[cross-posted with permission from the Los Feliz Ledger]
By Diane Kanner, Los Feliz Ledger Columnist
Glen Dawson is the quintessential Californian. The Sierra Club was brand new when he joined, the same year photographer Ansel Adams took his portrait. In his younger days, Dawson scaled bald peaks like Mount Whitney. His career as a bookseller was preordained after his father Ernest established a bookshop downtown. Later located on Larchmont Boulevard, Dawson’s was a meeting place of western states antiquarian book collectors and Dawson hung out with bibliophiles like W.W. Robinson, Ward Ritchie and Lawrence Powell.
Dawson’s centennial birthday celebration at the University Club in Pasadena on June 2nd brought together his friends. Among guests was 92-year-old Eddy Feldman, an attorney who lives in Park LaBrea. Nibbling on a Cobb salad before leaving for another engagement, Feldman recounted the story of how Dawson changed his life.
Feldman was Chair of the Board of Municipal Arts Commissioners when Mayor Sam Yorty called him to the Central Library to help create a “friends of the library” support group. Feldman had travelled to Europe where he photographed local streetlights. As a commissioner, he was called upon to evaluate proposals for streetlights, and he was developing an eye in the public works genre.
Feldman offered his photos towards the library effort but found no takers. Dawson was in the room, and he told Feldman he wanted to see the photos. The upshot was the publication of Feldman’s text, “The Art of Street Lighting in Los Angeles” in 1972 by Dawson’s Book Store. Listed for $46 on Amazon.com, copies hold photos of lights throughout the city, including one inspired by the hollyhock flower on the hillside of Barnsdall Park.