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52nd California Book Fair

Swann Galleries

San Francisco 2019 Antiquarian Book, Print & Paper Fair


Always something to discover at Quill & Brush


Booksellers’ Gulch

R & A Petrilla

Leslie Hindman Auctineers

Aviation...


Christian Science Monitor

The Economist

www.sovereignty.org.uk

www.antiwar.com

Austin’s Antiquarian Books


52nd California Book Fair

San Francisco 2019 Antiquarian Book, Print & Paper Fair

Swann Galleries

PRB&M

J & J Lubrano Music Antiquarians

Addison & Sarova, the Rare Book Auctioneers

Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair

Rare Books Los Angeles


PBA Galleries

Freeman’s Auctions

Biblio


Hobart Book Village


Jekyll Island Club Hotel


Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair

J & J Lubrano Music Antiquarians

Addison & Sarova, the Rare Book Auctioneers

Rare Books Los Angeles

PRB&M

Book Fair Calendar

Toronto Antiquarian Book Fair.  Toronto, Ontario (Canada).   November 9–11, 2018.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   November 11, 2018.

Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair.  Boston, MA.   November 16–18, 2018.     (more information)

Books at Wings: Book, Paper & Photography Fair.  Denver, CO.   November 17–18, 2018.     (more information)

Boston Book Paper & Ephemera Show.  Boston, MA.   November 17, 2018.

Gadsden’s Wychwood Old Book & Paper Show.  Toronto, Ontario (Canada).   November 18, 2018.

Northampton Book & Book Arts Fair.  Northampton, MA.   November 30, 2018.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   December 9, 2018.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   January 13, 2019.

Rare Books LA.  Pasadena, CA.   February 1–2, 2019.     (more information)

California International Antiquarian Book Fair.  Oakland, CA.   February 8–10, 2019.     (more information)

San Francisco Antiquarian Book, Print & Paper Fair.  San Francisco, CA.   February 9–10, 2019.     (more information)

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   February 10, 2019.

Greenwich Village Antiquarian Book Fair.  New York, NY.   February 16–17, 2019.

New York International Antiquarian Book Fair.  New York, NY.   March 7–10, 2019.

Manhattan Vintage Book & Ephemera Fair and Fine Press Book Fair.  New York, NY.   March 9, 2019.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   March 10, 2019.

Albuquerque Antiquarian Book Fair.  Albuquerque, NM.   March 15–16, 2019.

Ephemera 39.  Old Greenwich, CT.   March 16–17, 2019.

Gadsden’s Wychwood Book & Paper Show.  Toronto, ON (Canada).   March 31, 2019.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   April 14, 2019.

Florida Antiquarian Book Fair.  St. Petersburg, FL.   April 26–28, 2019.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   May 19, 2019.

ABA Rare Book Fair.  London, England.   June 7–9, 2019.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   June 9, 2019.

Cooperstown Antiquarian Book Fair.  Cooperstown, NY.   June 29, 2019.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   July 14, 2019.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   August 11, 2019.

Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair.  Brooklyn, NY.   September 7–8, 2019.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   September 8, 2019.

Frankfort Antiquarian Book Fair.  Frankfort, Germany.   October 11–15, 2019.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   October 13, 2019.

Chelsea Antiquarian Book Fair.  London, England.   November 3–4, 2019.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   November 10, 2019.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   December 8, 2019.

Book Auction Calendar

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   November 8, 2018.

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   November 8, 2018.     (more information)

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.  Chicago, IL.   November 12–13, 2018.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   November 13, 2018.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   November 15, 2018.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   November 15, 2018.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   November 29, 2018.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   December 6, 2018.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   December 6, 2018.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   December 13, 2018.     (more information)

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.  Chicago, IL.   December 14, 2018.     (more information)

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

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. ůmore

California Antiquarian Book Fair

The 52nd California International Antiquarian Book Fair, recognized as one of the world's largest and most prestigious exhibitions of antiquarian books, returns to Northern California, Friday, February 8 through Sunday, February 10, 2019 at the Oakland Marriott City Center. Sponsored by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (ABAA) and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) and featuring the collections and rare treasures of nearly 200 booksellers from more than 20 countries around the world, the three-day Book Fair offers a rich selection of manuscripts, early American and European literature, modern first editions, children’s books, maps and autographs, as well as antiquarian books on history, science, law, architecture, cooking, wine and a wide range of other topics.
 
This year’s Book Fair will include a special exhibit by the Book Club of California, an active association of over 800 major California collectors with interests in rare books and manuscripts of all types. Founded in 1912, the Club’s library is dedicated to collecting and sharing works of California fine printers; resources on book making, book design, and book history; and books of historical significance. One side of this bi-faceted exhibit will display a selection of materials by California women printers and book artists, with a spotlight on Jane Grabhorn’s test prints for the illustrations of the Grabhorn Press’ Shakespeare plays.  Also on display will be some of the Club’s oldest and most sought-after books, including a beautifully ornamented Virgil printed by Miscomini in 1476 and Ansel Adams’ ůmore

19th & 20th Century Literature at Swann

An exceptional auction of 19th & 20th Century Literature comes to Swann Galleries on Tuesday, November 13.  The sale of nearly 300 lots includes first edition literary classics, scarcely seen dust jackets, deluxe sets and rare science fiction.  The Sea-Wolf, 1904, by Jack London is available in the sale in the first edition, second issue, with the extraordinarily rare dust jacket. The dust jacket was previously known only by rumor; only one other copy is thought to exist ($4,000-6,000).

Science fiction and imaginative literary works feature a robust selection of seldom-seen material by icons of the genre. A group of three signed and inscribed typescripts of chapters from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 holds an estimate of $800 to $1,200. A run of titles by Philip K. Dick is led by the scarce deluxe limited edition of The Selected Letters of Philip K. Dick, with five volumes present, (estimate: $2,000-3,000); and one of only three special deluxe issue copies of The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick, Los Angeles, 1987, with the author’s signature tipped in, estimated at $1,200 to $2,000.  An unbound pre-proof copy of Stephen King’s It, 1986, representing the earliest state of the book’s production, is predicted to sell for $1,500 to $2,500.  
 
The top lot of the sale is from the collection of Al Hirschfeld, whose first edition of Ernest Hemingway’s Three Stories & Ten Poems, Paris, 1923, includes a correspondence from his friend, Ben Grauer. Hirschfeld, who was a veteran of movie studio publicity departments, met Hemingway in Paris in 1925 and would go on to draw the author several times. The present copy of the author’s first book is expected to bring $18,000 to $20,000.
 
Additional first edition works by twentieth-century American literary figures include the cover lot in the sale, the 1935 novel, Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck. The work was the author’s first clear success and is available with the scarce dust jacket (est. $3,500-5,000). A completely unrestored copy, with the first issue dust jacket, of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, 1951, is present with an estimate of $7,000 to $10,000; and Sartoris, 1929, by William Faulkner is estimated at $3,500 to $5,000.
 
Transcendentalist works include the signed authors edition of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, 1876, and, from 1888, a signed first collected edition of Whitman’s Poems & Prose which includes Leaves of Grass, Specimen Days, and Collect ($3,500-5,000 and $4,000-6,000, respectively). The first edition of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s May-Day and Other Pieces, 1867, is signed and inscribed by the author to his nephew ($4,000-6,000). Also available is ůmore

Rare Books, Sculpture & Art at PBA

On Thursday, November 15th, PBA Galleries  will host a Fine & Rare Books sale with three important ancient sculptures from Gandhara. Up for auction will be over 200 lots of rare and significant material, ranging from second century sculptures from the Gandhara civilization to rarities of modern science fiction, important natural history works to original artwork for classic children’s books, and much in between. There are numerous early works on religion focusing on Catholicism, books and sets in fine bindings, color plate books, Asian erotica, illustrated books, medical book, literary landmarks, and much more.

Highlighted in this sale is the terracotta sculpture of Alexander the Great from Gandhara in the 4th century. His conquest of much of eastern and central Asia exerted great artistic, social, cultural and military influence on the Gandhara civilization (estimate: $25,000-$35,000).  A sculpture of the head of Buddha from the Gandhara civilization in what is now Pakistan is being offered in this auction also. The head was carved from gray schist, circa 2nd -3rd century (estimate: $10,000-$15,000). These were both gifts from H.R.H. Muhammad Mohabbat Khanjee, the last reigning Nawab of Junagadh State in India, to Noor Mohammad Charlie, late husband of the current owner. With a copy of the letter of provenance by H.R.H. Jehangir Khanjee, grandson of Muhammad Mohabbat Khanjee, and Nawab of Junagadh in exile, dated Karachi, Pakistan, December 12, 1999.

Bernhardt Wall's Abraham Lincoln will also be up for auction. This set completed with the original 85 volumes, is illustrated throughout with some 960 etchings printed in colored inks,  hand-bound in boards with dust wrappers. This is one of one-hundred copies. created over a span of twelve years, with original etchings which chronologically follow Lincoln's life and depict his boyhood homes and places of interest throughout his career (estimated: $8,000-$12,000).

Les Oiseaux by Édouard Traviès, 1857, is an exquisite series of bird portraits in their natural habitats, with 54 folio color lithographed plates, finished by hand and heightened with gum Arabic. Édouard Traviès was one of the best known natural history illustrators of 19th century France (estimated: ůmore

Food & Drink at PBA

On Thursday, November 8th, PBA Galleries will host their first sale devoted exclusively to books about Food & Drink. Up for auction will be over 350 lots of rare and collectible works on the culinary and gastronomical arts, with fine wines and cocktails, recipe books, housekeeping manuals, and others. Included are early African American and Creole cookbooks, Southern Cookery, classic 20th century cookbooks, early California cuisine, charity cookbooks, nutrition, medicinal plants, and more.

Commonly considered the first cookbook, Apicius’ summi adulatricis medicinae artificis, De re culinaria libri decem. B. Platinae Cremonensis De tuenda ualetudine, natura rerum, & popinae scientia libri X from 1541, is thought to have been originally written in manuscript form in the 4th and 5th centuries. The foods described give an idea of the dietary habits of the ancient world around the Mediterranean, but the recipes were written for the wealthiest classes, a few containing what were exotic ingredients at that time (e.g., flamingo). The descriptions of herbs and spices not only show what was being used in cooking at the time, but also gives a picture of what was being grown and traded at the time. (estimate: ůmore

Autographs at Swann on November 8th

Swann Auction Galleries’ Autographs sale will take place on Thursday, November 8, with a selection of rare and illuminating autographs, letters and other items from artists, authors and musicians, as well as figures from American history and beyond.

Among artist highlights is an illustrated autograph note signed, dated July 10, 1959, from Joan Miró to the MoMA Director of Exhibitions and Publications, Monroe Wheeler. Written in French, the note reads, “Returning home, and with the nostalgia of your country, I send you a friendly memory,” with a drawing by the artist of a figure surrounded by three stars in his recognizable hand. The letter is accompanied by a fancifully addressed envelope (estimate: $6,000-9,000). Also in the sale: a signed birthday card that contains a still-life drawing by Jacob Lawrence ($2,000-3,000).    
 
A highlight among literary autographs in the sale is a group of letters from Kurt Vonnegut to members of his family, largely from his time enlisted in the army during WWII. Vonnegut was an American writer best known for his science-fiction infused anti-war novel Slaughterhouse-Five. The offering of 12 letters touch on various subjects covering the war, love, alcohol and art, and contain small drawings and doodles by a young Vonnegut ($4,000-6,000). 

A written acceptance to the birthday party of a friend’s daughter from Charles Dickens, written in the dialect of the character Mrs. Gamp from Martin Chuzzlewit, is estimated at $4,000 to $6,000. Additional literary figures include Mark Twain, with an autograph letter signed SL. Clemens, explaining the target of his new book is the founder of Christian Science (not its followers), offered at $3,000 to $4,000; and an undated manuscript journal entry by Henry David Thoreau recounting a meeting with Hugh Quoil, a character in Walden ($3,000-4,000).

A typed letter signed, from Igor Stravinsky to conductor Bernardino Molinari, is available for $4,000 to $6,000. The letter, written in French, explains how Rite of Spring should be performed and features three bars of music in holograph.  In the letter Stravinsky explains that Molinari should “…use my Columbia record where The Rite is recorded under my direction and you will therefore be able to find the answers to a lot of your questions.”

Civil war autographs include the top lot in the sale, an 1861 letter, in uncommonly good condition, from Robert E. Lee to the colonel of the Kanawha Valley troop volunteers, aiming to boost their morale ($15,000-25,000); and a letter from a Confederate Major Inspector-General ůmore

Original Children's Book Art at PBA

Most everyone remembers their favorite book as a child, a book with few words but vivid illustrations that transported the reader to new places and adventures. Collectors often start their collection with one of these books from their childhood but few have the opportunity to collect the original piece of art used to illustrate their favorite book. On Thursday, November 1st, PBA Galleries will offer a collection of original illustration art for children’s books.

Many West Coast contemporary illustrators of children’s books are represented in the collection with significant offerings by Jamichael Henterly (Arthur on Horseback), Elisa Kleven (The Puddle Pail), Melissa Mathis (Turtle and the Moon), Stacey Schuett (Outside the Window) and Daniel San Souci (Antelope, Bison, Cougar: A National Park Wildlife Alphabet Book). Many of the illustrations will be offered with a copy of the book where the art appears.

A highlight of the sale is an original watercolor by Daniel San Souci for Steven P. Medley’s Antelope, Bison, Cougar: A National Park Wildlife Alphabet Book. The illustration for B is for Bison, show a group of four American buffalo relaxing on the grasslands of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Included is a signed and numbered limited edition of the book. The colophon is an additional page featuring the Florida panther in the Everglades National Park. Also, included is a numbered lithograph of a drawing used on the G is for Grizzly page and a separate color print of the Florida panther.

Steven P. Medley has written about Yosemite National Park many times, but Antelope, Bison, Cougar: A National Park Wildlife Alphabet Book was his first children's book. Dan San Souci has illustrated around fifty books for young readers and was the author for several of them. Both author and illustrator are ůmore

Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair

The premier annual fall gathering for bibliophiles, the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair returns to the Hynes Convention Center in Boston’s beautiful Back Bay for its 42nd year, November 16-18, 2018.  Featuring the collections and rare treasures of 130 booksellers from the U.S., England, Canada, Netherlands, France, Germany, Russia, Denmark, and Argentina, the Boston Book Fair gives visitors an opportunity to see, learn about, and purchase the finest in rare and valuable books, illuminated manuscripts, autographs, graphics, maps, atlases, photographs, fine and decorative prints, and more.

Special events at this year’s Fair include documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman on the making of Ex Libris: The New York Public Library; political guru Michael Goldman on 1968: The Year of the Century; Aji Yamazaki from the Kyoto Book Artists Society in discussion with Charles Vilnis on Japanese art books; editor Peter K. Steinberg on Sylvia Plath; and the 17th annual Ticknor Society Roundtable panel discussion on starting a collection.

One of the oldest and most respected antiquarian book fairs in the country, the event offers a top selection of items available on the international literary market.  Attendees will have an opportunity to inspect rare and historic museum-quality items, offered by some of the most prestigious members of the trade.  Whether browsing or buying, the Fair offers something for every taste and budget — books on art, politics, travel, gastronomy, and science to sport, natural history, literature, music, and children’s books — all appealing to a range of bibliophiles and browsers.

Among the highlighted items for sale at this year’s fair will be the legendary Blue Map of China from the 19th century Qing Empire – one of the rarest, largest, and most aesthetically magnificent maps ever made; Sylvia Plath’s own proof copy of The Bell JarAmerica's National Game by A.J. Spalding, published in 1911 – a classic in baseball collecting; an original handwritten manuscript by Martin Luther King Jr. for his first book, Stride Toward Freedom; a newly discovered and never published 14th century commentary on The New Testament, published in Paris around 1350; the original unpublished 1980 typescript of Luis Buñuel's last screenplay, Agón o El Canto del Cisne [Struggle or Swan Song]; a rare collection of documents evoking the climax and the dawn of decay of the mighty Medici dynasty, the most influential family of the Italian Renaissance; an elaborately illustrated 16th century gilded vellum folio from Spain of Regla y constitutiones de la cofradia del Sanctissimo sacramento de la yglesia de San Christoval de Granada; ůmore

Americana Continues to Outperform at Swann

Swann Auction Galleries’ September 27 auction of Printed & Manuscript Americana was the highest-earning Americana auction at the house in the last six years, bringing $1.2 million with 85% of lots selling. The day opened with a bustling auction room and active bidding during the morning session of The Harold Holzer Collection of Lincolniana was followed by an equally successful afternoon session.
 
Top lots from the Holzer collection included a portrait of the beardless Lincoln, by John C. Wolfe, which brought in $40,000; a fourth edition of the famous “Wigwam Print,” the first stand-alone print of Lincoln, which sold for $21,250; and a commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president signed by Lincoln, 1861, which brought a record $18,750 for a printed commission signed by the president.
 
The Lincolniana portion of the sale set several additional records, including one for any printing of the 16th president’s famous 1860 Cooper Union address at $5,000. Winfred Porter Truesdell’s important reference work, Engraved and Lithographed Portraits of Abraham Lincoln, 1933, brought $4,000; an Andrew Johnson impeachment trial ticket sold for $2,125; and Victor D. Brenner’s 1907 plaque, which served as the model for the Lincoln penny, fetched $4,500.
 
The sale did not slow down during the afternoon session: the top lot of the auction was Francis W. de Winton’s diary, containing notes on pow-wows with Indians during an official tour of western Canada, which sold for ůmore

by John C. Huckans
Race to the Bottom

According to casual observation and the experience of most booksellers I know, Amazon and the internet have pretty much had their way with the antiquarian book trade – the independent and picturesque book shops of the past, that nowadays exist mainly in the mind's eye, are few and far between and in order to survive many of the remaining booksellers have become data-entry catalogers for the online giants. Nothing new here.  And I believe it was at least twelve years ago when someone first mentioned to me that in his opinion antiquarian book-selling had become a rat-race to the bottom.

And then there's the crazy pricing. Most of us have observed what appear to be identical copies of the same title offered on-line for anywhere from 99¢ to $100,000. Go figure that one – there's no telling what can happen when algorithms and bots run the show.  It makes one long for the old days of New York's Book Row, chronicled so memorably by Roy Meador and Marvin Mondlin back in 2003.¹

When recently published books, especially good ones, become remaindered for whatever reason there are often incredible bargains to be had. Once in a fit of temporary madness I bought a case or two of ůmore

Swann's Summer Vintage Poster Auction

Swann's mammoth auction of Vintage Posters on August 1 set at least six auction records, including a new high price for Sutro Baths. The text-free variant of the 1896 poster, promoting a former San Francisco landmark, brought $23,400. The exhibition for Swann Galleries’ annual summer auction overflowed the usual space, taking both exhibition floors at the house’s Flatiron district premises.
    
Alphonse Mucha’s Times of the Day was the top lot of the auction, selling to an institution for $40,000. Other Mucha works received significant attention from collectors: Bières de la Meuse, 1897, sold for $17,500 over an $8-12,000 presale estimate, and Salon des Cent, 1896, brought $10,000. The sale set a record price for Peter Behren’s Der Kuss, 1898, a color woodcut published by Pan magazine, at $5,000. Other Art Nouveau highlights included Marcello Dudovich’s 1908 design for the Italian department store Mele ($6,500).
 
The auction offered an unusually broad selection of food and drink posters, ůmore

Results of PBA's July 19th Fine Pens Sale

PBA Galleries seized leadership of the Fine Writing Instruments auction market in its successful debut Fine Pens sale on July 19th in San Francisco. The 361 lot auction attracted participants from all over the globe, and over 90% of the lots sold went above their low estimates.

Montblanc Artisan Edition pens performed particularly well in the sale. A Montblanc Leonardo da Vinci 18K gold skeleton fountain pen soared past its $14,000-18,000 estimate to achieve $48,000, while a Genghis Khan 18K gold fountain pen brought $45,000 with an estimate of $14,000-18,000.  A Montblanc Charlie Chaplin 18K gold skeleton fountain pen also reached $45,000 with an estimate of $20,000-25,000, and a Wassily Kandinsky "Masters of Abstract Art" 18K gold skeleton fountain pen fetched $24,000. Strong Montblanc results extended to Writers Series and Patron of Art series pens as well, with a Peter I the Great and Catherine II the Great matching-numbered pair of Patron of Art pens achieving $10,200, an Alexander the Great Patron pen reaching $4500, and a Marcel Proust Writers Series pen selling for $2160.

Vintage Montblanc rarities also found favor in the sale, with 43 of 44 vintage lots sold, many of them well above the estimate range. A Montblanc No. 12 "Goliath" reached $9000, while a Montblanc Architect's pen sold for $6000 and a No. 128 Platinum-Lined celluloid pen fetched $2700.

Other brands achieved impressive results as well, with a Montegrappa White Nights 18K gold fountain pen selling for $6600, an OMAS Gentleman Seaman 18K gold pen selling for $5400 and an OMAS Aleksandr Pushkin 18K gold pen reaching $4800.  Vintage results include a Parker No. 47 eyedropper pen (known to collectors as the "Pregnant Parker"), circa 1925, which sold for $5400; a rare Pilot-Namiki red lacquer maki-e pen by Shogo, circa 1925, which reached an impressive ůmore

by John Huckans
The Red Scare Continues...

Collusion. ME [a.F., ad L.]  1. Secret agreement or understanding for purpose of trickery or fraud; underhand scheming or working with another; deceit, fraud, trickery… [Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles.  Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1955]. 

So it wasn't Sheldon Cooper after all. Twelve Russians (not Marcel Lazăr Lehel) have been charged with meddling in the campaign leading up to the 2016 election by hacking into servers and publishing e-mails that, among other things, showed close cooperation between DNC officials and many of the print and television news reporters that the public used to rely on for accurate and unbiased news.  Nowadays, not so much.

I suppose this could be considered serious outside interference or collusion. Does the public really need to know or does the public have the right to know about Donna Brazile's (then CNN & ABC contributor and vice chair of the DNC) e-mails of March 5, 2016 in which she supplied questions to the campaign in advance of the CNN primary debate or her e-mail of March 12, 2016 in which she says, in part, “from time to time I get the questions in advance...” and then goes on to pass along the text of a question that will be asked at the CNN town hall with Clinton and Bernie Sanders?  Thanks to Wikileaks, now we know. ůmore

Results of Revolutionary War & Presidential Americana Auction

On June 21 the auction of Revolutionary & Presidential Americana from the Collection of William Wheeler III at Swann Galleries saw a 91% sell-through rate for important autographs, letters and documents from some of the biggest players in American history. Wheeler, a manufacturing consultant from a long line of New Englanders, devoted much of his adult life to acquiring illuminating pieces of Americana from the Revolutionary War and nearly every president. Wheeler harbored a special fascination with the life of Andrew Jackson, which led to a run of 34 significant letters and documents signed by the president, 88% of which found buyers. Highlights included a retained copy of a letter to be published by editor Thomas Eastin, providing his own account of the altercations that would lead to his killing Charles Dickinson in a duel. One of two known complete drafts, it reached $7,000. An 1833 autograph letter signed as president to his adoptive son, Andrew Jackson, Jr., a request ůmore

by John C. Huckans
Civil War Isn't Funny
(originally published October 11, 2017)

Same goes for any war. When Gilbert a'Beckett was writing his comic histories (England, Rome, etc.) one has to wonder what was going through his mind. In a comic history of anything, most writers and readers understand it involves a lot of selective historical amnesia, mood-altering tricks and other forms of cover-up. But passage of time softens a lot of things – we remember getting mail from Hastings (Sussex) years ago, with part of the postmark reading “Hastings – popular with tourists since 1066”.  Although I could imagine a'Beckett writing that, I doubt if he would have wanted to handle the circumstances surrounding the death of Edward II (father of the great Edward III) whose general ineptitude and poor judgment, unduly influenced by his preoccupation and infatuation with Hugh Despenser (the younger), ultimately led to his execution. In those days (the early 14th century) beheading would have been considered euthanasia because drawing and quartering, a truly hideous form of capital punishment, involved being hanged, disemboweled (while still conscious) and cut into quarters. In Edward's case lethal injection was used: “... his screams as his bowels were burnt out by red-hot irons passed into his body were heard outside the prison walls...”¹ Beyond horrible by any stretch – I don't think a'Beckett would have covered it, but wonder what Hayley Geftman-Gold would have said.

By now most of you are aware of the uncharitable comments of the recently fired CBS executive who, in response to the recent Las Vegas mass murder, posted on Facebook “...I'm not even sympathetic bc [sic] country music fan often are ůmore

Medieval Monsters Subject of New Morgan Exhibition

From dragons, unicorns, and other fabled beasts to inventive hybrid creations, artists in the Middle Ages filled the world around them with marvels of imagination. Their creations reflected a society and culture at once captivated and repelled by the idea of the monstrous. Drawing on the Morgan Library & Museum's superb medieval collection as well as loans from New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, Medieval Monsters: Terrors, Aliens, Wonders — on view beginning June 8th  — examines the complex social role of monsters in medieval Europe. It brings together approximately seventy works spanning the ninth to sixteenth centuries, and ranging from illuminated manuscripts and tapestry to metalwork and ivory.

The show explores three key themes: “Terrors” demonstrates how monsters enhanced the aura of those in power, whether rulers, knights, or saints. “Aliens” reveals how marginalized groups in European societies—such as Jews, Muslims, women, the poor, and the disabled—were further alienated by being depicted as monstrous. The final section on “wonders” considers the strange beauties and frightful anomalies such as dragons, unicorns, or giants that populated the medieval world. The show runs through ůmore

News & Notes

Southern New England Antiquarian Booksellers

Southern New England Antiquarian Booksellers (SNEAB) held its inaugural meeting of 2018 on April 2 at Historic Deerfield’s Memorial Libraries. Librarian David Bosse spoke on the history of the organization and collections, and gave members a tour of Historic Deerfield’s Henry N. Flynt Library and the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association Library.  Lunch and business followed at New England Book Auctions in South Deerfield, and incumbent officers began new terms: Betty Ann Sharp, Bearly Read Books, Sudbury, Clerk; Eileen Corbeil, White Square Fine Books & Art, Easthampton, Treasurer; Peter L. Masi, Montague, Vice-president; Duane Stevens, Wiggins Fine Books, Shelburne Falls, President.  SNEAB currently has 135 members. The 2018 directory is published and available through members, brochure racks, and their website.

On Sunday of Patriots day weekend, the Boston West Book & Ephemera Fair was held at Minuteman High School in Lexington, and on Sunday, October 14, 2018, the 14th Annual Pioneer Valley Book & Ephemera Fair will be held at Smith Vocational School, Northampton. There are also shows planned for December 8, 2018 and April 6, 2019.

Hobart Book Village

Hay-on-Wye established itself as the first book town in the world and remains the most famous thanks to the pioneering efforts and promotional talents of Richard Booth.  Other rural villages have tried to emulate that model but except for Wigtown in Scotland and Hobart in New York's Catskills, few have had lasting success.  ůmore

by John Huckans
The Iron Cage, a Review
(originally published May 2014)

The literature of the Nakba (expulsion and dispossession of the Palestinian people, starting on or about May 15, 1948) is vast.  There are many published personal narratives such as Sari Nusseibeh’s Once Upon a Country (NY, Farrar, Straus, 2007) and Karl Sabbagh’s  Palestine, A Personal History (NY, Grove Press, 2007), unsparing historical accounts such as expatriate Israeli historian Ilan Pappé’s The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (Oxford, OneWorld, 2006), and countless books and essays focusing on various aspects of the struggle. There is even a significant sub-genre of literature relating to the “Israel Lobby” by such writers as ex-Congressman Paul Findley and more recently by academics John Mearsheimer (University of Chicago) and Stephen Walt (Harvard).

With this as a backdrop, it’s refreshing to read a book that places the Palestinian experience within a broader context. ůmore

The Morgan Receives Gift of Major Collection of Works by James Joyce

The Morgan Library & Museum announced today that is has received the gift of one of the foremost private collections of works by the iconic Irish author James Joyce (1882-1941). The collection was assembled by noted New York gallery owner Sean Kelly and his wife, Mary Kelly. Totaling almost 350 items, it includes many signed and inscribed first editions of Joyce’s publications, as well as important manuscripts and correspondence, photographs, posters, publishers’ promotional material, translations, and a comprehensive reference collection.

Among the many highlights are Joyce’s first stand-alone publication, the broadside The Holy Office (1904); four copies of the first edition of Ulysses (1922) on three different papers, one of which is inscribed; a fragment of the Ulysses manuscript; Joyce’s typed schematic outline of the novel; and photographs of Joyce by Man Ray and Berenice Abbott. Also of note are a selection of publishers’ prospectuses from England, America, and France, including one annotated by Sylvia Beach; one of the twenty-five published copies of Joyce’s poetry collection, Pomes Penyeach (1927), with decorations by his daughter, Lucia; an advance copy of Finnegans Wake (1939); and ůmore

Letters to the Editor

NeglectedBooks.com is an interesting website that your readers might enjoy exploring.  The Book Trail is like a very long wagon train, and it's easy to lose sight of the predecessors who have come before us. . . (and) expanding the Letters to the Editor column might be a way for bookdealers to strengthen their ties to the trade, swap ideas about what works/what doesn't work in a rapidly-changing marketplace, and give potential bookdealers more perspective on what they might be getting into if they pursue the profession.

Back in the days when cities had book rows, book "hounds" could ramble practically door-to-door, browsing their way through tables of books set up in front of shops.  But with most of these book rows gone – victims of gentrification and skyrocketing real estate costs – a new generation of  potential book collectors and bookdealers have a harder time getting a sense of the trade as a "field," with a rich past and a viable future.  The shops have scattered in their flight from exorbitant rents, isolating bookdealers and weakening their sense of being members of a storied professional community.

Michael Ginsberg and Taylor Bowie have interviewed exhibitors at the ABAA shows and posted the interviews on the Net, going bookstall-to-bookstall, asking each dealer the same questions:  how did you become interested in bookdealing and who are the people/shops that have influenced you?  By asking them why and how they entered the field you get a strong sense of some of the major players of the past, where the profession has been, where it is today, and where it might be headed, going forward.

An afterthought about Neglected Books:  it is a reality check on the history of literature.  Anyone who only reads the landmark prize-winners – the best of the best –  loses their context, to make comparisons and get a sense of WHY they are prizewinners.  What made them superior to the also-rans of their time, and how/why did yesterday's important writer or book fall from grace? 

I had the great good luck to grow up in Christopher Morley's home town on Long Island, saw the now-obscure Big Man once, and went to his sparsely-attended funeral, so became aware early on of the transitory nature of literary fame and popularity.  ůmore

by John Huckans
The Russians Are Still Coming! (Or, Keeping the Red Scare Alive)

We've received news that several Russian nationals have been indicted for interfering in our 2016 election by using the Internet to spread made-up stories and salacious gossip in order to discredit major party presidential candidates and sow confusion among voters. Fusion GPS, apparently, bought into it, repackaged the product, and sold it to willing members of the press and other political operatives.  Badly done — I don't think the United States makes a practice of meddling in the internal affairs of other nations.

Well maybe just once (Operation Ajax) back in 1953.  As informed citizens and students of history, you will remember having read about the MI6 and CIA operation launched in June of that year to figure out ways to get rid of Muhammed Mosaddeq, the democratically elected prime minister of Iran. The Brits thought Mosaddeq a nasty piece of work because he had the brass to push for the notion that Iran should receive a fair share of the profits from the sale of the nation's oil resources, since old contracts made years before between the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now British Petroleum) and corrupt Iranian monarchs (secured by some well-placed bribes) ensured that Iran would receive just 16% of the profits (after all operating costs).  Nice work if you can manage to keep people's eyes off the ball. By comparison, American oil companies were paying Venezuela and Saudi Arabia 50%, the going rate at ůmore

Uncommon, Interesting & Rare Books Offered by Our Supporters and Sponsors

Early Aeronautica, Vintage Aviation.  Books, sales literature, photographs, flight manuals, log books, uniforms, pilot badges, posters, postcards, fabric aircraft insignia; both aircraft and airships, 19th 21st centuries. Online catalog, ordering and shipping; 50-years in business. (989) 835-3908

Hobart Book Village. A small, but vital book town nestled in the northern Catskill village of Hobart (NY).  Five independent booksellers, an art gallery, fine restaurants and coffee shops make this a favored destination for weekenders and day-trippers.  More info: (607) 538-9080 or whabooks@gmail.com.

John C. Huckans Books A small selection of rare, scarce & unusual books and pamphlets in the areas of Americana, Spanish History, Travel, Polar Regions, Middle East, English & American Literature, Latin Americana, Utopian Communities, Miscellanea.  Open by appointment: (315) 655-9654.

J & J Lubrano Music Antiquarians LLC.  A unique selection of historical items relating to Music and Dance including autograph musical manuscripts and letters of major composers; first and early editions of printed music; rare books on music and dance; and original paintings, drawings, prints, and photographs in our specialties, 15th-21st centuries. Established 1977. Please visit our fully searchable website.

R & A Petrilla BooksRecent catalogues available for browsing in PDF format.  New items in various fields are added to listings each week.  To view, please visit our website.

Philadelphia Rare Books & Manuscripts.  A large stock of early books and manuscripts pertaining to Europe and the Americas. Located in The Arsenal (Bldg.4), at 2375 Bridge St., Philadelphia, PA.  Open by appointment: (888) 960-7562.

Quill & Brush.  A large selection of important literature and modern first editions.

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