L. Clarice (Cal) Davis
b. January 30, 1929
d. January 29, 2006
Donations will be given to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
31 Jan 2006
Sunday I lost a friend and so did you. L. Clarice Davis, librarian extraordinaire and book dealer even higher in standards, passed away after a long struggle with cancer. She was a smoker–please, please do everything you can to stop smoking. She couldn’t until it was too late. But she was a friend to so many of us. She was an assistant to Jean Moore in the UCLA Art Library when I first met you 50 years ago. She then became the Art Librarian at that institution, and then the Los Angeles County Museum of Art director of the library. She was a very, very good librarian and art historian.
And then she decided to open up a bookstore–and it was a great art bookstore in Westwood Village, the home of UCLA and other wonderful people too. The openings, the parties, the launchings, and the art gallery promoted what she believed in–the best art books, the best art, and the best parties.
And then she closed the shop and worked out of her beautiful home which seemed to accommodate a book collection beyond imagination, as well as many cats, dogs, and a few people. It was in San Fernando Valley.
She took me out to see the poppies in the spring one year, she was one of the first members of ARLIS/NA because she always believed in what I was doing, independent and aggressive as I was. She supported me through all the ups and the downs of ARLIS in its first years, and I hear her deep voice even now–which turned into a rasp, a scratch, and then silence, because of so much radiation.
She stood out and she stood up for independent bookstores, for careful and meticulous expertise in describing antiquarian books and used books, she taught me high standards and scruples.
Tonight, if you could, raise a glass to Cal–and perhaps we shall honor her at UCLA with some kind of gesture that will memorialize her presence in our lives.
On the eve of my own sister’s memorial,
Judith A. Hoffberg
Founding Executive Secretary of ARLIS/NA