Collector Q & A

Frye's Passion for Fine Food, Wine, and Books

Dr. Fred Frye is a retired pediatrician who practiced in downtown San Diego for 30 years. He is president of the Board of Trustees of the Zoological Society of San Diego and an avid sailor and former Commodore of the San Diego Yacht Club. In addition to collecting, his passions are travel, wine and food.

Q. As a book collector, what is your area of specialization?

A. When I first started to collect, I focused on pediatric medicine and seminal books on specific subjects, such as Francis Glisson on rickets. In later years I have collected authors who have been of special interest, such as Nevil Shute, Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke. I have several books about the mountain men and the opening of the west through the fur trade. I also have a number of early San Diego historical items that my grandfather printed and collected (Frye & Smith Printing was founded in 1893). In recent years, I have started to collect items associated with the Chevaliers du Tastevin and some early books about winemaking, especially in Burgundy.

Q. How big is your collection?

A. I have a library of 5,000-plus titles in various fields that, in addition to those I've already mentioned, also include cookbooks and books about the sea. The medical collection has about 350 volumes. My collection has recently been catalogued by Ben Handler, a UC San Diego graduate student, and working with him has revived my interest.

Q. What are some of your most prized volumes?

A. An early Paulus Aegenita treatise about children (1512), Ambrose Pare (first in English and second in Latin). And pediatric poems from the 17th and 18th centuries, also reprints of Sir William Osler’s articles and textbooks. Some of my books were annotated by hand in the 16th century. It's exciting to know someone else read them and used them. I also have a signed copy of Edward Jenner's book on smallpox that may have been his own since changes marked in the text appeared in later editions.

Q . How did you get started collecting?

A. I have always been around books, and both of my grandfathers and my mother collected books. When I was a pediatric resident at the University of Southern California, I decided to collect old medical books. I was guided by famed antiquarian book dealer Jake Zeitlin, who would find things I wanted and let me pay him as I could.

Q. What do you most enjoy about collecting?

A. Some of the extraordinary books I've been able to see and hold have given me goose bumps. I also enjoy making connections and pursuing titles such as Roger Ribaud's "La Maitre de Maison," of which only 2,300 copies were printed, which I found mentioned in Don and Petie Kladstrup's "Wine and War."

Q. What else do you collect besides books?

A. I have a small wine cellar, and I collect wine items such as tastevins, bottle trolleys, tasting spoons, wine coasters and funnels.

Q. What do you read for pleasure?

A. I like history, such as "1776" and "John Adams" by David McCullough, books about World War II and anything by Stephen Ambrose. I've recently read "Rising Tide" about the 1927 flood of the Mississippi River, and I'm currently reading the Steig Larsson trilogy. I read several books at one time and trade them with friends.

Q. How and why did you become involved with the UCSD Libraries?

A. I believe that the strength of any university lies in the library where scholars can learn and write and where our history can be recorded.I also love the special collections that gather together the different items that will record our history.

New Mobile Site Offers Quick, Easy Access to Libraries

The UC San Diego Libraries launched a new mobile Web site this fall, to meet the needs of the growing number of mobile device users on and off campus. The site, which can be accessed at:, provides quick mobile access to essential library information, including UC and UCSD catalogs, research tools, contacts, maps, and hours. Users can also text, chat, or call library staff right from their phone using the Ask a Librarian service. With the catalogs, users can search for, find, and reserve library items.

The Libraries are among the first UC Libraries – and only a small percentage of academic libraries in the U.S. – to launch a platform for users of mobile devices. The Libraries plan to add more services and tools to its mobile platform over the next several months.

Exhibits & Events

Oct. 13 - Jan. 28, 2011

Exhibit: UCSD @ 50: A Marvel Inside a Miracle Main Floor, Geisel Library

For more information, call (858) 534-2533.

Nov. 1 - Dec. 3, 2010

Celebrating UCSD's Nobel Prize Winners

An exhibit of photographs and personal & professional papers of UCSD Nobel Prize winners Harold Urey, Francis Crick, and Maria Goeppert-Mayer, among others.

For more information, call (858) 534-4579.

Nov.18, 2010

"Founding the Future: Health Sciences' Legacy of Excellence"

In celebration of UC San Diego's 50th anniversary, the Biomedical Library and Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences are hosting a Founders' Day seminar.

For more information, call (858) 534-3418.

Nov. 24, 2010

Annual Live Turkey Calling Show

For more information call the Arts Library at (858) 534-0245.

Dec.15, 2010

Annual Holiday Short Attention Span Show

For more information call the Arts Library at (858) 534-0245.

Feb. 1 - Mar. 30, 2011

Achieving the Extraordinary: 50 Years of Discovery and Innovation at UCSD

An exhibit of selected UCSD inventions and other intellectual property in partnership with the UCSD Technology Transfer Office.

For more information, call (858) 534-4579.

Jan. 7 – April 1, 2011

Exhibit: "Ansel Adams at UCSD"

For more information, call (858) 534-2533.

Domain Editors

  • Dolores Davies
  • Glenda Winders

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