by Mills College Book Art students Rob Borges, Chloe Brubaker, Kat Howard, Mirabelle Jones, Margaret Seelie, and Alexandra Shepperd under the direction of Kathleen Walkup.

Advisor: Mark Samuels Lasner, Senior Research Fellow, University of Delaware Library

2012 Oscar Lewis Awards
Monday, March 12, 2012, 5-7 pm


Jonathan Clark
Oscar Lewis Award for Book Arts

W. Michael Mathes
Oscar Lewis Award for Western History

In the Footsteps of John Muir: A Talk by Peter & Donna Thomas
Monday, January 30, 2012, 5-7 pm

In early April 1868, John Muir set out on foot from San Francisco to Yosemite. He took the ferry to Oakland and walked through the Santa Clara Valley, over the Pacheco Pass, across the San Joaquin Valley to Snelling, and then up the foothills through Coulterville to arrive in Yosemite Valley around May 22nd.

In 2005, after finding that no Muir scholar or enthusiast had ever done so before, Peter and Donna Thomas set out to re-trace Muir’s footsteps. With a grant from The Book Club of California, they first researched the details of Muir’s walk, before completing their own 33 day walk in 2006.

Join us for an illustrated lecture by Peter & Donna Thomas in which they discuss their research, their walk, and the book they wrote about the experience, Muir Ramble Route: Walking from San Francisco to Yosemite in the Footsteps of John Muir.

More about the Thomases and their project may be found here.

Kevin Starr at the South Pasadena Public Library
Thursday, January 19, 2012, 7 pm

Join the Book Club and the South Pasadena Public Library as we co-host an author night with Kevin Starr, the pre-eminent chronicler of California life and culture and the author of the Book Club’s celebrated 2010 publication, Clio on the Coast: The Writing of California History, 1845-1945. Starr’s program will be the centerpiece of the Annual Meeting of the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library, and the first of the Club’s Centennial celebrations in Southern California.

The evening will include live music by Brad Colerick, a South Pasadena-based singer/songwriter, who will open the program with some classic songs about the Golden State. Refreshments will be served.

For more information about Clio on the Coast and to order a copy from The Book Club, please click here.

Exhibition Opening: And Who Wants Peace? Three Young Printers in Post-War San Francisco: William Everson, Jack Stauffacher, and Adrian Wilson
Monday, January 9, 2012, 5-7 pm

With Remarks by John McBride and Jack Stauffacher.

About the Exhibition:

In 1948, Jack Stauffacher & Adrian Wilson reprinted Eric Gill’s 1936 lecture, “And Who Wants Peace?”, an exquisite folio with a woodcut by Mary Fabilli, the then-companion of William Everson.

This exhibition focuses on the work of these young printers in the years right after WWII: the passion, the poetry, the service and the curiosity as they established their presses, studios and careers.

-John McBride, Curator

The Book Club of California’s 99th Birthday Gala!
Monday, December 12, 2011, 6-8 pm

Join us as we raise our glasses in a toast to 99 years!

Special, Ticketed Event

Proceeds support the statewide BCC Centennial Traveling Exhibition, Pressing Forward: The Book Club of California at 100, which opens at Santa Clara University in January, 2012

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