On April Fools’ Day in 1947, Nat Schmulowitz (lawyer, bibliophile and humanitarian) gave ninety-three jest books to the San Francisco Public Library. He faithfully continued to add toward the establishment of what is now considered to be the world’s largest public collection of wit & humor. The wisdom of Nat Schmulowitz still resonates in his motto: “Without humor we are doomed.”
Located in the Book Arts & Special Collections Center, the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit & Humor (SCOWAH) contains 450 years of humor: over 22,000 books, 250 periodical titles, electronic media and ephemera, in thirty-five languages and dialects, as well as the personal archive of Nat Schmulowitz. The annual SCOWAH exhibition, which opens every April Fools’ Day, is a tribute to Nat Schmulowitz’s generosity and lifelong interest in the San Francisco Public Library.
|Nat Schmulowitz, 1889-1966|
Courtesy Schmulowitz Collection of Wit & Humor, SFPL