Auctions | June 26, 2015

The Library of Robert Easton at Auction

Addison & Sarova Auctioneers is proud to announce the sale of the library of Robert Easton.  This massive collection will be offered over two different sales in the Summer and Fall of 2015.  

Mr. Easton, known as the “Henry Higgins of Hollywood,” was the premier language and dialect coach in Hollywood for many decades up until his passing in 2011.  He was first involved in the film industry as an actor, but his true passion was language.  He coached thousands of actors during his career and garnered high praise from many household names such as John Travolta and Forest Whitaker (among countless others).

Mr. Easton was a gentle and humorous man, but it was his genius and his intelligence that formed what is likely the most comprehensive library ever assembled for the purpose of studying language and dialect.  Touring the library of over 100,000 volumes is an education in itself.  Mr. Easton understood that dialect was not simply a matter of accent:  language, regional proverbial lore, local thought, folk-lore, philosophy, and history all inform every dialect. 

Viewing the titles, one quickly learns that Mr. Easton was very much an anthropologist;  it was simply the arrangement of the books which revealed the linguistic purpose of the library.  The library was primarily organized by region or locality rather than genre, and printing dates range from the 1500s to the early 1900s.

Perhaps the most interesting books are the books on proverbs, aphorisms, and sayings from around the world.  As a collector, Mr. Easton was most proud of his acquisition of thousands of books dealing with proverbs in nearly every language and culture imaginable.  These volumes also have very interesting provenance (William Stirling-Maxwell) and feature an abundance of early printed material.

The Summer auction will feature shelf-lots and small groups, and bidders will have a great opportunity buy great books in quantity.  Approximately the first 90 lots will feature small groupings of very scarce proverb books (in groups of three to four books.)  These will be followed by larger lots containing anywhere from 20 to 60 books per lot:  Mostly 19th century and early 20th century books on dialect, fiction, poetry, wit and humor, history, books-about-books, folklore, and much more. 

The final lot of the Summer sale will be a very large shelf-lot indeed.  We are calling this the Mother of all Shelf-lots:  Approximately 100,000 volumes of books will be sold in one massive lot, and this may very well be the largest single shelf-lot ever auctioned.

In the Fall, the most rare and important items in the Easton collection will be offered as part of our traditional Fall auction. 

To learn more about the sale, the proverbs collection, Robert Easton, and all things related to this wonderful collection, please explore the sale using the links above.

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