Photos: Oscar Wilde, 1882 (credit: Napoleon Sarony, from a collection in the Clark Library). Merlin Holland, Wilde’s only grandson (credit: Ed White)

Gift to UCLA’s Clark Library establishes fellowship to support research on Oscar Wilde

Photos: Oscar Wilde, 1882 (credit: Napoleon Sarony, from a collection in the Clark Library). Merlin Holland, Wilde’s only grandson (credit: Ed White)

Photos: Oscar Wilde, 1882 (credit: Napoleon Sarony, from a collection in the Clark Library). Merlin Holland, Wilde’s only grandson (credit: Ed White)

By Margaret MacDonald

UCLA has received a generous gift from William Zachs and Martin Adam to establish the endowed Wilde-Holland Fellowship in the UCLA Center for 17th- and 18th-Century Studies & William Andrews Clark Memorial Library. The gift qualified for matching funds from the Kaplan-Panzer Humanities Endowment.

The fellowship is open to postdoctoral scholars, graduate students and visiting scholars engaged in research using materials from the Clark’s unparalleled collection of Wilde materials. At the culmination of the two-month fellowship, the Wilde-Holland Fellow will deliver a presentation of their research. 

Wilde (1854-1900) was an iconic and controversial 19th-century playwright, poet, novelist and editor. The Clark’s collections of Wilde materials are among the most comprehensive in the world and include handwritten letters and drafts of literary works by Wilde and his circle; a nearly complete collection of printed editions of his works; photographs, original portraits and caricatures; and playbills, news cuttings and other ephemera. 

The Wilde collections are some of the most popular at the Clark Library, consulted by students and scholars from myriad academic disciplines including English literature, theater studies, gender studies, art history, visual studies, communication, and the book arts.

Bronwen Wilson, Director of the Center for 17th- and 18th-Century Studies & William Andrews Clark Memorial Library at UCLA, said, “We are deeply grateful for this generous gift in support of scholarly research related to the short but brilliant life of Oscar Wilde. The Wilde-Holland Fellowship will attract exceptional scholars who will make full use of the Clark’s impressive Wilde archive, revealing new insights about this extraordinary man and the era in which he lived.”

William Zachs, a literary scholar and antiquarian, and Martin Adam are longtime supporters of the Clark. In 2005, they endowed the Oscar Wilde Lecture at the Clark, a biennial series that focuses on the author, his literary circle and the Decadent movement of the 1890s. The next Lecture will be given at the Clark on Thursday, April 28, 2022, by Wilde’s only grandson, Merlin Holland, for whom the fellowship has also been named, and a scholar dedicated to studying and celebrating Wilde’s legacy.

“The Clark Library’s collection of Oscar Wilde material is indisputably one of the finest in the world. It is an Aladdin’s Cave for literary scholars and historians alike, forever yielding up new treasures for those who have the time and the patience to uncover them,” Zachs said. “Good scholars by definition have patience, but time is not always on their side, an imbalance which we hope this fellowship will help to rectify and allow them to explore in depth and at leisure that most charismatic and fascinating of late 19th-century cultural figures.”

Barbra Streisand to fund forward-looking institute at UCLA focused on solving societal challenges

Picture of Barbra Streisand

Courtesy of Barbra Streisand

“Building upon her decades of work as an artist and activist, Barbra Streisand’s visionary act of generosity will enable UCLA scholars from many different fields to collaborate on research that will move society forward,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said.

The Barbra Streisand Institute includes 4 research centers that address her concerns:

the Center for Truth in the Public Sphere
the Center for the Impact of Climate Change
the Center for the Dynamics of Intimacy & Power Between Women & Men
the Center for the Impact of Art on the Culture

These centers will be housed in UCLA’s Division of Social Sciences.

Widely recognized as an icon in multiple entertainment fields, Streisand has attained unprecedented success as a recording artist, actor, director, producer, screenwriter, author and songwriter. She is the first woman to direct, produce, write and star in a major motion picture, the first woman composer to receive an Academy Award, the only recording artist who has achieved No. 1 albums in six consecutive decades, and the first woman to receive a Golden Globe Award for Best Director.

Alongside these achievements, Streisand has long been a staunch supporter of civil rights, gender equality, and upholding democracy. She has also been a leading environmental activist, funding some of the earliest climate change research at the Environmental Defense Fund beginning in 1989.

“It is my great pleasure to be able to fund an institute at UCLA, one of the world’s premier universities,” Streisand said. “This will be a place where future scholars can discuss, engage and argue about the most important issues of the day; where innovators will speak truth to power, help save our planet, and make glass ceilings for women an anachronism; and in the process give us a chance to have a brighter, more promising future.”

Streisand has been awarded two Oscars, five Emmys, 10 Grammys including the Legend Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award, a Tony Award, 11 Golden Globes including the Cecil B. DeMille Award and two Best Picture Awards for “Yentl” and “A Star Is Born,” three Peabody Awards, and the Director’s Guild Award for her concert special — the only artist to receive honors in all of those areas. Streisand also received the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor given to artists by the U.S. government, as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

A devoted philanthropist, Streisand has supported cardiovascular research and education at Cedars-Sinai since 2007, and in 2012, the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai was renamed in her honor.

Streisand also established the Streisand Chair in Cardiology at UCLA in 1984. In 2014, the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Health Program was established at the university, where the latest research examines stress and the connection between the heart and the mind.

“The future Barbra Streisand Institute will bring to bear the full range of UCLA’s social sciences expertise on the most pressing societal issues of the day, guiding policy and informing solutions to benefit all,” said Darnell Hunt, dean of social sciences in the UCLA College.

Ahead of the formal establishment of the institute, which will occur when the full gift amount is received, the work will be housed at the UCLA Center for the Study of Women. The center is internationally renowned for research in areas including women’s empowerment, environmental sustainability, women’s health, public policy and politics, and arts, culture and narrative storytelling. Streisand’s gift extends the center’s robust research on critical issues that affect women and society overall.

“This incredible gift will have an impact on our university for generations, and it is an auspicious moment for us to mark the second century for UCLA,” said Dr. Eric Esrailian, UCLA faculty member, co-chair of the UCLA Second Century Council and longtime friend of Streisand who will be collaborating on programming for the Barbra Streisand Institute.

The first area of study and advocacy will focus on truth in the public sphere, a subject which Streisand is especially passionate about. Speakers and research will delve into urgent and existential threats to democracy, and examine how lies and the proliferation of disinformation can destroy a civic sense of decency, as well as entire countries.

Streisand says, “While it’s easy to reflect on the past, I can’t stop thinking about the future and what it holds for our children, our planet and our society. The Barbra Streisand Institute at UCLA will be an exploration into vital issues that affect us all…and the fact that my father, Emanuel Streisand, was an educator makes this Institute even more meaningful to me.”

This article originally appeared in the UCLA Newsroom.