Book People | December 2009 | Nicholas Basbanes

Rare Book Calendar

Jody Dole

Sam Dole attended Camp Tintype with his father and now teaches nineteenth-century photo processes at the Penumbra Foundation in New York City.

42Line.jpgWhat better way to say Happy New Year to a bibliophile than to recommend a literary calendar for daily use. A really lovely one to have for 2010 is the rare book calendar just released by E. M. Ginger and her crackerjack staff at 42-line, an Oakland, California company that offers a variety of specialized services in the realm of rare book, print, and photographic collections, including the development of customized bookseller catalogs on compact disc.

Indeed, by far the most impressive and innovative production I've seen along these lines to date, from any source, is Catalogue 44: Illuminations, prepared by 42-line for John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller of San Francisco, whose top-end listings are well known to collectors everywhere, and are always a pleasure to peruse, if only vicariously. The beauty of this particular catalog is that it provides much more than a snap-shot view of so many exquisite things; if you can't afford the $135,000 price tag on the Auvergne Fanfare Book of Hours, ca. 1500, for instance, you at least can see all 30 of the miniatures in the CD, along with a complete description.

For the 42-line 2010 calender, Windle, and the Children's Book Gallery (operated by Windle's wife, Chris Loker), have furnished the art for each month. A Humpty Dumpty hand-colored etching by Samuel Edward Maberly for January, a William Blake engraving for February, a Henry Fuseli engraving for March, a steel engraving of "Mr. Lavater in His Study," 1775-1778, for April, and so on. All of them tastefully chosen, all quite nice. And just what I need to keep track of what we all hope is a great new year for book lovers everywhere.