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The Bancroft Library, Berkeley in partnership with the 50th California Antiquarian Book Fair 2017

This year's California Antiquarian Book Fair will include a special exhibit from The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, which has a long history of collecting the literary fiction of California.
We spoke to librarian and curator of the special exhibit, Randal S. Brandt about the library and its collections and why the special exhibit was chosen for this year's California fair.
Published on 21 Sept. 2018
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This year’s Book Fair will include a special exhibit from The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, which has a long history of collecting the literary fiction of California.

We spoke to librarian and curator of the special exhibit, Randal S. Brandt about the library and its collections and why the special exhibit was chosen for this year’s California fair.

What special collections does the library hold? What are the treasures of the collections?

The Bancroft Library is the rare books and special collections library of the University of California, Berkeley. The collections include Western Americana and Latin Americana (founder Hubert Howe Bancroft’s original collecting areas), rare books and literary manuscripts, history of science and technology, pictorial collections, digital collections, and University Archives. Additionally, the library has three research centers and their collections: the Mark Twain Papers, the Oral History Center, and the Center for the Tebtunis Papyri.

The Bancroft Library holds so many treasures that it is difficult to single any of them out. In addition to many of the landmarks in the history of printed books, such as the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493), the first edition of the King James Bible (1611), and Shakespeare’s first folio (1623), the library holds countless unique items that document and illustrate the history of California and the West. Two such items are the actual nugget of gold discovered at Sutter’s Mill in 1848 that launched the California Gold Rush, and the diary of Patrick Breen, a survivor of the ill-fated Donner Party.

Please tell us a bit more about the special exhibit at the California fair in 2017 and why it was chosen?

The Bancroft Library has a long history of collecting the literary fiction of California. In 2013, the library formally established the California Detective Fiction Collection in order to expand its holdings of mystery and crime fiction set in California and written by California authors. The special exhibit will highlight this new collecting focus, in addition to featuring examples of other types of genre fiction, such as fantasy and science fiction and western fiction. Items on display include materials from the extensive collection of influential author, critic, and literary mentor Anthony Boucher, first editions by early members of the Northern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, selections by western and adventure writer Kenneth Perkins and science fiction and techno-thriller writer Frank M. Robinson, and books by MWA Grand Masters Ross Macdonald, Margaret Millar, Marcia Muller, and Bill Pronzini. The exhibit also features a copy of the first edition The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett and explores Hammett’s influence on the contemporary hard-boiled detective novel.

Bancroft Library, Berkeley & The 50th Calfornia International Antiquarian Book Fair

The 50th California International Antiquarian Book Fair returns to Oakland Marriott City Center from February 10-12, 2017. The fair is recognized as one of the world's largest and most prestigious exhibitions of antiquarian books and sponsored by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (ABAA) and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) and featuring the collections and rare treasures of nearly 200 booksellers from over 20 countries around the world.

The special exhibit from Bancroft, Berkeley will highlight California authors’ notable contributions in genre fiction and will emphasize recent donations to the library by featuring materials from the extensive collection of influential author, critic, and literary mentor Anthony Boucher, first editions by early members of the Northern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, selections by popular western and adventure writer Kenneth Perkins and MWA Grand Master Ross Macdonald, and more.

For more information about the library, please visit the library’s website or contact librarian and curator of the special exhibit, Randal S. Brandt via email.

We recommend to use the link below to read about the history of this California institution, that was set up in 1905 after the acquistion of the collection of lifelong colletor Hubert Howe Bancroft, a bookseller and author who had assembled all the books about California and the West at his San Francisco bookstore in order to make a reference shelf to use in preparing to publish the 1860 Hand-Book Almanac for the Pacific States.

>> History of the Bancroft Library, Berkeley

For more information about the California fair, please visit this website.

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