Book Fairs | April 14, 2011

The Boston Book & Paper Exposition & Sale

Turn off your cell phone, forget texting and put down your I-pad. Spend the day leafing through pages, savoring original illustrations and reuniting with old printed friends when the Boston Book & Paper Exposition and Sale debuts May 7 at the Shriner’s Auditorium in Wilmington, Mass.

Sponsored by the Massachusetts and Rhode Island Antiquarian Booksellers and produced by Marvin Getman, this special event puts a new spin on the delights of book and paper collecting.  Seminars, talks, exhibits and show content is all designed to appeal to an inquisitive audience that is fast turning to the comfort of ink and paper in the age of the Kindle.

Here is an opportunity to embark on a literary adventure through the world of old books, prints, photographs, historical documents, autographs, maps and postcards which will provide enjoyment not only for a few short hours, but for years to come.  With over seventy top sellers from throughout the Northeast and as far away as Tasmania participating, the shopping will be seductive.  Show goers will be drawn to booths that are like mini bookstores and antique shops, to browse and enjoy.  Plus, it’s an opportunity to buy these historical works and bestsellers of the past in their original state, before they become electronic memories.

“It is becoming increasingly important to reach out to a younger, electronically savvy audience that doesn’t want to lose its cultural foundation,” says Getman, founder of the highly regarded series of New England Antiques Shows.  “Collectors today are just as likely to be the young family, the twenty-something business professionals and pop culture stars as they are college professors, librarians and teachers who are trying to reinvigorate the classics for a generation raised on the internet.”

The upcoming Book & Paper Exposition & Sale makes history come alive for this new collector, leaping off the page with images and words which endure and inspire.  A highlight of the show is the unique collection of Civil War cartes-de-visite compiled by Greg French of Jamaica Plain, Ma.   His exhibit, “Women of the Civil War:  Female Soldiers, Vivandieres, a Doctor, A Nurse and a Spy,” consisting of 14 of these early photographic “visiting cards,” challenges conventional thinking about the roles of women in war-time.

Five special talks also contribute to the fascinating historical content of the show.  John Hench of Shrewsbury, a former curator from the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, throws new light on the role American books, magazines and newspapers played during World War II.  He began collecting World War II Armed Services editions some time ago,  which eventually led to his writing of a book on the subject “Books As Weapons:  Propaganda, Publishing and the Battle for Global Markets.”  John will display his collection, present a talk and sign copies of his book at the show.

Deborah Child brings the dangerous and illicit world of the counterfeiter to life in her special talk, “Bad Counterfeit versus Good Counterfeit:  Lyman Parks and his Funny Money.    Parks, one of the most accomplished counterfeiters of all time, produced “funny” banknotes in the nineteenth century, which fooled the experts, but led to his serving prison time.  Michael Russem of Kat Ran Press tells how fifteen top designers have elevated the seemingly modest postage stamp to a work of graphic art.  His talk “Postage Stamps by Top Designers,” looks at the design of over 200 stamps - perfect for stamp lovers and collectors.

A fan of   Show goers won’t want to miss meeting and enjoying a talk by Maureen Taylor, the nation’s foremost historical photo detective.  Ms. Taylor can date a family photograph by studying the details -everything from hairstyles and fashion to the size and shape of a car’s headlamps—and can solve photographic mysteries for her clients.  Come here what Ms. Taylor has to say about your own photographs by signing up for a private consultation. A regular contributor to Family Tree Magazine, Ms. Taylor will address a recent project - her search for images from the American Revolution—in her talk, “The Last Muster:  Images of the Revolutionary War Generation consultation.

Elaine Koretsky, the director of the International Paper Museum & Research Institute of Paper History and Technology in Brookline has made 38 field expeditions, spanning a quarter of a century, exploring hand paper-making in 43 countries.  Enjoy an exhibit from her collection of decorated handmade papers and a talk on the early origins of paper in China.

The experience of leafing through the pages of a vintage book brings back memories in a way that cannot be duplicated by the Internet.  Look for modern first editions of beloved novels such as Hemingway’s Farewell to Arms, Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, Ann Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and such childhood favorites as Huckleberry Finn, Dr. Seuss’ Cat In the Hat and National Velvet at this event.

The Boston Book & Paper Exposition & Sale will also carry wonderful old cookbooks that bring back the pleasures of hearth and home as surely as a home-cooked meal.  Rabelais Books understands the pull of nostalgia as well as the pleasure of the senses.  Their collection of rare and out-of-print cookbooks appeals not only to those who long for the joys of home cooking, but those who relish haute cuisine.  

Scientific books, old postcards, valentines, snapshots, arcade photos, broadsides, and pop-up books such as those that Boston book artist Laura Davidson creates from wood, paper, metals and old photographs, are among the special finds at this event.  Laura’s Fenway Park pop-up book brings to life that beloved stadium as surely as a Yankees Red Socks blow out.

Want to know how much your favorite old book or paper item is worth?  Between the hours of 2-4pm, show goers are invited to bring up to three items to the show.  Ken Gloss of the Brattle Book Shop and other experts will be on hand to offer an estimate of value.   Want to know more about your own old family photographs?  Sign up for a private consultation with Maureen Taylor, the “Photo Detective.”  

Show hours are Saturday May 7, 10-5pm, admission is $7 for adults.  Free admission for students with a college ID or anyone 17 and under.  The Shriner’s auditorium is located at 99 Fordham Road in Wilmington, MA. Just fifteen minutes outside of Boston.  Visit or contact Marvin Getman at 781-862-4039 or, for more information.    Follow the show on Facebook and Twitter.
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