BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!!! After much booky goodness from the de Bellis Collection we trooped upstairs (OK, actually took the elevator) to the Sutro Library, which is actually a branch of the California State Library. Who knew?
Apparently the Library is quite well-known and used for its genealogical resources, the current new librarians are promoting the rare books and other facets of the collection. From the SFSU Library web page: The collection is particularly strong in early Mexican culture, religion and politics (1540–1889), British political and religious pamphlets (almost all pre-1800), Yemenite Hebrew manuscripts (13th–14th centuries), and several hundred Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints (pre-1860). The library also holds Shakespeare folios, incunabula, antiquarian maps and the papers of famed British naturalist and botanist, Sir Joseph Banks.
I’d heard the name Sutro, but that was about it, so I found out more for the who knew? file. His first name was Adolph, he was born in Prussia in 1830, educated as an engineer and arrived in the United States in 1850. He made a fortune in trading and mining, and subsequent investments in San Francisco real estate. Many City landmarks still bear his name. He was elected the 24th mayor of San Francisco in 1894 and served a two-year term. He collected a wide range of books and other material, with a vision to create a university library. Unfortunately some of his collection was destroyed in the 1906 fire, but the non-insignificant remainder of over 90,000 rare books and 100,000 pamphlets and broadsides was donated to the California State Library by his heirs in 1913. One stipulation of the donation was that the collection remain in San Francisco. It has occupied various locations, moving to its current permanent home at San Francisco State University in 2012.