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Book Fair Calendar
Rochester Antiquarian Book Fair. Rochester, NY. September 30, 2023. (more information)
Montreal Antiquarian Book Fair. Montreal, Quebec (Canada). September 30–October 1, 2023.
Empire State Rare Book & Print Fair. New York, NY. October 6–December 31, 1969.
Rare Books LA. Los Angeles, CA. October 7–8, 2023.
Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair Seattle, WA. October 14–15, 2023.
Bury St. Edmonds Antiquarian Book Fair (PBFA). Bury St. Edmonds, England. October 14, 2023.
Oxford Antiquarian Book Fair (PBFA). Oxford, England. October 21, 2023.
Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair. Boston, MA. October 27–29, 2023. (more information)
Boston Rare Book & Ephemera Fair. Boston, MA. October 28, 2023. (more information)
London Antiquarian Book Fair (PBFA). London, England. November 5, 2023.
Edinburgh Antiquarian Book Fair (PBFA). Edinburgh, Scotland. November 11, 2023.
Philadelphia Rare Book Fair. Philadelphia, PA. December 7–8, 2023.
California International Antiquarian Book Fair. San Francisco, CA. February 9–11, 2024.
New York International Antiquarian Book Fair. New York, NY. April 4–7, 2024.
Cooperstown Antiquarian Book Fair. Cooperstown, NY. June 29, 2024.
The Rochester Antiquarian Book Fair (New York) returns on September 30th for the first time since the pandemic. Among the longest continuously running (notwithstanding the pandemic) regional book fairs in the United States, it continues to attract hundreds of visitors from many backgrounds and age demographics. A wide variety of printed materials can be found, including but not limited to, Ephemera, Local History, Photographs, Signed Materials, Incunabula, Maps, and so much more.
The fair’s origins began in April of 1972 when two colleagues, a book dealer and the Director of Special Collections at the University of Rochester Rare Books Library, while having lunch together decided to inaugurate a book fair to help support the Friends of the UR Library. The early fairs were held in the Reserve Reading Room of the Rush Rhees Library and attracted up to 30 exhibitors from New York State and attendees from other states and the U.K.
Today, the Rochester Antiquarian Book Fair includes dealers from all over the East Coast and Midwest, as well as a handful of local authors. The fair has evolved to include …more
Seeds of Knowledge highlights the collection of 15th to 17th-century European printed herbals of Dr. Peter Goop (Liechtenstein). Herbals were highly illustrated, critical texts to doctors and lay healthcare providers that included both the folkloric and medicinal uses of plants. The text and illustrations were repeatedly refined as the medicinal benefits of a plant’s use were more clearly understood and the style of illustration tended towards higher degrees of naturalism. These books were working manuals and frequently annotated by readers with notes of herbal recipes/medicines or other uses not found in the printed text. Dr. Goop’s collection is one of the most extensive in private hands. Using the Morgan’s 10th-century manuscript of Dioscurides’ De materia medica (MS M.652) as a centerpiece, this Thaw Gallery exhibition will explore developments in the understanding of the healthful and healing properties of plants, as Europe moved away from medicinal folklore towards an increased understanding of the natural world.
For more information contact Noreen Khalid Ahmad at (917) 805-4128 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Potter & Potter Auctions will hold a 430 lot sale related to the Lieutenant Nobu Shirase and Japanese Antarctic Expedition of 1910-1912 (The Collection of Chet Ross) to be held on October 12th, 2023.
Mr. Ross authored the only bibliography about this important expedition and more than 50 little known publications used for this research are also on offer for very first time.
The first half features Mr. Ross' historic collection and this second half includes materials related to exploration, travel, and the polar regions. This sale will be held live at Potter & Potter's gallery, located at 5001 W. Belmont Avenue in Chicago and will also be live streamed on the company's website at www.potterauctions.com. Phone and absentee bids are welcome.
The top lot in the sale is the original 35mm motion picture camera used to film parts of Richard E. Byrds' first Antarctic expedition. The footage would be used to produce the film “With Byrd at the South Pole,” issued in 1930. (est. $30,000-50,000). The historic camera was made in New York by Akeley Camera around 1922, has a metal body with an adjustable aperture shutter, and is mounted on a wood and metal tripod with a rubber eyepiece.
This camera was used between 1928-30 by Paramount Publix Corporation cinematographers Willard Van der Veer and Joseph T. Rucker, the duo who would become the first professional cinematographers in Antarctica. They travelled extensively across the Antarctic; their transport included ships, aircraft, a Model A Ford, and dog sleds. They filmed on two 35mm hand-cranked Akeley cameras and produced an astounding 200,000 feet of 35mm black and white film. For their efforts, Van der Veer and Rucker won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography, the first film documentary to win an Oscar.
Ernest H. Shackleton's The Heart of the Antarctic, Being the Story of the British Antarctic Expedition of 1907-1909 and The Antarctic Book. Winter Quarters 1907-1909, is estimated at …more
The Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair will return to the Hynes Convention Center in downtown Boston from October 27th to the 29th, 2023. Celebrating its 45th year, this three-day event will feature fine and rare printed materials from around the world, including illuminated manuscripts, modern first editions, children’s books, ephemera, photographs, maps and autographs, together with antiquarian books on a vast array of topics.
More than 100 rare book dealers from Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Serbia, the UK, and the US will exhibit an alluring treasure trove for seasoned bibliomaniacs and first-time attendees. Prices range from the millions to the eminently affordable. Each item on view, whether immaculately preserved or intriguingly weathered, tells its own story. The booksellers hold a seemingly bottomless wealth of knowledge, both artistically and historically, about the items in their collections.
“This is one of the most important annual events in the country for rare book enthusiasts,” said Julie Roper, CEO of Capricorn Event Management, LLC, who has managed the Boston Book Fair since 2015. “After the height of the pandemic, we are seeing a resurgent demand for in-person fairs, where a global community of the top dealers offer the most sought-after collections of books, maps, illustrations, and ephemera on the market.”
Whether browsing or buying, the Fair will offer something for every taste and budget — books on art, politics, travel, gastronomy, science, sport, natural history, first editions, Americana, fashion, music, children’s books, and more, all appealing to a range of collectors and …more
Books and manuscripts had a standout winter/spring season at Swann Galleries. “As a company whose origins are as a book auction house, it is reaffirming to see this growth, over 25%, in our book department over the last year. Even more exciting is that the results reflect not only strength in our established departments but also great momentum in our latest specialized sale, Focus on Women,” noted President Nicholas D. Lowry.
The top auctions of the season included two record-breakers in their respective categories: Printed & Manuscript African Americana and Early Printed Books. Both sales recorded their highest totals in history at the house. African Americana earned $1,378,838 on March 30, and the timed online auction of Early Printed Books closed on May 4 at $1,326,560.
Highlighted sales included an inscribed carte-de-visite portrait of early photographer James Presley Ball, circa 1870, at $125,000—Ball was one of the first Black photographers in America, learning his trade in Boston, launching his own itinerant studio in 1845, settling in Cincinnati from 1849 through the early 1870s, and then running studios in a succession of several southern and western towns until his death in Hawaii in 1904. Also of note was a 1949 edition of The Negro Motorist Green Book, which earned an auction record for any Green Book at $50,000.
Works by William Shakespeare drew strong interest from collectors in the May 4 auction. King Lear; Othello; and Anthony & Cleopatra, extracted from the first folio, London, 1623, sold for $185,000; a first edition of D’Avenant’s adaptation of The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, London, 1676, earned $42,500; and a first edition of The Two Noble Kinsmen: Presented at the Blackfriers by the Kings Maiesties servants, with great applause, London, 1634, brought $81,250.
Senior Specialist, Devon Eastland commented: “Speculation on the strength of collecting markets for art and antiques is rampant, but Swann's most recent Early Printed Books sales, teeming with English literary highlights and rarities mainly from the Elizabethan era, remained very strong. The interest of hardcore collectors of fine books from the handpress period is abundantly evident, especially when the offerings include important books in excellent condition and almost unobtainable editions of titles world-renowned to obscure.”
Additional season highlights included a first edition of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, London, 1925, in the rare dust jacket entirely unrestored ($30,000); a first American edition in the first state binding of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick; or the Whale, New York, 1851 ($27,500); and …more
The oldest regional antiquarian book fair in the country (according to our records), the Rochester Book Fair will be hosted at the Dome Arena in Henrietta, NY, just outside of the city of Rochester, on Saturday, September 30th. The revived event (halted temporarily by the late pandemic) was to have taken place at the Main Street Armory in downtown Rochester, but an unfortunate event earlier this year forced the closing of that venue. Given the history of the Rochester Book Fair, I suspect this will become a sentimental reunion of sorts.
Potter & Potter Auctions announced the results of their early summer Fine Books & Manuscripts sale held on June 1st, 2023. It featured 510 lots, had a 97% sell through rate and all prices noted include the company's 20% buyer's premium.
Of the fine selection of groundbreaking first editions, Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, was estimated at $8,000-12,000 and sold for $24,000. The first edition, first issue copy was printed in London by [C. Whiting for] Chapman and Hall in 1861, and was among the earliest printings of its type, given its well documented errors and layout.
Howard Phillips Lovecraft's The Outsider and Others, was estimated at $4,000-6,000 and made $11,400. This first edition of the first book published at Arkham House in 1939 retained its rare and original dust jacket, and was one of only 1,268 copies printed by the publisher of weird fiction and horror.
William Edward Burghardt Du Bois' (1868-1963) The Souls of Black Folk, estimated at $3,000-5,000, realized $14,400. This first edition was published in Chicago by A.C. McClurg & Co., in 1903 and was a very fine example of Du Bois’s most famous work, which remains a landmark in the history of sociology and a cornerstone of African American literature to this day.
Henry Roth's Call It Sleep, was estimated at $3,000-5,000 and fetched $9,000. This copy of the first edition of the author’s first book was published in New York by Robert O. Ballou in 1934, included its rare first issue dust jacket, and was from the personal library of Larry McMurtry.
Thomas Hardy's The Trumpet-Major. A Tale, was estimated at $2,000-3,000 and brought $11,400. This first edition in book form was printed in London by Smith, Elder & Co. in 1880. This example in its rare secondary binding was originally published as a serial in Good Words magazine that same year.
Heinrich Klüver's Mescal: The ‘Divine’ Plant and its Psychological Effects, was estimated at $250-350 and sold for $2,880. Published in London by Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. in 1928, this first edition was inscribed by Klüver and was the first work in English to study the psychoactive compounds of mescal. The lot also included a group materials related to Klüver including a booklet inscribed by Dr. Ronald Siegel.
Alice B. Toklas' The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book, was estimated at $1,000-2,000 and sold for $12,000. Published in New York by Harper & Brothers in 1954, This first American edition included her hand-written inscription of her famous “haschisch fudge” recipe. The lot included …more
by John C. Huckans
(originally published March 17, 2017)
The U.S. Election of 2016 was a game-changer for all sorts of reasons. To say the populist revolt came as a surprise to party regulars across the political spectrum is an obvious understatement, but the resulting emotional meltdown by people still in shock over the shifting loyalty and unexpected response of traditional working class voters (many of whom had supported Democrats since the Great Depression of the 1930s), only shows that it pays to do your homework. People who follow this column will recall that in July of 2016 we explained some of the reasons why Trump would perform bigly¹ in the 2016 general election. What follows is some observation and analysis that may contribute towards an understanding of recent trends. Or maybe not.
Party labels are just that – labels and nothing more. People who make a living seeking and trying to hold on to public office sometimes learn, to their annoyance, that …more
PBA Galleries (PBA), one of the largest and most successful specialty auction houses in the world, completed an auction of over 400 lots of fine science fiction, fantasy and horror on June 2nd. . The sale featured signed and inscribed copies of major works by Stephen King, Philip K. Dick, Isaac Asimov, Octavia Butler, Frank Herbert, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, and many others.
The auction consisted of mostly signed first editions in exceptional condition. The wonderful examples in original dust jackets were from a single collection with many books rarely seen signed. Several new auction records were achieved during the sale, and when the hammer fell on the final lot, bidding had exceeded the highest estimate.
Samples of high performers include Dune by Herbert Frank ($22,500), The Dark Tower series by Stephen King ($22,500), The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin ($10,000), Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein ($11,250), The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov ($15,000), and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick …more
Summer is here and for enthusiastic bookhunters , the open road beckons. The "Open Shop Guide" or Booksellers' Gulch, has been an ongoing feature of this magazine since 1985. Booksellers who would like to be a part of this only need to call (315) 655-9654 for more information or a free listing. Hundreds of open shops are included, preceded by a more highly annotated sponsors' section (comprised of long-time friends and supporters of this magazine) which appears below.
Austin's Books. (Wilmington, VT ). American History, Teddy Roosevelt, Fly Fishing, Travel, Maps, Prints & Ephemera. Tel: (802) 464-8438
Back of Beyond Books. (83 North Main, Moab, UT). Rare Books, Americana, Books on the American West. Tel: 435-259-5154
Booked Up. (Archer City, TX). Founded by Larry McMurtry, Booked Up is a large general bookstore dealing mainly in the humanities. Tel: (940) 574-2511
D & D Galleries. (6 Ilene Ct., Bldg 9, Unit 1, Somerville, NJ). Founded in 1985, with specialties in British and American literature. Inventory (mostly English language), somewhat eclectic, ranges from the 15th through the 20th centuries with sub-specialties in Fine Bindings, S.T.C. and Wing books, Lewis Carroll (C. L. Dodgson), Charles Dickens, presentation and association material as well as 17th and 18th century British history. Members of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America, the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, and the Provincial Bookfair Association of Great Britain. Tel: (908) 904-1314.
Gibson's Books. (3037 Old Highway 431, Owens Cross Roads, AL). Local and southern history, fiction, Civil War, ephemera, cookery. Tel: (256) 725-2558.
Hobart Book Village. (Hobart, NY). Six bookstores, general and antiquarian. Tel: (607) 538-908.
Junction Book Shop. (73 Conway Road, Llandudno Junction, Wales). Rare & out-of-print books, Victorian maps & prints. Open Wed. to Sat., 10am to 5pm.
Old Editions. (954 Oliver St., North Tonawanda, NY). Rare & Antiquarian Books, Ephemera, Prints, Posters & Original Art Works. Tel: (716) 842-1734; (716) 812-4937.
Quill & Brush. (Middletown, MD). Specialists in first edition literature, mysteries, poetry & collectible books in all fields. Authors of well-known books on book collecting & compilers of over 200 individual Author Price Guides. Visit us on the web, or in person by appointment. Tel: (301) 874-3200
(Country and state-by-state)
Acadia Art and Rare Books (232 Queen Street East, Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
Alphabet Bookshop (145 Main Street West, Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada)
Baggins Book Bazaar. (19 High St., Rochester, Kent, England) …more
First editions of each of Jane Austen’s major novels led Hindman’s May 11th Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts auction. The five books, including Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, realized more than $300,000. Overall, the sale brought more than $1.1 million, with a 94 percent sell-through rate.
“The passion of private collectors for rare works of literature and first editions led to very competitive bidding on the Jane Austen novels,” commented Gretchen Hause, Hindman Vice President of Books & Manuscripts. “We are thrilled with the results, and to see that the market for literature, and particularly for literature written by women, continues to gain strength.”
Highlighting the five Jane Austen first editions was Pride & Prejudice, which sold for $107,100, more than double its high estimate. The work, written by Austen at the age of 21 and finally published 15 years later in a small edition of approximately 1500 copies, stands as one of the most enduring and beloved works of 19th century literature. Austen’s first novel Sense and Sensibility sold for …more
Freeman’s May 3 Books and Manuscripts auction was marked by fierce bidding competition over presidential material and significant Americana, resulting in the remarkable $441,000 sale of a volume from the personal library of George Washington.
“The market for presidential books, documents, and autographs is quite strong, and this exceptional result really drives that home,” says Darren Winston, Head of Freeman’s Books and Manuscripts department. “As rare as material like this is, it’s still Freeman’s bread and butter, right in our wheelhouse, and we’re thrilled with the result—as is the consignor.”
The first edition of The Transactions of the Royal Humane Society was given to Washington during his second presidential term by physician Dr. John Coakley Lettsom, and features Washington’s bold signature at the top of the half-title page.
As books from Washington’s library seldom come to auction, this volume represented a very rare market appearance, with corresponding results: the title exceeded its pre-sale high estimate of $18,000 by more than 24 times following a spirited bidding war. Several other lots outperformed their estimates in Wednesday’s auction, including a fresh-to-market manuscript receipt for the delivery of John Dunlap’s just-printed Declaration of Independence, dated July 10, 1776, signed and inscribed by Owen Biddle (achieved $32,760; estimate: $3,000-5,000); an autograph letter signed by Thomas Jefferson (sold for $27,720; estimate: $15,000-25,000); and a 1787 land grant signed by Benjamin Franklin (achieved $17,640; estimate: $10,000-15,000).
A 1593 first edition of George Gifford’s A Dialogue Concerning Witches and Witchcraftes also outperformed estimates, achieving $17,640 (estimate: $3,000-5,000). Sixty-seven of the sale’s lots were from the Children’s and Illustrated Books Library of Nicholas Wedge, and together brought $105,556 against a pre-sale low estimate of $54,500.
Freeman’s next Books and Manuscripts auction, A Fine Collection of American Literature and History, will be held June 8. Freeman’s invites consignments of books and manuscripts year-round. For more information about consigning with Freeman’s, please contact Darren Winston (email@example.com or 267.414.1247).
Swann Galleries’ annual Printed & Manuscript African Americana auction on March 30 was by a wide margin the most successful in its 28-year history. The sale set records with $1,377,463 in total sales and an even 94% sell-through rate. Eight lots hit the $50,000 mark—after only 14 lots having hit that mark in the previous 27 years combined. It was the third-largest sale in the long history of the house’s book department, behind only two noted single-owner sales, the Epstein sale of 1992, and the Ford sale of 2012. All prices included the Buyer’s Premium
The most notable feature of the auction was very strong bidding from institutional buyers. 43 different institutions were registered to bid in the auction. At least 105 lots were sold to 29 different institutions, in addition to numerous lots bought for institutions through private agents. “Numerous libraries, archives, and museums across the country are making up for lost time by increasing their representation of black history. For 25 years, Swann has been the leading conduit for bringing this source material from private hands into public hands,” noted Rick Stattler, director of books and manuscripts and specialist for the sale.
The top lot in the sale was an inscribed carte-de-visite by the important early photographer James Presley Ball, which brought $125,000. Only one other photograph of Ball is known to exist. A signed 1862 essay by the white abolitionist Portia Gage brought $8,000; it had been acquired from another auction house in 2003 for $345.
Items relating to slavery and abolition included an archive of letters from Richmond slave dealers, found an institutional home at $50,000, and the papers of abolitionist Theodore Bourne which included the minutes of the African Civilization Society reached …more
Works by Roger Brown, Sister Gertrude Morgan, and William Dawson led Hindman’s single-owner auction of collector Susann Craig’s estate on March 9. A beloved figure in Chicago’s art world and a founder of Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art in Chicago, Craig left a strong legacy through her collection and passion for amplifying overlooked voices. The majority of works exceeded their estimates, with Chicago artists in particular seeing high-demand across the 325-lot sale.
Overall, the auction realized more than $551,000, well above the total estimate. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Intuit. “It was an absolute privilege to honor a woman who was so admired in Chicago,” commented Zack Wirsum, Director & Senior Specialist of Post-War & Contemporary Art. “Susann lived an incredibly rich life, and the success of the auction reflects her role as both a collector and a connector.”
Brown’s Crossing the Bandiagara Escarpment With Baobab Trees and Dogon Dancers, a very personal painting for Susann Craig, was the top lot of the auction, fetching $138,600 against a $60,000-80,000 estimate. 1989 was a pivotal year in the Chicago Imagist’s career, featuring his artistic responses to a range of subjects and issues.
The work was inspired by Brown’s 1988 trip to …more
Potter & Potter Auctions' first book sale of 2023 (Thursday, February 16th) realized over $630,000 with a sell through rate of 95%. Prices noted below include the company's buyer's premium.
Books by, or with ties to Samuel L. Clemens ("Mark Twain", 1835–1910) performed well. A first edition, presentation copy of W.W. Jacobs' (British, 1863-1943) Salthaven inscribed to and by Twain, was the top lot in the sale. It was estimated at $25,000-35,000 and fetched $31,250. It was published by Methuen & Co. in London in 1908. In addition, Twain inscribed on the half title “It’s a delightful book. Mark." Below, Twain further reaffirms this statement, apparently in passing the book to someone else: “Bog House, Bermuda, March/10. I have read it about 5 times. The above verdict stands."
A 37 volume collection of The Works of Mark Twain published in New York by Gabriel Wells between 192 and 1925, was estimated at $6,000-8,000 and made $11,875. The limited edition set, number 79 of 1024 copies of the “Definitive Edition”, was signed by Twain on the front flyleaf of volume I. All volumes retained their original dust jackets. A 25 volume collection of Mark Twain's Works published in Hartford by the American Publishing Company between 1899–1907, was estimated at $8,000-12,000 and achieved $16,250. This set, number 233 of 512 copies of the “Autograph Edition” for subscribers - was published on india paper designed by Tiffany & Co. and etched by W.H.W. Bicknell. It also featured numerous engravings, 18 of which were signed by their respective artist. This collection is considered the rarest and most desirable of all the Twain sets according to experts. A first edition of Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner's The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today, was estimated at $6,000-8,000 and fetched $16,250. It was printed in Hartford and Chicago by the American Publishing Company; F.G. Gilman & Co., in 1873. Also, two manuscript pages by Twain and Dudley were inserted in the copy. The first was in Twain’s hand and numbered 166 at the top; the other leaf was in Dudley’s hand and numbered 1446 at the top.
This sale featured remarkable first editions of some of the noteworthy books of the past two centuries. J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, estimated at $10,000-15,000, sold for $19,200. This trilogy included The Fellowship Of The Ring (1954), The Two Towers (1954) and The Return Of The King (1955). All were published in London by Allen & Unwin Ltd. and the provenance included the bookseller, R.S. Heath Ltd.
Richard Nixon's (1913–1994) Real Peace: Strategy for the West, was estimated at $250-350 and realized $2,375. Privately printed in New York in 1983 this advance copy and galley proof was a first edition and one of 1000 copies of the private edition printed before publication. It included a TLS from Nixon to Martin Hayden which stated, “In view of the current national debate on foreign policy issues, I thought you might like to have a copy of the page proofs of a book on Soviet–American relations which I have just completed… I am publishing and distributing the book privately…to a selected number of government officials and opinion leaders in the United States and abroad who have expressed a serious interest in …more
by John C. Huckans
The oldest book club I remember was the “Book-of-the-Month” club. My parents subscribed, which is how I first was introduced to Winston Churchill's 6 volume memoirs of World War II. Each volume, as published, may have been offered as a bonus to new members.
And while in boarding school in Connecticut, a faculty member promoted something called the “Book Find Club” where students interested in history, economics and philosophy could order new books from BFC catalogues at prices which seemed ridiculously low even at that time. Like a starving person at a Chinese buffet, I usually bought more than I could read before the next catalogue arrived.
One I remember reading almost immediately (biography refracted through the lenses of history, economics and philosophy) was Robert L. Heilbroner's The Worldly Philosophers. It was an expanded version of his PhD. dissertation and apparently was so successful that it was revised and reprinted several times. It is still widely offered on the internet by online sellers: “The Worldly Philosophers is a beautiful novel written by the famous author Robert L. Heilbroner. The book is perfect for those who wants to read philosophy, history books. The main character of the story are John Maynard Keynes, Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Thomas Robert Malthus, Thorstein Veblen” [sic]. Seriously, I kid you not.
At any rate, book clubs have proliferated over the years. Television personalities publicized eponymous ones, promoting books, often of the “as-told-to” genre, and almost immediately day time television watchers would order them on Amazon or head to the nearest Costco. There are also local book clubs that meet in libraries or in each others homes, where members take turns making selections. And at the height of the Pride & Prejudice craze some years ago, Book Source Magazine helped to publicize a “Jane Austen” book club – as I recall it ran out of steam after Northanger Abbey or Mansfield Park. With the demise of traditional bookstores, many of which stocked backlist titles on their shelves for years, of necessity the trend has been toward self-publishing or what used to be called “vanity press” publication. At its most embarrassing it can involve being invited to a gathering to hear an author speak about his or her book, while feeling the pressure to buy autographed copies at the conclusion of the talk. Rare unsigned copies of anything seem to be at a premium of late.
While some book clubs promote the idea of thousands of people reading the same book at the same time – I find myself more intrigued by the notion that sometimes I might be the only person on the planet reading whatever it is I'm reading at the time. Right now that book is …more
by Donna Howard
Over the years the Vermont Antiquarian Booksellers Association’s Spring Book & Paper Fair has been through a number of changes. Under the management of Greg Glade of Top of the World Books, it started in a hotel in South Burlington in 1993. After a few years I started managing the fair for the VABA, eventually moving it to a hotel in downtown Burlington. Over the years dealer and public attendance fluctuated with the vicissitudes of the antiquarian market, booming during the early days of the internet and then shrinking as many dealers started selling exclusively online.
Sadly, the pandemic forced a cancellation of the 2020 spring book fair only a week before it was to take place, but by the winter of 2021 (after the spring 2021 fair had also been cancelled) people were a little more comfortable meeting face-to-face and VABA decided to bring it back in 2022. However, the uncertainties of changing city regulations and the increasing costs in Burlington prompted another move - this time to downtown St. Albans. While a little more distant from the major population center of Burlington, the beautiful, historic auditorium in St. Albans City Hall with its wonderful natural lighting more than made up for it. Loyal bibliophiles followed the fair to the new location and the dealers who participated had a wonderful time despite the smaller crowds.
The move was controversial within the association, however. At the winter meeting, there was a lengthy discussion about …more
by John C. Huckans
The village in which I live (Cazenovia in central New York) has a college, which traces its roots to 1824, that is about to close at end of the current semester. For most of its life it was a secondary school or seminary run by the Methodist Church. At some point it cut its religious ties and became a two-year college for young women. The first time it closed was in May of 1974 - I remember it well because we heard the news on the radio as we were driving down I-81, having just returned from a year in Spain (Granada) by way of the Stefan Batory, sailing from London to Montreal.
The college was rescued thanks mainly to the support of local friends and business people. Also, long-term debt was not a major factor at that time. The new administration made some major changes - admitting young men and then expanding to a four-year program, while taking on a lot of long-term debt to fund ambitious building projects. Even though Pell grants brought in a lot of money that colleges were allowed to keep even when academically-unqualified students dropped out part way through Freshman year, this did not help build a deep or loyal alumni base. Also, with almost free tuition at NYS public colleges available to NYS residents, enrollment at many expensive private colleges has declined throughout the region.
N.B. The college (I did my undergraduate & graduate work elsewhere) that our family has contributed to significantly for some years (I've never even set foot on its campus) has been in existence since the 1840s and is in financially sound condition. It has a supportive alumni base, accepts no Pell Grant funding or any other form of government support (with accompanying constraints) and as a result remains one of the few oases of intellectual and academic freedom in the United States.
Blaise Cendrars: Poetry is Everything will be on exhibit at the Morgan Library & Museum from May 26 through September 24, 2023
Blaise Cendrars (1887–1961) was a catalyzing force for new expressions in European art in the first part of the twentieth century. An intrepid spirit, he led an itinerant life, leaving behind his native Switzerland for St. Petersburg, New York, São Paulo, and Paris. Cendrars came to prominence in 1913 as the author of La Prose du Transsibérien et de la petite Jehanne
de France—a freewheeling poem self-published as a colossal vertical arrangement of polychrome typography with imagery by Sonia Delaunay-Terk.
Cendrars formulated his poetics by adapting Delaunay-Terk’s beliefs and those of other artists in the possibilities of rhythm, motion, and depth in the simultaneous contrast of colors. He came to see not only their application to language but to his identity and life itself—everything from street media and the mechanization of modern life to his interpretation of non-European cultures and experience as a soldier in World War One. This approach Cendrars affirmed in a line of verse: The windows of my poetry are wide open...
Cendrars’s early career as a poet and publisher is the focus of the installation, radiating out from the monumental La Prose du Transsibérien to trace Cendrars’s formative interplay with the visual arts, music, ballet, film, and graphic design, featuring works by Guillaume Apollinaire, Jean Cocteau, …more
A noteworthy collection of letters by notorious American gangster Al Capone achieved exceptional prices in Hindman’s November 8th-9th Fine Books & Manuscripts auction. Books and manuscripts authored and signed by presidents and world leaders from the Patrick Atkinson Collection also attracted significant attention, with new auction records set for books signed by Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi. The total sale nearly doubled its estimate, and realized over $1.2 million, representing one of Hindman’s most successful various owner Books & Manuscripts auctions in recent years.
A group of three Al Capone letters saw incredibly competitive bidding, with two of the letters selling in the top five lots of the auction.
Highlighting the group was a letter written by Capone two days after the January 1925 assassination attempt on his life, which soared past its $10,000-15,000 estimate to fetch $53,125. Another manuscript letter from Capone, written from Cicero in 1924, more than tripled its presale estimate to sell for …more
Potter & Potter Auctions has announced that James Gannon has joined the company as Senior Consultant to its Fine Books & Manuscripts Department. This department has experienced unprecedented growth over the past two years, regularly delivers seven figure results, and has established many new global sales records. With Gannon's appointment, the company intends to leverage that energy, further expand its offerings and expertise, and become the first choice for consignors looking to buy and sell world-class books, manuscripts, ephemera, and related materials.
Gannon began his association with books in 1990 as a specialist at the Heritage Book Shop in Los Angeles. He was named …more
Freeman’s November 15 Books and Manuscripts: Rare Americana auction featured the $2,389,500 sale (est. $1 - 1.5 million) of the letter George Washington sent to Thomas Jefferson announcing the Constitution’s completion, one day following its adoption by the Constitutional Convention.
“We’re thrilled by the sale of Washington’s letter to Jefferson, and so is the consignor,” says Darren Winston, Head of Freeman’s Books and Manuscripts department. “It’s always really exciting to bring rare documents like this to market, but especially—as in this case—when the letter is so deeply connected to the founding of the nation.”
At the time of the Constitution’s signing, Jefferson, who authored the Declaration of Independence, was representing America in France. The Constitutional Convention was sworn to secrecy in the summer of 1787, but Washington was eager to pass the news along to Jefferson as soon as the landmark document was signed.
In this way, the letter not only reflects the high regard in which Washington held Jefferson, it also provides a critical link between two of the nation’s founders and offers a window into a world where breaking news could take weeks or months to arrive.
The remarkable sale, held in the midst of American election season, confirms Freeman’s pride of place in bringing foundational early American letters and documents to market. The $2.4M sale of this rare letter on Tuesday is one of a series of Freeman’s recent successes presenting such material at auction, including the $1.8M sale of a 1776 letter announcing America’s independence, to the state of Georgia, signed by John Hancock and the …more
Old Editions (954 Oliver St in North Tonawanda, NY (near Niagara Falls) is one of the country’s largest antiquarian bookstores—with 35,000 square feet of retail, gallery and warehouse space—there’s much more there than one might expect. In addition to a very large stock of antiquarian and rare books, they offer prints, posters, artwork, collectible magazines, comics, postcards, vinyl recordings, and memorabilia.
Ron Cozzi, the owner of Old Editions, started out in a second floor location he called the Buffalo Book Studio in late 1974. Within days of the opening a natural disaster in the form of a serious blizzard blanketed the area, the National Guard and Army Reserves were called in to rescue life, limb and property, and Ron was shut out of his newly-opened shop for 3 months. An unusual beginning for any business. They can be reached at (716) 842-1734 and a selection of recent acquistions or other noteworthy or outstanding items can be found on their e-Bay page.
PRB&M (Phildadelphia Rare Books & Manuscripts) is now entirely devoted to IRS qualified and other appraisals, collection building consultation, and to limited, private bookselling by direct offer only. Founded as a strictly antiquarian rare bookselling concern in 1984, PRB&M joined the Antiquarian Booksellers Association in 1985, executed its first major appraisals in 1991, established its website in 1997, created its range-expanding "Sessabks" in 2001, and welcomed visitors by appointment at The Arsenal between 2006 and 2021.
Since 1 January 2022, that long experience has been brought to bear in service of their clients' needs in newly focused & still evolving ways. For more information please call (215) 744-6734 or visit their website.
An Account of the Voyages Undertaken by the Order of His Present Majesty for Making Discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere... 1773, 1777, 1785. Ten volumes, (nine quarto volumes plus one folio atlas volume) all bound uniformly in contemporary tree calf with elaborately gilt-decorated spines with raised bands and red and green morocco spine labels interspersed with gilt stamped image of Cook's ship the Endeavour or Resolution. Volumes have been expertly re-backed... (continue reading)