Other highlights include:
* An amazingly preserved example of Queen Elizabeth I’s Second Great Seal, an iconic item from Shakespeare’s day, from Bruce Marshall Rare Books
* Jonkers Rare Books' copy of Madagascar, the first edition of the 1638 book of poems by William Davenant, Shakespeare’s godson, which includes the poem In Remembrance of Master William Shakespeare.
* A signed document by Shakespeare’s long-term patron the Lord Chamberlain, George Carey, Lord Hunsdon, dated January 1, 1598, around the time that the Bard was working on Much Ado About Nothing, brought by Christian White Rare Books
* The complete handwritten manuscript of Arthur Conan Doyle’s story The Bully of Brocas Court
* A handwritten letter by Thomas Cromwell organising the marriage of his son Richard
* One of only five handwritten pages from Charles Dickens’s manuscript of The Pickwick Papers to still remain in private hands.
* Howard Carter’s personal address book, featuring approximately 200 addresses, handwritten by Carter in pencil, including that of his benefactor Lord Carnarvon, presented by York Modern Books
* A series of previously unseen storyboard drawings made for the opening scenes of the first Superman film in 1978, brought by Hyraxia Books
In this Coronation year, John Atkinson Fine and Rare Books will be bringing the archive of Ivy Godley, assistant to Sir Norman Hartnell, the designer of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation dress. The archive includes a framed sample of the original fabric used to make the dress, alongside other items relating to Hartnell’s workshop.
Many of the books present at Firsts originate from the collections of prominent cultural figures. Peter Harrington Books will be displaying a copy of Wisden’s Cricketer’s Almanack which was once owned by the BBC Test Match Special commentator John Arlott. Meanwhile, Jonkers Rare Books will be presenting T.E. Lawrence’s personal copy of his own memoir Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
There will also be a series of talks and tours including:
* May 19, 5pm: Routes Into Rare Books - YABS tour of Firsts with Emerson Richards-Hoppe, the owner of Mobilis Books who will provide a useful introduction to the York Antiquarian Book Seminar
* May 20 2.30pm: In Love with Shakespeare, with BBC Antiques Roadshow regulars the antiquarian book dealer Justin Croft and antiquary, broadcaster and writer Jeffrey Munn talking about Shakespeare and how his work has influenced their lives.
* May 20 4.30pm: Treasures of the Lambeth Palace Library, an illustrated talk by its Librarian and Archivist Giles Mandelbrote about the history of the historic library of the Archbishops of Canterbury and the national library and archive of the Church of England
* May 21, 1pm: Modern First Editions: Firsts London Highlights with Dr Les Ashton who will focus on Modern firsts from 1900 onwards and what makes a book a ‘highlight’
* May 21, 2.30pm: Good worts? Good cabbage! - Food in the World of Shakespeare, a tour lead by Suzanna Beaupres of Peter Harrington who will be exploring works from exhibitors on this theme