An upcoming auction in New York on June 5 has an incredible selection of original book cover art -- eleven by my count, an unusually large number to be offered at once, and a few superlative pieces to boot. Highlights include Russell Tandy's watercolor and gouache on board for the beloved Nancy Drew title, The Secret in the Old Attic (1944), several Edward Gorey watercolor illustrations, and some neat pulp cover art, including one by "King of Paperbacks" James Avati.

Nancy.jpgRussell Tandy's illustration, "The Secret in the Old Attic," for the book of the same name by Carolyn Keene, published as Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #21 (1944). Estimate $15,000-25,000.

Gorey Origins.jpgEdward Gorey's "Origins of the Medieval World," watercolor and ink illustration study for the cover of the book of the same name by William Carroll Bark (1960). Estimate $2,500-3,000.

Gorey SNow copy.jpgAnother of Gorey's watercolor and ink illustrations -- "The Masters," for the cover of a book of the same name by C. P. Snow (1951). Estimate $2,500-3,500.

Avati c.jpgAccording to Swann, this is the "King of Paperback's First Published Cover:" James Avati's "A Southern White Girl gets the Shock of her Life," an oil on board used for the cover illustration for The Other Room by Worth Tuttle Hedden (1949). Estimate $5,000-7,500.

Barr Sharp.jpgKen Barr's gouache on board used as the cover illustration for The Sharpshooter #6: Muzzle Blast by Bruno Rossi (1974). Estimate $500-700.

Eastman 1 .jpgNorm Eastman's oil on board, "See How they Run," used for the cover of a Pocket Books publication in 1970. Estimate $400-600.

Peyton copy.jpgAnd another from Eastman: "A Nice Girl from Peyton Place," gouache and tempera on board, used as the cover illustration for the book of the same name by Roger Fuller (1970). Estimate $400-600.

Tombstone copy.jpgMorton Engle's oil on board, "The most dangerous man that ever rode into Tombstone," used as the cover illustration for Powder Burn by Bradford Scott (1957). Estimate $800-1,200.

Summer copy.jpgDarrell Greene's oil and gouache on board, "A Summer Place," used as the cover illustration for the Cardinal Giant edition of the book by Sloan Wilson (1959). Estimate $2,000-3,000.

Gorey sketch.jpgEdward Gorey's ink sketch for the cover illustration of Stendhal: On Love (1957). Estimate $1,200-1,800.

Gorey Goth copy.jpgAnd one more from Gorey: Pen, ink, and marker cover design with transparency overlays for Ladies of the Gothics: Tales of Romance and Terror By the Gentle Sex... (1975). Estimate $5,000-7,500.

Images courtesy of Swann Galleries

Our Bright Young Librarians series continues today with Ralph Baylor, Associate Librarian for Public Services at The Frick Collection and Frick Art Reference Library.

RB Headshot BYL.jpgWhat is your role at your institution?


I am the Associate Librarian for Public Services at The Frick Collection and Frick Art Reference Library. This role offers in-person and remote reference services to the public and staff of The Frick Collection and Library. In addition I oversee the interlibrary lending program of the library, create public programming, and participate in outreach events teaching the public about the Library and its services.


The Frick Collection is an art museum and research center known for its distinguished examples of Old Master paintings and sculptures alongside a fine collection of decorative arts. The collection was assembled by the American industrialist Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919) and housed in his former residence, one of the last gilded-age mansions on Fifth Avenue in New York City.


The Frick Art Reference Library was founded in 1920 by Helen Clay Frick, as a memorial to her father. While her father was still alive, Helen conducted research on his behalf, helping to inform many of his purchases. The documents she gathered and shared with him became the nucleus for the Library.  The Library collections consists of over 500,000 books related to paintings, drawings, and sculptures by artists working in the Western tradition from the fourth through mid-twentieth centuries; more than 90,000 auction catalogs from over 1000 auction houses throughout Europe, the Americas, and Australia; and a Photoarchive collection of approximately 1,000,000 photographic reproductions and clippings of artworks. The Library is also home of Center of the History of Collecting, created to support the study of collections of fine and decorative artists in Europe and the United States from the Renaissance to the present day.   


How did you get started in rare books?


I was working with rare materials throughout my graduate program as an intern in many New York City art institutions.  These early experiences confirmed my initial inclination to work in an art museum library. My first job after graduate school was at The Center for Book Arts in New York City as their Collection Manager. A book collector was impressed with the cataloging I did at The Center and offered me some freelance work organizing and cataloging her collection. This led to still other opportunities to work with the early printed texts in The Hispanic Society of America. All the while, I maintained a part-time job at the Frick Library. After 18 months of juggling three jobs, I was offered full-time status at the Frick Library and slowly stopped freelancing as projects underway reached their completion.


Where did you earn your MLS or advanced degree?


I graduated in 2014 from The Pratt Institute with an M.S. in the History of Art and Design and M.S. in Library and Information Science. 


Favorite rare book / ephemera that you've handled?


The Frick Art Reference Library auction catalog collection is a treasure trove of information that helps establish provenance. But I love that they also display hints of humanity. Many of these catalogs are annotated with prices and the names of buyers. Whenever I pull these to answer a reference question I enjoy thumbing through the pages looking for sketches and notes. I often find quick doodles of the auctioneer or thoughts on who to invite to an upcoming dinner party. These annotations remind me that the annotators were real people that often had to contend with boredom!



What do you personally collect?


I am collecting the complete publications of Fantasy Press. They were an American publisher specializing in science fiction. Fantasy Press was only operable for about nine years in the late 1940's through mid-1950's, but the books produced had beautiful covers and illustrations. The paper was of very fine quality too. I have had fun trying to get the full run, though a few are quite elusive.


What do you like to do outside of work?


I enjoy running and run several half-marathons a year. I also love to travel throughout Italy. I am learning Italian and hope to go back next year with the ability to hold a long conversation.


What excites you about rare book librarianship?


Helping people make discoveries using rare book and special collections is the most exciting aspect of this field. Being a reference librarian, I am admittedly biased, but I strongly believe in dropping barriers to access these types of materials. This in regard I feel like my role offering reference services and coordinating interlibrary lending let me see first-hand the importance of providing our resources to the public.


Thoughts on the future of special collections / rare book librarianship?


The future will continue to see librarians creating greater access to their collections. Gone are the days where one had to provide a letter of reference to prove they were worthy of access. Special collections present exciting opportunities for engagement with all people.     


Any unusual or interesting collection at your library you'd like to draw our attention to?


During World War II, the Committee on the Protection of Cultural Treasures in War Areas of the American Council of Learned Societies was based at the Library. The staff here assisted committee members, preparing maps and lists locating art treasures and monuments across Europe. These events formed the basis of the 2014 file Monuments Men. The maps produced are still held in our archives and form a fascinating part of history. We also hold other objects from that era such as a World War II helmet distributed by the US Army.  


Any upcoming exhibitions at your library?


The Frick Collection has many great exhibitions so my department focuses on programming. We currently have some exciting summer programs, including our first ever summer book club. We are reading Dominic Smith's The Last Painting of Sara de Vos and plan to host two discussions in July. The book is a great read and has quite a few references to artists in The Frick Collection as well as a couple of references to the Library.


[Image Credit: George Koelle]


On Tuesday, May 29, Christie's Paris sells Livres rare et manuscrits in 95 lots. An impressive set of the Description de l'Egypte (1809-[1830]) from the library of Jean-Marie Dubois-Aymé, a contributor to the work, is estimated at ??300,000-500,000. Maxime Du Camp's photographic book ?gypte, Nubie, Palestine et Syrie (1852) could sell for ??250,000-350,000, and a Debussy music manuscript rates a ??120,000-180,000 estimate.


Bonhams London sells Wassenaar Zoo: A Dutch Private Library on Wednesday, May 30, in 234 lots. Expected highlights include John Gould's Birds of Australia (£100,000-150,000) and his Mammals of Australia (£50,000-70,000), Edward Lear's Illustrations of the Family of Psitticidae (£40,000-60,000), and Daniel Giraud Elliot's A Monograph of the Phasanidae (£35,000-45,000). Watch a future issue of Fine Books & Collections for more on this sale.


Modern First Editions, Illustrated Books & Limited Editions are the order of the day at Chiswick Auctions on Wednesday, in 226 lots. A first edition of Hemingway's In Our Time (1924) is estimated at £15,000-18,000, with a first edition, first printing of Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1901; pictured) rates the second-highest estimate, £12,000-15,000. Some interesting editions of classic fiction, &c. available in this sale.

peter.pngOn Thursday, May 31, PBA Galleries holds a sale of Americana with Manuscript Material, Travel & Exploration, and Cartography, in 438 lots. A copy on "superfine royal paper" of the first collected edition of The Federalist (New York, 1788) is estimated at $80,000-120,000, while an early copy of Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn later owned by Sir Hugh Walpole could sell for $15,000-25,000.


Skinner begins an online sale of Fine Books & Manuscripts on May 31, which runs until June 8. The two lots with the highest starting bids ($25,000) are an 1858 oversized map of the Mississippi River, and the May 9, 1754 issue of the Pennsylvania Gazette, which featured the first appearance of Franklin's "Join or Die" cartoon.


Image courtesy of Chiswick Auctions

In a positive sign of the times, we're pleased to report the forthcoming arrival of another new book arts fair. Booklyn, that beloved Brooklyn institution dedicated to promoting book artists, printers, and other bibliocentric pursuits, is getting into the book fair business. In September 2019, Booklyn will be joining forces with the New York City Book and Ephemera Fair, also affectionately known as the Satellite Fair that takes place the same weekend as the annual New York Antiquarian Book Fair, and they've put out a call for exhibitors. Here are the specifics:


Booklyn has forty tables available to exhibitors for the duration of the two-day show at the bargain price of $400 each, limit four tables per artist, group, organization, or press. Contact to reserve a table before the September 1 deadline. The Fair itself will take place Saturday, March 9, 2019, 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and Sunday, March 10, 2019, 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM at Sheraton Central Park 811 7th Avenue New York, NY, 10019.


The theme for the 2019 fair is a bit of a mouthful, but certainly gets the point across: "Resistance and Resonance, how have the recent Art Build, Me Too, March for Our Lives, Black Lives Matter, BDS, Immigrants' Rights, Gender Justice, and Standing Rock direct action movements affected the field of creative publishing?" Participants are invited to submit a proposal for a presentation based on that theme.


Bookyln organizers hope this new endeavor will provide participants the opportunity to meet new audiences and collectors in Manhattan.


In addition to launching a new fair, Booklyn's in some new digs: the organization recently moved to a location in the Artbuilt Brooklyn center located in the Brooklyn Army Terminal (Building B-7G) and will reopen to the public in July with a welcoming exhibition, workshops, and lectures. The telephone number remains (718) 383-9621.



roth_goodbyecolumbus_030786-01 copy.jpgLast week we lost Tom Wolfe, this week another literary lion, Philip Roth, leaves us. There are, of course, glowing obituaries aplenty to remind us of all the great and good novels Roth wrote. I, however, am reminded about all the books he collected, and which will now, upon his passing, make their way to the Newark Public Library (NPL) in Newark, New Jersey, his hometown and longtime muse. In our spring 2017 issue, we reported on Roth's plan to donate his personal library of about 3,500 volumes to the NPL upon his death. (His literary papers are deposited at the Library of Congress.) Roth announced the bequest in late 2016. The library honored his gift with the creation of the Philip Roth Lecture Series, with author Zadie Smith as the inaugural speaker.   

In a statement issued yesterday, the NPL shared this: "Philip Roth's passing is a painful loss to the Newark Public Library, to the city of Newark, and to the world of literature."

But his legacy--local, national, international, literary, political--is secure. And I look forward to Roth's library having a second life in a public space, where aspiring writers may find inspiration among his marginalia-filled books.  

Image: First edition of Goodbye, Columbus (1959) courtesy of Ken Lopez Bookseller.

Our Bright Young Booksellers series continues today with A. N. Devers, proprietor of The Second Shelf in London:

IMG_7331 (1).JPGHow did you get started in rare books?

It's been a series of convergences that now seem like a kind of fate the best I can make of it. I am a lifelong reader who spent a great deal of time in libraries and secondhand bookstores growing up -- my first job that wasn't babysitting was as a library page shelving books at our regional library, and then I went to the University of Virginia where I studied English Literature and archaeology and would often pass Edgar Allan Poe's former dorm room on the Commons (it has a clear plexiglass covering the entrance so one can always gaze in), and I also took a lot of impromptu detours to UVa's Special Collections for exhibits and I knew vaguely of the Rare Book School and its offerings. I was always intrigued by book history.

And I have always been one of those readers who brought home more than I could ever keep up with, and after graduating I worked in bookshops on and off. For the past 10 years I've made a modest living as a freelance writer and arts journalist, and adjunct professor -- and the articles and essays I published were often about literary history, book reviews, or people who had made their life about books.

I was not a collector of more than paperbacks except for an occasional lucky find here and there from bookstore shelves. That changed a tiny bit when I met Heather O'Donnell, owner of Honey & Wax Booksellers. I've always had side jobs as a writer, as most writers must do, and I was working at Brooklyn's Community Bookstore as their publicist when we became friends. She was launching her business and starting an annual holiday book fair in Brooklyn -- I volunteered to help her get the word out about it, and I bought some affordable books from her. Her first catalog was inspiring, and I coveted everything she put in it. And not long after Community Bookstore opened a secondhand bookshop nearby called Terrace Books and they soon started offering some rare books as well. I was pretty much completely jealous is what I am trying to say. I was inspired and wanted in. I started going to fairs to see Heather, and pretty quickly became interested in the entire enterprise.

The first time I thought I might have a knack for finding and selling rare books was at one of these fairs, I accidentally hand-sold a $6,000 multi-volume copy of "Tristram Shandy" offered by Adams' Antiquarian Book Shop, to an acquaintance (I think that's what it was marked, anyway.). I had opened the lovely set to see the blacked out page and the stunning marbled page pasted in, and showed them off, telling this new acquaintance about how it was considered a forerunner to modernism and the postmodern novel, way back in the mid-18th century. And I mentioned how I had visited his home in England, which is open to the public and is a completely great and surreal experience. And then I put the books down and went on my way through the fair and found out later she had bought them. Just like that. And I honestly felt incredible, it was a huge rush. I couldn't fathom it. Later the Adamses wrote me offering me a small set of an early but later edition of Shandy for a significant discount, I think as a bit of a thank you, and I bought it for myself despite not being really able to afford them. So they are a part of my very small personal collection of books I probably wouldn't ever sell. I love Tristram Shandy and that marbled and blacked out page so much.

When did you open The Second Shelf and what do you specialize in?

Books and manuscripts by women, or about women, as well as objects and ephemera that highlight women's work and contributions to cultural history.

I think it was at the same fair with the Shandy where I noticed that modern first editions by women I consider to be extraordinary writers seemed to cost far less than their male contemporaries. Not in all cases, but it seemed to me the majority of them. And I had noticed the fairs are largely attended by male dealers and male collectors, and though I speak broadly, and know plenty of women who deal and collect, I was frankly bothered by it. It didn't feel like the most inviting place for women -- the fairs often don't. And there is a diversity issue in the rare book trade that I am also bothered by. For a trade so geared to identifying rare and great work by the most forward-thinking people in history and investing so heavily in the ideas of great writers and artists and book binders and publishers, it can sometimes feel decidedly unprogressive. Part of that is history's fault -- part of that is the nature of dealing in books from the past. But then, I would argue there is a reason to hunt for what might be overlooked, and certainly no reason to continue to ignore or dismiss certain books or writers now as "uncollectible." I'm told all the time certain titles by certain women are unsellable. I don't believe it or buy it at all. And if it's true now I'm going to work to change that by being a great saleswoman. It's easy to go to bat for work I believe in.

I ran the idea for a book business that was focused on women to Heather and other friends in the book world, and they were all so supportive and encouraging, that I eventually became brave enough to decide to learn the trade. It helped that I was moving to London, a city that is very good for finding books. I am not the only dealer who has focused their company on women, but I might be the first one to say that even the phrase "women's interest" is problematic. We are not a niche. But we have been treated as one and left out or overlooked in the field, just as women have been in most fields, and so I am determined to raise awareness about this and also hoping to inspire and entice more women to collect -- since men historically tend to be less interested in books by women and since the rare books world does help build a market for writers' legacies and their archives. I'd like women's work to be equally valued and as collected and that is starting to happen, as institutions begin to redress the inequality of their shelves, and that means "women's interest" is actually a good business to be in -- although the valuation of 20th-century women writers is not what I think it should be.

I am inspired by the work of book collector and activist Lisa Unger Baskin, who has built an extraordinary collection of books and material relating to women's work and donated it to Duke's Rubenstein Library. She says about her collection, "The unifying thread is that women have always been productive and working people and this history essentially has been hidden." I believe wholeheartedly in this statement and her focus and purpose on documenting this history.

My hope for The Second Shelf is to focus significantly on women writers, particularly modern and contemporary writers, in order to provide an affordable access point for readers to become collectors, and therefore stewards of these writers. It also means as a new company operating on a small budget I have been able to build my stock as I learn the trade without taking huge gambles on wildly expensive books, although I have done that a little bit.

I am also not limiting myself. I will procure books of importance to women's history and literature from all eras, as my business's growth allows. The first book featured in my catalog is a beautiful book bound by a preeminent Norwegian binder -- a significant novel by the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, and she is a writer I had never heard of until I bought it. I consider my ignorance of her an example of the problem I am trying to address. I should know her name. We all should. It's Selma Lagerlöf.

What do you love about the book trade?

I love the books. I love the book fiends. And I love showing books to people in person. I might not love aspects of book fairs, but I still love book fairs. I am a visual person and I am a tactile person. Nothing beats shopping and looking at books with your own eyes or handling them yourself. It's a pretty great job to get to sell people on books you love, and I have all that background from my time in bookstores forcing copies of I Capture the Castle and The Secret History into new readers hands to draw on. It's a natural job for me.

Describe a typical day for you:

I wake up and hang out with my son and take him to nursery school and try to get working by 10 am. I usually have something due unrelated to the book trade as a freelance writer. I am also finishing my first book any day now. My plate is full. Last year I spent a lot of time in local bookshops turning their stock upside-down. I would sometimes go straight to the stores and then come home and put my books down and then start writing. Then toward the end of the workday I'm a mom again. It's usually a juggle between writing and loitering in bookstores where I feel guilty about doing one of the other and can feel fairly frantic. I went about things pretty upside-down. I started selling books by men at a monthly fair because I needed practice and to start dealing, and didn't want to sell my first The Second Shelf stock before I had my first catalog. I was determined to do things a certain way, however untraditional. But what my decisions have afforded me is a rapid introduction and education, so although I've started with a bit of a mess, I am quickly in the process of tidying that mess up and when I put up my website, I will have about 500 books cataloged to share, and that's really only a fraction of what's in the basement.

Favorite rare book (or ephemera) that you've handled?

I won Sylvia Plath's blue and green tartan skirt recently at auction and I don't know what to do with myself about it. It has her name on the waistband. I brought it home and discovered it fit me, which was an incredible surprise. I am so in love with it that I wore it out once to dinner before the weather changed in London in case I never got the chance again. I bought it to sell, and certainly can't afford to keep it, but of all the things I have I am uncomfortable with parting with it -- the thought gives me little pleasure right now, though that could change. I consider it a talismanic object in my life. It led me to commission a poem about it called "How to Wear It" by one of my favorite poets, Ariana Reines, and that will be a broadside published by The Second Shelf printed by Hurst Street Press, a woman-owned letterpress in London. I am letting the skirt be my guide about what to do with it.

What do you personally collect?

It's odds and ends representing highlights of my favorite books and writers. I have some first edition children's books that I love. I am a huge fan of Susan Cooper and I am one book away from having all the first editions in The Dark is Rising series. I have some Edward Gorey, including one of his fur coats, and signed first editions of my favorite contemporary fiction, but I don't seek out those books particularly deliberately. The book I most wanted to have for myself was Plath's The Bell Jar, which she first published under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. I bought a rather tatty copy and it was relatively affordable and I will never let it go. I don't need it to be pristine. I like a loved book, this copy was loved by someone named Diane.

I have a few books that were owned by John Cheever that are also close to my heart despite being in not great shape, and I have his jazz records. It's a long story why. I have some nice editions of Poe, a carte de visite, and a brick from his house that was partially demolished by NYU to make more student housing -- the Poe stuff is the result of minor fixation on him, and an unfinished book I researched for five years. I have a plastic jar of water from Flannery O'Connor's pond -- it's slowly evaporating. I love books. But I also love objects that have unique associations with the writers whose books I love.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I love to travel, particularly by train. My first book is actually called Train comes out next year from Bloomsbury and it is about a 30-day solo train trip I took circumnavigating America. I like visiting dead authors' houses that are open to the public. And I hang out with my family and I have a narrowboat on Regent's canal that is both a pleasure and an endless supply of problems to solve. I read books, obviously, like, a lot of them.

Thoughts on the present state and/or future of the rare book trade?

I am running a Kickstarter campaign right now to bring awareness to the historic inequality of the book trade and on bookshelves and to find supporters for my business, and the tagline of it is, "The Future of Books is Female." I repurposed "The Future is Female" motto that has become current again and that originated from Labyris Books, a 1970s feminist bookshop in New York. I also have a statement on my website about my definition of women being open and expansive. The Second Shelf is intersectional in its stock and perspective.

I don't think the book trade will survive without women collectors and dealers being treated equally for their work and contributions or being treated as niche, so I'm doubling down on it, even as I specialize specifically in books by women. I feel the same about the trade's need to diversify. The trade is too white. I am offering a scholarship for a woman to attend York Antiquarian Book Seminar. And Jonathan Kearns Rare Books is offering a scholarship for a person of color to attend. The future of the book trade looks bright ... if it figures out how to become more inclusive. It's not there yet, it's feeling a bit dusty at the moment.

Any upcoming fairs or catalogues?

I am exhibiting in my first PBFA fair this weekend in London and my first fair list will go out right before. My first catalog has become a bit of a different beast. I've commissioned some incredible writers to write about some of their favorite writers that I have in my stock, and now the catalog is something rather different. It's called The Second Shelf: A Quarterly of Rare Books and Words by Women. It's available only through the Kickstarter for now or by single issue or subscription and will ship in June or early July. Clients who have bought from me in the past will be given issues, but otherwise, it's available for purchase. The books will be available to the trade through lists and online when I launch the online website later this year. I consider this business based on both sides of the pond and so I am glad to attend the Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair in September.

[Image credit Jo Emmerson]

Guest Post by Eve M. Kahn

Virtually no papers have surfaced for the photographer Lillian Baynes Griffin (1871-1916), the subject of a spring 2018 profile in FB&C, and a handful of her pictures of celebrities have survived at institutions or on the market. This spring, evidence of one of her forgotten professional feats turned up at the Boston Athenaeum: her snapshot of the artist Winslow Homer (1836-1910), taken in 1907 at the doorway of his studio in Prout's Neck, Maine.

IMG_9578.jpgThe image came to light when Frank Goodyear, the co-director of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, visited the Athenaeum for a study day in late March. He was finishing preparations for an exhibition that opens on June 23: Winslow Homer and the Camera: Photography and the Art of Painting. A few dozen photos of Homer, by photographers as prominent as Simon Towle and Napoleon Sarony, have long been known to exist. Goodyear said that when Athenaeum assistant curator Casey Riley told him about the collection's Homer portrait, he expected to see a version of one of the well-known examples. When she brought out Griffin's shot, he said, "My jaw dropped."

It depicts dapper Homer in a straw hat, striped pants, and white bucks, perhaps heading out for a painting jaunt at the rocky shoreline. Homer signed the verso, and different handwriting on the recto credits the image to "Mrs. Walter Griffin." Goodyear described the photo as "exquisitely beautiful and interesting," and he added that he had no idea until recently who the Griffins were.

IMG_9580.jpgLillian Baynes Griffin was British-born and largely self-taught. Her father John Baynes, an inventor, managed to bankrupt a series of textile and metalwork companies in England, India, and New York. Lillian grew up in genteel poverty in Connecticut and spent her early career writing articles about art, gardening, medical treatments, and other topics for publications including The Art Amateur and the Los Angeles Times. In 1899, she married the landscape painter Walter Griffin, a Maine native. By 1905 the couple had separated, and she began supporting herself as a photographer in New York.

Among her subjects were Bulgarian and Spanish noblewomen, the travelogue writer and lecturer E. Burton Holmes, Grover Cleveland's family, and John Jacob Astor VI (a millionaire toddler born four months after his father was killed in the Titanic sinking). She also took photos of American plutocrats' interiors, as well as modern dancers in garden settings. She exhibited her work at camera clubs, museums, and expositions from Budapest to Portland, Maine.


It is not clear whether Homer commissioned her to photograph him in mid-stride at his doorstep. In the 1970s, the photo arrived at the Athenaeum with donated papers from William Howe Downes, Homer's first biographer.

Further research in Walter Griffin's records at the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art may eventually yield insights into his Homer connections and perhaps even mentions of Lillian maneuvering her camera at Prout's Neck. Goodyear said he hopes to incorporate her snapshot into upcoming studies of New England's first generations of female photographers.

--Eve M. Kahn, who wrote the Antiques column for the New York Times from 2008 to 2016, is finishing a biography of the forgotten artist Mary Rogers Williams for Wesleyan University Press.

Images courtesy of the Boston Athenaeum

lute.pngOn Tuesday, May 22, Sotheby's London holds two music sales: Fine Autograph Music: The Property of Helmut Nanz and Family (45 lots) and Musical Manuscripts (75 lots). The Nanz material includes Mozart's manuscript for his unfinished Allegro in G for Piano Four Hands (K.357), estimated at £300,000-400,000, and Wagner's manuscript of the first poetical draft of the libretto for Tannhäuser. Described as the "most important autograph manuscript by Wagner to appear at auction for over a decade," this is estimated at £200,000-300,000. Among the lots in the second sale are George Gershwin's autograph manuscript for the song "A Woman is a Sometime Thing" from Porgy & Bess (£60,000-80,000), a sixteenth-century manuscript of German lute tabulature (£30,000-50,000; pictured), and corrected proofs for an 1831 edition of the choral parts for Bach's "St. Matthew Passion" (£10,000-15,000).


At Leslie Hindman Auctioneers on Wednesday, May 23, Fine Prints, in 335 lots. Picasso's Faune dévoilant une femme (1936), is the top-estimated lot at $40,000-60,000. Andy Warhol's 1983 print Love is estimated at $30,000-40,000. Many works by Picasso, Miró, Chagall, and others.


Sotheby's Paris sells Livres et Manuscrits on Thursday, May 24, in 196 lots. An important collection of publisher Gaston Gallimard's correspondence with Marcel Proust is estimated at ??100,000-150,000, and twenty letters from Louis-Ferdinand Céline to his friend Auguste Becart could fetch ??25,000-35,000. The Proust lot is part of sixty lots from the estate of the author's grand-neice. A rare copy of the 1668 edition of La Bruyère's Les caracteres de Theophraste once owned by both Talleyrand and Rémusat is estimated at ??6,000-8,000.


Image credit: Sotheby's

Though artists' books can arguably trace their origins back to medieval volumes like the Tr?s Riches Heures, contemporary artists' books tend to reference William Blake as the forerunner to the genre. And since then, the field has produced masters like Dieter Roth, Andy Warhol, Ed Ruscha, and others who transform books into art objects.                                                                                               

The 1970s and 80s are considered by many experts as the golden age of offset printed artists' books, and though it was a field mostly dominated by men, women were making their mark, too. A roundtable discussion being held at New York's Center for Book Arts on Tuesday May 22 will explore the work of those women creators of offset printed artists' books, the challenges they faced, and what they hope the future holds for the next generation of printmakers. Participants include Cynthia Marsh, founder of Tennessee's Goldsmith Press; Rebecca Michaels, a photography professor at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia; and Philadelphia-based book artist, printmaker, and professor Patty Smith.       

The panel will be moderated by the Met's associate chief librarian of the Watson Library, Tony White, whose exhibition, Production, not Reproduction: a Chronological History of Offset Printed Artists' Books, appeared at Yale in 2006 and at the Center for Book Arts in 2007.                                                                  


Diane Dias De Fazio, a public services librarian at the NYPL and one of our featured librarians in the "Bright Young Librarians" series, has been instrumental in organizing the event. "The work of Smith, Marsh, and Michaels was featured in both iterations of that exhibition. White also served as guest editor for Volume 25 of the Journal of Artists' Books," Dias De Fazio said in an email recently.                                                                               

"I interviewed all three women ten years ago when I was creating a genealogy of offset printers for Volume #25 of the Journal of Artists Books," explained White. "I learned about where they discovered printing, who they studied with, and who they taught. There are a number of male offset printers who have received more recognition, but who came a generation or so later. With so many women book artists' and printers, I want to make sure their stories are heard, especially in the contemporary book production environment."                                                                                                                         

Though Tuesday's panel of participants is far from complete, White believes that the women sharing their stories are representative of the experiences others have had.                                                        

"In a way, I am returning to a project I started in 2007 to gather and publish the interviews of offset printers," explained White. "The focus of the program is on women who played important, foundational roles in the field of high speed rotary offset printing. "It is a highly technical and demanding printing process--much less forgiving that letterpress."                                                    

"Women in a Golden Age of Artists' Books" happens on Tuesday, May 22 at the Center for Book Arts (28 West 27th St, 3rd floor) from 6:30-7:45. RSVP to this event at

Rare Books London is now underway, and there's an audible hum of activity in the rare book trade about ABA's 61st annual London fair running from May 24-26. 


Here is our second brief round-up of dealers' particular favorites offered with hope for warmer, less rainy weather and a great turnout for the fair's debut in a new venue. See you at Battersea!



Deborah Coltham Rare Books has sent this 1802 broadside advertising a range of waterproof clothing designed, manufactured and patented by Ackermann, Suardy & Co of Chelsea, who invented a method for rendering materials impenetrable to water. Enticingly, Maria Hadfield Cosway, a close friend of Thomas Jefferson, did the enchanting stipple engraving. Price £1,800



There is a rare, dramatic, and important, if unnerving, entry from Alembic Rare Books in a ring-bound official photo album of the United States Air Force's "Operation Greenhouse" documenting thermonuclear weapon use in 1951. The 89 original photographs in this album were taken by a crew of thirty professional photographers from the Air Force's Lookout Mountain Laboratory in Hollywood, California, who also filmed two documentaries, one for public consumption and the other for the government. Price £6500



And to calm our now stirred nerves, here is Simon Beattie's meditative offering in Susan Maria Ffarington's illustrated panorama of The 104th Psalm. Lithographed by Vincent Brooks Day & Son, London, c.1870, it measures twelve feet in length, and illustrates all thirty-five verses of Psalm 104. Ffarington was the author of several devotional books for children and designed windows for parish churches near her estate. Sounds heavenly. Price £600



It's a nice easy step from Psalms to Shakespeare, and we're finishing up our preview with Sophie Schneideman's offering of Cranach Press's The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke, of which she writes: "Hamlet was 17 years in gestation from when [Count Kessler] had seen Gordon Craig's black figures for his Moscow Hamlet and decided that spectacular woodcuts could be printed from them. The result is one of the most important and spectacular works of the private press movement." Price £14,000


Our first ABA fair round-up, posted last week, is here.


Images courtesy of the booksellers