UCLA Arts Library: 'The Belt'

Another very special collection held by the UCLA Arts Library is the Elmer Belt Library of Vinciana.

Donated to UCLA in the sixties, this incredible private collection was built by medical doctor Elmer Belt (a member of faculty at the UCLA Medical School) who became interested - very interested - in Leonardo da Vinci. He initially tried to recreate the personal library of Leonardo da Vinci- buying originals and facsimiles of everything that was known to be in his library, and facsimiles of his notebooks in all the different sizes. This collection now stands at over 10 000 volumes strong and includes (among other incredible titles) a first edition Alberti. Colour me impressed.

Dr Belt hired a librarian to help build this collection, and once word got out, book dealers and specialists would contact him directly with any goodies that came on the market. 
In addition to collecting Leonardo specific artefacts, he also collected a variety of reference materials in order to research Leonardo and the Italian Renaissance. Some things are not special collection material per say, but contributed to this personal quest.

UCLA has ended up with some very well known renaissance scholars and boasts a strong program in Renaissance Studies. With many graduate students doing very interesting work on Italian Renaissance, this collection continues to be one of the Art Libraries "little treasures".

Some of the (more) extremely valuable parts of this collection (there are over seventy items of incunabula) are housed with Special Collections in more controlled archival conditions. The rest of the 10,000 strong titles are housed here. This entire space is taken up by "The Belt".

Aisle upon aisle of this.

The far wall contains as yet uncatalogued parts of the Belt Collection. The gift that just keeps on giving.