April 2018 Archives

Behind the Bookshelves: The Podcast

The folks at AbeBooks have decided to throw their hats into the podcast ring; as of March 20, “Behind the Bookshelves” explores book culture in bite-size portions. So far, the first five episodes examined the Penguin paperback reading revolution, the story behind Alcoholics Anonymous’s bestselling Big Book, a literary tour of Oxford, the meteoric popularity and subsequent controversy surrounding the 1979 publication of Masquerade, and the globetrotting adventures of Mark Twain. Hosted by AbeBooks publicity director Richard Davies, each seven- to ten-minute show opens with the satisfying clack of a typewriter before launching into the story at hand.


“It’s experimental at the moment,” said Davies. “But we hope the podcast will appeal to readers and collectors, and anyone who loves a good story.” Davies plans to attend next month’s the ABA’s Rare Book Fair in Battersea where he anticipates sleuthing down at least a few stories for future episodes.


Listen or download “Behind the Bookshelves” at the links below, and let the Abe team know what you’d like to hear about next! 

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/behind-the-bookshelves/id1362086807/
Google Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen#/ps/Ismjl6nggnhj4eleyzokrucxmg4
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/behind-the-bookshelves/id1362086807/
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-169439032/
Basic RSS: http://cast.rocks/hosting/11770/feeds/IVUTQ.xml

Coming to auction next week is a small collection of New York City books, maps, and ephemera that belonged to Dr. Leo Hershkowitz, a professor, urban archaeologist, and inveterate collector. Hershkowitz, who died last year at the age of 92, was well known as an “archival scavenger,” as likely to be found sifting through hampers full of deaccessioned documents or digging up artifacts in construction sites. As the New York Times wrote in his obituary, “From bundles of papers earmarked for disposal by the city comptroller’s office, he saved coroner’s records from the late 18th and early 19th centuries that recorded infanticides, suicides, drownings -- and the killing of Alexander Hamilton by Aaron Burr in a duel across the Hudson in Weehawken, N.J.”

Just over thirty lots from his estate head to auction at Doyle on April 25 -- most of Hershkowitz’s collections were donated to institutions before his death, namely the N-YHS, the American Jewish Archives, and NYU’s Tamiment Library. He also sold material at auction; what is on offer next week is “what remains of a very quality and scholarly New York collection,” said Doyle’s executive director of books, autographs, and photographs, Peter Costanzo. “He would stumble upon something New York and he would buy it.”

Ratzer.jpgThe famous Bernard Ratzer map of New York is one such item, the choicest of the lots. It is the 1776 edition, reissued just as the Revolutionary War was getting underway and maps were in great demand. Today it is seen infrequently at auction, thus the estimate of $80,000-100,000. This was not one of his dumpster finds, Costanzo pointed out. Hershkowitz bought it at auction decades ago and cherished it. “It was just the one thing he wouldn’t part with throughout his life,” he said.

Eddy.jpgAnother favorite is the first edition of Thomas Eddy’s Account of the State Prison, or Penitentiary House, in N.Y. City, 1801, with two folding engraved plates, and two folding letterpress tables. The estimate is $600-900. This book is rare and very desirable to Greenwich Village collectors, said Costanzo. Only one copy can be traced at auction in the last twenty years.

DT.jpgA rare, chronologically complete run of D.T. Valentine’s Manual of the Common Council of New York, 1841-1870 is notable for its “wealth of maps, plates and information about the growing city during the 19th-century.” The estimate is $1,500-2,500.

Picture Book.jpgA first edition of The Picture of New-York; or the Traveller’s Guide through the Commercial Metropolis of the United States, 1807, with a map engraved by Peter Maverick shows contemporary hand-coloring. According to the catalogue, “Mitchill’s Picture of New-York is the first New York City guide book of its kind and was the inspiration for Irving’s Knickerbocker’s A History of New York (1809).” Interestingly, said Costanzo, the map is an update of the 1803 Mangin-Goerck map, and it used “fanciful projection” to show the city not as it actually was, but as it might be one day, perhaps to lure tourists. The estimate is $600-900.

Images courtesy of Doyle NY

Our Bright Young Librarians series continues today with Sarah Carrier, North Carolina Subject Librarian at Wilson Special Collections Library at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill.


201710_CarrierSarah1.jpgWhat is your role at your institution?


I am the North Carolina subject librarian at Wilson Special Collections Library, UNC-Chapel Hill, and I have been in this role since 2015. I support research related to the history, people, and culture of the state of North Carolina. I also teach on this subject utilizing our special collections: I and my colleagues in Research and Instructional Services collaborate with faculty and instructors on campus to curate sessions for students in our learning spaces. We are especially invested in engaging our undergraduates, but my work supports anyone interested in the subject of North Carolina, so this work goes well beyond campus. I also do a lot of outreach with K-12 students and teachers as well, working on integrating primary sources into the curriculum of public schools. At Wilson we not only have a fantastic Rare Book Collection, but a collecting focus on the American South, so we therefore have North Carolina material across all of the collecting areas. This means that I get to work with photographs, maps, artifacts, manuscripts, as well as print, and this makes my job really fun and interesting.


How did you get started in rare books?


My first job in an academic library was at UNC-Chapel Hill working in the Serials department preparing materials for binding and working at the current periodicals help desk. This was when I was an undergraduate. So my career in academic libraries has been pretty long, but a very non-linear path brought me to special collections. I had already been working in the UNC-Chapel Hill libraries for some years before I went to library school, and my classes were really diverse, mainly focused on knowledge organization and metadata. Overall I’ve now had experience in serials, acquisitions, circulation, and even systems. But where my career in special collections began was as the reading room manager at Duke’s Rubenstein Library. I had been interested in special collections, but what primarily drove me to that job was experience with and dedication to public services. Through that experience at the Rubenstein, I realized that I was where I wanted to be for the rest of my career: in special collections.


Where did you earn your MLS?


School of Information and Library Science, UNC-Chapel Hill


Favorite rare book / ephemera that you’ve handled?


Difficult to say, but I suppose that one of my most favorite items in the North Carolina Collection are our editions of Mark Catesby’s two volume The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands, some of the first published depictions of North American flora and fauna. The hand coloring is incredibly vibrant and truly beautiful.


What do you personally collect?


I personally collect many things - probably too many things! I eagerly collect vinyl records, artwork by my friends, mid-century furniture and kitchenware (mostly Danish), vintage clothing. I also collect North Caroliniana of all sorts, if it fits into my budget. So that means printed material, knick knacks, ephemera, and collectibles. One example are kitschy “North Carolina” decorative plates for the walls of my house. I also have a lot of musical instruments of all kinds, but acquiring those was not always intentional.


What do you like to do outside of work?


In my spare time I work in my yard - technically my first career was as a gardener, as my first job as a teenager was at a local nursery. I ride horses (hunter/jumper). I love being outside - here in North Carolina we have a lot of beautiful natural settings not too far away from any one place. I play the records I collect at local clubs sometimes. For most of my adult life, I have also partaken in college and low-power radio communities.


What excites you about rare book librarianship?


I love pondering the life of an individual item, considering who once owned it, held it, and used it before it came to us. I am especially excited whenever I find ownership markings, names scribbled inside front covers, and to then try and find out more about that person. In the North Carolina Collection we have a lot of primers and schoolbooks with young people drawing inside of them, practicing their script and penmanship. I was always told not to write in my books, but in this case, I am always glad that they did! In addition to this, I am especially privileged to be a North Carolina librarian and able to connect people from the state to their history: the connection between people, our history, and the material is especially lively and personal as a result.


Thoughts on the future of special collections / rare book librarianship?


I am very excited by the possibilities of Digital Humanities work. One aspect that really intrigues me is that through the non-linear structure of a website, for example, narratives can be presented in a multiplicity of ways, and viewers can interact with the scholarship in new, even spontaneous or unanticipated ways. I am seeking to learn more about text analysis as a way to further my own scholarship in Southern Studies and learn about tools that can help my researchers as well. If the material is presented online via the right platform that allows user-contributed content, the intriguing opportunity is there for collaboration with a potentially international audience.


Any unusual or interesting collection at your library you’d like to draw our attention to?


In the North Carolina Collection in Wilson Library we hold an astounding variety and array of maps depicting the state, everything from rare maps from the Age of Exploration to 20th century railroad maps, and every genre and subject matter in between. A highlight from our collection is our extensive holdings of Sanborn Fire Insurance maps of North Carolina - these are invaluable for all kinds of research. We have a wide variety of our maps digitized and online as well: http://web.lib.unc.edu/nc-maps/


Any upcoming exhibitions at your library?


The 400th anniversary of Sir Walter Raleigh’s death will be marked by an exhibit and symposium in September 2018 and hosted by Wilson Library. Sir Walter Raleigh materials abound in the North Carolina Collection, and a selection will be put on display for the event, which will host historians, cartographers, and literary historians. One item that will surely be on display is our original manuscript of Raleigh’s commission for the Guyana voyage issued and signed by by King James I.


[Image provided by Sarah Carrier]






















The rare book world is abuzz with the news that a film based on a real-life special collections robbery in 2004 is making its way to a national audience after a successful premiere at Sundance.

Animals.jpgAmerican Animals follows four Kentucky college students who plot to steal John James Audubon’s Birds of America and Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species from Transylvania University’s library. A librarian was injured in the heist, and the students eluded the FBI for two months--it’s all there in John Falk’s must-read 2015 Vanity Fair article, aptly subtitled “The untold story of the ‘Transy Book Heist’ is one part Ocean’s 11, one part Harold & Kumar: four Kentucky college kids who had millions to gain and nothing to lose.”  

As a cinematic caper, American Animals basically wrote itself--but Variety raves about Bart Layton’s direction, calling his work “sensational” and “brilliantly constructed.” The film hits national theaters on June 1. Until then, here’s the trailer:  



Image via IMDB

Three auctions I’ll be watching this week, all on Thursday, April 19:

  

At Swann Galleries, The Knowing Eye: Photographs & Photobooks, in 332 lots. An inscribed Ansel Adams photo, “Winter in Yosemite,” and Alfred Eisenstaedt’s “Premier at La Scala, Milan, Italy” share the top estimate at $40,000-60,000. A poignant group of five Dorothea Lange photographs of displaced Japanese-Americans could fetch $30,000-45,000. Good selections of works by Edward S. Curtis, Walker Evans, Eadweard Muybridge will also be sold, as well as a collection of more than 1,500 NASA photographs ($9,000-12,000).

  

Livres Anciens & Manuscrits at Aguttes in Neuilly-sur-Seine, in 276 lots. A set of 18th- and 19th-century manuscript maps and plans relating to the Château de Bois is estimated at €20,000-25,000, while a second lot of documents about the castle rates a €10,000-15,000 estimate in its own right. A François Masson du Parc manuscript relating to seabirds (pictured below), dated 1721, could sell for €12,000-15,000. Also included are a group of six Charles Dickens letters to his friend and publisher Francis Dalziel Finlay (€4,000-5,000), several Paul Verlaine manuscripts, and a wide range of other material.

   

Screen Shot 2018-04-15 at 10.18.43 AM.png  

At PBA Galleries, another wide-ranging sale, in 350 lots: Illustrated & Children’s Books, Art, and Photography (Lots 1-201), Fine Press Books (Lots 202-277), Books about Books (Lots 278-324, with 295-324 sold without reserve), and twenty-five lots at the end sold without reserve. An original E. H. Shepard drawing of Winnie the Pooh and Piglet, dated 1932, is expected to lead the way at $40,000-60,000. One of five special sets of Jean Charlot’s Picture Book, containing progressive proofs for the 32 lithographs, is estimated at $10,000-15,000. A composite binding made in 1999 to celebrate the bicentennial of the Religious Tract Society, created over fifteen volumes to make a scene from Blake’s “Good and Evil Angels,” is estimated at $1,500-2,500. Grabhorn Press collectors may want to keep an eye on this one, too.

  

Image credit: Aguttes

Paris, tu es ma gaieté, Paris...


Spring in Paris--is there anything better? Doubtful. The icing on the cake? Today through April 15, the Grand Palais hosts the Salon International du Livre Rare et de l’Objet d’Art. This year the Salon is backed by France’s UNESCO commission and presented by president Emmanuel Macron. (To be determined whether he is greeted by hecklers as he was at February’s Agricultural Fair.) The Salon has grown in scope and attendance over the past few years, and 20,000 visitors are expected to stroll the temple to Beaux-Arts architecture at the corners of General Eisenhower and Winston Churchill Avenues.

  

salon.JPG 

This year’s special guests include the Institute for Contemporary Publishing Archives (IMEC) and the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts (CNAM). IMEC specalizies in preserving archival collections at various publishing houses, while CNAM is a doctoral-degree granting program founded in the throes of the French Revolution. Both will be exhibiting materials culled from their respective archives.


Among the fifty participants at this year’s salon is Solstices (16 rue Pestalozzi, Paris), a rare books dealer specializing in architecture, political posters, Russian art, and surrealism. And Laurent Coulet will be showing a major Proust find.


Museum exhibitions, paper-making demonstrations, and book signings round out this delightful cabinet of curiosities, and with a ten-euro entry fee, the Salon is well worth the price of admission. (Bouquinistes, students, Friends of the Louvre, and LILA booksellers are admitted free.) Bonne foire to all!

  

Image: Salon catalogue via le Syndicat national de la Librairie Ancienne et Moderne (SLAM)

In search of a few new books about books to add your library? May we suggest...

paynegreat.JPGGreat Catalogues by Master Booksellers: A Selection of American and English Booksellers’ Catalogues, 19th-21st Century by John R. Payne is a major achievement: a book of depth and heft (literally) that signifies the extraordinary amount of work that went into it, lovingly produced. Those unfamiliar with the antiquarian book trade might ask, ‘what is it?’ Well, it’s an illustrated and annotated list of remarkable booksellers’ catalogues, culled from the author’s decades-long research. The catalogues are singled out for excellent scholarship or famous material, but also, in some cases, for their wit and entertainment value. Obviously, this book was made for a niche audience--in a limited edition--yet it is a book that any book collector will savor. In his introduction, Kurt Zimmerman calls bookseller catalogues “palpable artifacts, records of booksellers’ efforts that, in the toss and whirl of history, will outlast the booksellers themselves.” (Read more on Kurt’s blog, American Book Collecting, which also includes information on how to order.)   

Some of the catalogues that caught my eye include H.P. Kraus’ catalogue no. 100 (1962) that listed for sale the famed Voynich Manuscript; Henry Sotheran & Co.’s 1878 catalogue containing “The Library of Charles Dickens Comprehending his entire Library as existing at his Decease;” Scribner Book Store’s 1938 offering of the Modern Library in First Editions; and no. 1 from the Caveat Book Shop (1946), brought to my attention earlier this year by Joel Silver, director and curator of early books and manuscripts at IU’s Lilly Library, who wrote about this farcical catalogue in our winter 2018 issue. What--and who--else will you find among Payne’s selections? Maggs Bros., Serendipity Books, Gotham Book Mart, Goodspeed’s, Bernard Quaritch, William Reese, and so many others; you will be carried away!  

Screen Shot 2018-03-20 at 1.49.14 PM.pngA Book of Book Lists, written by Alex Johnson and published by the British Library, is just what it advertises: reading lists, lists of “Unwanted” books, lists of books portrayed on screen, and then some. Ever wondered what books the US Navy loads onto its e-readers? (No Hunt for Red October) Or what David Byrne has in his private music library? (Yes Bound for Glory by Woody Guthrie). This is not the kind of book you read cover to cover in one sitting, rather it is best enjoyed piecemeal; one could even, with the right company, turn it into a parlor game. My favorite lists: Banned Books at Guantanamo Detainee Library, Oscar Wilde’s Reading Gaol bookcase inventory, and poems featured in the 1989 film, Dead Poet’s Society.

The Library copy.jpgThe Library: A Catalogue of Wonders by Stuart Kells--an author who clearly has the right name for his chosen field, and who wrote Penguin and the Lane Brothers and Rare, a biography of former ILAB president Kay Craddock--takes a spirited look at the world’s libraries, private, institutional, even fictional. Especially enjoyable is his rumination on “discoveries” in the stacks, like the Folger Library’s 1984 discovery of an early English manuscript used as binder’s waste inside two sixteenth-century volumes. “Libraries, though curated, are quintessentially places of serendipity,” he writes. With short entr’actes between longer chapters that amuse (“Library fauna” about bookworms) and sometimes baffle (“Birth” about librarians delivering a baby), the book’s idiosyncratic nature may put off persnickety readers of Book History, but most bibliophiles will be unable to resist a book so in line with their adoration of these sacred spaces. A related essay of his in the Paris Review this week is certainly getting lots of love.

If you’re looking for more books about books, don’t miss Book Towns (here’s a Q & A with the author, who also wrote the Book of Book Lists noted above) and Publisher for the Masses, a new biography of publisher Emanuel Haldeman-Julius, the subject of a feature story in our forthcoming summer issue.

Images courtesy of: (top) Kurt Zimmerman; (middle) British Library; and (bottom) Counterpoint Press.

Our Bright Young Librarians series continues today with Elizabeth Call, special collections outreach librarian at the University of Rochester.


byl liz call.jpgWhat is your role at your institution?

 

I am the special collections outreach librarian for Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation (RBSCP), River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester. In this position I lead the public facing activities of RBSCP, and as such work closely and collaborate with my colleagues in RBSCP and throughout the libraries in planning and coordinating teaching, exhibits, public programming, and social media.

 

How did you get started in rare books?

 

With zero direction! While I did do a rare books and special collections librarianship concentration at library school, I started my career at a business library. Quickly realizing that was not for me, I went to work at a public library where I was an young adult librarian. It was in this role where I discovered my passion for outreach. However the job had a very long, unsustainable commute -- I lived at one end of Brooklyn and the job was on the other side of Queens. So when I saw a job posting for a reference librarian at the Brooklyn Historical Society I jumped on it -- that was the beginning.

 

Where did you earn your MLS/advanced degree? (If not answered in previous question)

 

I received my MSLIS at the Manhattan campus of the Palmer School of Library Information & Science School, Long Island University and my MA in Public History & Archives from New York University.

 

Favorite rare book / ephemera that you’ve handled?

 

This response is dated even as I am typing it since every special collection I look at changes the way I view the world in some way. Recently my day was made when preparing for a class next week that will be looking at various materials we have on reproductive history. One item I will be pulling for the students to work with is a journal called the Journal of Contraception. We have issues from 1936 and 1937.

 

What do you personally collect?


I do not have the attention span (or money) to be a true collector, as I fall in love with most things I see.

 

What do you like to do outside of work?

 

I love spending time with my husband, Jesse, and our two daughters, Sadie and Beatrice. I also love to run, spin, take bootcamp-type group fitness classes, go to diners, go to estate sales, and now with my purchase of an old home, outfitting and caring for a home built in 1908.

 

What excites you about rare book librarianship?

 

The ample opportunities and ever-evolving ways to make connections between many audiences and the collections. My passion lies in getting the books and manuscript boxes off the shelves and from behind exhibit cases into people’s ungloved (albeit clean) hands.

 

Thoughts on the future of special collections / rare book librarianship?

 

Special Collections will continue moving away from the dusty treasure room from days of old to centers of innovation, inclusivity, and functional use. Even in the 13 or so years since I started in special collections librarianship the profession seems to have opened up in so many exciting ways, and will only continue to do so.

 

Any unusual or interesting collection at your library you’d like to draw our attention to?

 

Probably the hardest question of the bunch! There are so many great collections.

 

From the papers and library from the founder of American anthropology, Henry Lewis Morgan, to the political papers of Mary Anne Krupsak, back to the Isaac and Amy Post papers, the creators of the Spiritualist movement, to one of the largest personal collections of Henry David Thoreau, like the city of Rochester itself, the collections here go deep and document the rich and problematic history of the United States.

 

Any upcoming exhibitions at your library?

 

YES! 2018 marks the 200th Anniversary of Frederick Douglass’ birth. Opening on his celebrated birthday, February 14, 2018 and running through October 6, 2018, Rochester’s Frederick Douglass, Frederick Douglass’s World: Understanding the Man and His Legacy, showcases many aspects of Douglass’s life and legacy as reflected through archival material including letters, published materials, maps, photographs, newspapers, and ephemera. This exhibit is part of the year-long celebration of Frederick Douglass in the city of Rochester.


[Photo submitted by Liz Call]



Anywhere-That-Is-Wild.jpgJust a few weeks ago, the Yosemite Conservancy released a new book titled Anywhere That is Wild: John Muir’s First Walk to Yosemite. Drawn to both its subject (Muir and, more broadly, American nature writing) and its beautiful design, I picked up a copy. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the book is edited by Peter and Donna Thomas, names I recognized from the book art world. We did a feature story on them back in 2011. So I reached out to the couple to find out more--and I caught them just in time, as they are about to embark on a six-week tour of libraries in the Southeast, where they will teach book arts classes and exhibit at the FL Antiquarian Book Fair (April 20-22). Peter graciously answered my questions.  

RRB: How did you become involved in the making of Anywhere That is Wild?

PT: In 2005, Donna, an avid hiker and backpacker, was inspired by the urban myth that John Muir would just grab a few bags of tea and a loaf of French bread, throw a coat over his shoulder, step out his front door and walk to Yosemite. She wondered if she could walk from Santa Cruz to Yosemite, like John Muir would have done. After a little research she learned that Muir had walked to Yosemite in 1868, but could not find anyone who knew exactly where he had walked. In fact, as far as Donna could tell, no one had ever re-walked the route of John Muir’s trip to Yosemite. The possibility of being the first to do it began a yearlong historical treasure hunt, as Donna and I searched for facts and clues that would help us recreate the story of the trip and follow Muir’s footsteps across California. (See: muirrambleroute.com)

Six months into our research, we had gathered enough information to determine his actual route. But by 2006 Muir’s little dirt roads were paved roads, busy city streets and highways, definitely not the ideal trip for walking. But by that time we were committed to the idea, even if it meant walking on roads. Undeterred, Donna told me, “We will just make the best of it, take our time, go slowly, use our own ‘John Muir eyes’ to see California and nature the way he would have done.”

Although Muir was a prolific writer, he never published a complete account of this 1868 journey, and the diary for his 1868 trip has been lost, so the details of the trip have faded time. To find Muir’s exact route we had to recreate the story of his trip. We found fourteen sources--articles, books, and letters--where John Muir wrote about the trip. Each was written for a different reason and so described the trip from a different perspective. For example, in the magazine article titled “Rambles of a Botanist” Muir focused on the flora, while in his book, The Yosemite, Muir was concerned with the landscape. This gave us a rough outline of the trip, but the details were all confused. We figured the only chance we had of understanding the whole story would be to combine all the accounts into a single narrative. Using Muir’s own words culled from those articles and letters, we compiled a new first-person narrative of the trip. And this story became the text in Anywhere That Is Wild: John Muir’s First Walk to Yosemite.

The spring of 2018 marks the 150th Anniversary of John Muir’s historic walk from San Francisco to Yosemite. To celebrate the Yosemite Conservancy decided to publish the text we had written.

The title was chosen, quoting the words of the renowned conservationist, author, and founder of the Sierra Club, when he got off a ship in San Francisco and asked for the quickest way out of town. “Where do you want to go?” he was asked, to which Muir replied, “Anywhere that is wild.”

RRB: Does Muir pop up in your book art as well?

PT: The University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee is working on compiling a bibliography of our work, which should be complete later this year. It lists 160 editioned books and over 300 one of a kind. A quick search finds more than a dozen titles listing Muir as author and many for reflect his influences on our lives.

In 1868 John Muir was just another of the many thousands of hopeful immigrants and curious visitors who have arrived in California hoping to make their fortune or have the opportunity to see the natural wonders of the state. Today he is internationally recognized as founder of the Sierra Club, the man who talked President Roosevelt into making Yosemite a National Park and the father of the environmental and conservation move- ments. He is also the man on the California quarter and he is there for a good reason. Like Washington and Lincoln, he is a hero. He shows us what one person can do, and why it is important to do what you feel called to. We feel called to make books, and make them with the same passion Muir had for writing about his love of nature.

RRB: What else are you up to?

PT: We are flying to Knoxville [this week], where our truck and trailer have been parked since October. We will be spending the next 1.5 months visiting libraries and book arts classes in Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina, as part of our 40 years of making books celebration. There will be shows of our work at UCF and Emory, and we will give presentations for them. We will also have a booth at the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair. We will leave the truck and trailer in North Carolina and fly home for the summer, returning East when schools start up again in the fall.

RRB: What will you be exhibiting/presenting at the FL Antiquarian Book Fair?

PT: We will have all our books still in print on display. Many people have looked at images of them on the internet and this will be a chance to see them in person, to view, hold, and even buy one.

Image courtesy of the Yosemite Conservancy

On Tuesday, April 10, University Archives sells Autographed Documents, Manuscripts, Photos, Books & Relics, in 254 lots. A 1726 Mohawk land deed signed by Hendrick Theyanoguin and eight additional Mohawk leaders is estimated at $25,000-30,000, as is a signed copy of Thomas Jefferson’s 1821 letter to Dr. Samuel Brown at Transylvania University in which Jefferson argues against recent tariffs placed on imported books. A July 1861 letter from General Robert Anderson immediately following the first Battle of Bull Run could fetch $10,000-12,000. The letterbook of Revolutionary War commissary Minne Voorhees is estimated at $12,000-14,000. Also up for grabs is a piece of a mahogany bed presented to John Quincy Adams during his service as minister to England ($1,000-1,200) and a data recorder from NASA’s Apollo program ($500-600).

  

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Dominic Winter sells Printed Books, Maps & Documents on Wednesday, April 11, in 586 lots. Benjamin Franklin’s Experiments and Observations on Electricity (London, 1769; pictured), is estimated at £5,000-8,000, while a copy of the c.1690 second edition of John Seller’s pocket celestial atlas could sell for £4,000-6,000. The sale includes a selection of bookbinding equipment, tools, and reference books (lots 421-450), and lots 500-586 are group lots, some of which have a great deal of potential.

  

Thursday, April 12 sees two sales: Printed & Manuscript Americana at Swann Galleries, in 323 lots, and Rare Golf Books & Memorabilia From the Collection of John Burns and the Library of Ron Muszalski, with additions at PBA Galleries, in 431 lots. Top lots at Swann could include the copy of Paine’s American Crisis (highlighted in a previous post), a copy of the Nauvoo Neighbor Extra broadside of June 30, 1844 which contains the first official account of the killing of Joseph Smith, and a 1566 Mexican imprint (all three estimated at $50,000-75,000). A volume of business records from a Mexican silver mine covering the years 1576-77 could sell for $25,000-35,000, while a copy of the unauthorized second edition of the “Reynolds Pamphlet” rates a $10,000-15,000 estimate.

  

At PBA Galleries, the signed, limited first edition of Down the Fairway: The Golf Life and Play of Robert T. Jones, Jr. is expected to lead the way, at $10,000-15,000. A number of other lots will be of much interest to the Bobby Jones collector. A copy of the 1566 issue of the acts of the Scottish parliament which contains the first mention of golf in print (in a 1457 law to discourage it) is estimated at $1,500-2,000.

  

Photo credit: Dominic Winter Auctioneers

In 1932 the famed art historian Kenneth Clark, the director of the National Gallery in London, and his wife Jane Clark, commissioned Bloomsbury artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant to produce a 148-plate dinner service for his personal household. They were not specific about what the theme or subject the plates should be, and Bell and Grant decided together upon representing famous women through the ages from England and from across the globe, with both London stage actresses Ellen Terry and Sarah Siddons, to more farflung historical women like the Queen of Sheba and Sappho. Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell’s portraits are included in the plates, as was one man (lucky fellow) artist Duncan Grant. The artists traveled to Stoke-on-Trent and toured pottery factories, selecitng Wedgwood creamware blanks that have a homespun quality resembling the plain arts-and-crafts styling of the Omega Workshop artists.

  

Plates.jpgThe plates were a part of the private estate of the Clarks, and then were inherited by Clark’s second wife, who then left them to her daughter, who years later sold them at an auction in Hamburg. The auction house closed and records weren’t available, and the plates disappeared from view. The plates were known for decades only from a photograph of the Clark’s dinner table. 

  

Through a lucky series of events involving the clearance and sale of a flat in London, the plates were discovered again by Dr. Robert Thomas, the founder of Piano Nobile, who only saw a glance of a few and didn’t at first realize what he was looking at. It was only later when a purchaser of the flat and its contents decided to sell the plates that Thomas realized what he had first spied. 

  

The bold and provocative feminist aspect of the plates, and the fact that it precedes Judith Chicago’s similarly themed dinner service, “The Dinner Party,” has only just become recent news. Matthew Travers, a director at London’s Piano Nobile gallery, told Artnet, “All of the women they depicted did something interesting and powerful, and often were quite scandalous--the Bloomsburys might have said ‘liberated’--in the way they lived their private lives, and often did not conform to the patriarchies they were living in.”

  

“This is the holy grail of Bloomsbury ceramics because it was lost for a generation,” said Thomas, who acquired them and is hoping the plates will go to Charleston, the estate of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. Until that happens, they are on view through April 28. 

  

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Speaking of which, this watercolor plate design (above) for Bell’s Charlotte Brontë plate, 1932, sold last year at Forum Auctions for £8,125 ($10,480).

  

Images: (Top) Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, The Famous Women Dinner Service, 1932-34. Courtesy of Piano Nobile; (Bottom) Courtesy of Forum Auctions.

Have you ever flipped through a fashion magazine from days of yore and wished you could rock a psychedelic two-dimensional paper dress circa 1967 or slip into a Mod mini by Mary Quant? Well, now you can--but first, better dust off that sewing machine.

  


bathing suit.JPGUntil now, vintage sewing pattern covers have been available at various websites across the internet, but Vintage Patterns Wiki has just released over 83,000 downloadable, free, out-of-print sewing pattern illustrations, giving these unconventional “works on paper” a push into the world of Open Source. However, the actual patterns themselves aren’t always free: though a few are available on the wiki, Vintage Patterns mostly links to affiliate sellers. 


Organized by decade, designer, and garment, patterns date from the 1920s through 1992. There’s even a collection of patterns inspired by Hollywood stars--Olivia de Havilland’s jumpsuits look particularly on trend for spring 2018. With a little elbow grease and attention to detail, you’ll have a bespoke piece that stands the test of time. Besides, sewing is great for the psyche: as Margaret Atwood wrote in Alias Grace, “I am certain that a Sewing Machine would relieve as much human suffering as a hundred Lunatic Asylums, and possibly a good deal more.”

  

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Images via Vintage Patterns Wiki

Our Bright Young Collectors series continues today with Ryan M. Place of Detroit, Michigan:


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Where are you from / where do you live?


I’m from Detroit’s Southwest side and currently live in Detroit, Michigan.


What did you study at University? What do you do now for an occupation?


At Eastern Michigan University, I studied Cinema and Philosophy. After graduating in 2009, I started working in the entertainment industry. I also run some festivals and events, do some book research and a variety of consulting. My current big focus is the Detroit Festival of Books, which I created and am the event chairman for. I also write every single day.


Please introduce us to your book collection.  What areas do you collect in?


The Place Collection is wide-ranging, however, the core is comprised of Counterculture/Sixties, Incunabula, Occult, Classics, Exotic/Unusual, Obscure Dictionaries and Illuminated Manuscripts.


How many books are in your collection?


There are approximately 2,000 volumes in my collection. Over half of them are in boxes because I don’t have the requisite display space. My goal is to one day build a home library with in-built bookcases, sliding ladders, big globes, expensive scotch, the whole meshuggeneh.


What was the first book you bought for your collection?


Been collecting since I was five. Not sure what my first book was but I really enjoy the ‘Tao Te Ching’, the 1989 Gia-Fu Feng version. The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.


How about the most recent book?


One of the more recent acquisitions was ‘Opus Sadicum’ (1889). It’s the first English edition of Justine and has a beautifully engraved frontispiece. It was published by Isidore Liseux in Paris. I won it via online auction, it came from the Netherlands. God bless the Dutch!


And your favorite book in your collection?


Selecting favorites is always tough. One of the rarest and personal favorite books in my collection is the advance readers copy of ‘The Rose of Paracelsus: On Secrets & Sacraments’ by William Leonard Pickard. Leonard is a brilliant human and wrote this fantastic otherworldly book in prison. I helped do some research for the book. The ARC is only one of 7 in existence.


Best bargain you’ve found?


Bargains abound! Book sales are your oysters, you just have to pry them open, do some digging. I was driving down a barren stretch of road once in semi-fog near the city of Romulus, Michigan when I saw a crudely hand-drawn sign on somebody’s lawn saying booksale inside. The lady inside says “They’re in the basement. Be careful down there. You’ll need this,” she hands me a big Maglite flashlight. The basement had no lights but was full of hundreds of boxes books. Hundreds. Untouched for decades. Treasure awaiting a plucky unearther. Not a single other person was around, which was eerie. I ended up finding an early 18th century French Astronomers manual. She only charged me $5.00 for it but it turned out to be worth hundreds.


How about The One that Got Away?


The One that Got Away = Aristotle’s ‘De Natura Animalium’ (1513) and St. Augustine’s ‘The Citie of God’ (1610) both together for under $5,000, which was a steal. Shoulda, woulda, coulda. Now I just slap my forehead and say ‘Doh!’


What would be the Holy Grail for your collection?


Holy Grail for my collection right now would be ‘Motor City Madam’ (1964) hardcover with the dust jacket. It’s the memoir of Detroit prostitute Rocking Chair Helen McGowan. You can find hardcovers here and there but rarely with an intact and near mint condition DJ. I’m also looking for a rare board game, ‘The Phantom of the Opera Mystery Game’ (1963) it’s muy difficult to find in good condition. If you know where I can get one, hook a brotha up!


Who is your favorite bookseller / bookstore?


Favorite bookseller is Mr. John King who runs John K. King Used & Rare Books in Detroit. His store is on all the lists of the world’s best bookstores and when you visit his main 3-level store and Rare Book Building behind the main store, you’ll know why. Every bookworm must make a pilgrimage to John King Books at least once or twice or thrice.


What would you collect if you didn’t collect books?



I also collect vinyl records, vintage board games, movies, personal ephemera. And from my bank, I’m forced to collect overdraft receipts and stern lectures on the manifold virtues of prudent spending. To them I always say, I collect books baby, not cash. One day I’ll collect both.


[Image provided by Ryan M. Place]


(Suggestions or nominations for future entries in the Bright Young Collectors series are welcome at nathan@finebooksmagazine.com)





























After the joy of the Colmar fair, it was time that we prepared our new stock and set off for the Maastricht Antiquarian Book & Print (MABP) fair. Maastricht is in the very south of the Netherlands, in South Limburg, a thin strand between Germany and Belgium. The MABP is a lovely little fair. In St Jan’s church, in the centre of the old town, overlooking the market square. 

   

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There was a wealth of fabulous items at the fair, on entering the church, one of the first things I saw (it was hard not to) was a large lithograph by Picasso, “Femme au corsage à fleurs” offered by De Vries & De Vries. Produced in 1957, it is simple yet striking.  

   

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Equally striking, but in a very different way, was on the stand of Paul Bremmers. The theme of the Maastricht fair this year was cartography, and if you are going to have a map, then one of those on Paul Bremmers’ stand would certainly fit the bill. At 2.4 metres by 1.7 metres the Nova Tabula Dioeceseos Traiectinae (Nieuwe Kaart van den Lande van Utrecht) is a lot of map!  

   

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At the end of the second evening, the hall was slightly rearranged, and we gathered together to have an excellent meal, put on by the fair organisers. The English contingent, including our colleagues from Graham York Books, in Honiton and Marrin’s Bookshop in Folkestone, joined us at the table, if only to keep Marcia under control! 

   

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Of course, whilst in Maastricht, it was essential to go and visit The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF). Naturally, the emphasis here is on art and antiques--the entrance and corridors are fabulous themselves. Japanese suits of armour guide you down the corridors to the exhibits. On our way around we managed to sniff out a few of our colleagues offering books and maps. At the Bernard Shapero stand, I was very excited to see a set of the Andy Warhol Shoes. I have seen the book of these, but never the full sized lithographs.

   

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It was good to see some of the new-comers to TEFAF, such as Librairie Camille Sourget who were exhibiting for the first time. Something to aspire to one day! Finally, we went off to find our friends at Daniel Crouch Rare Books who had a fabulous display of globes and maps.

   

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After all of this excitement, we retreated to our apartment, and packed up for the long (long) drive to Sweden for the Stockholm ILAB fair, where we shall next report from. 

   

--Marc Harrison and his wife Marcia run Harrison-Hiett Rare Books in The Netherlands. Images courtesy of the author. 

Three auctions I’ll be watching this week:

  

At Dorotheum in Vienna on April 4, a sale of Antique Scientific Instruments, Globes and Cameras, in 636 lots. A c.1500 sundial known as a “navicula de Venetiis,” or “little ship of Venice,” and a c.1400 brass astrolabe quadrant rate the joint top opening price, at €10,000. An armillary sphere from around 1840, identified as probably the work of Charles Dien in Paris, starts at €2,400. Among the globes, a celestial example from Vienna, c.1845, has an opening price of €1,500.

  

The following day, PBA Galleries holds a sale of Fine & Rare Books, in 459 lots. At $5,000-8,000, the top-estimated lot is Coleridge’s Christabel, Kubla Khan, The Pains of Sleep (London: John Murray, 1816). A copy of the 1534 Aldine Tacitus could fetch $3,000-5,000. An elaborately-bound copy of William Blake’s (not that William Blake) 1670 charity publication The Ladies Charity School-house Roll of Highgate is estimated at $1,500-2,000. For the printing historian, there’s a copy of the 1650 publication arguing that Johann Mentelin should be credited as the developer of printing rather than Gutenberg ($1,000-1,500). Lots 355 to 459 are being sold without reserve.

  

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Finally, on April 7, Potter & Potter sells Entertainment Memorabilia, in 856 lots. An unrestored poster for Casablanca (1942; pictured) opens at $20,000 and is estimated at $40,000-60,000. Also on the block are Greta Garbo’s monogrammed mink coat ($9,000-12,000), Cole Porter’s backgammon set ($4,000-8,000). A few books are include, among them a copy of the Southern Treasury of Life and Literature inscribed by Margaret Mitchell to producer David Selznick $3,500-4,500).

  

Image courtesy of Potter & Potter

Auction Guide