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Sanford L. Berger Papers: Finding Aid
RB 633396  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Related Materials
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: Sanford L. Berger Papers
    Dates (inclusive): 1880-1999
    Bulk dates: 1965-1996
    Collection Number: RB 633396
    Creator: Berger, Sanford
    Extent: 66 boxes
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Rare Books Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2191
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    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.
    Language: English.
    Finding aid last updated on September 13, 2013.


    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [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 1999and 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.

    Processing Information

    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:. 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 in June 2013, and 12 typescript and manuscript lists of images used in Morris & Co. stained glass projects, with corresponding portfolio numbers, were moved to the William Morris Papers in October 2016.

    Related Materials

    Related materials in the Huntington Library and Art Collections

    Art materials:
    • 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: emuseum.huntington.org.  
    Printed material:
    • 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: catalog.huntington.org.  
    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(Winter 1992):
    • 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)

    Biographical Note

    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.
    Morris & Co. operated from 1875 until 1940 and was known for its stained glass, wallpaper, pottery, and textile designs. The firm succeeded Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co., which had been founded in 1861, when Morris became the sole owner. John Dearle (1860-1932) assumed leadership of the company when he became its Art Director following Morris’s death in 1896. In 1905 the company’s name was changed to Morris & Co. Decorators Ltd.

    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 to 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 in Morris's 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 from 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 (Series 10).


    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)

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online 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.
    Book collectors.
    Book collecting.
    Collectors and collecting.
    Manuscripts – Collectors and collecting.
    Arts and crafts movement.
    Antiquarian booksellers.
    Letterpress printing.
    Art museums – Exhibitions.
    Libraries – Exhibitions.
    Stained glass windows.
    Cupid and Psyche (Tale).
    Invitation cards.
    Private presses.
    Private press books.
    Aho, Gary L.
    Berger, Sanford.
    Bliss, Carey S.
    Crace, John D. (John Dibblee), 1838-1919.
    Crane, Walter, 1845-1915.
    Dreyfus, John.
    Franklin, Colin.
    Hart, James D. (James David), 1911-1990.
    Kelvin, Norman.
    Samuels Lasner, Mark, 1952-.
    LeMire, Eugene D.
    Levenson, Roger, 1914-1994.
    MacCarthy, Fiona.
    Morris, William, 1834-1896.
    Needham, Paul, 1943-.
    Parry, Linda.
    Peterson, William S.
    Ritchie, Ward, 1905-1996.
    Roatcap, Adela Spindler.
    Sewter, A. C.
    Shasky, Florian J.
    Sperisen, Albert, 1908-1911.
    Standen, Edith Appleton.
    Strouse, Norman H.
    Walsdorf, John J.
    White, Gleeson. 1851-1898.
    Wilson, Adrian.
    ABI Books (Firm).
    Alta California Bookstore.
    Amaranth Press.
    American Printing History Association.
    Arion Press.
    Arts Club of Chicago.
    Bancroft Library.
    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.).
    Grolier Club.
    Joshua Heller Rare Books.
    Heritage Book Shop (Los Angeles, Calif.).
    John Howell Books (San Francisco, Calif.).
    Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery.
    Kelmscott Press.
    Maggs Bros.
    Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N. Y.).
    Mills College.
    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).
    Oak Knoll Books (Firm).
    Oakland Museum of California.
    Piccadilly Gallery.
    Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
    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.
    Stanford University.
    E. K. Schreiber (Firm).
    University of California, Berkeley.
    University of San Francisco.
    Victoria and Albert Museum.