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Book Club of California collection

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: CSC-0057

Scope and Contents

The Book Club of California contains printed materials. This is divided into four series: Keepsakes, Postcards, Prospectuses, and Miscellaneous. Keepsakes are typically letterpress-printed cards or pamphlets printed by Book Club members, and then distributed to the group as a whole. These may include short topic texts with color illustrations. Postcards are often event or exhibition notices sent to members. Book Club of California Prospectuses are documents designed inform members of forthcoming books. They are usually several pages long with the books’ sample texts, illustrations, and ordering information. The Miscellaneous classification contains correspondence, lists of publications, formal invitations, and obituary notices for club members.


  • Creation: 1920-2013
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1950 - 2000


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical / Historical

The Book Club of California is a non-profit membership organization founded in 1912. It supports the art of fine printing related to the history and literature of California and the western states of America through research, publishing, public programs, and exhibitions. The Club was conceived by poet Dr. Edward Robeson Taylor, book collector W. R. K. Young, printer John Henry Nash, publisher James D. Blake, and Charles C. Moore. This group had originally intended on forming an exhibition of rare books and fine printing for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. The resulting club started with 58 charter members, and has grown over its hundred-year tenure to include some 1,000 members.

The Book Club of California publishes books, keepsakes, and ephemera strong in attention to high craft, fine design, and letterpress printing. It has produced over 220 limited books that are distributed to its members, who also enjoy regular Book Club of California programs such as speakers and exhibitions at the BCC headquarters in San Francisco.


1.25 Linear Feet (1 carton)




The Book Club of California collection contains keepsakes, book prospectuses, and ephemera produced by the Club to promote their publications and programs. The bulk of the collection was acquired over several decades as a benefit of the RIT Cary Collection being a "Standing Order" member. The Collection is not a complete repository of everything the Club has produced since 1912.


Collection is organized first by material type, and then chronologically.

Physical Location

Cary Graphic Arts Collection

Custodial History

Prior to being assembled here, the Book Club of California collection was held in the Cary Collection's Ephemera files.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The bulk of the Book Club of California collection pieces were sent from the blub as a benefit of the Cary Collection's membership. Portions of the collection (keepsakes from the 1970s) were given by Joshua Heller, bookseller at an unspecified date. A small portion of the collection may have been derived from Melbert B. Cary, Jr.'s personal papers.


Materials are added to this collection as they become available.


  • Book Club of California website.
  • Magee, David Bickersteth. The Hundredth Book; A Bibliography of the Publications of the Book Club of California & a History of the Club. San Francisco: Printed at the Grabhorn Press for the Book Club of California, 1958. Print.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Amelia Hugill-Fontanel, May 2013.

Finding aid encoded by Amelia Hugill-Fontanel, May 2013.

Book Club of California collection
In Progress
Cary Special Collections
Amelia Hugill-Fontanel
8 May 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Cary Graphic Arts Collection Repository

Rochester NY 14623 US
(585) 475-2408