Just in time to celebrate Pippi Longstocking’s 75th anniversary in 2020, French film company StudioCanal and Britain's Heyday Films are partnering up to produce a new adaptation of Astrid Lindgren’s (1907-2002) beloved children’s book series starring a plucky, red-haired Swede named Pippi.

The most recent big-screen adaptation of the Pippi books was back in 1988. Unfortunately, The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking was a commercial flop, even though Lindgren’s books starting the World’s Strongest Girl have been translated into 77 languages with 65 million copies sold world-wide. Lindgren’s now famous tales evoloved from bedtime stories told to her daughter Karin and are filled with adventure and excitement.

Perhaps this version will fare better than the 1988 film. Harry Potter and Paddington producer David Heyman will be at the helm this time around, and he has been working closely with Nils Nyman, Astrid Lindgren’s grandchild and CEO of Astrid Lindgren Films.

In a statement, Heyman said, “I am thrilled to collaborate with Thomas Gustafsson, Olle Nyman and their team at the Astrid Lindgren Company and our partners at Studiocanal on this film adaptation of the brilliant and timeless Pippi Longstocking. Pippi has endured and inspired families everywhere through her life force, strength of character and her irrepressible joie de vivre. Astrid Lindgren’s books have been translated around the globe for many years – a testament to her vision which we are determined to honour with a new film.”

No word yet on the film’s cast, crew, or release date. 

A new edition of the book, featuring the original illustrations by Ingrid Vang Nyman, is due out from Puffin Books in April.

A special edition of Margaret Atwood’s 2019 Booker Prize-winning novel, The Testaments, the sequel to her dystopian blockbuster, The Handmaid’s Tale, was produced to raise funds for bird conservation.

Atwood fans may recall that she and her late husband, the author Graeme Gibson, helped to found the Pelee Island Bird Observatory (PIBO) in Ontario, Canada, in 2003. PIBO is a non-profit that researches and promotes the conservation of birds, and Atwood is currently the group’s honorary chairperson. This exclusive slip-cased edition of three hundred, featuring Atwood’s signature, decorative endpapers, and hidden ephemera, will only be available through PIBO.

Our Bright Young Booksellers series continues today with Miranda Garno Nesler, Director of Women's Literature and History at Whitmore Rare Books in Pasadena. [Proprietor Dan Whitmore was himself an entry in our Bright Young Booksellers series back in 2011 when he was just getting started. Read that interview in our archive here.]
How did you get started in rare books?

At 15, I decided I would be a professor of Renaissance literature. I had just read Macbeth, and after getting an opportunity to see a first quarto, I couldn’t imagine a life better than handling books I loved. I pursued that goal single-mindedly. By my mid-20s I had my PhD from Vanderbilt University. My expertise was working in special collections, tracing how women engaged with and shaped 17th century literature; I studied their manuscripts and diaries, their embroidery, their annotations in books, the catalogues of their libraries or their household budgets and receipts. At 30, though, I was being pushed toward early tenure at a university more focused on teaching than research; and I felt dissatisfied by the future academia offered. So, I resigned and decided to build a life that did fit. I left to California, becoming a specialist for a private women’s history collection for a couple of years; from there to the Sotheby’s Institute, where I taught collection development management, and then I attended CABS (Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar). While at CABS, several faculty suggested that I should reach out to an alum, Dan Whitmore, whose shop was just down the street from my apartment. 
What is your role at Whitmore Rare Books?

As the Director of Women’s Literature and History and the head liaison to institutional clientele, my shop identities dove-tail in really natural and effective ways. My first priority is developing inventory that represents a wider range of human contributions to the world. To that end I’m drawing in rare material on women’s work in medicine, science, philosophy, social activism, literature, and art; and I’m working to ensure that the category “women” is inclusive (which means I want works by queer, indigenous, Latin American, Asian American, and African American women in our inventory as well). Part of this is driven by a commitment to clients seeing themselves reflected on the shelves, and seeing their history being valued. Part of this is also driven by my commitment to assisting libraries in the same goal. I would say 95% of my work is with librarians, faculty, and curators who need research rich and first edition material that can make teaching, research and exhibitions about women possible.
What do you love about the book trade?

How do I count the ways I love this trade? It gives me everything I wanted and is the dream career I didn’t even know to dream about! Right at the top – the opportunity every single day to work with rare material. Whether it’s a title I know well or haven’t encountered before, every physical book presents a learning opportunity. There may be unique signs of use, variants in printing or binding, or context that make the book unique. I’m never bored by it. This is, honestly, something I expected when I shifted to the trade; it was a big part of the appeal. What I didn’t anticipate fully was what a generous, funny, dedicated, and brilliant community I’d be joining. My colleagues are some of my most important mentors and some of my closest friends. They push me to be better at what I do.
Favorite rare book (or ephemera) that you’ve handled?

People sometimes think I exaggerate when I say “everything in the shop” – but it really is true. We have a rate of 1500:1 for pulling pieces into inventory; so if it’s here, there’s something remarkable about it, and I’ve had the chance to intimately learn what makes it special.

That said, there are two moments that really stand out. One was The Declaration of Rights of the Women of the United States (1876) – a bit of a black tulip for me personally, and something I never thought I’d get a chance to see or handle. As it turns out, it was the first thing we acquired for our women’s history collection. The second was from a few years ago: a first edition in English of Descartes’ Passions of the Soule (1650). On the front pastedown it had the contemporary ownership signature of a woman, Rachel Seede, and several of her annotations throughout. For me and for the client who took it, this was a major part of the book’s value: evidence that a 17th century English woman was engaging with important philosophical works when they became available in her language. It was a reminder that in this position, I’m pursuing the same questions and finding value in the same material that started my career.
What do you personally collect?

In the shop, we have an agreement not to collect books on a personal basis. So while all my book-hunting tendencies go to WRB, I’m free to manage another very different collection (one which comes as no surprise to anyone who has met me!): shoes. I seek them out with purpose. I maintain them with care. Every pair serves some role for me. Sometimes they’re related to important moments in my life. I love them as aesthetic, and practical, historical and artistic objects. I love them as self-expression. Some of the shoes in my closet are, yes actually, insured. Regardless of value, I wear them with aplomb and the belief that every day in a life should be good enough for good shoes. 
What do you like to do outside of work?

I’m split between craving cerebral and corporeal experiences. Sneaking away to a movie on a weeknight when no one is in the theatre, or taking a good book to a quiet bar for happy hour are favorites. Then again, I love getting out of my own head. I’m a member of a local boxing club, where I train a couple nights a week; it’s a great way of focusing on nothing but the physical moment you’re in. In the end, though, most evenings end at home, with my dog Brontë by my side while I stir up martinis and make dinner with friends.
Thoughts on the present state and/or future of the rare book trade?

Watching Millennials enter the field is an incredibly exciting thing. Whether they’re approaching rare books as curators, new collectors, or members of the trade, they’re reshaping the market. Their relationship with books is touched by an activist spirit. When they look at a catalogue or a shelf, they want to see a diversity of identities reflected there; and I think that’s helping draw new attention to books by LGBTQ+ writers, authors of color, and women.
Any upcoming fairs or catalogues?

Always! It’s a robust calendar. We do a full cycle of 8-10 fairs annually, beginning with California in February and ending with Boston in November. In June, I also participate in RBMS (Rare Book and Manuscript Section) as a dealer in the showcase or as a panelist.

Catalogues follow a similar schedule. In the spring and fall, we do our numbered shop catalogues, which highlight the most exceptional pieces of our inventory. We’ve begun doing a holiday gift catalogue in December. And once a year, as my pet project, I do a diversity catalogue. In 2018 (In Pursuit of Equality) and 2019 (By Her Own Hand) these focused on women’s movements in the U.S. and U.K. In coming years, I’m hoping to expand the number and kinds of communities represented.

As mentioned last week, the antiquarian book world’s first major gathering of 2020, which entails three book fairs, one auction, and several related exhibitions, is almost upon us. The biggest of the three book fairs, the CA International Antiquarian Book Fair in Pasadena, is pulling out all the stops to celebrate the centennial of women’s suffrage in its social media campaign, its special exhibition, Votes for Women, and in the range of related materials that booksellers will be offering, such as the ca. 1922 edition of poems pictured above. Written by noted British suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst during one of her terms in prison, it is a scarce volume, with no other copies shown in auction records in the past forty years according to Shapero Rare Books of London, which will be showcasing it in booth 503, priced at £3,750.

Lots to watch in the auction rooms this week:

As part of Americana Week, Sotheby's New York will sell Fine Manuscript and Printed Americana on Monday, January 27. The 169 lots include some material from the stock of Joe Rubinfine (see Rebecca's recent post about him for more). A letter announcing the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, signed by John Hancock, is expected to lead the way, with an estimate of $600,000–800,000. A first edition, third issue of John Smith's Generall Historie of Virginia (1627) once in the libraries of the Calvert family and of famed collector Jay Snider, could fetch $220,000–260,000. A book printed in Mexico City in 1555, Alonso de Molina's Vocabulario, which contains the first vocabulary of Nahuatl, is estimated at $200,000–300,000. Only one other copy has been documented at auction. Anyone keen on Americana will want to have a thorough look through this catalogue.

On Tuesday, January 28, Chiswick Auctions will hold two sales: Books & Works on Paper and Autographs & Memorabilia. The first features 235 lots, among them a copy of the 1517 edition of the Malermi Bible in Italian, estimated at £8,000–12,000. The autographs and memorabilia sale includes 299 lots, with a photograph of the 1944 Commonwealth Prime Ministers Conference signed by the participants rating the top estimate at £8,000–12,000.

Dominic Winter Auctioneers holds a sale of Printed Books, Maps, Documents, The Library of Patricia Milne-Henderson, Bookbinding Tools on Wednesday, January 29. The 490 lots include a second-issue copy of Giovanni Jacopo de Marinoni's De astronomica specula domestica et organico apparatu astronomico libri duo (Vienna, 1746), estimated at £5,000–7,000. Quite a few interesting maps in this sale too, as well as four cartons of poetry correspondence collected by publisher Julian Nangle of Words Press (estimated at £1,000–1,500).

On Thursday, 30 January, there will be an online sale of Books and Works on Paper at Forum Auctions (online) on 30 January. The 202 lots include a first edition in Latin of Yosef Gikatilla's Portae lucis (Augsburg, 1516), with some leaves supplied in facsimile, estimated at £800–1,200. A 1915 edition of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, illustrated and signed by Arthur Rackham, could sell for £600–800.

Two sales at Freeman's on Thursday will round out the week: The Collection of Victor Niederhoffer, Part III and Books, Maps & Manuscripts. The morning's sale comprises 146 lots, including a fascinating presentation copy: Étienne-Jules Marey's La méthode graphique dans les sciences expérimentales et principalement en physiologie et en médecine (Paris, 1878), inscribed by Marey to Henri Becquerel, is estimated at $7,000–10,000.

Freeman's afternoon sale includes 414 lots. Several framed Audubon birds are expected to lead the auction, but some of the notable manuscript lots include a collection of correspondence between the Comte d'Artois (later Charles X) to the Comte Vaudreuill, 1789–1805, estimated at $30,000–50,000. At the same estimate is a 1634 Dutch municipal bond on parchment, believed to be the second oldest bond still paying interest.

As the antiquarian book world readies for the first of its big gatherings of 2020, we thought we’d provide a quick, chronological rundown of the major events. Stay tuned for more information and highlights as we get closer to kickoff.

January 31-February 1: The 2020 San Francisco Antiquarian Book, Print & Paper Fair will be held at the South San Francisco Conference Center. Admission is $12 per day, unless you pre-buy for a discount here.

February 6: PBA Galleries’ Special Pasadena Auction to be held at 10:00 a.m. in the Piazza Ballroom of the Pasadena Sheraton. The first half of the auction will be devoted to books donated by ABAA members to benefit the Antiquarian Booksellers' Benevolent Fund. The second part of the sale will be PBA's offering of Rare Books & Manuscripts.

February 7-9: The 53rd California International Antiquarian Book Fair will be held at the Pasadena Convention Center. Women’s suffrage and Ray Bradbury are among the featured topics. Admission is $25 for F/S/S; $15 for S/S.

February 8: Rare Books LA Shadow Fair, with more than 30 specialists in ephemera and rare books, happens at the Pasadena Masonic Temple. Admission is $10.

And while you’re in California, these exhibitions might interest you:


Bound for Beauty: Highlights from the Kathleen V. Roberts Collection of Decorated Publishers Bindings at the American Bookbinders Museum

(retro)(intro)spection: moving past into the forward at the San Francisco Center for the Book


Beside the Edge of the World at the Huntington Library

In Focus: Platinum Photographs at the Getty Center

Last week, UK Arts Minister Helen Whately announced a temporary export ban on “The Myrowr of Recluses,” an illuminated Middle English manuscript meant to guide those who were retreating from society and devoting their lives to prayer, often referred to as anchorites. The leather-bound manuscript, containing sixty-six leaves, details the reasons one might seek to become a religious recluse and what to expect from such a life. A translation of the “Speculum Inclusorum,” it was written by an unknown scribe in London in the early 1400s. The British Library owns the only other, though incomplete, version of “The Myrowr.”

“This beautiful decorated manuscript is a precious record of the life of hermits in 15th century England and it would be a sad loss if it was sold abroad,” commented Whately in a press release. “I hope that a buyer can be found to save this fascinating piece of history for future generations to study and learn from.”

To that end, £168,750 ($220,000) must be raised before April 13 to keep the manuscript from leaving the country.

The manuscript was sold to an overseas buyer in July of last year at Dreweatts/Bloomsbury Auctions in London for £135,000 ($176,250), thus prompting the export bar. In a bizarre twist, the consignor in that Bloomsbury sale was, according to the Guardian, Oxford don and MacArthur “genius” Dr. Dirk Obbink, who is currently under investigation for his alleged involvement in the theft of ancient papyrus fragments.

Obbink had purchased the manuscript at the Yates, Thompson and Bright: A Family of Bibliophiles sale at Christie’s in 2014 for the much higher price of £182,500 ($312,500). Jeremy Dibbell covered that sale—and even mentioned the sale of this particular book—in our fall 2014 issue. Like many of the books and manuscripts in that sale, this one has a compelling provenance, dating back to the sixteenth century. It also has unique elements, not yet studied by scholars.

Leslie Webster, a member of the reviewing committee for the UK’s department for digital, culture, media & sport, which administers export bans, said the text was “almost certainly written for female anchorites” and as such “offers a rich new avenue of exploration into the nature of women’s religious education in the early fifteenth century.”

Last week, the Center for Book Arts (CBA) in New York City debuted an exhibition that truly takes poetry off the page. Artist Warren Lehrer is well known for playing with forms, combining book art with contemporary art in ways few have imagined. Warren Lehrer: Books, Animation, Performance, Collaboration, on view through March 28, aims to showcase that ambition through books, typography, animation, and performance—and by animation, he means taking the visualization of literature to a whole new level. Check out the animation of a poem by Dennis J. Bernstein, visualized by Warren Lehrer for their book and multimedia project Five Oceans in a Teaspoon (Paper Crown Press, 2019), with music composed and performed by Andrew Griffin and animation assistance from Brandon Campbell:


"Knitting Club"— animated poem from “Five Oceans in a Teaspoon” from EarSay Inc on Vimeo.

According to the CBA, this is called “graphic scoring,” an attempt by the artist/writer to “capture the shape of thought and reunite the oral and pictorial traditions of storytelling with the printed page.”

Here are the sales I'll be keeping an eye on this week:

At Forum Auctions on Tuesday, January 21, Editions & Works on Paper, in 272 lots. Banksy's 2002 screenprint "Rude Copper" rates the top estimate, at £70,000–90,000. A rare copy of Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson's 1918 woodcut "MT (Motor Transport)" could sell for £40,000–60,000. An artist's proof of Andy Warhol's screen print "Marilyn Monroe" (1967) is estimated at £35,000–45,000.

On Wednesday, January 22, Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper at Forum Auctions. The 243 lots include a northern Italian astronomical manuscript from around 1470 once in the collection of Sir Thomas Phillipps (£40,000–60,000) and a 13th-century Dominican manuscript about marriage, estimated at £25,000–35,000. An 1833 set of lithographs of British Army uniforms could fetch £15,000–20,000, the same estimate given to a first edition of The Great Gatsby with the dust jacket.

PBA Galleries will hold a sale of Fine Literature – Fine Press – Fine Bindings on Thursday, January 23, in 413 lots. A portfolio of the first five Black Sparrow Press broadsides (1966), each signed by Charles Bukowski, is expected to lead the sale at $15,000–25,000. You could also acquire a full set of the 39-volume Library Edition of the works of John Ruskin (1903–1912), estimated at $8,000–12,000. Gaylord Schanilec's Lac des Pleurs (2015) is estimated at $6,000–9,000, and a copy of the Arion Press edition of Moby Dick is estimated at $4,000–6,000. Lots 352–413 are being sold without reserve.

Last July, Christie’s Paris held the first major sale of art books from the estate of renowned bibliophile Paul Destribats (1927-2017), realizing approximately $9 million (€8,116,813) for over six hundred lots focusing on Surrealism and the history of art. Next month, the auction house will hold another Destribats sale, assisted in the endeavor by Parisian rare book experts Jean-Baptiste de Proyart and Claude Oterelo

The first of two sales slated for 2020 will showcase 276 items published by twentieth-century Surrealist publishers Pierre Andre Benoit (1921-1993) and Ilia Zdanevich (1894-1975), a duo often referred to as PAB and Iliazd. 

Major items in the February sale include a proof copy of Guillaume de Vaux’s La Maigre which contains working proof engravings by Picasso, and handwritten notes by Iliazd. A first edition of Dadaist Max Ernst’s Maximiliana, ou, l’exercice illégal de l’astronomie (1964) will also be among the lots.

Destribats began building his collection in the 1960s, focusing on those artists and writers he met during his travels in the bustling neighborhood of Saint-Germain-des Pres.

In 2006, Destribats designated the Kandinsky Library at the Centre Pompidou as the repository of more than one thousand items in his collection, instantly launching the library as one of the world’s top archives dedicated to the visual arts of the first half of the twentieth century.

“Once Destribats’s collection has been dispersed, it will be impossible for future generations to recreate a collection such as this ever again,” reflected Proyart in press material for the auction. “This is why this series of sales represents a truly surreal moment for the book world and the art market.”

See the entire catalogue for the February 4 sale here.