Last week, on December 12, 2012, Laura Sorvetti and I went to San Francisco to join the Book Club of California in celebrating 100 years. Since its founding in 1912 the Book Club of California (BCC) has printed fine editions focusing on California history and literature. It was started by a group of book collectors, sellers, scholars, writers, printers and entrepreneurs. It was a fun field trip!
Laura recently joined The Book Club of California; first as a member, then as a director on the board. She said that for a long time she had admired the organization from afar, but then after working with Catherine Trujillo on the Pressing Forward exhibit last spring, she was ready to jump right in and get involved. Laura said, “The first time I visited the club rooms on Sutter Street and met many of the gracious and passionate members, I couldn’t express how excited I was: “I found printing-book people like me!””
The celebration was held in the Julia Morgan Ballroom at the Merchants Exchange Building. Many were dressed in period garb. I loved looking out at the sea of hats and imagining that I was visiting another era, an era when they served poached celery as an appetizer…
Here’s more from Laura:
Any Californian who makes it to their 100th birthday is in pretty good shape. The Book Club, on their hundredth-year birthday, is still remarkably young, and it is the members who maintain that youthful and passionate character. Even at the centennial luncheon, a time for reflection and maybe a pat on the back for making it this far, the invited speakers were already planning for the next hundred years. While they acknowledged the importance of continuing the traditions of The Book Club, they are considering how we can gracefully move into the 21st century future, participating in the continued history of the book & fine printing in California. Smart move, sustainably speaking. I am looking forward to contributing to the next century’s work.
And just think: in another hundred years they’ll be telling the story of our historic luncheon.
As part of the centennial celebration, Kennedy Library hosted an exhibit about the BCC called Pressing Forward. You can learn more about opening reception — Tom Killion talking about his woodcut process, Erin Zamrzla showing us how to make handmade books — in an earlier post.