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In the News

The Morgan Appoints Maria L. Fredericks as Head of the Thaw Conservation Center

New York —The Morgan Library & Museum announced today the appointment of Maria L.... read more

LOC Puts Papers of President Theodore Roosevelt Online

The largest collection of the papers of President Theodore Roosevelt, documenting his extraordinary career... read more

The 42nd Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair, Nov. 16-18

Boston - The annual fall gathering for booklovers, the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair... read more

1785 Engraving of Washington & Bob Dylan's Handwritten Lyrics at University Archives Auction

Westport, CT - A rare, 1785 hand-colored portrait engraving of George Washington, printed for... read more

HistoryMiami Museum Features Former National Geographic Photographer Nathan Benn

Miami - HistoryMiami Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate and a premier Miami cultural institution, presents... read more

Library of Congress Appoints New Chief of the Hispanic Division

The Library of Congress appointed Suzanne Schadl, academic expert in Latin American studies, as... read more

"Masters of Photography: 19th Century and Now" at Paris Photo in November

Paris - Iconic images by the earliest masters of photography—as well as contemporary artists... read more

Sotheby's Presents "The Mummy," One of the World's Rarest Movie Posters

New York—Sotheby’s presents the opportunity to acquire one of the rarest and most highly-coveted... read more

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2015 Bookseller Resource Guide

Lost Everything? Have a Martini.

Nutty Nova Scotia

18th-Century Halifax Map, Old World Auctions Sedona, $863.

From time to time, decorative embellishments on old maps can get a bit out of hand, and in this 18th-century plan of the town of Halifax, Nova Scotia, the cartographic work has been almost swamped by the addition of coats of arms, giant Lepidoptera, and a very odd looking porcupine!

Halifax itself is shown in a grid plan with its surrounding fortifications and immediate vicinity, including Bedford “formerly call'd Torrington” Bay and Cornwallis Island. The mapping work has been squeezed to allow the addition of a representation of the Ensign of Nova Scotia; seven coats-of-arms of members of the Pinkington, Pickering, Longueville, Musgrave, Meredith, Slingsby, and Gascoigne families; and assorted wildlife.

Issued in a July 1750 issue of The Gentlemen's Magazine, this Plan of the Harbour and Town of Chebucto and Town of Halifax bears no publisher or engraver’s name. However, David Jolly, in his Maps in British Periodicals… before 1800, says the creator is likely to have been that prolific map maker and publisher Thomas Jefferys, because the butterfly collection featured in the accompanying article is advertised as being on display at Jefferys' premises in Charing Cross, London.

Fine, except for a short marginal tear just into cartouche and some expert repair work to the back, it sold at $863 in an online sale that ended February 25, held by specialist map saleroom, Old World Auctions of Sedona, Arizona.

Detective Gets Makeover

Nancy Drew Illustrations, Swanns New York ($11,400).

Russell H. Tandy, who illustrated 26 of the Nancy Drew stories in the years 1930-49, was also a fashion illustrator and thus well equipped to create an appealing image of the heroine for readers. In the first four titles, Nancy is shown as a prim and proper young woman in skirts, pumps and scarf or coat. But in the original artwork for the dust jacket of the fifth Nancy Drew mystery, The Secret at Shadow Ranch of 1931, Tandy has dressed her in sporty rising clothes. Executed in watercolor, ink and gouache, and signed lower right, this Tandy artwork was bid to $11,400 in a March 12 Swanns of New York sale.

The author’s name is given as Carolyn Keene, but as many (most?) U.S. readers know, this too, was a fiction. Nancy was the creation of Edward Stratemeyer, whose practice of employing ghost writers became a key part of the Stratemeyer syndicate's success. The first 20 or so Nancy books were actually written by Mildred Benson.

As a man and an Englishman—a race for whom Nancy Drew is largely mysterious—I only vaguely knew about this series. However, in a fearless venture into the online Nancy Drew world, I learn that ghostwriter Mildred Benson disliked the “namby-pamby” style of most books for girls. Nancy’s spirit of independence came straight from Benson and helped spark her popularity. Harriet Adams, who with her sister took over the business after her father’s death, preferred a more traditional finishing-girl style, and as the series went on Nancy underwent changes at the direction of Adams, who also revised the earlier stories.

Derek HayesIan McKay’s weekly column in Antiques Trade Gazette has been running for more than 30 years.