Courtesy of the Library of Congress

The new book, Rosa Parks: In Her Own Words reveals the civil rights icon through her private manuscripts and handwritten notes for the first time.

Washington, D.C. — A new book from the Library of Congress reveals the civil rights icon, Rosa Parks, for the first time in print through her private manuscripts and handwritten notes. The publication with University of Georgia Press is a companion to the new exhibition of the same title, Rosa Parks: In Her Own Words.

For years, Parks’ personal papers were not available to the public. Her personal writings, reflections, photographs, records and memorabilia were placed on loan with the Library in 2014 and became a permanent gift in 2016 through the generosity of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.

The new book, written by Susan Reyburn of the Library of Congress, explores a variety of objects from the Rosa Parks Collection that bring to light Parks’ inner thoughts and struggles throughout her life and activism. At the height of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 and 1956, Parks was both pilloried and celebrated – and found catharsis in her writing.

“With the publication of Rosa Parks: In Her Own Words, the Library of Congress is pleased to share a rarely seen view of an extraordinary woman through her private writings and in her own hand,” Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden wrote in the book’s foreword. “These writings reveal her keen observations, youthful rage, strong faith, and ongoing hope, as well as an abiding love for those closest to her.”

Parks’ writings include her description of her infamous arrest on a city bus after she refused to give up her seat to a white man, candid reflections on the segregated South, recollections of childhood experiences, letters to her family during the boycott and in the aftermath, and notes from a lifetime of battling inequality.

Rosa Parks: In Her Own Words draws on this collection of handwritten descriptions, recollections and letters to shed new light on the life of a civil rights icon. It is the first book to reproduce some of Parks’ personal manuscripts in print.

Lesser-known anecdotes from Parks’ life in the book include:
    •    Her night-long vigils as a 6-year-old child, staying up with her grandfather in defense of the family home as the Ku Klux Klan rampaged through the area killing black residents and burning black churches and houses.
    •    A tense childhood encounter with a white boy that precipitated a harsh scolding and a difficult lesson in the reality of race relations.
    •    Her longtime work for the NAACP investigating brutal crimes against African Americans in Alabama, taking testimony from victims unwilling to speak to others.
    •    Her handwritten account of the moment she refused a bus driver’s order to give her seat to a white passenger.
    •    Her reunion, 37 years later, with the white woman who offered Parks her own seat on the bus after she was ordered to give up hers.

The new 96-page book features more than 80 color and black and white images from the Parks Collection. It is available in paperback ($16.95) from the Library of Congress Shop, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C., and from book retailers worldwide.

The exhibition, Rosa Parks: In Her Own Words, opened Dec. 5 and will be on view through summer 2020. The book and exhibition are part of an ongoing initiative inviting Library visitors to Explore America’s Changemakers through a series of exhibitions, events and programs. Another exhibition drawing from the Library’s collections explores the fight for women’s voting rights 100 years after the passage of the 19th Amendment.

Courtesy of Bonhams

The Original Handwritten Lyrics to Elton John's "Your Song" by Bernie Taupin. Price Realized: $237,575

Los Angeles – The original handwritten lyrics to Elton John’s “Your Song” by Bernie Taupin sold at Bonhams sale of Music Memorabilia on December 9 for $237,575. This was Elton’s first monster hit, introducing audiences to his exciting new brand of piano pop, and it remains today one of his most identifiable and best-loved songs.   
These are the original, first and only draft of the lyrics to “Your Song.” After Taupin handed the lyrics to John, the pianist took all of 10 minutes to come up with the haunting melody that accompanies Taupin’s paean to the inarticulateness of young love.
Other highlights in the sale included:
    •    Original handwritten lyrics of Elton John's “Bennie and the Jets”, the third single from the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album, sold for $87,575
    •    Original lyrics to the early Elton John hit, “The Border Song,” with annotations by Elton John, a rare example of Bernie and Elton collaborating on lyrics, sold for $31,325

Courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries

Hartmann Schedel, Liber Cronicarum cum Figuris et Ymaginibus ab Inicio Mundi, Nuremberg, 1493. Estimate $40,000-60,000.

New York—Swann Galleries closes out its 2019 fall season with an exceptional sale of Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books on Tuesday, December 17. Atlases lead the sale, with additional highlights in cartography and spectacular images from Currier & Ives.

The sale is led by Hartmann Schedel’s Liber Cronicarum cum Figuris et Ymaginibus ab Inicio Mundi, Nuremberg, 1493, at $40,000 to $60,000—the Nuremberg Chronicle traces the world history from Biblical Creation to the time of publication. Further atlases include Claudius Ptolemaeus’s Geographicae Enarrationis Libri Octo., Lyons, 1535 ($20,000-25,000); the second volume of Joan and Willem Blaeu’s Novus Atlas—Toonneel des Aerdrycx, oft Nieuwe Atlas, Tweede Deels, Tweede Stuck, Amsterdam, 1658—comprising of France, Spain, Asia, Africa and America; and Thomas Jefferys’s The American Atlas: Or, a Geographical Description of the Whole Continent of America, London, 1776-77 ($10,000-15,000 each). Also of note is an 1840 Hawaiian-language school geography map from the Lahainaluna Seminary, making its auction debut at $2,500 to $3,500.

Standouts from the extensive offering of United States cartography includes A New and Accurate Chart of the Bay of Chesapeake, Boston, circa 1803, by John and William Norman, available at $18,000 to $22,000; the 1777 French issue of John Mitchell’s influential 1755 map of colonial North America by Georges Louis le Rouge is present in eight unaltered publisher’s sheets at $10,000 to $15,000; and Thomas Bakewell’s scarce 1748 map of North and South America, embellished with pictorial panels, is expected to bring $8,000 to $12,000.

World maps of note feature Martin Waldseemüller’s Tabula Terra Nove, Strasbourg, a 1513 double-page woodcut impression of the Atlantic Ocean offered at $20,000 to $30,000. Representations of Africa include Willem Blaeu’s Africae Nova Descriptio, Amsterdam, 1617, a scarce first-state impression that features decorative borders ($3,000-5,000), and Cornelis de Jode’s Africae Vera Forma, et Situs, Antwerp, 1593, with original hand-coloring ($4,000-6,000). Notable Japanese cartography includes a manuscript map of Commodore Perry’s Black Ship squadron entering Edo Bay, Japan, 1853 ($2,500-3,000), and Boeki Ba, Japan, 1859, a woodblock kawaraban of the port of Yokohama after its opening to commercial trade with America, Great Britain, France, Russia and the Netherlands shortly after the signing of the Ansei Treaties in 1858, present together with Bankoku Shimun Shi, a Yokohama newspaper ($1,000-1,500).

A run of high-quality Currier & Ives prints shines in an offering of historical prints and drawings. Most notable is a selection of prints that were exhibited at the 1990 Milwaukee Art Museum show Currier & Ives: Best Fifty Revisited. An impressive group of large folio hand-colored lithographs include The Mississippi in Time of Peace, 1865, depicting flatboats and paddle steamers relaxed under a glowing post–Civil War sunset ($6,000-9,000); The Champions of the Mississippi, A Race for the Buckhorns, 1866, portraying a dramatic steamboat race with the Queen of the West and Morningstar neck-and-neck for the lead ($4,000-6,000); and “Wooding Up” on the Mississippi, 1863, showing the steamboat Princess docked at a supply yard loading fuel wood ($4,000-6,000). Also featured is Ice-Boat Race on the Hudson, circa 1870, a small hand-colored lithograph of daring ice-boaters slashing down the frozen Hudson River challenging the speed of a steaming locomotive.

Johan Christoph Volkamer’s Nürenbergische Hesperides, Nuremberg, 1708-14, leads a run of color plate books at $12,000 to $18,000. The work includes 219 engraved plates of various fruits. Also of note is Jacob Bigelow’s American Medical Botany, Boston, 1817-20—cited as the first botanical work published in America ($1,500-2,500)—and seven volumes of Illustrated Guide Book for Travellers Round the World, Osaka, 1885-89, by T. Awoki and J. Susuka ($1,500-2,500).

Oddities, instruments and ephemera complete the sale, with 12 geography-related puzzles, games and trivia card sets, including “United States Geographical Lotto,” circa 1920, and “A Game of Cities,” 1889 ($300-500), as well as a polished steel collapsible standing magnify glass made by Laban Heath, perfect for examining bank notes, minerals, flowers, seeds and maps ($1,000-1,500).  

Exhibition opening in New York City December 12. The complete catalogue and bidding information is available at and on the Swann Galleries App.

Additional highlights can be found here.

Courtesy Harry Ransom Center

Arthur Miller speaking at The University of Texas at Austin, 1984.

Austin, TX — The complete archive of Arthur Miller, one of America’s most acclaimed playwrights, is now available for teaching and research use at the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin.

“With the opening of the Arthur Miller papers, the Harry Ransom Center becomes the essential destination for the study of the life and work of this giant of the American theatre,” said Stephen Enniss, director of the Ransom Center. “My colleagues and I look forward to supporting the work of students and scholars who will study this archive for new insight for generations to come.”

Arthur Miller (1915–2005) established the collection with two donations of his early manuscripts in 1961 and 1962, including drafts of “All My Sons,” “Death of a Salesman,” “The Crucible” and other early plays. The archive expanded significantly with the acquisition of his remaining papers in 2017. This united and complete collection of Miller’s personal and professional papers is the primary record for research and study into the life and work of this major American playwright.

This expansive collection of more than 300 boxes documents every phase of his remarkable career, from his earliest writing while a student at the University of Michigan, through his major work of the 1940s and ’50s, through the writing of his late plays. The archive includes more than 50 journals compiled from the 1940s through the 2000s, family correspondence, working drafts of all of his plays (including unpublished work), notebooks, and correspondence with notable theatrical and literary colleagues including Edward Albee, Saul Bellow, Norman Mailer, Cynthia Ozick and John Steinbeck.

“There is a lot more to this archive than just his manuscripts,” said Ransom Center Cline Curator of Theatre and Performing Arts Eric Colleary. “This collection captures his ideas and personal thoughts and contains fragments of writings never completed, all of which helps paint a much broader image of Miller. There is a great deal here that has never been seen before.”

Miller’s contribution to the American theatre is immeasurable. His creative work includes essential plays such as “Death of a Salesman” (1949), “The Crucible” (1953) and “A View from the Bridge” (1955), which continue to have contemporary relevance. Over a distinguished career, Miller received many honors including three Tony Awards, the Kennedy Center Honors, the Theatre Guild National Award, an honorary Molière Award, the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, and a Pulitzer Prize for “Death of a Salesman.”

As a public figure and intellectual, Miller was highly engaged with social and political issues of his time, which is also reflected in the collection. From 1965 to 1969, Miller was president of International PEN (Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists and Novelists), an organization that evolved into an international advocacy group for human rights and freedom of expression. The Ransom Center also holds the papers of PEN International and English PEN, which include substantial materials related to Miller’s work with the organization. A recent project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and completed by the Center resulted in a new online finding aid for researchers and access to teaching guides and nearly 5,000 digitized PEN records at

“This archive captures current events, social concerns and the morality of the time, because Miller is writing very much in the moment of significant historical events in 20th-century American history,” Colleary said. “We expect a broad range of research interest not only about Miller, but also projects about McCarthyism and the communist witch hunts, American politics in the ’50s and ’60s, and Miller’s efforts dealing with censorship on an international level. You can trace the roots of the Cold War in the Great Depression through his experiences. The papers center around Miller, but Miller also becomes a way to look at so many important moments in history.”

Miller’s archive resides alongside the papers of other major American playwrights, including Tennessee Williams and Lillian Hellman. His influence on playwrights, actors and writers is evident in the collection materials, and he is a key figure connecting dozens of collections held at the Ransom Center.

The archive is now accessible, and scholars researching his work may access the newly cataloged papers in the Reading and Viewing Room. The current finding aid is available online at


Courtesy of Bonhams

Notes on Matters Affecting the Health, Efficiency, and Hospital Administration of the British Army by Florence Nightingale. Estimate: £8.000-12,000

London — Florence Nightingale was so appalled by medical neglect during the Crimean War (1853-1856), that she wrote – and privately printed – a damning report that presented statistics in a pie chart. It is thought to be the first time that the pie chart was used in a widely circulated document. A rare, signed copy of this 1858 report that she sent to her influential friends, will be offered at Bonhams Fine Books and Manuscripts sale in London on Wednesday 4 December. Notes on Matters Affecting the Health, Efficiency, and Hospital Administration of the British Army, Founded Chiefly on the Experience of the Late War... has an estimate of £8,000-12,000.

The report exposed the horrific statistic that 16,000 of the 18,000 deaths in the Crimea were due to preventable diseases caused by poor sanitation and nursing practices. Nightingale had submitted these figures, together with detailed recommendations for reform, to the Royal Commission into Military Hospitals, set up by the Secretary of State for War, Lord Panmure, at her prompting. When the Government’s report was published earlier in 1858, many of Nightingale’s suggestions were adopted, but the statistics on death and disease were omitted Nightingale sent this copy with a hand-written letter to her banker and supporter Edward Marjoribanks, who had served as a trustee of The Nightingale Fund, set up in 1855 to raise money to establish a training institute for nurses. Although Nightingale requested that her report be kept confidential, it would seem that she hoped and expected that the contents would leak out and influence public debate.

Nightingale’s report was also notable for the early use of charts to present statistical information – including the use of pie charts – and for the application of rigorous data based analysis. She formed a close working partnership with the leading statistician of the day, William Farr, and their work is regarded as pioneering in the field.
Bonhams Senior Specialist in Books and Manuscripts, Simon Roberts, said, “This remarkable document exposed the terrible shortcomings in medical care within the British Army during the Crimean War. Florence Nightingale’s recommendations not only transformed nursing practices within the armed forces, but also civilian hospitals both in the UK and throughout the world. The bicentennial of Florence Nightingale’s birth is next year. Interest in her life and achievements is likely to be high so the appearance of this important report at auction is very timely.”

The report was consigned by the distinguished Florence Nightingale specialist Hugh Small. Other important items from Mr Small’s collection also in the sale include:

    •    A scarce copy of the Report of the Commissioners Appointed to Inquire into the Regulations Affecting the Sanitary Condition of the Army, the Organization of Military Hospitals, and the Treatment of the Sick and Wounded. Estimate: £400-600.
    •    A first edition of Notes on Nursing: What It Is, and What It Is Not, by Florence Nightingale, published in 1860. His copy comes from the library of a direct descendant of Richard Monckton Milnes, Nightingale's persistent but ultimately rejected suitor. This, and a number of other books with connections to Florence Nightingale, are estimated at £800-1,200.
    •    Practical Hints on District Nursing (Burdett Series, No. 1), by Amy Hughes and Florence Nightingale, published 1898. Nightingale would not allow her significant contribution to the book to be acknowledged, and it is not noted by bibliographers.  Research by Hugh Small has, however, revealed that Florence Nightingale made important corrections to the proof. Estimate £400-600.

Link to the online sale catalogue:

Courtesy of Christie's

Quentin Blake (b.1932), Crossing the stream, 2015. Pen, ink, watercolor paper, signed., 287 x 175 mm. Estimate: £500-800

London – After the resounding success of 2018’s Quentin Blake: A Retrospective, Christie’s is delighted to offer another collection of works from the artist’s studio, sold to benefit two charities close to Sir Quentin Blake’s heart: Greenpeace and Survival International. Quentin Blake: Not in Books – a dedicated online sale open for bidding from 10 to 17 December – comprises 204 drawings of playful creatures, fantastical scenarios and unusual individuals, who spring directly from Quentin Blake’s lively imagination, full of humour and empathy.

Not in Books showcases the wide variety of work undertaken over the past decade alongside book illustration – we are introduced to characters who may not be familiar to us, yet are unmistakably ‘Quentin Blake’ in their joyful execution and characteristic style: “I have a lot of drawings that are not in books, but in many ways, they nearly all seem to have a story in them. I am pleased to be able to share this collection of drawings with a wider audience so that readers and collectors may be able to enjoy imagining the many stories and scenarios they could be part of,” says Sir Quentin Blake.

This charming collection presents the public with the opportunity to acquire unique drawings from one of Britain’s most-loved illustrators. Quentin Blake: Not in Books will be on view and open to the public from 7 to 13 December at Christie’s London. Bidding starts at £100.

Quentin Blake is one of today’s most recognised illustrators, known for his collaboration with writers such as Russell Hoban, Joan Aiken, Michael Rosen, John Yeoman and, most famously, Roald Dahl. He has also illustrated classic books and created much-loved characters of his own, including Mister Magnolia and Mrs Armitage. His books have won numerous prizes and awards, including the Whitbread Award, the Kate Greenaway Medal, the Emil/Kurt Maschler Award and the international Bologna Ragazzi Prize. He won the 2002 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration, the highest international recognition given to creators of children's books. In 1999 he was appointed the first UK Children’s Laureate and in 2005 was created CBE. This was followed in 2013 by a knighthood for 'services to illustration' in the New Year's Honours. In 2014, Blake was admitted to the Legion d'Honneur and he then became an Honorary Freeman of the City of London in 2015.

July 2018’s Quentin Blake: A Retrospective sale of a series of ‘Alternative Versions’, preliminary drawings, and related artwork offered as part of the Valuable Books and Manuscripts auction and in a dedicated online sale achieved a total of £768,625. Please click here for Christie’s interview with Sir Quentin Blake in relation to that sale.