A Stroll by My Western Bookshelves

Document Sample
A Stroll by My Western Bookshelves Powered By Docstoc
					                          The Patrons’ Post

                    Patrons of the Pollak Library
                 California State University Fullerton

Volume XI       Number 1                                  Fall/Winter 2006

    Patrons of the Pollak Library, California State University Fullerton
                P. O. Box 4150, Fullerton, CA 92834-4150

             A Stroll by Gordon’s Western Bookshelves

                             By Albert R. Vogeler

      If we agree to take a leisurely       weathered leather, and perhaps a
stroll with Gordon Van De Water             whiff of tobacco smoke will
through his collection of Western           accompany us most of the way. If
Americana, we had better be                 we are really ready to open our
prepared to put away our                    hearts to the writers we will meet,
appointment books and turn off our          we must not shrink from the sweat,
cell phones. We won’t be back               the blood, and the tears on their
soon. The stroll will be more of a          pages.
ramble or a meander than a                         In his book, A Stroll by My
perambulation or a promenade,               Western Bookshelves, Gordon Van De
because we will be circling around          Water (Past President of the
and back, following no track, and           Patrons of the Library) manages to
pausing often. The aromas of chili          mention 146 authors and twice as
and cowboy coffee, the scent of             many titles—yet he is somehow able

to linger longer among the most          ever leaving London? Or about
intriguing and appealing of them         Owen Wister, the privileged
than would seem possible in 165          Philadelphian and Harvard friend of
pages. His seemingly naïve scheme        Theodore Roosevelt who wrote the
of presenting his books to us            classic western novel of Wyoming
alphabetically is of course an ironic    called—The Virginian? Or about the
artifice: everything he wants to         forever young Frank Norris, who
show us somehow turns out to be          made the streets of San Francisco
somewhere between A and Z and            and the wheat fields of the San
he will get to all of it in good time.   Joaquin Valley primal sites of
The most rigid and unimaginative         American literary realism long
organizing principle turns out to be     before Dreiser or Steinbeck? All are
the most fluid and personal.             on Gordon’s bookshelves.
Besides, Gordon feels free to                    If both familiarity and
interpose thematic sections              novelty mark Gordon’s Western
wherever in the alphabet he feels        collection, variety does also. Much
like it—bibliographies of Western        intense experience is recorded here,
books, books of Western                  and daring action, but also much
photography, books about                 reflection and reminiscence. Here
California missions, books about         are books by and about explorers,
the Gold Rush, fine press books,         seafarers, frontiersmen,
and books about cooking (Oh! that        mountaineers, hunters, rangers,
chili!).                                 rustlers, gunmen, outlaws, lawmen,
         Along the way we are            gold-finders, cowboys, tenderfeet,
tempted to handle fondly his copies      politicians, poets, novelists,
of books by or about our dearly          scholars, and Chinese laborers;
familiar literary heroes, Mark Twain     novels and narratives by pioneer
and Robert Louis Stevenson. Then         women; books by fighters and also
we begin to encounter a series of        by friends of the Indians. Often
fascinating near-strangers like the      generously quoted, they pulse with
legendary outlaw Joaquin Murieta,        the bustle, bravado, struggle, and
the reformed train robber George         strife of life in the old West.
Sontag, the self-obsessed poet                   Throughout our stroll,
Joaquin Miller, who renamed              Gordon specifically mentions many
himself after the outlaw, and the        of the indispensable intermediaries
compulsive recluse collector             between writers and readers—book
William McPherson. Should we not         sellers, book clubs, other
long since have known about the          collectors—all part of the chain of
Englishman Henry Vizetelly, who in       acquiring, assessing, and savoring
1849 published a famous first-hand       books. Another facilitator of
account of his adventurous trip to       collecting today is the internet, with
the California gold fields—without       its booksellers’ websites ranging

from obscure antiquaries to the           motive behind Fit for Sight and Touch:
mighty Amazon. Gordon                     Fine Press Books of John Henry Nash.
unabashedly acknowledges them—            He is a long-time member of the
including e-Bay—as allies in saving       Zamorano Club and devoted to
time and shoe leather.                    enlarging his own collection of the
        Since digression and              club’s list of the eighty most
divagation are in the nature of our       important books of Californiana.
stroll, we can feel free to pause here    This explains The Zamorano 80
for an information stop. Gordon is        Revisited: A Collector’s Update of a
by no means a collector only of           Classic Work. He has also written a
Western Americana—his interests           wonderfully evocative biography of
are wide. And, as with most               his father, to whom he owes the
collectors, unplanned chance              beginning of his love of books: No
opportunities have created                Ordinary Man: the Story of the Life of
collecting agendas over and               William Russell Van De Water. And
above—even competing with--his            we all remember his talk for the
systematic pursuit of longstanding        Patrons’ 2003 Annual Meeting,
interests. Here is one example.           ―The Collecting Bug and How It Bit
Asked by a friend to advise a             Me.‖
graduate student who was                          Would it be ungrateful to ask
comparing the works of Alice              why in our stroll we don’t meet Max
Tisdale Hobart (Oil for the Lamps of      Brand, or Zane Grey, or Louis
China) with those of Pearl Buck (The      Lamour? Or Frank Dobie, or
Good Earth), he was inspired to           Wallace Stegner, or Paul Horgan?
begin collecting both authors.            Or Robinson Jeffers, or Ambrose
Hobart’s works he soon had                Bierce, or Jack London? Or
complete. After two years of              Clarence King, or John Muir, or
further intensive collecting, he had      Edward Weston? Or Willa Cather,
purchased every one of Pearl Buck’s       or Gertrude Atherton, or Joan
books--over a hundred, and found          Didion? Or Dashiell Hammett, or
all her articles He has recently          Raymond Chandler, or Ross
donated this exceptional collection       MacDonald? Or Kenneth Patchen,
to the Denison Library of Scripps         or Kenneth Rexroth, or William
College ―where women can have a           Everson? Yes, it would.
go at seeing what made Pearl tick.‖                There is such a sufficiency
        Gordon not only collects          already on Gordon’s bookshelves
books omnivorously but writes             that to ask for more at this point
about them expertly. That he wrote        would be churlish. Besides, there
A Catalog of the Works of Pearl S. Buck   may be good reasons why some fine
is not surprising. But we would           California and Western writers do
have to know who his favorite             not appear. Gordon’s is, after all,
printer was to understand the             not a comprehensive public library

but a selective private one. He           sir, may I have some more?‖
collects what he cares for, what he       Gordon very carefully declines to
can find, and what he can afford.         give no for an answer.
Who can demand more? His                         I now have it on good
collection is of course a work in         authority that Gordon’s delicate
progress. Many apparent lacunae           reticence is really setting the stage
may in due course be filled, books        for a second stroll in another book.
we do not know may appear, and—           We may eventually learn more
who knows—some books may                  about how the collecting bug bit
disappear.                                him and how he chooses and
        Our fascinating and               manages his collection I have
immensely informative stroll must         every confidence that many of our
finally come to a close. We step          questions will be answered and that
into the light of common day with         our admiration for his achievement
the tantalizing hope that we may          will grow even greater.
somehow be able to resume it.
When at the end we are invited to
ask Oliver Twist’s question, ―Please,

               Message from President Dorothy Heide
    Welcome to a new year of the Patrons of the Library. The 2005-2006 year
was challenging and exciting. The exciting part was the preparation of the
grant application to the National Endowment for the Humanities to digitize the
Boswell Map Collection. The challenging part was the preparation of the grant
application to the National Endowment for the Humanities to digitize the
Collection! It was both challenging and exciting because it was completed over
a relatively short time and included two preliminary reviews by the NEH
contact person in Washington. And it was prepared by a committee…you all
know how a group project can sometimes turn into a group disaster.
Fortunately, the effort was rewarding to all involved. We will know in April if
the application is successful.
    If you’d like to view some digitized images of map details, go to
http://www.library.fullerton.edu/Patrons/maps/mapsintro.html. With a PC,
just click twice on the image for maximum enlargement. On the Mac, click

    Patrons will continue yearly visits to interesting venues such as the Munger
Research Center at the Huntington Library. Planning for the Spring Lecture
Series is underway with exciting speakers scheduled. (See article later in this
issue for details.) If you’d like more information about the Patrons, contact me
either by telephone (714-637-5131) or by email (dheide@fullerton.edu). Please
join Board members and participate in Patrons activities.

             Book Selection Committee Annual Report

                      By Gordon J. Van De Water, Chair

    The time has rolled around once again when I am delighted to report on
some purchases made by the committee that considers the many listings of
books presented to it by the library staff over the academic year – a sort of
―wish list‖ of books desired for the library - books not included for purchase in
the regular approved budget.
     This significant committee meets once each month during the academic
year to select those titles deemed worthy to be in a university library – many
books having the flavor of Southern California or of local interest. It is with
your continued support as a member of the Patrons that we are able to carry on
with this important mission.
    Some 175 plus books were approved for purchase in the past year. The
following listing offers a few of the titles we discussed and even argued over,
albeit in a civilized manner, to arrive at a unanimous decision for their
acceptance. Our cup runneth over!

              Orange County: Views of the Past and Present
               Encyclopedia of Women in American History
                 American in Paris: A Literary Anthology
           American Masters: Hank Williams (10 CD Boxed Set)
               Early Latino Ballplayers in the United States
                  Malibu: A Century of Living by the Sea
                        Charlemagne’s Tablecloth
                       Atlas of European Values
                           California Missions
                            History of Old Age
                             Oriental Theatre
                             Yosemite in Time

                               Bawdy Balboa
                                Bonus Army
                                Buena Park
                                 L.A. Noir
                         Guarding the Overland Trails

             Activities Report for Patrons of the Library

                     By Howard Seller and Suzanne Serbin

    The Activities Committee has had a busy summer planning the fall field trip
and the 2007 Lecture Series. Please mark your calendars for what looks to be
some exciting events.
    On November 29, we will be visiting the Margaret Herrick Library, housed
in the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, for a
private tour of this fine facility. Bus transportation will be provided and lunch
will follow the tour. Additional information and sign-up sheets will be mailed
to members in October.
    On January 28, we are privileged to host Karl Fleming, legendary civil rights
reporter for Newsweek and author of Son of the Rough South, his recently
published autobiography.
    On February 25, documentary filmmaker Pamela Mason Wagner visits us
from New York with her most recent work, a film she just completed for the
Fred Friendly Seminars on ethics in business.
    On March 25, we welcome Kim Stanley Robinson whose science fiction
novels have garnered many awards, including the Nebula Award, the Asimov,
and the Hugo Award.
    We hope all of you plan to join us for these events.

                  Treasurer’s Report – Fiscal 2005/06

                          By Claude Coppel, Treasurer

   The year ending on June 30, 2006 was financially positive for the Patrons of
the Library. We had anticipated a deficit year due to decreasing membership
fees and anticipated greater expenditures for the Boswell Project (map
digitization). Also income from the duplicating machines that the Patrons own

has been on the decline for the past few years due to greater on-line computer
use by the students.
   However, greater income than expected resulted from rising interest rates
on the Patrons’ assets, income from a very successful Lecture Series, and lower
costs on the Boswell Project during a period of changing personnel.
   As a result net income for the Patrons was over $2600. Also the Patrons’
Photoduplication account saw an increase of $28,000. Interest from this latter
account is available to the Patrons.

                Membership Report– September 2006

                               By George Pollak

    In the spring of this year, the Patrons Board of Governors reviewed and revised
membership categories, fees, and term to offer the best possible range of service
to our members. Our existing $50 Basic memberships, $150 Enhanced level, and
$500 for Benefactors were continued. Our previous $25/year category for faculty
and staff was broadened to include current CSUF students. A new $30 CSUF
Alumni membership and a $100 Family membership for 3 people were established .
Life memberships – previously $2500 – were changed to $1000.
    Previously, all annual memberships were for the existing academic year
without regard to when the membership began. This was altered so that all
such memberships run for a full 12 months from the opening month.
    These changes, and the new Alumni category in particular, have to date
proved to be very popular. As a result, our membership total has increased over
20% compared to last year at this time.
    We intend to demonstrate to both new and renewing members that they
have made an excellent choice on both the personal and community level. We
are continuing to increase our scope of member activities, which are outlined
elsewhere in this publication, and to keep them relevant and stimulating for
you. You also have the satisfaction of providing important support to
enhancing the holdings and stature of the CSUF Library. Your memberships
are a primary source of funds enabling us to purchase significant additions to
the library’s collection.
    If you have not yet renewed your Patrons membership, I hope you will do
so in one of the membership categories which I’ve outlined. You and we will
both be glad that you did. A membership application can be printed from our
website, which can be reached from the CSUF Library’s homepage under

          Patrons of the Library Book Discussion Group

                                By Susan Serbin

       The Patrons Book Discussion Group meets on the fourth Thursday of
each month, 3 P.M. to 5 P.M. in the second floor conference room of Library
South. We meet September through November and January through May.
The group follows two formats. On some occasions, each person may select
his/her own book and give a brief report on this selection. We call this type of
meeting a ―wild card.‖ At other times a member chooses a book for general
discussion and proceeds to serve as the leader.
       The first meeting of the year is September 28 and is designated a ―wild
card.‖ Please join us on this date and share some of your more memorable
summer reading. On October 26, George Pollak is our helmsman for a
discussion of The Dominion of War by Fred Anderson and Andrew Cayton, an
excellent treatise on the military history of this nation.
       If you are without a campus parking permit, please contact Suzanne
Serbin at 714-870-4349, and she will see if one may be obtained on your behalf
or to arrange a carpool. Newcomers are most welcome to attend, either as
participants or listeners. Call or email Suzanne if you have any questions:

              Book Sale Center Report September 2006

                                By June Pollak

    In operation since 1995, the Book Sale Center sells used books from
donations and excess books from the CSUF Library. Our very low prices of
$1, $2, or $3 per book are set to help the CSUF students and others purchase
books which are usually extremely expensive. All proceeds from sales are

designated to purchase books for the Library, vitally important in this era of
tight state budgets.
    Our regular hours during the Fall 2006 semester will be 11 to 3 on
Tuesdays, 11 to 7 on Wednesdays, and 1 to 5 on Thursdays. Please visit us!
    As always, we need your donations to keep the shelves stocked in L 199.
Please call Linda Ford at 714-278-2358 to make arrangements. If you are
interested in joining the Patrons and Emeriti volunteers working in the Book
Sale Center, please call June Pollak at 949-661-0463.