Sponsored by The Book Club of California
In September of 1926, Albert M. Bender turned his philanthropic focus on Stanford University Library. As one of the founders of the Book Club of California, Bender needs no introduction to this audience who will also be familiar with his efforts to establish an appreciation for the book arts at Mills College, San Francisco Public Library, and other Bay Area institutions. His offer to assemble, with the co-operation of friends, “a collection of notable examples of fine printing to be placed on exhibition in the Stanford Library”, was immediately embraced by faculty, students, and library staff. This gift was the catalyst for the creation in rapid succession of a Typographical Collection, a Rare Book Room, a staff position for a Keeper of Rare Books, and, by the end of the 1930s, a Division of Special Collections to manage the library’s growing holdings of rare and distinctive materials.
Over the decades, the Stanford collections were reorganized several times and much of the provenance information about this transformative period was lost from the library catalog, with the foundational gift eventually being dispersed. This presentation explores some notable pre-Bender acquisitions, once held on a bookcase in the library director’s office, before introducing the foundational gift of “Finely Printed Books” that started, and in many ways still shapes, the collecting program at Stanford.
An in-person and virtual presentation by Benjamin Albritton, Rare Books Curator in the Department of Special Collections at Stanford Libraries