Thirteen years—and thousands of posts—later, my time here as editor has come to a close. To mark the occasion, our online editor, Alex Johnson, asked me to pull together a list of my favorite posts. This one, from 2020, about a miniature replica of rare book dealer John Fleming’s 57th Street Gallery going to auction, stands out as one of the neatest objects I ever wrote about (pictured left). Then there’s one from last year about Button Gwinnett’s autograph and how it plays a role in one of the first bibliomysteries, Murder in the Bookshop. Since I’m writing the biography of that book’s author, Carolyn Wells, that one felt personal to me.
Most of my posts, however, have fallen under the category of ‘book collecting news,’ and that ranged from the sale of eight pages of the Gutenberg Bible to Charles Dickens’ handwritten liquor inventory; the Academy Awards Greenroom Library to an 18th-century book commode.
Two of my favorite subcategories can be described as “Cool Finds” and “Literary Memorabilia.” In the former, there were posts about a rare Elizabethan book found under the eaves of a thatched cottage in England and a trove of historic photographs uncovered in an upstate New York attic. Plus an incredibly cool 17th-century monogrammed binding and a Lovecraft-Houdini collaborative manuscript.
In the latter, I’ve featured Sylvia Plath’s tarot deck, Jack Kerouac’s crucifix, and Poe’s pocket watch (and engagement ring). And oh so many authors’ desks, like Melville’s. Loved this Renaissance-era reliquary pendant in book form, too.
Book review roundups and interviews with authors were also a small but important part of what I did here, keeping readers up to date on the latest books about books. In 2020, I interviewed Nathan Raab about his book, The Hunt for History. I met Raab about ten years ago at the NY Antiquarian Book Fair and it so happens that his company, The Raab Collection, is my new place of employment. But I will continue reading the Fine Books blog every day!