Undoubtedly there are so many sights to see in San Francisco. But sometimes your calves need a little break from walking up and down the hills. The University of San Francisco is located just north of Haight-Ashbury and is home to the beautifully renovated Donohue Rare Book Room in the Gleeson Library.
The Rare Book room is open to the public by appointment so some planning is necessary. But the planning is worth it. The head Librarian, John Hawk, is more than welcoming and is happy to answer any questions about the collection and the space.
The collection holds many gems: Children’s literature fans will love the viewing the many volumes of the Wizard of Oz series by L. Frank Baum; American literature fans will absolutely want to see the first editions of some of Ernest Hemingway’s novels; and Classicists will fall head over heels for the various editions of the Iliad and the Aeneid.
It is hard to walk into the room, however, and not be immediately drawn to the 19th century printing press. This large beast of a machine is still in working condition today. If you’ve never seen one before, it’s worth the visit to the Rare Book Room just to marvel in its splendor.
If you have a romanticized idea of a library with dark mahogany book cases filled with old books of varying ages and sizes, make the Donohue Rare Book Room an item on your San Francisco to do list.