Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Timeless San Francisco – Timeless Cities

The fourth floor Art, Music and Recreation Center, the sixth floor San Francisco History Center and local photographer Emilie Valentine have collaborated on Timeless San Francisco - Timeless Cities, an exhibit that provides a glimpse into the urban life and landscape of cities and of San Francisco in particular.

On the fourth floor, images of city settings, landscapes and life taken from the Art, Music & Recreation Center’s books and periodicals are blended with samples of Valentine’s American urban images. Works by turn-of-the-century photographers Robert Doisneau, Lee Friedlander, Samuel Gottscho, Bernice Abbott, Ilse Bing and Henri Cartier-Bresson are also on display. The exhibit also includes 1950s sheet music and dance instruction books.

The sixth floor exhibit showcases Emilie Valentine’s photographs integrated with the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection’s prints depicting San Francisco lifestyle and entertainment. Highlights from San Francisco History Center’s ephemera and realia collections include restaurant menus, bar napkins, guidebooks and glassware circa 1940s to 1960s. Valentine’s contemporary photography coupled with mid-20th century photographs represent an absence of time that occurs upon entering some of San Francisco’s nightclubs, bars, and dining establishments.

The exhibit will last from January 19 to March 20, 2008.

The following books about photography are available at the Main Library. Because some of them are included in the exhibit, their availability may be limited. Some may also have additional copies available to check out both from the Main Library collection from the branch libraries or may be available through Link+. The original prints in this exhibit are courtesy of Emilie Valentine, whose work can be viewed at

American Photography, 1890–1965, From the Museum of Modern Art, New York by Peter Galassi. New York: The Museum, 1995.
779.0973 M972a

Henri Cartier-Bresson: the Man, the Image and the World: A Retrospective by Henri Cartier-Bresson. London: Thames & Hudson, 2003.
779.092 C248b

Ilse Bing: Photography Through The Looking Glass by Larisa Dryansky. New York: H. N. Abrams, 2006
770.92 B5131d

Invisible City by Ken Schles. Pasadena, CA: Twelvetrees Press, 1988
779 Sch38i

The Mythic City: Photographs of New York by Samuel Gottscho, 1925–1940 by Donald Albrecht. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2005
779.4747 G717laL

New York Changing: Revisiting Berenice Abbott’s New York by Douglass Levere. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2005
779.9974 L5771n

Open City: Street Photographs Since 1950 by Kerry Brougher and Russell Furguson. New York: Distributed Art Publishers, 2001
779.9307 Op21

Portraits of Community: African American Photography in Texas by Alan Govenar. Austin, TX: Texan State Historical Association, 1996
779.9976 P8384

Reframing America: Alexander Alland Otto Hagel & Hansel Mieth, John Gutmann, Lisette Model, Marion Palfi, Robert Frank. Essays by Andrei Codrescu and Terence Pitts. Tucson: Center for Creative Photography, 1995
779.9973 R259

Robert Capa: Photographs by Robert Capa. New York: Knopf, 1985
779 C1707c

Robert Doisneau’s Paris by Robert Doisneau. Paris: Flammarion, 2005
779.9944 D685r

Social Dance: Steps to Success by Judy Patterson Wright. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2003
793.33 W933s

Sticks & Stones: Architectural America by Lee Friedlander. San Francisco: Fraenkel Gallery, 2004
779.4092 F9138e

Swing Dancing by Simon Selmon. New York: Sterling Pub. Co., 2002
793.33 Se49s

Minnie the Moocher (The Ho De Ho song) by Cab Calloway
from the Dorothy Starr Sheet Music Collection - ask at 4th Floor Art Music & Recreation Desk

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Dorothea Lange Books and Resources

The Skylight Gallery on the Library’s Sixth Floor will feature a photography exhibit entitled A Life Surrounding a Cabin: Dorothea Lange at Steep Ravine from January 19 through March 18, 2008. These photographs portray everyday scenes of her family at a small cabin along Marin County’s Pacific coast in the early 1960s.

The Art, Music, and Recreation Center has several books on Lange’s life and work. Here are a few recommended titles:

Dorothea Lange - A Visual Life, edited by Elizabeth Partridge. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1994.
770.92 L26p

Celebrating A Collection: The Work Of Dorothea Lange, by Therese Thau Heyman. Oakland, CA: Oakland Museum, 1978.
779 L26h

Dorothea Lange. Parma: Artegrafica Silva, 1972.
779 L26s

Dorothea Lange. New York: Aperture, 1987.
779.1 L26d

Dorothea Lange: Photographs Of A Lifetime. New York: Aperture, 1982.
779.092 L26c 1998

Dorothea Lange: A Photographer's Life, by Milton Meltzer. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1978.
779 L26m

Photographing The Second Gold Rush: Dorothea Lange And The East Bay At War, 1941-1945. Berkeley, CA: Heyday Books, 1995.
779.9979 L26

The Art Full Text Database on the Library's Articles and Databases web page indexes reproductions and articles (some full-text) about Lange.

The Oakland Art Museum has presented many scans of Lange’s work through the Online Archive of California. The web page for the Early Years (1918- ) Portraits & Lange Personal Photos includes low resolution images of prints presented in the Library’s exhibit.

The Library of Congress’s American Memory web page has an online exhibit entitled America From The Great Depression to World War II that includes many of Dorothea Lange’s iconic images from her work with the Farm Security Administration.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Long Playing Records at the Main Library

The Library's Audio-Visual Center houses the Main Library’s collection of compact disc recordings. On Friday, January 11, 2008, the Audio-Visual Center will begin packing up its collections to move from its temporary home in the Steve Silver Beach Blanket Babylon Room back to a newly renovated space on the Library’s First Floor.

Before the Library began acquiring CDs in 1991, the Main Library collected audio on long playing records - referred to as Phonodiscs (or PDs) in the Library. The Library still maintains and circulates a collection of these 12 inch vinyl records in the Art, Music, and Recreation Center.

We have not added any items to this collection since 1989. Though the collection is gradually getting smaller as the records wear out, it still contains a variety of significant recordings.

Using the Advanced Search feature in our online catalog makes it is possible to limit your query to only LP records. These records are available for loan. We have no facilities to listen to phono discs at the library.

We circulate two important recorded series of American music that on vinyl that were issued at the time of America’s Bicentennial in 1976 - Folk Music in America and the Recorded Anthology of American Music.

The Folk Music in America series, published by the Library of Congress, consists of 15 volumes of folk music divided into subject categories like Religious Music, Songs of Love, Courtship and Marriage, Dance Music, Songs of Migration and Immigration, Songs of Labor and Livelihood, Songs of Humor and Hilarity, and Songs of Childhood.

The 100 volume Recorded Anthology of American Music was issued by New World Records. It consists of historical recordings of music in all styles and from all time periods of America’s first 200 years. Some notable titles are “Music of the Federal Era” (NW299), “Steppin’ on the Gas: Rags to Jazz 1913-1927” (NW269), “Songs of Earth, Water, Fire and Sky: Music of the American Indian” (NW246), and “Hand That Holds the Bread: Progress and Protest in the Gilded Age: Songs from the Civil War to the Columbian Exposition” (NW267).

Listeners interested in this series can consult the Index to the New World Recorded Anthology of American Music: A User's Guide to the Initial One Hundred Records.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Lydia Mendoza (1916-2007): The Queen of Tejano Music

December 20 marked the passing of legendary Mexican-American singer and songwriter Lydia Mendoza at the age of 91. "The Queen of Tejano music" sang from the year 1928 at the age of 8 until the year 1988, a career spanning 60 years. Known as "The Lark of the Border" (La Alondra de la Frontera), Lydia Mendoza performed music in the ranchera, corrido, tango, habanera genres. Late in her life she received many honors including singing at President Carter's inauguration in 1977, a National Heritage Fellowship in 1982 and National Medal of Arts in 1999. At the ceremony, President Clinton remarked that "Lydia Mendoza is a true American pioneer and she paved the the way for a whole new generation of Latino performers, who today are making all America sing."

The library owns two biographies of Lydia Mendoza:

Lydia Mendoza: A Family Autobiography compiled and introduced by Chris Strachwitz with James Nicolopulos (1993)

Lydia Mendoza's Life in Music: Norteño Tejano Legacies by Yolanda Broyles-González (2001).

Ethnic Recordings in America: A Neglected Heritage published by the American Folklife Center of Library of Congress (1982) also includes a short bi-lingual autobiography.

The library also has recordings of Lydia Mendoza's music.

Here is a short listing of books to learn more about tejano music.

Tejano Proud: Tex-Mex Music in the Twentieth Century by Guadalupe San Miguel, Jr. (2002).

Puro Conjunto: An Album in Words and Pictures: Writings, Posters, and Photographs from the Tejano Conjunto Festival en San Antonio, 1982-1998, edited by Juan Tejeda & Avelardo Valdez (2001).

Música Tejana: The Cultural Economy of Artistic Transformation by Manuel Peña (1999).

The Billboard Guide to Tejano and Regional Mexican Music by Ramiro Burr (1999).

The Texas-Mexican Conjunto: History of a Working-Class Music by Manuel H. Peña (1985).