UCLA Clark Memorial Library
(Los Angeles, CA)
The UCLA Clark Memorial Library, located in Los Angeles’s West Adams neighborhood, contains one the best collections of literary works from Tudor to 18th century England. The library was commissioned by William A. Clark, a lawyer from Montana. Clark moved to Los Angeles with his second wife in 1907, and in 1910, they purchased a lot in West Adams. From 1911 to 1915 the Clarks bought the 5 adjacent properties. They proceeded to demolish all of the structures on those adjacent lots, leaving the Clarks with 5 acres of park-like land.
Around 1917, Mr. Clark began collecting literary works. He favored English literature, especially those by Oscar Wilde, but also fancied books about his home-state of Montana and the West. In 1923, a small fire started in the Clark home. Although minimal damage was done to the house, William Clark decided to build a new separate structure to house his collection. He hired architect Robert D. Farquhar to design and build a fire resistant library. Farquhar travelled around the country studying different libraries. He was inspired by the Newberry Library in Chicago, the Morgan Library in New York, and the Congressional Library in Washington, D.C., to name a few
Marble was imported from Europe to decorate the interior of the library. The walls and ceilings were elaborately decorated with wood paneling and murals. Six small round windows, which Farquhar modelled after those at Sir Christopher Wren’s Hampton Court, characterize the exterior. The entire project was completed in 1926.
In 1934, Clark willed his property and book collection to UCLA with the stipulation that no structure be built within 100 feet of the library. The structure and collection remain intact today.
Original Architect: Robert D. Farquhart
General Contractpr: Walsh Construction
Restoration Contractor: Spectra Comapany