A charming hideaway for rare-book lovers

Those who’ve been to William Andrews Clark Memorial Library love its intimate, elegant grounds and trove of historical writings. Run by UCLA but tucked away in Jefferson Park, it gets few visitors.

Source: LAT, 7-15-10

Clark LibraryAlysn Souza is working on restoring a painting in a drawing room at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library. The room is used for public programs. (Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times / July 7, 2010)

Tom Lolis, who studies English literature, was looking through volumes of religious writings at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library last fall when he came across something unexpected.

It was a manuscript by British theologian John Portage, written around 1660. Portage’s work has been much studied by scholars, including Lolis. But here was a document that none of them knew existed.

“I kind of lucked out,” said Lolis, who is working on a post-doctoral fellowship at the library.

Many feel the same way when they discover the rare-book library, which is run by UCLA but located in Jefferson Park. Brick walls hide it from passersby, and most UCLA undergraduates have never heard of it.

But those who know the library say it is unmatched and unforgettable. “The Clark Library is the greatest unknown literary treasure in Los Angeles,” said Kathleen Thompson, who with her husband owns Michael R. Thompson Booksellers, a rare bookshop that works closely with the institution. “The minute we saw it 40 years ago we fell in love with it, and our love has only grown.”…READ MORE

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