L. Clarice (Cal) Davis

b. January 30, 1929
d. January 29, 2006

Donations will be given to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

L. Clarice Davis

ARLIS-L Notice

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.L. Clarice Davis

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

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3 Responses to “L. Clarice (Cal) Davis”


  • Does anyone know the name and location of the bookshop that JUDITH A. HOFFBERG once had ? Thank you. Jonathan Starr in Beverly Hills.

  • Judith had a bookstore in Venice for few years, early 80’s–. ARTWORDS / BOOKWORKS, I believe it was. Joan Hugo was involved at some point. early on Lael Mann, &, oh, i fhink it was Barbara Pascal.
    judith & I think Joan Hugo curated an exhibition at LAICA on Robertson called ARTWORDS/ BOOKWORKS. now i wondering what name went with which. i do have record of the exhibition somewhere. not sure if this helps.

  • Hi Jonathan,

    A fellow librarian asked around and here is the consensus:

    Judith never had a shop, but she did deal in artists’ books. You may mean Barbara Pascal who had a shop on La Brea and later at Bergamot Station. Judith Hoffberg’s newsletter Umbrella states “Artworks will be located at 170 S. La Brea, Los Angeles, CA 90036…”

    Or you may be thinking of Cal (L. Clarice) Davis who ran a bookshop on Westwood Blvd near Wilshire for several years. She later sold books out of her home in Van Nuys.

    We hope this helps! Let us know if you have any other questions.

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