Here's an article reprinted from the  Oakland Public Library's newsletter, Off the Shelf A copy of Irrepressible is featured in the exhibit at the Main Oakland Library all month.
By Kathleen Hirooka

            Earlier this year, the Bookmark Bookstore received a call from the family of author/activist Jessica ("Decca") Mitford and Robert Treuhaft to pick up a donation of over 30 books from their personal library to support the Friends of the Oakland Public Library. Manager Bob Frey took the call and asked volunteer Ed Moore to drive to their former home on Regent Street in Oakland to retrieve this one-of-a-kind gift.

            Jessica Mitford (1917-1996), whose life began as a member of a prominent British aristocratic family, ran away to the Spanish Civil War with a nephew of Winston Churchill, immigrated to the United States where she joined the Communist Party, and became best known as a muckraking journalist upon the publication of The American Way of Death. She was a long-time resident of Oakland, where she and husband Treuhaft worked tirelessly on labor, civil rights, and other causes.  She was also a supporter of the Oakland Public Library, on whose behalf she appeared as a featured speaker just two years before her death. 

            Customers will have a unique chance to purchase titles donated from this private library beginning November 2, 2011 at The Bookmark Bookstore, 721 Washington Street (in Old Oakland).  Related books by or about Ms. Mitford and her famous (or infamous) family will also be sold.  Decca and Bob knew everybody in progressive circles in the latter half of the twentieth century, and the majority of these works contain personal dedications to one or both by the likes of Simon Schama, John Kenneth Galbraith, Adam Hochschild, Todd Gitlin, Mary Mackey, Agnes deMille, Art Hoppe, and Herb Caen, who noted that they were “two of the eternal joys of my misbegotten life.  Love always & thanks for being a bulwark (Bulwark? Not too sexy, eh?).  Proceeds from the sale of all books benefit the Oakland Public Library. 

            In conjunction with this special sale, watch for two free related programs:

 Decca & Friends, The Personal Collection of Jessica Mitford will display selected titles from this gift from October 1 – 31 at the Main Library, 125 14th Street. 

Jessica Mitford:  Oakland “Housewife” will feature a reading and talk by local author Peter Y. Sussman from Decca:  The Letters of Jessica Mitford (2006), which he edited.  Sussman will provide background on Mitford’s colorful life, with special emphasis on her history in Oakland and contributions to this city.  Copies of his book will be available for sale and signing afterwards.  This event will take place on Thursday, October 27, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Main Library’s Bradley C. Walters Auditorium, 125 14th Street.

For more information about the sale, contact The Bookmark Bookstore, at (510) 444-0473. For more information about the author event, contact the Main Library at (510) 238-3222.

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