Small Town Hosts International Book Fair in TN

Cowan is the only small town in America with an international book fair.  The most prominent antiquarian book fairs are usually held in large cities such as St. Petersburg, Washington D. C., Atlanta, Albuquerque, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Seattle, Denver, and San Francisco.  Thanks to word of mouth and international press this small American town of 1700 people is widely becoming known as the small town with a big fair.  The 2012 Tennessee Antiquarian Book Fair will be held July 21 and 22 at Monterey Station in Cowan.  Booksellers from more than half the states east of the Mississippi River and at least one foreign country will exhibit at this year’s fair.  Virginia, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, New York, and Florida are just some of the states represented by participating booksellers.  Attendance at the event could easily exceed the local population.

The fair will include lectures by authors and scholars on many different topics of interest to collectors and book lovers in general.  One of the speakers will be Dr. John McCardell, 16th Vice-Chancellor of the University of the South.  Dr. McCardell’s specialty is U.S. history in the 19th century with special emphasis on the South and on American historiography.  He will speak on the role of history and memory in the cultural narratives of the Civil War.  Children’s literacy, the life of Sissieretta Jones, and book collecting 101 are just some of the other scheduled lectures.

Cowan is located just an hour's drive northwest of Chattanooga.  It was established in the early 1850's as a station for the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad.  The town is best known for its railroad depot museum and the nearby 2200-ft long, hand-drilled tunnel. Monterey Station is a 20,000 sq ft air conditioned venue and is an easy day trip from Atlanta, Birmingham, Chattanooga, Huntsville, Knoxville, and Nashville.

The fair will include a variety of collectable and rare books, autographed documents, and other ephemera.  Bibliophiles will discover modern first editions of mystery, science fiction, and literature.  Collectable books and documents concerning the War Between the States, the American Revolution, and both World Wars will be available.  Dealers specializing in children’s literature, art, religion, fine bindings, and books about books will also be exhibiting at the fair.  Book prices ranging from $10 to $50,000 are sure to pique the interest of the leisure reader as well as the most avid collector.

The fair will be open 10 AM to 5 PM on Saturday and 11 AM to 4 PM on Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults and free to those under 18. The price covers both days and includes attendance at all the lectures as well as admission to the fair. Seating in the lecture hall is limited and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Contact:  Tom McGee                             
TN Antiquarian Booksellers’ Assn.                    
Tel. 931/636-5752
Cell Phone:  615/330-3812

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