Wolfgang Lederer was an influential designer, illustrator, and educator who shaped the future of design practice in the Bay Area. Gleeson’s Rare Book Room is lucky enough to hold Lederer’s personal archive and is beginning to catalog some of the items from the archive. Before the catalog records go live, I thought I’d give you some background and a sneak peak into the collection.
Lederer was born in Manneheim, Germany in 1912. He studied book design and graphic arts throughout various schools in Europe until 1939 when he was forced to flee Nazi Germany. According to a memo issued by the California College of Arts (formerly known as the California School of Arts and Crafts and the California College of Arts and Crafts), Lederer arrived in New York with only eight dollars in his pocket. In 1941 he became a professor at the California School of Arts and Crafts. He developed the design department and made it one of the major design programs in the country. He was also a book designer for the University of California Press.
The Rare Book Room here at Gleeson Library holds Lederer’s personal archive, which features awards he received for book design, original artwork from book illustrations, copies of journals he designed, wine bottle labels, and memorabilia from the retrospective of his work held at the San Francisco Center of the Book. This collection also features various Christmas and greeting cards that Lederer designed.
We also have various books featuring Lederer’s illustrations including African Figures, The Two Islands: A Tale, and The Prisoner of Chillon: A Fable. Stop by the Rare Book Room to check out this collection! We’re open 9 am – 5 pm Monday – Friday.