Pressing Forward:

         The Book Club of California at 100

As the general public's link to the printed page becomes increasingly tenuous and as greater numbers embrace the virtual images of their e-readers, true bibliophiles still revel in an appreciation of the origins of print, the texture of fine paper, and the intriguing idiosyncrasies of typography. Pressing Forward: The Book Club of California at 100, the newest exhibit in the Third Floor Gallery of the Learning Commons celebrates the artistry of print in a tribute to the centennial of the Book Club of California (BCC), which publishes fine press editions of books on California and the West.

In 1912, in San Francisco, a group of book lovers came together to create The Book Club of California. At that time, San Francisco possessed fine press printers, a thriving literary and art community, knowledgeable booksellers, and major book collectors. Fifty-eight of these men and women including the city appraiser Adolph Sutro and Phoebe Hearst , were the charter members of The Book Club of California, created for "the study of letters and promotion of the arts pertaining to the production of books." The first years set the program that has continued to this day. Scholarly lectures on the book were sponsored, the first exhibit (on rare bookplates) was mounted, and the Club offices were established in downtown San Francisco. In 1914, the Club published its first book, Bibliography of the History of California and the Pacific West, 1510-1906, by Robert E. Cowan.

In honor of the one hundredth anniversary of The Book Club of California, the focus of the exhibit, "Pressing Forward," will be the physical creation and manifestation of the written word. Items in the exhibit are drawn from Santa Clara University's extensive collection of BCC publications. All books on display in the exhibit will be available to the public in the Martin Reading Room at a later date. For more information please visit the website of The Book Club of California.


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