Celebrating 50 Years: 1964-2014

Works from Stern Book Arts & Special Collections Center & Koshland SF History Center
Event detail

Fifty years ago, City Librarian William Holman, Mayor John Shelley, past President of the Library Commission Nat Schmulowitz, UC Berkeley Professor James D. Hart, and President of the Friends of the Library Mrs. Carl W. Stern came together to formally dedicate the opening of the Rare Books & Special Collections Department at the San Francisco Public Library with a public event and program.

This formal dedication acknowledged the work of people like William Randolph Young, Max Kuhl, and Albert Bender in building the rare books and Californiana collections. It also signaled the value and significance of the collections already acquired and set the department on the road to further growth and development.

From its nineteenth century beginnings, with the acquisition of rare books from the William G. Medlicott library and the financial assistance of Adolph Sutro, through 1991 and the arrival of the first Gay & Lesbian Center archival collection, to 2014 and the growing demand for access to digital photographs and city archives in all formats, Special Collections has become a significant resource. Its unique collections are available not just to the citizens of San Francisco, but to patrons and scholars from around the world.

While this golden anniversary exhibition reveals the beauty and breadth of our collections, it will also amaze and amuse. We hope to stimulate your desire to delve more deeply into the riches of the San Francisco Public Library, which are freely available to all.

celebrating 50 years of special collections

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