Society of California Pioneers and Grolier Club tour CSL collections

October 26, 2015

By Gary F. Kurutz

On Friday, October 23rd, we hosted the Society of California Pioneers led by Dr. Kevin Starr. One hundred Pioneers came. We divided the groups into rotating thirds: two touring the Library & Courts Building and one coming over to the California History Room for a show and tell of library treasures by yours truly. At dinner, many came to me to express their gratitude and how impressed they were with our collection. By good fortune I found in the collection a couple of weeks ago John Bidwell’s lifetime membership certificate in the Pioneer Society. At dinner Foundation Director Mead B. Kibbey received very nice recognition.

The next day we hosted a meeting for West Coast members of the Grolier Club of New York at the Sutro Library. The Club is the most prestigious bibliophilic organization in the country. This, however, was the first time the Club had such an event on the West Coast. As a member, I served as the host and gave an overview of the storied history of the Sutro Library as well as highlighting treasures. Librarian Diana Kohnke deserves special thanks for assembling a fabulous selection of treasures for show and tell and giving a terrific presentation. Many of the participants live in the Bay Area but had no idea of the size and richness of the collection. They will no doubt talk up the incredible Sutro collection. Maybe some will even join the Foundation. In addition, brand new librarian Colyn Wohlmut kindly assisted with logistics and answering questions.

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