The McCune Collection Presents the Spring 2011 Lecture Series

Sunday, March 20, 2011
Mel Ahlborn
Imagining the Past in France: History in Illuminated Manuscripts, 1250-1500

Mel AhlbornBay area artist and illuminator Mel Ahlborn returns to the McCune with a richly detailed talk on the landmark exhibition of French illuminated manuscripts recently held at The Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Royal courts, legendary characters, historic imaginings and biblical history all came to life in the illuminated manuscripts produced in France from 1250-1500 AD. Wooden boards served as covers to enormous books which opened to reveal parchment pages filled with careful writing and tiny characters painted in tempera and gold. Certain to interest students, as well as lovers of calligraphy, illuminated miniatures and manuscripts, this intriguing survey of Illuminated Medieval Manuscripts celebrates the pinnacle of manuscript illumination in France. For over 20 years, Mel Ahlborn's Illumination Studio has served museums, film companies, academic institutions and private clients; and is distinguished for its expertise in the areas of manuscript illumination, illuminated awards, and portraiture. Reach Ahlborn at: and follow her on Twitter @illumination1.

Sunday, April 17, 2011
Larry Stevens
California Maritime Academy’s Yearbook History

Larry StevensJoin Cal Maritime library staff member Larry Stevens for a colorful reminiscence of Maritime Academy history as seen through the pages of its yearbook, the Hawsepipe. Memories of CMA’s 80 years of military and seafaring history are contained within, and each yearbook is a time capsule that reflects the era in which it was published. Originally printed as a half-page mimeographed “Training Ship Journal”, the Hawsepipe over the years evolved to its present hardcover format. Early yearbooks will be available to share with the audience. After majoring in Architecture and Art History at the University of Cincinnati, and following another lifetime as a travel agent, Larry Stevens volunteered with the McCune Committee, leaving in 2007 to work for the Solano County and Benicia Library systems. In 2008, he was hired by CMA as a library and archives assistant, and is the primary contact for the academy’s historical collections and displays. Contact Stevens at

Sunday, May 15, 2011
John Lehner
American Women Designers of Decorative Book Covers, 1890-1915

John LehnerCollector John Lehner discusses decorative book cover design, focusing in particular on the contributions of two notable American women designers, Sarah Wyman Whitman and Margaret Armstrong. During the American Decorative Arts movement of the late nineteenth century, women rose to the fore of book cover design, displacing the customary dye-makers and engravers who designed covers for commercially produced books. These ladies, whose identities remained a mystery to the book buying public, left their marks - both literally and figuratively - on the bindings of thousands of titles of this period, many with little more than a discreet initial or two on a binding along with their beautiful designs. An avid collector, Lehner’s interest in book cover design began in the 1960s. He has given many lectures and exhibitions of his books for Bay Area book organizations, including the Roxburghe and Colophon clubs, the Book Club of California and the San Francisco Public Library. Collecting books for the art of the cover is a consuming passion for Lehner who is now retired from the Aerospace Industry, and spends much time adding to his impressive collection. Contact him at:

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