San Francisco local Warren Heckrotte was a rare books and maps buyer who began building his collection in the 1960’s, “making his first purchase, of three “decorative” maps, in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1963” while working in Geneva as a physicist at the Lawrence Livermore Labratory where he served as representative of the Atomic Energy Commission. This first maps purchase sparked Mr. Heckrotte’s passion for maps and his desire to continue to grow his academic knowledge of antique maps. He began, as many map collectors do, with a study of R.V. Tooley’s Maps and Map-Makers.
In the San Francisco and greater Bay Area, Mr. Heckrotte began frequenting local book dealers, among them “John Swingle’s Alta California Bookstore in Berkeley, Bob Hawley at the Holmes Book Company in Oakland and later his own Ross Valley Book Company in Albany, and of course Warren Howell at the venerable John Howell-Books off Union Square in San Francisco.” These dealer were highly influenctial to Mr. Heckrotte and his collecting interests, particularly western maps. “He frequently returned to Geneva for the ongoing treaty talks, where in his off hours he would rummage through the book stores and flea market of the city, fascinated by the history to be discovered, and purchasing cartographic rarities.”
Mr Heckrotte also frequently traveld to London where he fostered a close rlationship with John Maggs and many other significant booksellers, map dealers, and auctioneers. “Not content just to acquire material, Mr. Heckrotte studied it in scholarly fashion, and drew his own conclusions. He contributed articles to such publications as Terra Cognita (academic journal of the Society for the History of Discoveries), The Map Collector, Mercator’s World, and the newsletter of the California Map Society. He edited and contributed to California 49: Forty-nine Maps of California from the 16th Century to the Present, published in San Francisco in 1999. Mr. Heckrotte also curated a number of exhibits of his material at the Book Club of California.” A true antiquarian book and maps collector, Warren Heckrote amassed a grand presence of wonderfully curated and preserved maps of the west cost within the San Francisco Bay Area.