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The Logan Collection Highlights & Shadows: Books on Photography from the Reva and David Logan Collection

Highlights and Shadows: Books on Photography from the Reva and David Logan Collection

The photobooks and books on photography that comprise the Logan Collection were amassed over more than half a century by David Logan and his wife Reva. The Logans, along with their three sons Richard, Daniel, and Jonathan, practiced philanthropy on a grand scale. Originally trained as an attorney, David Logan was the managing partner of Mercury Investments in Chicago. He started the family Foundation in 1966, with the goal of funding projects in areas that were typically under-invested, including education, the arts, medicine, investigative journalism, and social justice. In addition to their philanthropy, the Logans were lovers of jazz and serious collectors of artists’ books, photography, and photobooks.

In 2013, The Bancroft Library received the extraordinary gift of the Reva and David Logan Collection of Photographic Books. In addition to the approximately 1,500 titles, many of which are new to Bancroft and the University of California, Berkeley, the donation includes funds for the cataloging and preservation of the Logan books, the acquisition of new photobooks and photographs, a curatorial assistant to support the Collection, and the building of the Reva and David Logan Seminar Room in Bancroft.

The Logan Collection encompasses books dating from the mid-19th century through the 20th century, and comprises all manner of publications on photography. Its scope reflects the Logans' love of classic European and American photography and their singular interests in the history of photography in print. The highlights of the Collection include major milestone publications such as Izaak Walton’s The Compleat Angler, with photogravures by Peter Henry Emerson, and a full run of Alfred Stieglitz’s Camera Work, replete with superb photographic reproductions, considered the most influential early 20th-century periodical for the arts in America. The Logan Collection rescues rare 19th-century manuals on the art and practice of photography and pulls numerous publications by unfashionable or obscure photographers from the shadows of the history of photography. These highlights and shadows provide a unique and critical understanding of the legacy of both the celebrated and the unheralded photographers.The Collection emphasizes the importance of the book, journal, and magazine in disseminating photographs, creating a new visual vocabulary for a mass audience, and establishing the photographic medium as a valid art form and the defining visual medium of the 20th century.

Sadly, many venues dedicated to the exhibition of and education in the photographic arts have divested themselves of their specialized libraries to raise funds. Museums with significant photography collections rarely display the contents of their libraries and often place constraints on access. Great photography book collections, lovingly assembled over a lifetime, are often dispersed at the sound of the auctioneer’s gavel. Thanks to the generosity of Reva and David Logan, rare and significant examples of the history of photography in print are preserved, secure, and available to the community of scholars and to future generations of students at a public university.

I collect "what I like" within the limitation that the items are American and English photographic prints and books "that make a difference" and, to the extent possible, I try to see to it that the collection is usable by others . . . . Why do I collect? Because I enjoy photographic prints and books and I enjoy the "discovery" and "chase" aspects of collecting. My approach is to set standards and goals and to work within the parameters I set. My difficulty is to avoid adopting the standards or goals of other people and to avoid collecting as an investment or as a form of sef-aggrandizement, I am not a captive of my collection."

– - David Logan, 1975