Friday, February 7, 2014

The Book Club of California

After an extensive search, The Book Club of California is delighted to introduce to FABS members our new Executive Director, Jennifer Sime of Berkeley, California. Jennifer began her term on October 1, 2013. President Anne W. Smith notes that “Jennifer’s range of experience in book publishing and event management, as well as her art direction and editing skills, are extremely well suited to the Club’s mission and vision for its future in support of fine print, Western history, and literature.” Jennifer’s education background includes degrees in art history from Johns Hopkins University (M.A.) and Barnard College (B.A.). Jennifer also has administration and curatorial experience with art galleries and museums including the Baltimore Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Say hello to her:

In September we mourned the loss of our much-loved longtime librarian, Barbara Land. Barbara is being remembered in the 2013Winter Quarterly News-Letter (QNL), which will be out mid-January 2014. This will also be the last issue brought to us by Dr. Robert Chandler who has opted out of the QNL editorship after 17 years of steadfast service. The Book Club of California is extremely grateful for Dr. Chandler’s remarkable contribution and will miss his wit and wisdom.Peter Rutledge Koch has taken over as Editor of the QNL and welcomes contributions, inquiries, and FABS member news and information. Peter is considering themed issues devoted to fine printing, book fairs and book collecting, western literature, libraries, California wood engravers, and artist books of the American West. Contact him via:

Thanks to the fundraising efforts of Henry Snyder, the Club has benefited in recent months from generosity of individual donors led by Paul Robertson, Barbara Land, Noel Kirshenbaum, and the Florence Walters family. The Club’s library, gallery, and workroom spaces have been updated and enhanced. Library additions
have also included a complete set of Grabhorn Press publications. Contact library@ for more information.

The Book Club of California Board maintained extensive program activity in the fall of 2013, culminating with Book Club 101, a December 13th celebration of our one hundred first anniversary honoring donors, volunteers, and supporters. The BCC fall exhibition “Draw me a Story” was on display September 9 to December 30, 2013. Originating from San Francisco’s Cartoon Art Museum, the twenty-three original drawings and paintings and a baker’s dozen of classic books explored one hundred years of timeless nursery rhymes, fairy stories, bold adventures, amazing animal tales, and imaginative ABCs. Collector Malcolm Whyte curated the exhibition and prepared a keepsake catalog. The exhibition paralleled an expanded schedule of talks and events. Diversity of subject matter has continued to attract increasing audiences as the Club enters its third year in new quarters and expanded attendance statewide. Events and talks included:

A Southern California publication and printing party in Pasadena honored the Club’s most recent book, Richard Wagener’s The Sierra Nevada Suite.

“Civil War in San Francisco” A talk by Glenna Matthews.

“On The Rim of a Volcano” A talk by Bruce McKinney. Presented by the California Rare Book School.

Catamaran Literary Reader Issue #4 Launch Party. Featuring readings by contributors Hilton Obenzinger and Susan Vreeland.

“A Fresh Look at the Library” Young Writers (from Ruth Asawa School of the Arts) read works inspired by the BCC Collection.

“The California Society of Printmakers: One Hundred Years, 1913-2013” A publication party and panel discussion for the CSP Centennial observation.

“Doctors and Patients; Medicine and Literature” One of many panel discussions scheduled for Litquake’s annual San Francisco literary festival.

“Scientist, Scholar, and Scoundrel: The Life and Exploits of Count Guglielmo Libri.” An Illustrated Talk by Jeremy Norman.

“From Heather’s Mommies to Tango’s Daddies: The Evolution of Family Affirming Children’s Literature” A talk by Randy Tarpey-Schwed.


The next exhibition at The Book Club of California Club is “Design for Modernity: Art Deco Ephemera” from the Collection of Bruce Shyer” January 27 – April 28 2014.

And please SAVE THE DATE – October 24-25, 2014: We have tentatively scheduled another exciting BCC Symposium: A Feast for the Eyes: Gastronomy in Print.

The Zamorano Club

The Zamorano club kicked off the summer with a wonderful fundraising book auction hosted in the Gamble House in Pasadena. The Gamble House was designed in 1908 by architects Greene & Greene. It was commissioned by David and Mary Gamble a second generation member of the Procter & Gamble Company, of Cincinnati, Ohio, as a retirement residence. The house is a complete Arts and Crafts movement jewel with the original custom-designed furniture still a part of the estate. The auction consisted of books donated by members of the club. It was a successful and enjoyable afternoon.

Monthly meetings started back up in October with a lecture by Steven Hackel entitled “The Rock and the Crucifx: Changing Representations of Serra over Time.” The iconography of Father Serra was analyzed through period representations in paintings and sculpture within the context of the culture of the local community and California politics. It was a wonderful start to our 2013-2014 meeting lecture series. On October 29 the Clark Library presented the 9th annual Kenneth Karmiole lecture, “Eighteenth-Century Publishers and Women Writers: Antagonism and Alliances” by Isobel Grundy (Professor Emeritus, University of Alberta). Ken Karmiole is a member of the Zamorano Club and a great supporter of the academic book community. The next club meeting was in November and we had the pleasure of hearing Jeff Groves deliver his presentation “A Hands-On Approach to Printing History: Building a Replica of an Eighteenth-Century Printing Press.” To obtain a practical knowledge of the press, Professor Groves measured the original press, drew plans, gathered materials and tools, and then built a replica in his garage. The finished press is on view at the Honnold Library at Clairmont University. Mr. Groves shared with us what he learned about eighteenth-century press technology through this project. In December, at our annual Gaudeamus celebration, we heard from Richard Wagener, who discussed his evolution as a wood engraver, showing examples from his early, abstract work to his later figurative work, scenes from the California Sierra Nevada. He has had two books of his engravings published by the Book Club of California along with others printed by Peter Koch and by his own imprint, The Mixolydian Press.

On January 14, 2014, the annual Zamorano Lecture at the Huntington Library will feature Nick Wilding on the recent forgeries of Galileo’s “Sidereus Nuncius.” Over a dozen other rare scientific books recently sold are also turning out to be fakes. Dr. Wilding will describe the “low-tech” bibliographical methods and lines of reasoning he used to expose the fakes. Following the ABAA Fair in Pasadena on February 8, 2014, members of New York’s Grolier Club will join once again with Zamoranans to exchange tales of book-fair conquests and raise toasts to each other’s congenial company at a joint reception at The Women’s City Club of Pasadena on Saturday, February 8, 2014.

The Book Club of Washington

The Book Club of Washington (BCW) ended 2013, a highly active year, with the annual Holiday Dinner and Silent Auction. Many books, gift certificates, and other desirable gifts were available, resulting in an appreciated contribution to the BCW. The annual event itself is always one of our most pleasurable membership evenings.

Early in 2014, the current website will be upgraded with enhancements that include a place to showcase book-related activities from libraries, museums, archives, and organizations throughout the region. Program plans for 2014 include a number of lectures, tours and bibliophilic activities. We will sponsor a lecture from a local professor on her new publication about the history of the book. There will be a scheduled viewing of the Saint John’s Bible, a handwritten and hand-illuminated Bible. Other events will include a workshop on managing book collections; a visit to a local fine press print shop; and a trip to visit libraries, book shops, and collections in Walla Walla, Washington. As plans are finalized, the details will be on the BCW website,   

The Book Club of Washington publishes a twice-yearly Journal of book-related essays. The contents of the current issue and back issues can be found on the website. The cover story of the Fall 2013 issue is the story behind a fine-printed invitation, created (but never mailed) in 1929. This invitation to local bibliophiles is the first known mention of what became the Book Club of Washington over fifty years later. Other articles are about a collector’s reminiscences of Edward Fitzgerald; “faux” books; the Corn Palace; the journey of discovery that started with a book of women printers; and a recent exhibition of the work of book artists in support of a tragedy in Iraq.

The first book in a new Chapbook Series continues in development. Publication is expected in mid-2014 with a previously unpublished essay by one of the most highly acknowledged Northwest authors of the early twentieth century.

The Book Club of Washington Annual Meeting is held in April, when new officers and board members are announced. The social aspects of the meeting involve a wonderful time for members to share the stories and treasures of their collecting adventures. Events and activities are published on the Book Club of Washington website, FABS members are welcome to participate. If you are in the Seattle area and would like to contact us, our email address is

The Washington Rare Book Group

January 2014: National Museum of American History – “Jefferson Bible conservation” (lunch time event).

February 2014: Library of Congress – “Margaret Armstrong-designed bindings” (lunch time event).

March 2014: “Shop Talk.” A panel on rare book cataloging for small private collections (lunch time event).

April 2014: Mount Vernon estate library/rare book collection (Saturday event).

May 21, 2014: At Ft. McNair, Mark Dimunation, Head of Rare Books and Special Collections at the Library of Congress (lunch time event).

Please check our website at: for actual dates and times for events.

The Ticknor Society

Ticknor Holiday Book Swap

Wednesday, December 4, 6:15 PM
First Church, 66 Marlborough Street, Boston

At the Ticknor Holiday Book Swap on December 4 at the First Church in Boston, a glorious cornucopia of books, food and drink, together with the careful planning of the host, Christine O'Neill, ensured that December's book swap came off with lively (but generally polite) swapping. Tucked into each book was a unique back-story related by its donor.

The Ticknor Society Collectors' Roundtable at the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair was hosted by Chris Morgan this year, with the theme "Women in the Book Trade and Their Collections." Our panel featured three women who are book collectors as well as book dealers. Susan Krinsky, of Brandywine Antiques & Books in Amherst (NH), spoke about her personal collection of science fiction, including William Timlin's Ship That Sailed to Mars and Eleanor Vere Boyle's Beauty and the Beast. Teri Osborn, an Americana Cataloger at the William Reese Company in New Haven, spoke and provided examples of her collecting interest, which currently focuses on her home state of Indiana. Finally, Heather O'Donnell, of Honey & Wax Booksellers in Brooklyn, specializes in unusual and unique copies of literary classics, with an emphasis on association copies. She’ll be sharing some of the books that inspired her to start Honey & Wax two years ago.

On October 5, 2013, The Ticknor Society visited Providence’s John Russell Bartlett Society at the Providence Public Library for an engaging day of magic and fun. Jordan Goffin, Special Collections Librarian at PPL, showed materials from the John H. Percival Collection of magic. Ticknor member and amateur magician Chris Morgan demonstrated some of Lewis Carroll’s favorite magic tricks, after which the group toured bookstores in Providence.

Upcoming Event: Caring for Your Collection

Monday, January 27, 2014. 7:00 PM
First Church, 66 Marlborough Street, Back Bay, Boston

Experienced book binders and conservators Marie Oedel, Todd Pattison, and Stuart Walker, will demonstrate methods for preserving your personal collection and preventing damage. Members have been invited to bring along a book for Roadshow-style comment by the experts.

The Sacramento Book Collectors Club

The Sacramento Book Collectors Club celebrates its 75th Anniversary in March 2014, with a dinner in an historically appropriate venue, and a monograph of its history. Diversity of interests contributes to its longevity in writing, collecting, fine printing and binding. Its officers are sworn in each January again in the State Capitol's elegant State Library, officiated by the Hon. Judge David Meeker (ALJ, Ret.) coinciding with its most popular event of "Show & Tell" which invites each member to exhibit a singular newly-acquired volume to one's collection. President Maryellen Burns-Dabaghian is re-elected as President, Lawrence Fox as VP, and an active slate of officers. Speaker programs continue with February's Robert Litchfield, J.D., on his new book, "Homelessness" in Northern California, with anticipated mental health and ethical tie-ins. April brings Christine Z. Mason, J.D., award-winning author, on her new 2nd book, "Boundaries: A Love Story" with mysterious family secrets. Club meets the 2nd Friday each month, September-July, at a branch of the Sacramento Public Library, details at