Fairs | April 2011 | Rebecca Rego Barry

New York Week Preview, Part 3: NYABF

As we inch closer to the weekend, many collectors and dealers have their eyes on the prize: the New York Antiquarian Book Fair. It opens on Friday, April 8 at noon at the Park Avenue Armory (Park Ave. & 67th St.), and is always quite an event.

Show director Cristina Salmastrelli of Sanford Smith & Associates emailed to tell me how excited she is about this year's fair. "My expectations are grand right now. I have not been this excited for a book fair yet! We have a great mix of new dealers and old timers that truly make up the best of the best in the book world ... My conversations with dealers these past two months have been upbeat and optimistic. Each dealer seems to be convinced they are bringing the gem of the 2011 fair, and I love it," she wrote. SS&A also started a blog this year, where daily posts highlight an autograph, manuscript, or book that one of the exhibitors is bringing.

I'd like to call attention to a few more here. Susannah Horrom of the Kelmscott Bookshop told us about one very special book that she's bringing to NY this year. It's a signed limited edition artist's book by James Alan Robinson titled Cetacea, The Great Whale (seen above, courtesy of Kelmscott). Printed at the Cheloniidae Press in 1981, it is number 24 of 100 copies, signed by the artist, as well as the binders (David Bourbeau and Gray Parrot) and printer Harold Patrick McGrath. The book has seven bleed etchings by Robinson, wood engravings on the title page and colophon, and blind stamped line-cuts of whales along the margins of the text on several pages. The price is $4,500.

[Fitzgerald letters, courtesy of Quill & Brush]

Over at Quill & Brush, F. Scott Fitzgerald will be the hot topic. They're selling two autograph letters signed by Fitzgerald along with a telegram from him to Pauline Brownell, a nurse who took care of him after a driving accident in 1936. One of the letters reads, in part, "I wonder if you are happier--somehow you seemed so when I saw you, even to my alcoholic eye. God, I hope so--it was sad to see anyone so young and with so much stuff in such a state of depression. I wish I could have helped you as you tried to help me..." All three items will be sold together for $12,500.

Also at Q&B, collectors will be thrilled to hear that the 4th edition of Allen & Pat Ahearn's Collected Books: The Guide to Identification and Values will be out next month, and pre-publication orders (a 20% discount off the list price of $75, domestic postage paid) will be taken at their booth or on their website.

James S. Jaffe has some very fine Elizabeth Bishop material, including an association copy of Poem, a broadside elegy for Robert Lowell, two original watercolors, and a collection of thirteen artworks collected by Alice Methfessel. Robert Frost, Frank O'Hara, W.B. Yeats, some Janus Press editions, some Perishable Press editions, and many more are featured on his impressive NYABF list.

James Cummins has some film-related material to showcase, including a typed contract between Faulkner and Twentieth-Century Fox regarding The Sound and the Fury and several facsimile scripts of Woody Allen films that bear inscriptions by his co-writer Marshall Brickman. Also on their NY list: an eyewitness letter regarding Lincoln's assassination and an inscribed Catcher in the Rye.

Be sure to check out the ABAA's blog, where some booksellers have been posting highlights for the past couple of weeks. See you at the show!