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Votes for Women - The 53rd California International Antiquarian Book Fair

Thousands of book lovers, booksellers, and scholars will converge in Southern California for the 53rd California International Antiquarian Book Fair over the weekend of February 7-9, 2020.
Published on 13 Jan. 2020
Votes For Women - California Book Fair 2020

One of the nation’s largest exhibitions and sales of rare books, the 2020 California Book Fair celebrates the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage with a special exhibit -- Votes for Women -- documenting women’s effort to secure political equality. Material will be on display from the special collection libraries of The Claremont Colleges; University of Southern California; University of California, Los Angeles; California State University; Dominguez Hills; and the Los Angeles Public Library.

Recognized as one of the world's pre-eminent exhibitions of antiquarian books, this eagerly anticipated annual fair gives visitors the opportunity to see, learn about, and purchase the finest in rare books, manuscripts, autographs, maps, fine prints, photographs, and more. Featuring more than 170 booksellers from the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA) and International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB), the California Book Fair presents volumes from six centuries of printing, as well as original manuscripts that predate Gutenberg. Books at the Fair will cover every imaginable area, from the history of travel and exploration to early science and medicine to classic literature, modern first editions, as well as children's and illustrated books. Prices can range from just a few dollars to six figures.

"As we look ahead to the important role women will play in the 2020 election, it is particularly relevant to shine a light on the long struggle for women to secure the right to vote,” said Jennifer Johnson, Book Fair Committee Chair. "Through the writings of leaders of the movement such as Susan B. Anthony, graphics and imagery designed to advance the cause, and archival news coverage from the Los Angeles Times, the Votes for Women exhibit paints a fascinating portrait of this revolutionary crusade for social change. For those who want to go home with a piece of women’s history, many of the exhibiting booksellers will also be showcasing items with significance to women’s suffrage and the ongoing fight for equal rights."

The artwork used in the promotion of the book fair (above) is reproduced from artist Bertha Boye's beautiful "Votes for Women" poster, created to draw attention to the California women's suffrage campaign. On October 10, 1911, California became the sixth state where women could vote equally with men, nine years before the 19th Amendment enfranchised women nationally.

Boye's artwork is probably the most popular poster produced during the American suffrage movement. Her design, featuring a draped western suffragist posed against the Golden Gate as the sun sets behind her, won first place in a contest sponsored by the College Equal Suffrage League in San Francisco. The image was later reproduced on cards, fliers, and publicity stamps.

This weekend extravaganza of rare and beautiful books will also include a special tribute marking the 100th birthday of legendary author Ray Bradbury, a panel discussion related to the Votes for Women exhibit, and seminars on various aspects of book collecting. Discovery Day on Sunday lets attendees present three items to experts for free evaluation. Designed with the budding collector in mind, Book Fair Finds is a program in which dealers spotlight collectibles priced at $100 or less.

The 53rd California Book Fair takes place at the Pasadena Convention Center at 300 East Green Street, Pasadena, CA. Tickets on Friday, February 7 are $25 for three-day admission. Proceeds from Friday tickets benefit Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Tickets on Saturday or Sunday are $15 and permit return entry to fair. Book Fair tickets also offer a $5 discount into the Huntington Library during February 2020.

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