In the News

Literature Auction Reaches $500,000 at Swann Galleries

New York—Swann Galleries’ auction of 19th & 20th Century Literature on Tuesday, November 14... read more

Early Photograph of Pres. John Quincy Adams Could Sell For $50,000 at Heritage Auctions

Dallas, Texas--A rare and unusual photo of one of the first U.S. presidents is... read more

Library of Congress Acquires Extremely Rare Mesoamerican Codex

The Codex Qutzalecatzin represents one of the most important indigenous manuscripts from the earliest... read more

New World's Record for Most Valuable Movie Poster: $525,800 at Heritage Auctions

Dallas, Texas - One of just two surviving movie posters for the 1931 horror... read more

The Eric Carle Museum Presents: Eighty Years of Caldecott Books

Amherst, MA--The Caldecott Medal, an annual award bestowed upon "the most distinguished American... read more

First Graphic Designers of English Texts Celebrated in New Bodleian Libraries Exhibition

Oxford, England—The origins of early English graphic design are explored in a new exhibition... read more

The Folio Society's "Micrographia" Wins British Book Design Award

The Folio Society is delighted to announce that their Limited Edition of Robert Hooke’s... read more

Designs for Thames Tunnel Sell for £200,000 at Bonhams Book Sale

Designs for the Thames Tunnel, signed by Marc Isambard Brunel and his son Isambard... read more

Follow us on TwitterLike us on Facebook
Auction Guide
Advertise with Us
2015 Bookseller Resource Guide
Digest

Making the Rounds with Dr. Flamm at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair

The Grolier Club president talks to us about booking in New York City
By Nate Pedersen Nate Pedersen is a contributing writer at Fine Books & Collections.

Dr. Eugene Flamm, current president of the Grolier Club in New York City, has attended every New York Antiquarian Book Fair for the past twenty-five years. Courtesy of Dr. Eugene Flamm.

Andy Rooney of 60 Minutes once declared the New York Antiquarian Book Fair to be the “best book fair in the world,” a fact not missed by the fair’s promoters. What is it about the New York fair that draws such enthusiasm? To help answer that question, we spoke with Dr. Eugene Flamm, chairman of the department of neurosurgery at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, president of the Grolier Club, and prominent public bibliophile. Flamm has made it a habit to attend every New York Book Fair for the past twenty-five years.

“I think the quality of the books is much better at the New York fairs,” said Flamm. “There are more interesting books, not necessarily for me personally, but I think dealers tend to bring their better books. The European dealers sort of save everything for the New York Book Fair because it’s twice as far for them to go out to California.”

Flamm laughed when he said he started accumulating books when he was “about three years old.” But his sincere collecting efforts began when he served a residency at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C. “There was a bookstore there called Old Hickory that was nearby, and I started buying some books from them and gradually it got out of control.”

Flamm collects extensively in the printed history of medicine—in particular books about the brain. Flamm’s collection of early medical books, especially from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, is robust. Flamm said, “Quite frankly, the books I would like to add to my collection now are priced well beyond what I can pay for them.”

Flamm, who has lived in or near New York City for much of his life, began attending the New York Book Fair in the 1960s when it was held at the Commodore Hotel (now the Grand Hyatt). In the early days of his collecting, the fairs were useful for finding books to add to his medical collection. Today, dealers are more likely to phone him if they have something they think he might like.

But Flamm’s other area of collecting—books about books, bibliography, and auction catalogues—still lends itself well to browsing. Flamm said, “Bibliography is most of the time quite affordable. I enjoy it a great deal and feel that it’s germane to my interest in the book world.”

That interest in the book world was codified recently by his election in 2010 to the presidency of the Grolier Club, America’s largest and oldest society for bibliophiles. Flamm’s position as president adds another role to his book fair visits: ambassador. Now he attends book fairs in part to “represent the home team,” he said. Flamm elaborated, “The bigger reasons I go to the fairs these days are to socialize with people I consider my friends—many of the booksellers there—and also now that I’m president of the Grolier Club just to be making the rounds wearing the Grolier tie and making sure everybody remembers the Club.”

comments powered by Disqus