Friday, May 11, 2012

Manuscript Society Visits the Autograph Collection of the LA Public Library

Eleven members of the Los Angeles chapter of the Manuscript Society gathered at 10:00 AM on May 5th at Los Angeles' Central Library. Among those attending were incoming president Beverly Hill (pictured with Kevin Segall and Emma Roberts), Board members Dennis Shapiro, Michael Hecht, and Kevin Segall, as well as retired Disney archivist and past Board member Dave Smith, and Gary Milan, renowned for his Revolutionary War and entertainment collections.

Beverly Hill, Emma Roberts, Kevin Segall
Thanks to the organizing efforts of Kevin Segall, we were escorted into the Rare Book Room where Subject Specialist Emma Roberts laid out some treasures, among which were a 13th century manuscript in Latin (sold to the Library in 1960 by the now-100-year-old Glen Dawson), a diary written by a Frenchman during the Gold Rush, an 18th century cookbook, and a book that was branded (!) to prevent theft (see photo).

branded book to prevent theft
The highlight of our visit, however, was the Charles Lummis collection of 1700 autographs, obtained from writers, artists, and other prominent people while Lummis was head librarian (1905-1910). On the special library stationery sent to them by Lummis, the recipients responded in a variety of ways, some with quotations, some with long explanations and some with original artwork (see photo).
Dorothy Dix Autographed Manuscript from the Lummis Collection
After our visit, the group retired to the Biltmore for lunch and a discussion of what we had seen.

Story courtesy of Michael Hecht

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