This post is by Environmental Design Library librarian David Eifler; if you haven’t seen him, or his wonderful library (one of more than 25 on campus), you can check them out by joining him on this Virtual Tour.
While I was in high school, my small businessman dad came home one evening with a book. Although he had a natural curiosity and often read the encyclopedia for pleasure, I’d never seen him as excited about the written word as when he brought home The Last Whole Earth Catalog: Access to Tools – the one with the shadowed view of the “blue marble” on the cover. Now considered by many a precursor to the World Wide Web, it was a compendium of tools and books to improve the planet. Decades later, when I arrived to the Environmental Design Library (ENVI), I was pleased to find it and other editions in our collection. Librarian Elizabeth Byrne proudly told me that its author, Stewart Brand, had written a classic, How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built, while doing the research in our library.
So, I was thrilled when Brand contacted me in late November and asked if ENVI would accept approximately 200 books used to write How Buildings Learn. He’s working on a new book and needed to purge his library of volumes from past projects. The founder of the WELL (Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link) with Dr. Larry Brilliant (now a CNN COVID-19 expert) and CoEvolution Quarterly met me at his Sausalito office on a sunny December morning and gave me 11 boxes of architectural books. The Library got the books, and I had the great pleasure of meeting a national icon.
Donors and long-time friends to the Department of Art History, Helen and Raj Desai, have donated a large set of books from their personal collection to the Art History/Classics Library. The collection contains rare exhibition catalogs and books on South Asian art and architecture, as well as other prized items such as a signed, three-volume set on the Plan of St. Gall by our department founder, Walter Horn.
Helen Crane Desai is an alumni of the Department (BA 1952, MA 1954) and her husband, Raj Desai, did his MS in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. The Desais have established the Rajnikant T. and Helen Crane Desai Endowed Fund for Graduate Fellowships in Art History. Their numerous gifts to the Department over the years include generous support to the Joanna G. Williams Endowment for the art and visual culture of South and Southeast Asia and the James Cahill Fund for the study of Asian art. Other gifts to campus include to the L&S Leadership Fund, the BAMPFA, the International House, and the Institute for South Asia Studies.
The Art History/Classics Library is grateful to Helen and Raj Desai for their generous donation.
Here are some highlights from their generous gift:
The Art History/Classics Library at UC Berkeley has received a donation of four books on Modern Chinese Painting from the American Society for the Advancement of Chinese Arts (ASACA), and the Bay-Area based, Chinese-American artist Hou Beiren.
Hou Beiren Art Museum, published by the Hou Beiren Art Museum in the city of Kunshan, China, 2005
Century Meeting of Writing Brush: Collection of Zhu Qizhan and Hou Beiren’s special works for the Shanghai World Expo, published by Beijing Arts & Crafts Publishing House, China, 2010
Selected Paintings of Pei-Jen Hau (Selected Paintings of Beiren Hou), published by Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, China, 1997
夢裏家山: 遼寧籍旅美畫家侯北人捐贈作品集 (Homeland in My Dreams: Donated Artworks by Hou Beiren, An American Artist from Liaoning), published by Liaoning People’s Publishing House, China, 2015
Pictured: Karen Tseng and Susan Chan of the American Society for the Advancement of Chinese Arts (ASACA), with the Art Librarian.