Obscura Society LA: Rare Books Galore at the William Andrews Clark Library - Atlas Obscura
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Los Angeles

Obscura Society LA: Rare Books Galore at the William Andrews Clark Library

Join us as we discover one of the world's greatest collections of 500 year old books and Oscar Wilde writings

Located a mile away from Downtown LA in the West Adams district, lies an intimate property on elegant grounds containing the greatest unknown literary treasures in Los Angeles.

The William Andrews Clark Library is unmatched in its collection of English literature dating back five hundred years and containing classic texts by Oscar Wilde and Shakespeare.

Join the Obscura Society LA and Field Agent Robert Hemedes for a private docent-led tour of this amazing 110,000 rare books collection and beautiful ornate library, built in 1924 for the personal holdings of philanthropist, founder of the LA Philharmonic, and bibliophile William Andrews Clark Jr.

Now run and maintained by UCLA, the library has been carefully maintained and preserved to look exactly as it did when Clark was alive. Original furniture from 1920s Pasadena still dot the reading rooms and a grand piano occupies the drawing room. Outside, carefully trimmed gardens and statues reminiscent of Italian estates beckon visitors to take a break from the books. Lying on top of the library is a magnificent copper dome, meant to honor Clark's father who was a copper baron. The bookcases in the reading rooms actually include copper mined by his father’s company.   

Clark also designed the rooms in the library to hold intimate concerts.  To this day, concerts held at the grounds are highly coveted by classical music fans since you have to win a lotto drawing to get a prized ticket due to very limited seating.

Notes for this adventure:

- This a historical site, so please refrain from touching objects. 

- Photos are allowed, so bring your camera.

- The tour is about two hours long and we will be walking, so please wear comfortable shoes.

-  Most but not ALL areas on the tour are wheelchair accessible.

- The building has a small private lot for parking. If it fills up, the street is also available for parking.