What We Collect and Why


We preserve the Clark Library’s holdings as a record of our shared history for present and future users and add thoughtfully to the collections. We seek materials that support current research interests or can contribute to future scholarship. We strive to include new voices to the conversations that exist within our collections. Within this framework, we especially seek materials that document narratives and experiences that have been obscured, under-told, or excluded from our library in the past.

We recognize that collecting is a consequential responsibility that intervenes in the preservation of recorded history. At the same time that our collection development is closely informed by collecting practices and strengths established by our predecessors, we also strive to collect proactively for the Library and to be cognizant of the agency that it gives us over the historical record.


The Clark Library acquires collection materials via purchase and gift. All potential acquisitions are reviewed and selected by our librarians.

When William Andrews Clark, Jr. gave his collections to UCLA, he included a stipulation that no collection material be removed from the Library. This stipulation both preserves the integrity of the collections, as well as guarantees that potential acquisitions be considered with great care. Therefore, there are many factors the librarians consider when making decisions about new acquisitions, since materials cannot be discarded, sold, or otherwise removed once they become part of the Library’s collection.


Private contributions play a key role in expanding our collections and supporting our mission. As an institution that began as a gift to the University of California, the Clark Library recognizes the transformative potential of gifts and donations.
When considering accepting a gift of materials, we weigh numerous factors such as its fit within our collecting scope and the university’s instructional and research needs, as well as the human resources needed to process and maintain them. Funding to assist with this work is always welcome. To support this work, please visit our Giving page.

Because the Library does not have dedicated preservation and conservation resources, the physical condition of a potential acquisition or material gift, and the costs involved in repairing and storing damaged materials, are also important factors in the decision-making process. Exceptions may be made due to the research value of an item despite, or in some cases because of, any physical damage.

Tax Information for Gifts of Materials
Gifts are accepted subject to the policies of the Regents of the University of California with the understanding that the university reserves the right to determine retention and disposition. Upon acceptance, gifts become the exclusive property of the university. Donations of unpublished materials may involve additional considerations to be discussed between the Clark Library and the donor.

Gifts valued at $250 or more require a deed of gift and statement of value. These documents transfer ownership of the material to the Regents of the University of California. In cases where the donor owns the copyright, the donor may choose whether to transfer copyright along with the physical material, or retain copyright. Once the deed and statement of value must be signed, dated, and returned to the Library, UCLA can make an official acknowledgement. 

In addition, donations valued at more than $5,000 require a formal appraisal*, the arrangements and costs of which are the responsibility of the donor. In keeping with IRS guidelines, the Library cannot provide appraisals, recommendations, or authentications for individuals who may have questions about their own materials or materials they wish to donate. However, we realize that this is a topic that interests many people and can suggest some places to begin:

* Per IRS Form 8283 instructions for gifts of tangible personal property, appraisals must be made not earlier than 60 days before the date of contribution. For more information, please refer to United States tax regulations: Determining the Value of Donated Property, Charitable Contributions, and Noncash Charitable Contributions.

If you would like to discuss a potential gift in kind with us, please feel free to contact us at clarklibrary@humnet.ucla.edu or 310-794-5155.


Duplicates Held at UCLA
In general, we do not acquire duplicate copies of materials already held at other UCLA libraries. Exceptions include selected reference materials and items with relevant provenance.

Long-Term Loans and Deposits
Due to the high cost of describing, storing, preserving, protecting, and making collections available for research, and the need to prioritize the Clark Library’s resources for materials it owns, the Library is unable to accept materials on long-term loan or deposit.

Fine and Decorative Arts
The majority of the Clark Library’s interior furnishings were originally curated by Harrison Post, William Andrews Clark, Jr.’s assistant librarian and romantic partner. In the absence of documents on or by Harrison Post, the loss of all of Clark, Jr.’s personal papers, and the many other archival silences surrounding other members of the Clark family, the interior decoration of the library is an important way to capture the contributions and influence of the Library’s founder and those close to him.

Time and use of the Library have necessitated repairs, updates, and new arrangements, but as custodians of the only tangible record of Clark, Jr.’s and Post’s expressions of personal taste, we now make the historic preservation of the Library’s interior a priority, and we strive to keep any changes to a minimum and the original objects in good condition. 

As a result, we generally do not have the space, expertise, or preservation resources to accept gifts of fine and decorative art and furnishings, except in extraordinary circumstances. Exceptions may also be made for material artifacts belonging to Clark, Jr. and his immediate family. We recognize that not everyone wishes to or has been equally privileged to be able to record their histories in written form, and we occasionally collect in non-text record formats in order to be inclusive of the Clark family history.

Faculty Papers
In general, the Clark Library considers faculty papers out of scope if the only connection to the Library is university affiliation with UCLA. However, exceptions may be made if the research and publication records have strong connections to our collections or have used materials at the Library to advance new avenues of scholarship.

If you are considering making a donation of these papers, please contact the Library at clark@humnet.ucla.edu.

The Clark Library generally does not accept collections of photocopies and/or microfilms of primary sources held by other institutions.


In addition to collecting in the specific areas enumerated below, we also collect in support of instruction and specific library programs.

No list can be exhaustive. Although we review this document on an ongoing basis, please contact us if you have a particular request or have any questions not covered by this policy.

Early Modern (1450-1650)
At the beginning of the 20th century William Andrews Clark, Jr. purchased actively in the field of early modern drama. The Clark Library’s collection of early modern English playbooks is extensive and includes all four folio editions of Shakespeare’s plays, 18 quarto editions of Shakespeare’s plays printed before 1640, and 215 additional playbooks printed before 1660 (dozens from the library of actor John Philip Kemble). The Paul Chrzanowski Collection of Shakespeareana expands on this strength. The Chrzanowski collection of printed books and manuscripts is particularly strong in early 16th-century literature, chronicle histories, and religious works, including works by Shakespeare’s contemporaries and English translations of Continental literature. 

The Library holds several dozen incunabula (books printed before 1501), including some in the Chrzanowski Collection. Many survive in contemporary bindings and/or bear manuscript marginalia, provenance marks, and decorative ornamentation. 

Print and manuscript collections in this period include not only religious, legal, and philosophical works but also works that address many facets of everyday life, popular culture, science, history, literature, art, and commerce. 

Current focus: 17th-century books and manuscripts as they support existing strengths. We are also interested in earlier materials if they meet research needs. 

Long 18th Century (1650-1830)
The Clark Library’s holdings include books and manuscripts produced in England and France between 1650 and 1830. Much of William Andrews Clark, Jr.’s collecting in this time period began with the works of John Dryden but expanded to include English drama from this era as completely as possible. He also collected other works that served as source material or background for English writers, especially when it came to French plays admired (and copied) by English dramatists. Until the 1990s, collection development was explicitly focused on the Wing period (1640-1750), but since then, librarians have actively sought to collect materials in all formats dating from 1750-1830 (the end of the hand press period). In recent decades, we have sought to include more works from Continental Europe that thematically relate to our holdings in English and our interests in works in translation, described in greater detail below. 

Particularly strong in Restoration drama and poetry, we acquired many of the rarest printed books produced in this period, including nearly a thousand titles surviving in unique copies. While focused primarily on British literature and history, the Library has strong holdings in philosophy, music, history of science, theology, and popular entertainments. We collect the history of reading and material and print culture of the long 18th century, such as books annotated by previous owners and personal library catalogs. Our manuscript and ephemera holdings in particular reflect the Library’s interest in evidence of daily work and leisure activities during this period.

Current focus: Manuscripts and annotated books; works that address globalism and British colonization, particularly overseas plantations and commerce; works by and about women; ephemera and popular culture in all formats and materials.

Oscar Wilde & the Fin de Siècle
The Oscar Wilde holdings at the Clark Library are the largest and most significant in the world and include nearly every edition of every printed book by and about Wilde, in addition to a large number of his literary manuscripts and correspondence. We also collect Wilde in translation in as many languages as possible. In addition to material by and about Wilde, we collect materials related to his wider social circle and the generations of artists, writers, and activists immediately before and after Wilde. 

William Andrews Clark, Jr.’s first major Wilde-related acquisition in 1920 included a number of drafts, manuscripts, and letters bought at auction from the private collection of John B. Stetson, Jr. In 1928, Clark, Jr. acquired an even more extensive group of books, manuscripts, photographs, and ephemera from Dulau and Company, London, items which had belonged to Wilde’s close friend (and literary executor) Robert Ross; Wilde bibliographer Christopher Millard; and Wilde’s son, Vyvyan Holland.

The Library’s collection of “Wildeiana” (works about or related to Wilde) consists of photographs, caricatures, portraits, news clippings, theater programs, sheet music, and other ephemeral and novelty items, which document Wilde’s continuing influence in popular culture. Forgeries of Wilde’s work also document the growing value of his work in the marketplace, as forgers, psychics, and others capitalized on his popularity in the 1920s. The Library has important collections of the forged works produced by several of his most prolific imitators and admirers.

The Library has significant holdings of books, original artwork, and archival material related to Wilde’s close friends, colleagues, and collaborators Ada Leverson, Dollie Radford, the family of Adrian Hope and Laura Troubridge, John Lane, George Egerton, Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon, Max Beerbohm, Edward Burne-Jones, Lord Alfred Douglas, magazine editor John S. Verschoyle, and Robert Ross. Other collections, like that of the bibliophilic social club, Ye Sette of Odd Volumes –whose members were central to the fin de siècle, Edwardian, and early 20th century cultural scene — serve to provide context for Wilde’s life and times.  The Library owns the papers of early Wilde scholars Christopher Millard and Richard Glaenzer, as well as contemporary scholarship about Wilde.

Current focus: Unpublished Wilde material, especially literary manuscripts and correspondence; Wilde-related contemporary ephemera and imagery; Wilde in translation; queer writers  working in England, US, and France from approximately 1880-1920; Arts and Crafts and Aesthetic movement artists; and women writers and artists, and other Wilde-adjacent materials that would put Wilde’s life and writings in a wider context. Although we do not generally purchase current-day Wildeiana novelties and souvenirs, we will consider them as gifts of materials. 

Book Arts & Fine Press
Because of William Andrews Clark, Jr.’s patronage of San Francisco-based printer John Henry Nash (1871–1947) and San Francisco-based bookseller and later Clark librarian Robert Ernest Cowan (1862-1942), the Library collected early and deeply during the golden age of California fine printing. We define fine printing as including limited-edition monographs, printed in relief and intaglio, focused on high-quality production and a careful attention to handwork first found in the English Arts and Crafts tradition. These are supplemented and contextualized with reference books, prints, printers’ proofs, prospectuses, ephemera, and archives that provide a broad perspective of the arts of the book. Recognizing the importance and influence of the English Arts and Crafts presses, Clark, Jr. also collected the entire output of both the Kelmscott and Doves Presses, as well as other presses from the printing revival of the late 19th and 20th centuries, such as Cuala and Dun Emer, Nonesuch, and Rampant Lions. The Library’s holdings for English sculptor, typeface designer, stonecutter, and printer Eric Gill (1882–1940) are the most comprehensive in the world; and others in Gill’s circle, especially Robert Gibbings and the Golden Cockerel Press, are also well represented.

The Library continues to collect in the broader area of book arts, with an emphasis on American fine presses — California printers in particular — and works representative of the Third Stream*, including selected contemporary book artists from across the country and around the world. Studied in context, these collections show a community of printers and a network of influence, affiliations, and friendships through the years. Individuals such as Lewis and Dorothy Allen (Allen Press), Grant Dahlstrom (Castle Press), William Everson, Grabhorn Press, Richard Hoffman, Lawton Kennedy, and Henry Evans (Peregrine Press); college presses (Archetype Press based at ArtCenter in Pasadena and the Scripps College Press in Claremont); and the printed keepsakes and and gifts produced by and for members of bibliophilic and printing organizations such as the Zamorano Club, the Book Club of California, and the now defunct Rounce & Coffin Club remain an important record of the history of printing in California. Clark, Jr. was a lifetime member of the Book Club of California, and the Library continues to collect most of the titles they continue to publish.

Holdings also include the archives of many southern California printers, such as Saul and Lillian Marks (the Plantin Press), Patrick Reagh, and Vance Gerry (Weather Bird Press); and the complete collection of nearly 60 years of books exhibited at the annual Western Books Exhibition sponsored by the Rounce & Coffin Club from 1932-1991, along with their accompanying archives. The papers of Los Angeles artist Paul Landacre are held by the Library, as well as a significant collection of his prints, illustrated books, and engraved woodblocks and lino-blocks. In 1996, the Library received Ward Ritchie’s archive, which included not only the books he designed, printed, and published, but also his personal collection of thousands of fine press and Los Angeles history materials. A substantial collection of the books of Art Deco printer François-Louis Schmied were acquired in 1996 as part of the gift of Ward Ritchie’s library.

Current focus: Archives of women printers, publishers, and book artists, particularly those from Southern California; fine press monographs relating to other books in the collection, such as modern works inspired by early modern texts. Works particularly representative of the Third Stream*[or as link], such as those of Russell Maret, Veronika Schapers, Richard Wagener, and Peter Koch, among others. Because of the focus and strengths of other collections at UCLA, the Clark does not, as a rule, collect experimental artists’ books, artists’ multiples and zines, books on medical or biological topics, and certain individual publishers and printers. Within our collecting parameters, we are particularly interested in works by artists, printers, and authors that are underrepresented in the collections.

*The Third Stream, while still nascent as a definition for a category of fine press books, has been used to describe an “… as-yet-unnamed conceptual art, a so-called movement (actually a medium, or third stream) which made one of its most vital contributions by validating the book as a legitimate medium for visual art” (Lucy Lippard, “The Artists’ Book Goes Public.”  Art in America January/February 1977: 40-41). The use of the term “Third Stream” was purportedly first used in reference to books created by the printer, “the person who actually makes the book,” by Sandra Kirshenbaum in 1969 (Kirshenbaum, S., ed. Five Fine Printers: Jack Stauffacher, Adrian Wilson, Richard Bigus, Andrew Hoyem, William Everson : an exhibition, February 22-April 10, 1979, University of California, Davis. Davis, California: Library Associates, 1979: [7])

History of the Book / Typography
Complementing both the Press Collection and many areas of our early modern holdings, the Clark Library holds resources supporting studies of  the history of the book, bibliography, and typography. Collections include American, English, and international type specimen books, calligraphic manuals and exercise books, along with contemporary exemplars, such as the Bible printed by John Baskerville using his typeface or inscribed stone and wood slabs cut by Will Carter, Eric Gill, and his former apprentice David Kindersley. We also collect the history of book-collecting itself, and hold American, English, and Continental bookseller and auction catalogs for book sales dating from the 18th-20th centuries (many annotated with prices realized), as well as print and manuscript library catalogs for private collections from the 17th and 18th centuries. References to, and examples of, papermaking, printmaking, bookbinding, illustration, and associated practices in a wide variety of formats, provide a greater understanding of the use, history, and development of publishing and collecting from the 17th century to today. These collections are not limited to monographs and serials but include prints, advertising ephemera, and stencils, as well as objects such as games, fans, type, tools, sample books, and unique artwork.

Current focus: We currently collect in all areas listed above, with a special focus in materials that demonstrate printing practices and technologies, such as material-culture objects that feature printed elements or respond to bibliographic practices.

Montana & the West
William Andrews Clark, Jr. was born in Montana. His father, W. A. Clark, Sr. was a member of the Society of Montana Pioneers and a delegate at the state’s constitutional conventions in 1884 and 1888. In 1924, Clark, Jr. bought the collection of brewery heir Charles N. Kessler, which still forms the nucleus of our large Montana and the West collection. Materials include nearly 2000 bound volumes, many in early 20th-century publishers’ bindings, rare pamphlets and magazines, maps, photographs, unbound newspapers, and correspondence regarding early white settlers of Montana and the West. Highlights include first editions of the Lewis & Clark report, the Hayden Survey, and other seminal land surveys of the American West; regional newspapers, published court proceedings, and extensive collections of prints by artist George Catlin; and a collection of manuscripts from colonial Mexico related to exploration of California and the mission system.

Current focus: The Clark Library currently collects material closely related to the Clark family and their various business interests in Montana and the West, such as mining and smelting in Montana and Arizona and Las Vegas railway materials, with a special focus on material related to Mabel Duffield Foster and Alice G. McManus, the two women whom Clark, Jr. married.

Short 19th Century
The Library’s mid-19th-century (1830-1885) holdings largely reflect Clark, Jr.’s early collecting interests, before he began focusing on Oscar Wilde and John Dryden. Highlights in this literature-focused collection include most major works in first editions by Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Keats, Charles Lamb, and Walter Scott, as well as a wide variety of gothic novelists. In the Victorian era, major British writers in the collection include Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Alfred Tennyson, William Morris, the Bronte sisters (Charlotte, Emily, and Anne), William Makepeace Thackeray, George Eliot, Robert Lewis Stevenson, and an extensive collection of Charles Dickens works in their original serial parts. Clark, Jr. also collected liberally in American novelists and poets of this era, and the collection contains many early editions of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Walt Whitman, Edgar Allan Poe, and Herman Melville.

Current focus: We currently collect 19th-century works as a continuum and bridge between the early modern and fin de siècle periods. For example, we collect Pre-Raphaelite material as it supports and contextualizes our Wilde, Arts and Crafts, and Aesthetic movement holdings. We also collect material up to the approximate end of the hand-press period (around 1830) to provide continuity with our collecting areas in book history and the 18th century. 

Forgeries & Fakes
The Clark Library has a keen interest in collecting known forgeries of authentic works already in the collections and spurious works whose authorship is purposely misattributed. Clark, Jr. did not deliberately collect forgeries and in fact became wary of buying manuscripts after he unwittingly acquired several that were forged.  Some of the printed works he purchased in good faith were actually forgeries printed by bookseller Thomas J. Wise. It wasn’t until John Carter and Graham Pollard published An Enquiry into the Nature of Certain Nineteenth Century Pamphlets, weeks before Clark, Jr.’s death in 1934, that it became known that a number of these books were not what they purported to be. These Wise counterfeits were deliberately cultivated by later Clark librarians and include falsified provenance as an additional focus area.

Examples of the Library’s collection of forgeries, fakes, and other materials that illuminate the ethics of the bibliophilic marketplace include works from most time periods: Roger Cotton’s A Direction to the Waters of Lyfe (London, ca. 1590); William Ireland’s Shakespeare forgeries; Thomas Chatterton’s “Thomas Rowley” forgeries; spurious works of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, William Morris, and others mentioned in Carter & Pollard’s investigation; Edgar Allan Poe’s Tamerlane; Eric Gill prints by Earl Washington; Oscar Wilde forgeries (mentioned above in Wilde section); and Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity (Grundlage der allgemeinen Relativitätstheorie) and Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper

Current focus: forged works purported to be by creators represented in our collections or culturally significant forgeries made during the time periods we collect. 

Works in Translation
Clark, Jr. spent his early childhood in France and remained a lifelong Francophile. During his lifetime, he purchased many so-called “high spots” of French literature, particularly through the bibliographer, scholar, and bookseller Seymour de Ricci. Later librarians drew on Clark, Jr.’s French connections as a way to expand these collections and develop additional links to the Library’s existing strengths, including by collecting writers working in non-English languages such as Wilde’s contemporary, Pierre Louys.

Current focus: We continue to collect books and manuscripts in translation in all European languages to support research on how to make ideas accessible to a wider audience and to demonstrate the importance or influence of texts over time. Specific areas of interest include translations of Oscar Wilde in all world languages; European grammars and dictionaries, as well as novels from the hand-press period, with particular attention to French translations; and works that address the business of translation.

Reference Materials & Secondary Sources
We actively acquire reference materials and secondary sources that provide a record of built knowledge based on investigation and inquiry using primary source materials. We focus on reference materials directly related to the Clark Library’s primary sources; overlap with other campus collections may sometimes be warranted. Subscriptions to journals, databases, catalogs, and electronic resources further the goal of this collection area.

When research at the Library is later developed into a monograph or article, or materials at the Library are used as case studies or illustrations, we appreciate receiving a copy for the collections.