A Brief History of Tassajara
The Book Club of California meets with
My friend, Marty Simmons, forwarded to me at the beginning of the month your message to IHS regarding your publication of Marilyn McDonald's Tassajara book and I was thrilled to learn of it. On the 25th I visited the SFZC bookstore and was delighted to be able to purchase a copy of the pre-publication edition.
I used to visit Tassajara almost every summer, often to attend the benefit workshops of Charlotte Selver and Charles Brooks. Years ago I purchased a copy of Crooked Cucumber, your excellent biography of Suzuki Roshi, which as I recall you signed for me. A notice of Marilyn McDonald's work appeared in Wind Bell at some point which attracted my attention. Sometime in the mid-1980s I met with Michael Wenger and he put me in contact with Marilyn who was by then living in New Mexico. She sent me a typescript and with my father, a Palo Alto antiquarian bookseller, with whom I worked, we considered it for publication. We invited two well known California historians, Richard Dillon and J.S. Holliday, to read Marilyn's work, and, sadly in my opinion, they both strongly advised against trying to publish it. I had envisioned publishing it as a scrapbook, but we abandoned the thought of publication. Her typescript and our correspondence now reside in the William P. Wreden Books & Manuscripts Archive in the Stanford University Libraries, given in 1995 after we had closed our business and my father had died. I am thrilled that you have rescued her work and have published it.
As part of her research, as I recall, she reproduced from a 1957 Book Club of California Keepsake Series: Early California Resorts, the one on Tassajara Hot Springs by E.M. Coulter. Currently, I am a member of the Book Club, www.bccbooks.org, founded in 1912, and dedicated to the book arts and the history of California and the West. The Club maintains an extensive library and handsome rooms in downtown San Francisco where we feature frequent events and periodic exhibitions. I note that you now live in Bali. Do you ever come to San Francisco and would you be interested in giving a program on Marilyn's book? Might her son be interested? It would really be great if both of you were able to give a program together on how you brought her work into print. Alternately, perhaps Mark Stromberg of UC Berkeley might be available. I am copying this message to the Club's Executive Director, Kevin Kosik, and our Program Committee Chair, Sharon Gee. We are currently organizing our programs for 2019 and it would be great if we could feature one on Marilyn's book.
With kind regards,
Bo Wreden (William P., Jr.)
page created 18-10-28 with Wreden's first email. More to come.