Lecture Series

Every year the Center and the Clark present special public programs that highlight seventeenth- and eighteenth-century arts and culture and other aspects of the Clark's rich collections. Some of these programs have developed into series. A description of the most recently established lecture series is given below.

The inaugural presentation of the Kenneth Karmiole Lecture Series on the History of the Book Trade was delivered by Robert Darnton in fall of 2005. Established by Kenneth Karmiole, a Santa Monica antiquarian bookseller who provided a generous endowment, this annual lecture focuses on the book trade in England and Europe during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The Clark’s growing collection of materials relating to the collecting, publishing, and dissemination of books in the early modern period make this series particularly appropriate.

The inaugural presentation of the William Andrews Clark Lecture on Oscar Wilde was delivered by Merlin Holland, grandson of Oscar Wilde, in fall of 2007. This biennial series, made possible by a generous endowment founded by Mr. William Zachs, focuses on Wilde, his literary circle and the decadent movement of the 1890s. It highlights the Clark’s collection of Wilde material—the most comprehensive in the world—which includes autograph letters and drafts by Wilde and his circle; a nearly complete collection of printed editions of his works; photographs, original portraits, and caricatures; playbills and news cuttings.

The Stephen A. Kanter Lecture on California Fine Printing is dedicated to an exploration of the history and practice of the printing arts, especially as practiced in California. The Clark Library's extensive collection of fine printing begins with a complete collection of the Kelmscott Press and the Doves Press, and the most comprehensive holdings for Eric Gill. The collection now focuses upon American fine presses in the Arts and Crafts tradition, including selected contemporary book artists. The Library owns a full collection of John Henry Nash's work, as well as that of the Book Club of California. The annual Kanter lectures, established through the generous support of Stephen A. Kanter, M.D., began in 1998 and have featured various printers and scholars including Patrick Reagh, Graham Mackintosh, Michelle Burgess and Billy Kelly, Sandra and Harry Reese, Kitty Maryatt, Gerald Lang , Susan King, Erik Voss and Peter Koch.

The Clark Quarterly hosts four speakers a year at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library. The lecture topics focus on the history of the book, book collecting, publishing history, the book arts and fine printing, as well as those subjects central to the Clark—Oscar Wilde, and 17th- and 18th-century British & Continental literature, history, and culture.

All programs for the current year can be viewed on our calendar.