November 2014 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Boston Book Fair Pictures & Highlights

Lux-Brian Booth copy.jpgOn Saturday afternoon, I spent about five hours tooling around the ABAA's Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair. It was, incredibly, my first time visiting the Boston fair, and it was exceedingly pleasant -- smaller, less chaotic, and more genial than the two larger annual fairs in New York and California. A few booksellers admitted that they had avoided Boston for a few years and were toeing the waters there again. I imagine they were pleased by the foot traffic and, as far as I could tell, a good amount of those feet belonged to college-aged people sauntering around the fair.

Reese copy.jpgAt least some of those undergrads--these above from Brown University--were there to get a lesson in rare books from Bill Reese.

While in Reese's booth, I stopped to chat with Joe Fay, formerly of Heritage Auctions and now relocated to Reese's New Haven shop. He showed me one of his favorites on offer: Narrative of the Most Extraordinary and Distressing Shipwreck of the Whale-Ship Essex... by Owen Chase (1821) in its original blue paper boards. A modest little book but one that is widely assumed to be the inspiration for Melville's Moby-Dick.

Greenwood copy.jpgIs there a trend in morbid offerings, or is it just that places like the new Morbid Anatomy Museum have focused my attention there of late? I thought this tiny book titled Green-Wood Cemetery at the Old New York Book Shop's booth was sweet. It contained nothing more than a fragile, nineteenth-century folding map of the famous Brooklyn graveyard. That seemed to go with the box of antique glass eye specimens on exhibit at B&L Rootenberg Rare Books & Manuscripts. Or, at John R. Sanderson, Bookseller, a volume that tempted me: Observations on Morbid Poisons, Chronic and Acute (second edition, 1807). Or, at Ken Sanders Rare Books, several pieces of original signed art by filmmaker Tim Burton, including a sculpture he created while making the 1982 stop-motion short film, Vincent, based on a boy who idolizes Vincent Price. 

Crucible copy.jpgAnd though I may be accused of playing favorites, there is always something amazing in the booth of Lux Mentis, and this time my eyes were drawn to this stunning binding of Arthur Miller's The Crucible by Erin Fletcher at Herringbone Bindery. The binding of gray and cream silk has hand-embroidered lettering and decorative flowers and animals (and a noose). What you don't see in this picture is the back cover, a depiction of Joseph McCarthy in embroidery.

Images Credit: Rebecca Rego Barry.