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Belt (Elmer) Collection of Vinciana Graphic Arts
LSC.2366  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Processing Information
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement
  • Related Materials

  • Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Title: Elmer Belt collection of Vinciana graphic arts
    Identifier/Call Number: LSC.2366
    Physical Description: 14 Linear Feet
    Date (inclusive): circa 1510-19th century
    Abstract: The Elmer Belt collection of Vinciana graphic arts is a special collection of original artwork, original printed lithographs, and materials concerning Leonardo da Vinci and the Italian Renaissance. It was donated to UCLA in 1961 by Dr. Elmer Belt, Professor Emeritus in the UCLA School of Medicine and a collector of Vinciana for more than sixty years.
    Physical Location: Held at UCLA Library Special Collections. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. All requests to access special collections materials must be made in advance using the request button located on this page.
    Language of Material: Materials are in English, French, German, Italian, Latin, and Russian.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Open for research. All requests to access special collections materials must be made in advance using the request button located on this page.

    Conditions Governing Use

    Property rights to the physical objects belong to UCLA Library Special Collections. All other rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Elmer Belt collection of Vinciana graphic arts (Collection 2366). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Dr. Elmer Belt, 1961.

    Processing Information

    Collections are processed to a variety of levels depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived user interest and research value, availability of staff and resources, and competing priorities. Library Special Collections provides a standard level of preservation and access for all collections and, when time and resources permit, conducts more intensive processing. These materials have been arranged and described according to national and local standards and best practices. Processed by UCLA Library Preservation and Conservation Department, 2020. Additional description by Kelly Besser and Tess Livesley-O'Neill in 2020.

    Biographical / Historical

    Elmer Belt, M.D. (1893-1980), was a Los Angeles area urologist, bibliophile, and humanist who was instrumental in the founding of the School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). An avid book collector, Dr. Belt became an expert on Leonardo da Vinci and his time, amassing a large and important collection of books and other material related to da Vinci's life and work. He donated this collection to UCLA in 1961. Born Arthur Elmer Belt in Chicago, Illinois on April 10, 1893, his family moved to Los Angeles when he was nine and then to a small ranch in Orange County near Anaheim. Elmer Belt (the form of name he preferred) entered Los Angeles High School in 1907 and enrolled in Latin, a medical school prerequisite. There he met Ruth Smart whom, he said, he "never subsequently permitted out of my sight." The two were married in 1918. Dr. Belt began collecting books as a student in 1909 with works by Upton Sinclair; in 1934 he became involved with Sinclair's campaign for governor of California. The Upton Sinclair collection was eventually donated to Occidental College. Dr. Belt attended the University of California at Berkeley, obtaining a B.A. in 1916 and an M.A. in 1917. He attended the University of California Medical School in San Francisco and was chosen as a fellow of the Hooper Institute for Medical Research, working with Dr. George Whipple and Dr. Frank Hinman. After finishing medical school in 1920 Dr. Belt continued working in urology with Dr. Hinman. Early in his medical school career, Dr. Belt signed up for a non-credit elective course in the History of Medicine taught by Dr. George Washington Corner, an anatomist who had recently come to the University of California from Johns Hopkins University. It was in this class that Dr. Belt developed his fascination with and devotion to Leonardo da Vinci, inspiring the vast library of Vinciana he eventually donated to UCLA. Subsequently his collecting fervor also included Silas Weir Mitchell and Florence Nightingale and in the 1930s Dr. Belt began working with Los Angeles bookseller Jake Zeitlin to fulfill these and other ambitious collecting interests. After a year as Resident in Urology with Dr. Hinman in San Francisco, Dr. Belt spent a year as Resident in General Surgery at Boston's Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, working under Dr. Harvey Cushing. In 1923, the Belts moved to Los Angeles where Elmer began a private practice. He soon established the Elmer Belt Urologic Group, a group practice which moved to its own building on Wilshire Boulevard in 1936; the upper floor of this structure housed his ever-expanding library. From 1939 through 1954 Belt served as the President of the State Board of Public Health, having been first appointed by California Governor Culbert Olsen and then reappointed by Governor Earl Warren for each of Warren's three terms in office. Dr. Belt had privileges as a staff, attending, or consulting urologist at many hospitals around Los Angeles County and taught as Clinical Professor of Surgery (Urology) in the UCLA School of Medicine. He was instrumental in the founding of the UCLA School of Medicine and finding its first dean, and continued as its staunch supporter throughout his life. Elmer Belt died on May 17, 1980 at age 87.

    Scope and Contents

    The Elmer Belt collection of Vinciana graphic arts is a special collection of original artwork, original printed lithographs, and materials concerning Leonardo da Vinci and the Italian Renaissance. It was donated to UCLA in 1961 by Dr. Elmer Belt, Professor Emeritus in the UCLA School of Medicine and a collector of Vinciana for more than sixty years.

    Arrangement

    The arrangement of materials maintains their existing order.

    Related Materials

    Elmer Belt papers (Collection 0066).  Available at Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections for the Sciences, UCLA.
    Charles Huggins collection of material about and correspondence with Elmer Belt and Willard E. Goodwin (Collection 0043).  Available at Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections for the Sciences, UCLA.
    Jake Zeitlin papers (Collection 0334).  Available at UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.
    John Allison Benjamin papers (Collection 0001).  Available at Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections for the Sciences, UCLA.
    Kate Traumann Steinitz papers (Collection 1770).  Available at UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.
    Library. Arts Library. Publications. (Collection 0164).  Available at UCLA Library Special Collections, University Archives, University of California, Los Angeles.
    Mae Babitz papers (Collection 1740).  Available at UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.
    Sir William Osler Portrait by Seymour Thomas and Other Osler-Related Papers (Collection 0181).  Available at Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections for the Sciences, UCLA.
    Willard E. Goodwin papers (Collection 0573).  Available at UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.