Director, Special Collections Branch, California State Library

Unbridled Bibliomania: Treasures of the California State Library

Gary Kurutz is the Director of the Special Collections Branch of the California State Library in Sacramento, a position he has held since 1980.

Special Collections includes the California History Section, Sutro Library, General Rare Book Collection, and Preservation Office. Previously, he held positions as Head Librarian, Sutro Library, San Francisco; Library Director, California Historical Society, San Francisco; and Bibliographer of Western Americana & Curator of Photography at the Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino. He also is Executive Director of the California State Library Foundation and has been in charge of the publication program of The Book Club of California since 1987. He has received awards from the Book Club of California, California Historical Society, Commonwealth Club of California, and the Sacramento County Historical Society.

Kurutz has written extensively on the California Gold Rush including The California Gold Rush: A Descriptive Bibliography of Books and Pamphlets Covering the Years 1848-1853 (San Francisco: The Book Club of California, 1997); “You Have Mail: Reading & Writing during the Golden Era,” The Book Club of California Quarterly News-Letter (Summer 1999); “Rooted in Barbarous Soil: Popular Culture on the Golden Shore,” in a Sesquicentennial Issue of California History (Summer 2000); “Seeing the Elephant for a Second Time: Reexamining the Bibliography of the California Gold Rush,” California History Action, (Winter 1997), and “Images of El Dorado: The California Pictorial Letter Sheet,” introduction for The Henry H. Clifford Collection, Part Three: California Pictorial Letter Sheets. Austin, Texas: Dorothy Sloan – Rare Books, 1994.

In 2005 The Book Club of California published his book Knights of the Lash: The Stagecoach Stories of Major Benjamin C. Truman. With his wife, Kurutz wrote the award winning California Calls You: The Art of Promoting the Golden State 1870 to 1940 S. He has written books on subjects as wide ranging as The Architectural Terra Cotta of Gladding, McBean to Benjamin C. Truman: California Booster and Bon Vivant and California Books Illustrated with Original Photographs. He is also editor of the California State Library Foundation Bulletin.

A native of La Cañada, California, Kurutz received an M.A. in history from the University of San Diego and a master’s degree in Library Science from the University of Southern California.

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