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Book Fair Calendar

Antique Shows Canada.  Virtual Rare Book Fair & Antique Show.   January 22–24, 2021.     (more information)

New York International Antiquarian Book Fair.  New York, NY.   March 4–7, 2021.

Florida Antiquarian Book Fair.  St. Petersburg, FL.   April 23–25, 2021.

Ann Arbor Antiquarian Book Fair.  Ann Arbor, MI.   May 16, 2021.

Twin Cities Antiquarian Book Fair.  St. Paul, MN.   June 9–10, 2021.

Chicago Antiquarian Book Fair.  Chicago, IL.   June 20, 2021.

Book Auction Calendar

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   January 21, 2021.     (more information)

Forum Auctions.  London, England.   January 21, 2021.

Forum Auctions.  London, England.   January 28, 2021.

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   January 28, 2021.     (more information)

Potter & Potter Auctions.  Chicago, IL.   January 30, 2021.     (more information)

Potter & Potter.  Chicago, IL.   January 30, 2021.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   February 4, 2021.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   February 4, 2021.     (more information)

Bonham’s.  London, England.   February 10, 2021.

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   February 18, 2021.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   February 18, 2021.     (more information)

Bonham’s.  London, England.   February 24, 2021.

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   February 25, 2021.     (more information)

Heritage Auctions.  Dallas, TX.   March 3, 2021.

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   March 4, 2021.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   March 4, 2021.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   March 11, 2021.     (more information)

Potter & Potter Auctions.  Chicago, IL.   March 13, 2021.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   March 15–25, 2021.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   March 18, 2021.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   March 25, 2021.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   April 1, 2021.     (more information)

Antique Shows Canada's Next Event Goes Live on January 22nd

Prince Edward Island, Canada's smallest province has a long and complex history.  Rare documents and fine art from P.E.I. will be a new feature of the January AntiqueshowsCanada virtual book fair and antique show.

AntiqueshowsCanada has been producing live events in Canada for several decades, concentrating on rare book & ephemera fairs, and antiques & collectibles shows.  Three months ago Covid 19 caused a massive paradigm shift in the way nearly everyone shops or attends traditionally live events. After the success of its initial virtual antiquarian book fair in December, AntiqueshowsCanada's second one begins on January 22nd.

After the GST tax was introduced in the early 1990s, there was a marked decline in the number of American booksellers participating in Canadian antiquarian book fairs because of the daunting nature of the paperwork involved. Exhibitors planning on exhibiting at the Toronto International Antiquarian Book Fair, for example, were required to submit an inventory list at the border crossing point, itemizing every book and its price. The GST tax on the entire inventory was payable in advance with the understanding that the tax on unsold books would be returned when the bookseller left the country. From reports we've received over the years, the refund process was extremely slow, many exhibitors having to wait weeks and sometimes more.  At any rate, international participation declined noticeably.  With the shift to online book fairs, American booksellers are now able to exhibit at a Canadian virtual event without dealing with the GST problem.

At any rate, the plan is to continue on a regular basis, with scheduled events taking place every five or six weeks. All manner of antiquaria will be offered for sale – vintage paper, rare and antiquarian books, prints and maps, antique furniture, textiles, jewellery, decorative arts and more. Participating dealers come from across Canada.  All will happily ship to the USA.

Beginning at 5pm EST on January 22, attendees should log on to www.antiqueshowscanada.com. From the welcome screen enter the show, see the list of participating dealers. By clicking on a name, the shopper can browse that exhibitor's offerings.  Buyers then contact the dealer directly to arrange payment and delivery, or find out more about an item.  The show site provides large photographs with detailed descriptions. The event will run non-stop until 6pm EST, January 24, 2021. For more information please call: (647) 236-3277.

Illustration Art at Swann on January 28th

Swann Galleries will open the winter 2021 season on Thursday, January 28 with a sale of Illustration Art featuring the Dick McDonough Collection of Golf Illustration.
    
Golf advertisements, cover art, calendar designs, cartoons, and more, as well as a curated selection of sports illustrations, are among an offering of works from the avid collector and esteemed author on the subject, Dick McDonough. Highlights include Howard Chandler Christy’s watercolor story illustration for Arthur Ruhl’s A Break in Training published in Scribner’s July 1902 issue (est. $8,000-12,000); Edward Penfield’s Golf Calendar for 1900, with nine prints, each representing a hole on a nine-hole course (est. $8,000-12,000); J.C. Leyendecker’s circa-1920 study for a cigarette advertisement, featuring a golfer lighting a cigarette (est. $7,000-10,000); Ruth Eastman’s Hitting the Links of Palm Beach, gouache on paper, a proposed cover for The Saturday Evening Post, mid-1920s (est. $5,000-7,500); and Bill Randall’s Broken Iron, an advertisement for Dodge featuring a couple leaving the golf course (est. $1,000-1,500). Many of the famous illustrators represented in the collection were fans of the sport, including James Montgomery Flagg, Arthur B. Frost, Lealand Gustavson, John Held, Jr., and Arthur Sarnoff. A small group of fine printed graphics and posters completes the section.
 
Additional sport illustrations include Joseph F. Kernan’s College Football, oil on canvas, the October 15, 1932 cover of The Saturday Evening Post (est.$25,000-35,000); Leslie Thrasher’s Conference on the Mound, oil on canvas, also a cover for The Saturday Evening Post published June 8, 1912 (est. $8,000-12,000); and Charles Addams’s One Pin, watercolor and gouache, a cartoon for The New Yorker published in 1962 (est. $6,000-9,000).

A strong showing of advertisements features a 1923 oil-and-graphite study for a Kuppenheimer clothing ad by J.C. Leyendecker (est. $7,000-10,000); What Should a School Child’s Breakfast Be?, oil on canvas, a 1936 ad for Cream of Wheat by Haddon Sundbloom (est. $4,000-6,000); a gouache work for Cities Service Gasoline featuring a worker cleaning Santa’s windshield (est. $4,000-6,000); and John Falter’s 1942 image for Four Roses Whiskey featuring “gentlemen in the know” (est. $4,000-6,000).

Charles Schulz leads a selection of comic strips with an original 1960 four-panel Peanuts comic strip featuring Linus and Lucy (est. $8,000-12,000). Otto Messmer is present with original Felix the Cat comics from 1933 and 1934 (est. $4,000-6,000, each). Also available is a comic book illustration from Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane by Werner Roth and Vince Colletta (est. $1,000-1,500).
    
Cover art for The New Yorker includes Family Tree, watercolor and gouache, by Constantin Alajalov published February 12, 1938 (est. $3,000-4,000); and two covers by Arthur Getz with Schoolgirls in Museum, tempera on paper, published March 23, 1963, and Studio Party, ink and watercolor, published August 2, 1976 (est. $2,000-3,000, each); as well as A Day at the Beach, watercolor, ink and gouache, by Barbara Shermund published August 5, 1944 (est. $2,000-3,000).
 
Works of narrative art created for books and magazines by twentieth century illustrators include three illustrations by N.C. Wyeth for H.W. Longfellow’s The Courtship of Miles Standish (estimates ranging from …more

Drawings at the Morgan

The Morgan Library & Museum proudly presents an exhibition celebrating the remarkable collection of drawings assembled by one of America’s foremost art dealers, Richard Gray, and his wife, the art historian Mary L. Gray. Encompassing works made in Europe and the United States between the fifteenth and the twenty-first century, the Gray Collection represents a stimulating survey of key aspects in the long and distinguished history of drawing.

Conversations in Drawing: Seven Centuries of Art from the Gray Collection, on view February 19 through June 6, 2021, includes many outstanding works from the collection, which was amassed over the course of nearly fifty years. While there are many examples of sheets by established artists—Rubens, Boucher, Degas, Van Gogh, Seurat, Matisse, Picasso, and Pablo Picasso (1881–1973), among others, the Grays were more interested in skill than celebrity, and many of the exceptional drawings in their collection bear the names of lesser-known draftsmen.

In all eras, keenly aware of their place in the history of art, many of the artists consistently engaged in lively conversations with the works of their contemporaries and forebears. Juxtaposing drawings from distinct periods and places, Conversations in Drawing also explores these visual connections, highlighting the continuities and innovations that have emerged over the course of the medium’s evolution.

The exhibition includes a large number of works focused on the human figure, underscoring the fundamental role of figure drawing and the body. Highlights include Pablo Picasso’s (1881–1973) Two Dancers (1925), which the artist created while observing rehearsals of the Ballets Russes, and Giovanni Battista Naldini’s (1537–1591) Study of a Seated Youth (ca. 1575), a brilliant example of Florentine draftsmanship at the end of the sixteenth century. Naldini’s drawing is a carefully posed serpentine figure, whose …more

by John Huckans
The Last Book Shop

Many of you know about or have seen the short film entitled The Last Bookshop which can be viewed on YouTube.  (click on the still photo)  A little more than 20 minutes long, it features two actors – an elderly bookseller and a young boy whose family's electronic media system has broken down and who discovers a bookshop from the past while aimlessly wandering the streets of a post modern Amazonian dystopia in which shops have disappeared from the streets of towns and villages of a society that has finally gotten what it wished for.  The filming was done at various bookshop locations, including Halls Bookshop in Royal Tunbridge Wells (for the exterior shots) and at Baggins Books in Rochester (Kent). Most of the interior scenes, showing endless ranges of shelving stretching from floor to ceiling, were made at Baggins, one of the largest bookshops in England and one of two bookshops (the other being Piccadilly Rare Books in Ticehurst) owned by Paul Minet, who contributed his column, Letter from England, to this magazine for many years.  When Paul died in 2012 Baggins was given to the members of staff – which sounds very much like Paul and Sheila.

Speaking of Paul Minet, some of you may remember his column in Book Source Magazine but never had a chance to visit Baggins.  It was easy to get lost in the place, as you might guess by watching the film. The actor playing the bookseller in no way resembled Paul, who was a towering figure and eminently capable of any physical task involving having to deal with massive quantities of books (or anything else, I would have guessed).  Paul was also a journalist, writing for and editing The New Daily, a Liberal newspaper published in the 1960s, founder and editor of Antiquarian Book Monthly Review (ABMR), editor of both The British Diarist and Royalty Digest, and a long-time columnist for Book Source Magazine. His philanthropic activities mainly involved his family's support and efforts on behalf of Chetham's Library in Manchester, founded in 1653 and the oldest public library in the …more

by Paul Grondahl
Hobart Book Village (of the Catskills)

[Ed. Note:  Grondahl's story was first published in the Albany Times Union and then was linked to by "Sheppard's Confidential" (UK) who probably up against a publishing deadline of their own, inadvertently relocated the Hobart Book Village to Hobart, Tasmania (Australia).  Last we heard Hobart is still down the road and comfortably nestled in the Catskills, along side the west branch of the Delaware River.  We can drive there in about an hour and a half from Cazenovia, NY.  Although it's a popular out-of-town destination for bookish day trippers from New York City, it's not as well known in our part of the state as I think it should be.]

Friends recommended that we make a visit to the Hobart Book Village in Delaware County, and on a raw and rainy recent Saturday, my wife, Mary, and I headed west on Interstate 88.  Our dog, Lily, curled up in the back seat.

We are book lovers, but I also wanted to learn if a half-dozen used book stores along Main Street could save a down-on-its-luck Catskills village of fewer than 500 people. The original story of the Hobart Book Village resembles the plot of a novel, filled with interesting characters and twists of fate.

Bill and Diana Adams were pioneers. They lived and worked for decades in Manhattan, she as a lawyer and he as a physician. A detour driving back from a wedding in Detroit 20 years ago landed them in Hobart. On impulse, they rented a storefront. Their book addiction overflowed their apartment and they needed space. “It was cheaper than storing the books in New York City,” she said. "We started with three bookcases.”

They bought a house on three acres and came on weekends to tend a large garden and small bookshop... (read more)

by John Huckans
Book Fairs in 2021?

The likelihood of the return of  antiquarian book fairs as we knew them is fraught with uncertainty as of this writing.  For one thing, they were already in trouble before the Corona virus hit.  And, as everyone knows, Amazon has been wildly successful in destroying independent bookshops as we knew them, along with many of the traditional retail stores of cities large and small throughout the country.  To help fill that lacunae antiquarian book fairs, for the past several decades, had provided the traveling road show, the moveable feast of bookish delights where bibliophiles discovered material they never knew existed while meeting up with old friends and colleagues - in short, a wonderful excuse for a road trip.  Book fairs, however, are expensive to produce, raising the costs to exhibitors.  Add to this the reality that attendance has been falling off in recent years with the resulting decline in bookseller participation.  (our own local antiquarian book fair was discontinued many years ago, due to lack of interest)

While the Corona virus may have put paid to most antiquarian book fairs, especially the smaller regional ones, the rise of "virtual" antiquarian book fairs has seen some success. When we think "virtual" these days, many of us with Zoom-fatigue may understandably be turned off by the idea of more of the same. Not really the case, as I discovered, when I logged on to Gadsden's Antiques, Collectibles, Rare Books & Ephemera Show late last year.  There were both Canadian and American exhibitors with small, but carefully curated offerings of well catalogued and stunningly illustrated (images of the) books. Easy to navigate with plenty of ways to contact the sellers, and all taking place within a few days. As the items sold, the fact was indicated, and anyone who snoozed, lost.

Our own "Biblio Paradiso" is a low cost alternative, with exhibitors linking to their own online platforms (web sites) where books are catalogued and illustrated according to each bookseller's own standard of description.  All sponsors and  supporters of this magazine are eligible for a free listing.

Results of Recent Fine Books & Manuscripts Auction

Swann Galleries’ Tuesday, November 17 sale of Fine Books & Manuscripts saw great success across categories with a 90% sell-through rate by lot, and closed above the total high-estimate at $675,481.

“Literature tipped over to an eye-opening 95% of all lots sold. Steadfast buyer confidence, a constant throughout the entire sale, drove high prices via a multitude of bidding platforms,” remarked John Larson, the house’s specialist for literature and art books. Enthusiasm for Jane Austen proved to be enduring as 100% of the 12 works by the author on offer found buyers.The success comes after the house offered a complete run of first editions of Austen’s novels in rare period binding earlier in the year. Highlights from this sale’s selection included first editions of Pride and Prejudice, 1813 ($75,000), Sense and Sensibility, 1811 ($57,500), Mansfield Park, 1814 ($16,250), Emma, 1816 ($15,000), and Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, 1818 ($10,625).
    
Other nineteenth-century literature of note included an exceptional association copy of Charles Dickens’ American Notes for General Circulation, 1842. The first edition presentation copy from Dickens’ first tour in the United States included an inscription to Richard Henry Dana, Jr., the author of the memoir Two Years Before the Mast, which sold for $35,000. John Keats’ Lamia, Isabella, the Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems, 1820 ($9,375), and an inscribed presentation copy of Oscar Wilde’s Poems, 1882 ($6,250), also featured. Twentieth-century literature saw success with a first edition of To Kill a Mockingbird, 1960, by Harper Lee with an inscribed leaf laid into the copy ($6,750); and a first edition of the most influential economic work of the twentieth century John Maynard Keynes’ The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, 1936 ($7,000).

Of the autographs offering specialist Marco Tomaschett noted, “signed books performed surprisingly well: an Albert Schweitzer inscribed book realized three times the high estimate at $2,250; two uncommon books signed by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry both exceeded their high estimates at $3,250 and $1,820, respectively; and most surprising was an uncommon pamphlet signed and inscribed by Ezra Pound which realized six times the high estimate at $7,500!”
Americana also proved to be popular among autograph buyers. Highlights included partly-printed documents, signed by George Washington as President and counter-signed by Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State, granting permission to a ship in 1894 in three languages ($22,500); Abraham Lincoln as President with the 1863 issue ordering New York to furnish 2,050 troops under the Enrollment Act of March 3, 1863 ($18,750); and John Hancock as President of the Continental Congress issuing an uncommon privateer commission during …more

Old Master and Modern Prints at Swann

Swann Galleries’ Thursday, November 12 sale of Old Master Through Modern Prints brought in “a strong turnout of new buyers and bidding was aggressive for modern American prints and many other exceptional prices for Old Masters and modern European graphics,” said Todd Weyman, the house’s specialist for the sale.
    
The sale was led by the record-setting New York, a scarce 1925 lithograph by Louis Lozowick. Only three impressions of the work had been seen at auction in the past 30 years, leading to an auction record for any print by the artist at $81,250. The previous record for Lozowick was set by Swann in 2014 when Traffic, 1930, sold for $42,500.

Other American printmakers included Martin Lewis with two 1930 drypoints of New York scenes: an evening summer scene in Shadow Dance, which crossed the block at $45,000, and a frigid winter moment with Stoops in Snow, which earned $32,500; Edward Hopper’s Night Shadows, etching, 1921, reached $25,000; and Paul Cadmus’s Going South, 1934, at $21,250—a record for the etching.
    
Rembrandt van Rijn led the Old Master offering with the early etching A Beggar Seated on a Bank, 1630, likely a self-portrait, at $37,500. Also by the Dutch master was The Descent from the Cross: Second Plate, etching, 1633, which saw $37,500, and Christ before Pilate: Large Plate, etching, 1635, at $20,000. Albrecht Dürer was present with Hercules, or the Effects of Jealousy, engraving, 1498, which sold for $25,000.
    
European stalwarts featured prints by Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, and Maurits C. Escher. Picasso's works featured a portrait of a young woman Buste au Corsage à Carreaux, lithograph, 1957, which brought $32,500, and Les Saltimbanques, a 1922 color aquatint of two young acrobats, at $15,000. Highlights from the Miró offerings included the abstract scenes: Série Noire et Rouge, color etching, 1938, earning $25,000; Danseuse Créole, color aquatint, 1978, earning $23,750; and Les Trois Sœurs, etching, 1938, at $17,500. Escher’s 1944 tessellation Encounter, seemingly demonstrating evolution, realized $17,500.

by John Huckans
Sorry Cassandra
(Originally published March 2016)

Not too long ago I caught a PBS broadcast of a production of one of the grandest of French operas, Hector Berlioz's “Les Troyens”.  Berlioz himself wrote the libretto based on the Aeneid, a sort of Roman-centered epic poem that Virgil concocted from various sources, including a rip-roaring tale by a blind poet named Homer who may or may not have been blind or who may or may not have even existed.  Either way it doesn't much matter because the story is a good one.

The first two acts of the opera center around Cassandra, the daughter of Priam who had received the gift of prophecy and then, according to which story you believe, was cursed by Apollo when she refused his attentions which turned out to be more than Platonic.  The curse ran something like this – she could predict, prophesy, rant and otherwise warn about all sorts of bad things to come until she was blue in the face, but no matter what she might say no one would believe her. But that was only the half of it – for her troubles she would be insulted, branded as a liar, a mad woman or all three.

In one of her delusions she thought there was something fishy and not quite right about the gigantic wooden horse that the Greeks had wheeled up in front of the gates of the city. Right off she smelled a rat (or maybe it was the fish) and set out with an axe and a torch to destroy the thing along with any cargo that might be in the hold.  �more

October Travel Poster Auction - Prices Realized

"With over an over 80% sell through rate, and with 16 of the top 17 lots selling to collectors, Swann Galleries’s Thursday, October 15, Rare & Important Travel Poster auction definitively showed that the market, and specifically private collectors, has remained robust and competitive,” noted Nicholas D. Lowry, Swann president and specialist for the annual sale.
    
The auction delivered seven artists records, including the top lots of the sale. John Held, Jr.’s 1925 bird’s-eye view of Nantucket, which earned $21,250 over a $6,000 to $9,000 estimate; and Paul George Lawler’s ad for travel to Hawaii via San Francisco created for Pan Am airlines, which also brought $21,250. The midcentury modern design New York / Fly TWA, 1956, earned David Klein a new artist record at $12,500. Rare posters by Michael Rudolf Wening and Seaverns W. Hilton brought attention from collectors. Wening’s Siam / Beautiful Bangkok / The Jewel City of Asia, circa 1920s, earned a record at $9,375, and Hilton’s Lewis and Clark / Northern Pacific, 1920, at $6,250. Additional records were earned by Charles W. Holmes and Miles W. Sater.
    
The auction resulted in two discoveries with Frank Lemen’s previously unattributed circa-1952 design for Bermuda, which sold for $1,000, and the unsigned The Palisades of the Hudson / New York Central Lines, circa 1930s, which earned $5,750 and was attributed to Anthony Hansen after research found the image in the New York Central Line’s 1931 calendar with Hansen’s name attached.
    
Additional highlights included winter scenes by Emil Cardinaux: Zermatt / Matterhorn Schweiz, 1908, which realized $11,875, and Winter in der Schweiz, 1921, which brought $11,875. Powerful train images featured Leslie Ragan’s The New 20th Century Limited, 1939, at …more

by John C. Huckans
Family Letters

Before my maternal grandfather arrived in the United States to seek a new life and job opportunities that weren't available to many young men from the moors of rural Devon (the Hatherleigh and Torrington areas weren't as trendy in the late 1880s as they are now), he shipped out to Argentina which until then had one of the fastest growing economies in the world. His timing couldn't have been worse.

About the time of his arrival or shortly afterwards, there was a major wheat crop failure, a collapse of many of the major banks and all of it leading to the panic of 1893 and widespread …more

by Thomas Fleming (Society of American Historians)
A Jersey Lesson in Voter Fraud (reprinted with permission)

Ed. Note: The late Mr. Fleming, who died in 2017 at the age of 90, was a former president of the Society of American Historians.  He and his wife, Alice Mulcahy Fleming, between them have written and published more books than most people have read.  The column was clipped from a newspaper (unknown) several years ago and I came across it while cleaning my office in preparation for the monthly meeting of our local Shakespeare Club.  Permission to reprint was granted by Mrs. Fleming.  (Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose)

Some youthful memories were stirred by the news this week that the president plans to use his State of the Union speech next Tuesday to urge Congress to make voter registration and ballot-casting easier. Like Mr. Obama, I come from a city with a colorful history of political corruption and vote fraud.

The president's town is Chicago, mine is Jersey City. Both were solidly Democratic in the 1930s and '40s, and their mayors were close friends. At one point in the early '30s, Jersey City's Frank Hague called Chicago's Ed Kelly to say he needed $2 million as soon as possible to survive a coming election. According to my father – one of Boss Hague's right-hand men – a dapper fellow who had taken an overnight train arrived at Jersey City's City Hall the next morning, suitcase in hand, cash inside.

Those were the days when it was glorious to be a Democrat.  As a historian, I give talks from time to time. In a recent one, called “Us Against Them,” I said it was we Irish and our Italian, Polish and other ethnic allies against “the dirty rotten stinking WASP Republicans of New Jersey.” By thus demeaning the opposition, we had clear consciences as we rolled up killer majorities using tactics that had little to do with the election laws.

My grandmother Mary Dolan died in 1940. But she voted Democratic for the next 10 years. An election bureau official came to our door one time and asked if Mrs. Dolan was still living in our house. “She's upstairs taking a nap,” I replied. …more

Potter & Potter's Auction Achieves Solid Prices

Potter & Pottert's October 20th Fine Books and Manuscripts sale did well in every respect. When the hammer fell for the last time, 98 lots fetched $750-2,499; 23 lots bought $2,500-$9,999; and four lots broke the $10,000 mark. Prices noted include the 20% buyer's premium.

Museum quality fine art, paintings, and prints were among the top lot slots in the sale. Pablo Picasso's Le Pigeonneau, was estimated at $10,000-15,000 and brought $37,500. The hand colored and signed artist's proof from 1939 was printed in Paris by Robert Blanchet and was accompanied by two letters of authenticity; David Hockney's Ossie and Mo, was estimated at $1,000-2,000 and made $4,800 - almost five times the low estimate. This signed work, numbered 4/75, was printed by Maurice Payne on Chisbrook handmade paper and published by the Petersburg Press in 1968. William Adolphe Bouguereau's beautifully rendered Study of the Head of a Brunette Woman, sold for …more

by Arthur and Danna Jackson
Another Bookstore Closing

A notice that Mystery Books in Brattleboro, VT is closing... notes that it is "the last mystery bookstore in New England and one of the last in the country". While specialty bookshops dealing in some nonfiction categories have survived and even thrived, those devoted to fiction genres (excluding juvenile fiction) seem to have stalled.  Rankings of bestseller novels, with their sales noted on weekly charts, will always survive, but titles on the backlist – unless they or their authors win awards – quickly wither away,

Parallel to this decline is a decline in book clubs.  Book clubs, beginning with the 30-volume Little Leather Library, specialized with the Book of the Month Club in 1926 and later produced the spin-off Quality Paperback Book Club, History Book Club, and Children's Book of the Month Club.  Book clubs may seem redundant now, but in the past – when a huge number of readers didn't have access to a town large enough to support a bookstore – they were a lifeline to the larger world. Because they were a "club", the members met in groups to …more

PRB&M Set to Open its Doors Again!

Philadelphia has moved cautiously to “Green” status, and the Philadelphia Rare Books & Manuscripts Co./SessaBks now joyfully invites your visits by individual appointment. The firm's 19th-century building is large and airy and was built when cross-ventilation could not be an afterthought.  The bookrooms are spacious.  And the front porch, with its almost iconic rocking chairs now set on blue x's six feet apart, is perfect for outdoor socializing between browsing sessions.

Arrangements to visit should be made at least 24 hours in advance, as plans for this first stage of reopening will see the shop receiving only a person or two or one household at a time.  Masks will be de rigueur indoors, and the ritual handwashing that once was a precaution taken to protect the books and manuscripts will now be part of the program for other reasons - to protect the health of other people. The proprietors, Cynthy Buffington and David Szewczyk promise that the books will be here and they're eager to see you exactly as always. The Summer Garage Sale will be extended into early autumn, weather permitting, to all regular late-summer visitors. For more information, please call (215) 744-6734 or e-mail rarebks@prbm.com.

Hobart Book Village Profiled on CGTV

The Hobart Book Village located in the northern Catskills, if not the only, is by far the most prominent book village in the United States. Don Dales, a visionary local property owner from Hobart, a once a sleepy village with mostly empty stores, teamed up with William Adams (a retired physician) and his wife Diana (a retired attorney) to reinvent the town along bookish lines, and then set about trying to recruit other booksellers to join them in the project. Both Dales and the Adams would certainly be the first to admit that their inspiration was based on the pioneering efforts of Richard Booth who turned Hay-on-Wye, a small town in Wales, into the world famous destination it is today. Other rural villages have tried to emulate that model, but except for Wigtown in Scotland, and Hobart, few have had lasting success. About a year or so ago, after being the subject of an article in the Guardian, Hobart's story was picked by the NBC morning television program Today, where it can still be viewed.

The Adams, who now trade under the name Wm.H. Adams, Antiquarian Books, previously worked in Manhattan and traveled to Hobart during vacations, weekends and at every opportunity. During that period they bought a property and decided to make Hobart their second home and base of their antiquarian book business.

CGTN (China Global Television Network) is one of several international television services we receive off the air (no cable or satellite required) from WCNY, our nearby PBS station. Very recently CGTN aired a special report on the Hobart Book Village and conducted interviews with the Adams, Dales, other local booksellers, and the owner of the Bull & Garland Pub. If you didn't see the story when originally broadcast, you can watch it by clicking here or on the above image of the creek that meanders through the village. …more

Hindman Breaks Record for Top Lot Sold at Auction

Hindman’s fall fine art auctions shattered expectations once again, selling above and beyond presale estimates.  The four sales together fetched more than $7.5 million across three days, led by the sale of two works by American master, Alexander Calder.

“We were delighted by the performance of the sales last week - the success of these auctions once again proves the art market is stronger than ever,” said Joe Stanfield, Director of Fine Art for Hindman.  “Strong bidder engagement and impressive prices realized continue to drive the market, and the caliber of works we are offering are benefitting greatly from this highly performing market.”

Hindman’s Post War and Contemporary Art auction (October 1) was an outstanding success.  Led by two works by Alexander Calder, the auction finished the day at $4.2 million against the sale’s presale estimate of $2.5 million.  In addition to the top lots of the auction, works by Chicago Imagist artists, once again saw strong results with Gladys Nilsson’s 1965 oil on canvas, Untitled (Hairy Legged, Star Tattooed Giantess in Striped Dress Skipping Rope), selling for $162,500 against a presale estimate of $40,000-60,000 making it the third highest selling lot of the sale.

Alexander Calder’s standing mobile, Triple Cross, 1947, more than tripled its pre-sale estimate.  The work was one of two offered at the Thursday auction by one of the most the revolutionary artists of the 20th century.  Triple Cross, 1947, held a pre-sale estimate of $600,000-$800,000, and set a record for the highest sale price …more

by Jon Levine
Confessions of a Voter Fraud... (or contributions to American political history - ed. note)
(from the New York Post)

A top Democratic operative says voter fraud, especially with mail-in ballots, is no myth.   And he knows this because he’s been doing it, on a grand scale, for decades.

Mail-in ballots have become the latest flashpoint in the 2020 elections. While President Trump and the GOP warn of widespread manipulation of the absentee vote that will swell with COVID polling restrictions, many Democrats and their media allies have dismissed such concerns as unfounded.

But the political insider, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he fears prosecution, said fraud is more the rule than the exception. His dirty work has taken him through the weeds of municipal and federal elections in Paterson, Atlantic City, Camden, Newark, Hoboken and Hudson County and his fingerprints can be found in local legislative, mayoral and congressional races across the Garden State. Some of the biggest names and highest office holders in New Jersey have benefited from his tricks, according to campaign records The Post reviewed.

“An election that is swayed by 500 votes, 1,000 votes — it can make a difference,” the tipster said. “It could be enough to flip states.”

The whisteblower — whose identity, rap sheet and long history working as a consultant to various campaigns were confirmed by The Post — says he not only changed ballots himself over the years, but led teams of fraudsters and mentored at least 20 operatives in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania — a critical 2020 swing state.

“There is no race in New Jersey — from city council to United States Senate — that we haven’t worked on,” the tipster said. “I worked on a fire commissioner’s race in Burlington County. The smaller the race, the easier it is to do.”

A Bernie Sanders die-hard with no horse in the presidential race, he said he felt compelled to come forward in the hope that states would act now to fix the glaring security problems present in mail-in ballots.

“This is a real thing,” he said. “And there is going to be a f–king war coming November 3rd over this stuff … If they knew how the sausage was made, they could fix it.”

Mail-in voting can be complicated — tough enough that 84,000 New Yorkers had their mailed votes thrown out in the June 23 Democratic presidential primary for incorrectly filling them out.

But for political pros, they’re a piece of cake.  In New Jersey, for example, it begins with a …more

Biblio Paradiso (24/7/365)

The antiquarian book fair that never closes.  Check in any time you want and leave whenever you like...

***

Austin's Books (Wilmington, VT ).  American History, Teddy Roosevelt, Fly Fishing, Travel, Maps, Prints & Ephemera. Tel: (802) 464-8438.  (Browse Inventory)

Back of Beyond Books  (83 North Main St., Moab, UT). Rare Books, Americana, Books on the American West. Tel: (435) 259-5154; (800) 700-2859. (Rare Book Catalogue, vol. XXII, Summer 2020)

Booked Up  (Archer City, TX).  We are a large general bookstore dealing mainly in the humanities. Tel: (940) 574-2511.  (New Arrivals)

D & D Galleries  (P.O. Box 8413, Somerville, NJ).  Founded in 1985, with specialties in British and American literature.  Eclectic inventory (mostly English language) 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.  (Featured Selections)

Early Aeronautica  (Midland, MI).  Vintage books, documents & ephemera relating to early aviation. Tel: (989) 835-3908; (520) 373-2622  (Newest Arrivals)

Gibson's Books (3137 Old Highway 431,  Owens Cross Roads, AL).  Large stock, specializing in local and southern history, including Civil War, Southern fiction, cookery & ephemera.  Also, back issues of Book Source Monthly/Book Source Magazine from 1985-2013.  Tel: (256) 316-0054.  (Newest Arrivals)

Old Editions (954 Oliver St., North Tonawanda, NY).  Rare & Antiquarian Books, Paper & Ephemera/Prints, Posters & Original Art Works. One of the largest antiquarian bookstores in New York State. Tel: (716) 842-1734. (Featured Selections)

Philadelphia Rare Books & Manuscripts Company (PRB&M/SessaBks)  (Philadelphia, PA.).  Early Books of Europe & the Americas, varia such as may catch our fancy.  PRB&M's extensive, highly illustrated website offers scores of catalogues and lists browsable by topic, language, or century; correspondence is welcome in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, & French. Members ABAA/ILAB since 1984.  Books unite us!  rarebks@prbm.com or Tel: (215) 744-6734.   (Survey a Selection)

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. (Newest Arrivals)

R & A Petrilla, Booksellers. (P.O. Box 306, Roosevelt, NJ).    Established 1970.  Online since 1995.  Trading in unusual books, documents, and manuscripts in various fields of interest, including farm life.  (New Arrivals)

The Jumping Frog. (56 Arbor Street Suite 107 Hartford CT)  160,000 items of ephemera, selected books & other collectibles. Established 1983. Not currently open for in-person browsing. Tel: 860-523-1622.  Use Coupon "FrogBSM" for 20% discount at checkout.  (Browse)

W.H. Adams, Antiquarian Books  (Hobart, NY).  General antiquarian with emphasis on England and early classics.  Located in the Book Village of Hobart in the Catskills. Tel: (607) 538-9080.   (Newest Arrivals or...)

(Watch this space for more exhibiting booksellers)

 

A Year After His Passing, Justin Raimondo Remembered

Justin Raimondo, founder and moving spirit of AntiWar.com, died a little over a year ago and we were remiss in not calling attention to his passing at the time.  After all, his organization has been represented on this magazine's website for many years.  American Spectator published an obituary that will give non-libertarians a sense of who Justin was (and is, for those who still read his articles and columns).  In this election year it is particularly important to learn about other perspectives, other priorities, other points of view, and for that reason we've provided a link to the original piece.

by John C. Huckans
Springtime for Snowflakes (A Review)

Michael Rechtenwald is an academic who after setting sail on an academic career as professor of liberal studies at a well-known eastern university, gradually learned he had signed up to crew on what some people might call a ship of fools.  Springtime for Snowflakes: Social Justice and Its Postmodern Parentage  [London & Nashville: New English Review Press, 2018] is an unusual blend of a memoir of his formative years growing up in a working class home in Pittsburgh; the undergraduate gap-period interlude at the Naropa Institute where he served as an apprentice and teaching assistant to Allen Ginsburg who ran Naropa and the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in a store-front location on Pearl St. in Boulder, Colorado during the 1970s; his post-graduate studies at Case Western Reserve and Carnegie Mellon universities; unusual experiences as a professor at NYU; and an appendix comprised of a mix of initially anonymous social media postings that got him into hot water with many of his colleagues.

Rechtenwald's father was an independent contractor who ran his remodeling business from the family home on Waldorf Street on Pittsburgh's north side.  When it came time for high school his father tried to enroll Michael in the exclusive Shadyside Academy, considered the city's best prep school at the time, and the headmaster's discouraging response “... although I believe your son would do well here academically, I'm afraid that he wouldn't fit in... socially...” probably influenced his later decision to pursue Marxist critical theory.  At any rate he …more

Booksellers' Gulch (or where the books are)

"Booksellers' Gulch" is (or was) that part of the upper Connecticut River valley bordering Vermont and New Hampshire, where there were booksellers in or near every town or village of any size. For readers, collectors, and members of the trade, this area was northern New England's version of Manhattan’s Book Row and a bibliophile’s paradise.  Nowadays “Booksellers Gulch” is our metaphor for where the books are. We hope that bookhunters on the road or just exploring areas near where they live, will find this guide helpful.  This feature of Book Source Magazine had been neglected in recent years, but is now being added to on a fairly regular basis

As this geographically arranged directory grows and as time goes on, it will be hard for us to ensure that the information remains up to date - bookshops move or owners retire. This is where you all come in. If anyone is aware of any change that affects the accuracy of a bookshop's listing, please get in touch with us and let us know. This will help everyone.

Booksellers who wish to apply for a free listing should call (315) 655-9654 or e-mail for particulars.  Please click on this sentence to see the complete list as it exists at the moment.

by John C. Huckans
An Early Look at the 2020 Election (or Notes from Flyover Country)

Primary successes making Joe Biden the clear front-runner in the race for the Democrat nomination leading to the 2020 election came about because of some careful planning by the DNC, its allies in the civil service and large segments of big media.  All of which reminds me of a story...

In the 1860s, according to one account, when Secretary of State William Seward was discussing the purchase of Alaska with Tsar Alexander II, the conversation turned to autocratic rule in countries such as Russia. By one account, Alexander, who in 1861 had taken steps to free Russian serfs from virtual slavery, gave Seward a bit of a lecture suggesting the United States should seriously consider emancipating its slaves also. Before 1861, entire villages in Russia (mostly east of the Urals) together with livestock, human and non-human, could be bought and sold like any other commodity, and sometimes were.  If air travel had existed at the time, much of eastern Russia would have been considered “flyover country” largely inhabited by irredeemable peasants whose main job was to supply the needs of the wealthy Boyar classes of Moscow, Saint Petersburg and other cities in the west.

Alexander was also supposed to have said he was not the autocrat people assumed he was and that the country was actually governed by “100,000 clerks”.  A powerful statement at the time, but more understandable now.  (In his first major book, The Innocents Abroad [Hartford, 1869], Mark Twain relates a humorous anecdote of Tsar Alexander personally leading a group of American travelers, including Mark Twain, on a tour of his summer palace near Yalta).  Yet for all of his informal tendencies, populist sympathies and reformist policies the Tsar was rewarded by having his legs blown off and being partially disemboweled by an assassin's bomb about 20 years later.

At any rate, the Tsar's “100,000 clerks” comment may have been lost on Seward, or whoever it was that reported the conversation, but nowadays people are beginning to understand the reality of the Deep State – hundreds of thousands of clerks, housed like Stoor Hobbits and living in colonies both inside and outside the I-495 beltway, and along the I-66 corridor leading to Front Royal (VA).  And all of them unaccountable to the electorate.  Gogol's nightmares updated and amplified for the present.

As of this writing, the field of candidates for the November election has been reduced to …more

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