by Steven Black, Bancroft Acquisitions
In quick succession, joy followed by tears, June 2nd and 4th, 2018.
At the Annual Meeting of The Friends of The Bancroft Library, Carla A. Fumagalli was introduced as this year’s awardee of the William S. Reese Fellowship in American Bibliography and the History of the Book in the Americas.
For a number of years Bancroft has been favored to host a Reese fellowship, along with other peer institutions, including American Antiquarian Society, the Beinecke library at Yale University, the John Carter Brown library at Brown University, the University of Virginia Library, the Huntington Library, the Bibliographical Society of America, and the Library of Congress .
Two days later news reached us of the passing of William Reese, one of the foremost U.S. antiquarian booksellers and bibliographers of our time.
Celebration, punctuated by grief and mourning, then, hopefully, more celebration (if not stoic acceptance) —is a rhythm we accept without relish. Closer to home, our mortal persistence was tested in February with the passing of eminent Berkeley bookseller, Ian Jackson, who was a familiar presence to many on the UC campus and in bookshops around town.
Bancrofters most recently saw Bill Reese in February at the California International Antiquarian Book Fair in Pasadena.
Looking back on decades of our working together to build the Bancroft Collection of Western Americana, brought to mind a special visit he made to the Library in February 2001. His talk was about major and minor colorplate travel and exploration books on the American West, using a small selection assembled for display on that occasion.
Here are some pictures of this informal exhibition, after hours in Bancroft’s Edward Hellman Heller Reading Room.