Scope and Content
Title: Sanford L. Berger Papers
Dates (inclusive): 1880-1999
Bulk dates: 1965-1996
Collection Number: RB 633396
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
Rare Books Department
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Abstract: This collection consists chiefly of correspondence and research files reflecting the activities of California architect Sanford
L. Berger (1919-2000) in the mid-to-late 20th century as a collector, student,
and enthusiast of objects and knowledge related to 19th century English artist, decorator, poet, and printer William Morris
(1834-1896), his circle, and his involvement with the Pre-Raphaelites and English
Arts and Crafts Movement.
Finding aid last updated on September 13, 2013.
The collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information,
please visit the Huntington's website:
In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office
of the Library Director.
Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Huntington as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to
include or imply permission of the
copyright holder, which must also be obtained.
[Item title, Call number]. Sanford L. Berger Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.
This collection is a subset of the Sanford and Helen Berger Collection that was acquired by the Huntington Library and Art
Collections in 1999 and includes monographs, pamphlets,
and other printed materials, manuscripts of William Morris, and art materials.
For additional information about the other components of the Berger Collection, please see the "Related Materials" notes below.
The bulk of the collection, except for the correspondence series, was received unarranged. Processing involved the survey
and broad arrangement of the materials and the creation of this finding aid; container lists were created for some series
depending on the complexity of the
material and the available staff resources. Box 63 contains miscellaneous material that was found after the rest of the series
had already been organized.
Items of particular note were separated from the collection for individual cataloging in the Huntington Online Catalog.
Two letters, one from May Morris (Call Number: mssHM 80229) and one from William Morris (Call Number: mssHM 80230), were transferred
to the Manuscript Department, and a box of Morris & Co. business records has been removed and described in a separate finding
Biographical Note of Sanford Berger
Sanford Lionel Berger (1919-2000), an architect and William Morris enthusiast, was born in San Francisco, California in 1919.
His father, Samuel Berger, was an architectural woodcarver employed by the Archdiocese of San Francisco, and his work can
be seen in many Bay Area churches
and cathedrals among other sites. During World War II, Sanford Berger served as a civilian naval architect while stationed
at the Boston Naval Ship Yard. A University of California at Berkeley and Harvard-trained architect, he practiced for 38 years
and became a senior vice
president for the firm of Stone, Marracini & Patterson in San Francisco, California. As a student, Berger, with his wife Helen,
also a Harvard-trained architect, studied under such luminaries as Walter Gropius and Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe.
In the 1960s, the Bergers purchased an almost complete set of books printed by William Morris’s Kelmscott Press, thus beginning
almost four decades of building a collection of books, manuscripts, textiles, wallpapers, carpets, tapestries, drawings, stained
glass, ephemera, and ceramics
that during their lifetimes was regarded as the largest private collection of William Morris materials in the United States.
Their collection was acquired by the Huntington Library in 1999.
The renown of the Sanford and Helen Berger Collection of William Morris grew steadily over the years, and the lure of the
welcoming hosts and charming location of “Kelmscott Carmel” or “Kelmscott West” as the Bergers’ Scenic Road residence in Carmel,
California, was known,
proved irresistible for scores of scholars, researchers, and serious Morris aficionados from around the world.
Berger was active in many bibliophilic societies and organizations and served as a president of the Book Club of California.
He enjoyed hobby printing, and operated two small, private presses, the Tunnel Road and the Scenic Road presses, both from
his homes of the same addresses.
Sanford L. Berger died on July 30, 2000. Helen L. Berger died in 2001.
Biographical Note of William Morris
William Morris (1834-1896), an English artist, decorator, poet, and printer, was born March 24, 1834, in Walthamstow, England,
then a suburb of London; he attended Marlborough College and in 1852 entered Exeter College, Oxford.
He left in 1855, without taking religious orders, as he originally planned, and instead embarked on a varied career as a poet,
visual artist and Socialist. He married Jane Burden on April 26, 1859, and they had two daughters,
Jane Alice (Jenny), born in 1861 and Mary (May) in 1862.
William Morris, a man of tremendous energy and creativity, became, over the years, a poet, artist, designer, decorator, manufacturer,
printer, Socialist activist, and lecturer. He helped to begin the Arts & Crafts movement
in England through Morris & Co., a decorative arts firm, and strove to better the lives of the working class through his work
with Socialist causes. It was possibly the strain of overwork as he tried to maintain a busy lecture
schedule, as well as oversee the Kelmscott Press and other business interests, that caused Morris to become ill in June, 1896.
After a lingering illness he died on October 3, 1896, at his home, Kelmscott House in London.
Related materials in the Huntington Library and Art Collections include:
- William Morris Collection (Art Collections accession number: 2000.5) containing more than 5000 items from the Berger Collection
including individual drawings in sketch books and a study collection of more than 600 items
comprised mainly of 35mm slides taken by the Bergers of Morris & Co. stained glass installations. More than 3500 items from
this collection are digitized in the Huntington Art Collections Online Catalogue:
Papers of William Morris, 1839-1999
(Manuscripts Department call number: mssMOR 1-611) containing archival and manuscript materials
from the Berger Collection created by Morris and his associates, as well as items related to the 19th and 20th century British
Pre-Raphaelites, fine printing and private presses, and the Arts & Crafts movement
Letters by William Morris and May Morris, [1892-1914]
(Manuscripts Department call number: mssHM 80229-80230)
- Morris & Co. Records (Rare Books Department)
- More than 2,200 monographs, pamphlets, and other printed material received as part of the Sanford and Helen Berger Collection
of William Morris are individually cataloged and
can be retrieved by doing a keyword search for "Sanford and Helen Berger Collection" in the Huntington Library Online Catalog:
In addition to the material from the Bergers’ collection, the Huntington has broad and deep holdings of textual, visual and
material artifacts related to Morris including the Kelmscott Press, the Arts & Crafts movements in
American and Britain and the Pre-Raphaelites. For additional information about the Huntington's extensive holdings related
to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and their circle, see the following articles in the
Huntington Library Quarterly
- Pre-Raphaelite Materials in the Huntington Library and Art Collections (pages 147-148)
- A Checklist of Pre-Raphaelite Manuscripts in the Huntington Library (pages 149-219, 221-223)
- A Checklist of Pre-Raphaelite Works of Art in the Huntington Library and Art Collections (pages 225-251)
Scope and Content
The Sanford L. Berger papers consist chiefly of research material relating to the activities of California architect Sanford
L. Berger, from the mid 1960s to the late 1990s, as a collector, student, and enthusiast of objects and knowledge related
19th century English artist, decorator, poet, and printer William Morris and his circle.
This finding aid provides a preliminary inventory of the collection and has been broadly arranged into eleven series. This
collection contains a wide assortment of materials of varying research value.
Because most items remain in the original order in which the Huntington received them, there is some overlap among series.
The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence between Berger and prominent individuals in Morrisian scholarly, academic,
special collections libraries, book trade and museum circles in the United States and England (Series 1), as well copies
of articles, clippings, ephemera, and research materials related to Morrisian topics (Series 2 and Series 5).
The collection also contains administrative documents and ephemera related to museum exhibitions that included material from
the Bergers’ collection (Series 3), and specific research and travel files related to the story of Cupid and Psyche as recounted
The Earthly Paradise (Series 8); ecclesiastical stained glass installations of Morris & Co. visited by the Bergers (Series 9); and the Cranbrook
Educational Community in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (Series 7).
Miscellaneous ephemera (Series 4) in the collection includes fine press book announcements, exhibition posters, postcards,
clippings, photocopies and photographs of Morris designs, correspondence, notes and inventories made by Berger, 238 bifolios
The Golden Legend (Series 4, Box 64), and loose gatherings and separated leaves from miscellaneous imprints (Series 4, Box 65). Complimentary
materials in the collection include items related to Berger’s interest in contemporary
and historical fine press printing, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area (Series 6) and two film reels from the 1970s
The collection is arranged in the following 10 series:
- Series 1. Correspondence (Boxes 1-32)
- Series 2. Periodicals (Boxes 33-40)
- Series 3. Exhibition Ephemera (Boxes 41-43a)
- Series 4. Miscellaneous (Boxes 44-50, 63-65)
- Series 5. Miscellaneous Research Papers (Boxes 51-52)
- Series 6. Fine press printing publications, woodcuts, and ephemera (Boxes 53-56)
- Series 7. Cranbrook Ephemera (Box 57)
- Series 8. Cupid and Psyche Ephemera (Box 58)
- Series 9. Stained Glass Travel Ephemera (Boxes 59-61)
- Series 10. Film reels (Box 66)
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Business records -- Great Britain -- 19th century.
Ephemera -- Great Britain -- 19th century.
Ephemera -- United States -- 20th century.
Letters (correspondence) -- United States.
Personal papers -- United States 20th century.
Photographs -- 20th century.
Art- Collectors and collecting.
Collectors and collecting.
Manuscripts – Collectors and collecting.
Arts and crafts movement.
Art museums – Exhibitions.
Libraries – Exhibitions.
Stained glass windows.
Cupid and Psyche (Tale).
Private press books.
Aho, Gary L.
Bliss, Carey S.
Crace, John D. (John Diblee), 1838-1919.
Crane, Walter, 1845-1915.
Hart, James D. (James David), 1911-1990.
Samuels Lasner, Mark, 1952-.
LeMire, Eugene D.
Levenson, Roger, 1914-1994.
Morris, William, 1834-1896.
Needham, Paul, 1943-.
Oak Knoll Books (Firm).
Peterson, William S.
Ritchie, Ward, 1905-1996.
Roatcap, Adela Spindler.
Sewter, A. C.
Shasky, Florian J.
Standen, Edith Appleton.
Strouse, Norman H.
Walsdorf, John J.
White, Gleeson. 1851-1898.
ABI Books (Firm).
Alta California Bookstore.
American Printing History Association.
Arts Club of Chicago.
Book Club of California.
Cranbrook Academy of Art.
M. H. de Young Memorial Museum.
H.M. Fletcher (Firm).
Good Book Press.
David Magee (Firm).
Dawson’s Book Shop.
Delaware Art Museum.
Goodspeed’s Book Shop (Boston, Mass.).
Joshua Heller Rare Books.
Heritage Book Shop (Los Angeles, Calif.).
John Howell Books (San Francisco, Calif.).
Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery.
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N. Y.).
Monterey Peninsula Museum of Art.
Pierpoint Morgan Library.
Morris & Co. (London, England).
William Morris Gallery and Brangwyn Gift (London, England).
William Morris Society.
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N. Y.).
National Art-Collections Fund (Great Britain).
Oakland Museum of California.
Press in Tuscany Alley.
John William Pye Rare Books.
Bernard Quaritch (Firm).
Bertram Rota Ltd.
Roxburghe Club of San Francisco.
Sacramento Book Collectors Club.
Arthur Sanderson & Sons.
St. Bride Printing Library.
E. K. Schreiber (Firm).
University of California.
University of San Francisco.
Victoria and Albert Museum.