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Book Fair Calendar

Vermont Summer Antiquarian Book Fair.  Bennington, Vermont.   August 11, 2019.     (more information)

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

PulpFest.  Mars PA.   August 15–18, 2019.

Papermania.  Hartford, CT.   August 24–26, 2019.

Baltimore Summer Antique Show & Book Fair.  Baltimore, MD.   August 29–September 1, 2019.

Georgia Book & Paper Fair.  Decatur, GA.   August 31–September 1, 2019.

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

Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair.  Sacramento, CA.   September 7, 2019.

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

Paper Town.  Boxborough, MA.   September 21, 2019.

Montreal Antiquarian Book Fair.  Montreal, QC (Canada).   September 28–29, 2019.

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

Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair.  Seattle, WA.   October 12–13, 2019.

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

Rochester Antiquarian Book Fair.  Rochester, NY.   October 19, 2019.

Pioneer Valley Book & Ephemera Fair.  Northampton, MA.   October 20, 2019.

Toronto International Antiquarian Book Fair.  Toronto, ON (Canada).   November 1–3, 2019.

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

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

Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair.  Boston, MA.   November 15–17, 2019.

Northampton Antiquarian Book & Book Arts Fair.  Northhampton, MA.   December 6–7, 2019.

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

San Francisco Antiquarian Book, Print & Paper Fair.  San Francisco, CA.   January 31–February 1, 2020.     (more information)

D.C. National Rare Book & Ephemera Fair.  Arlington, VA.   April 17–18, 2020.

Book Auction Calendar

Freeman’s.  Philadelphia, PA.   August 15, 2019.     (more information)

Addison & Sarova.  Macon, GA.   August 17, 2019.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   August 22, 2019.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   August 29, 2019.     (more information)

Addison & Sarova.  Macon, GA.   September 1, 2019.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   September 5, 2019.     (more information)

Bonham’s.  London, England.   September 19, 2019.

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   September 19, 2019.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   September 19, 2019.     (more information)

Sotheby’s.  London, England.   September 24, 2019.

Leslie Hindman.  Chicago, IL.   September 26, 2019.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   September 26, 2019.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   September 26, 2019.     (more information)

Bonham’s.  New York, NY.   October 1, 2019.

Leslie Hindman.  Chicago, IL.   October 3, 2019.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   October 8, 2019.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   October 10, 2019.     (more information)

Leslie Hindman.  Chicago, IL.   October 17, 2019.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   October 17, 2019.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   October 22, 2019.     (more information)

Rare Books & Manuscripts at PBA Galleries

PBA Galleries' Rare Books & Manuscript Auction is presently accepting bids for Sale No. 682 ending on September 5, 2019. 

Over three hundred lots of rare, significant, valuable and unusual materials, ranging from early printed books and religious works, landmarks of American literature, beautiful color plate botanicals, narratives of Pacific exploration, rarities of Americana, finely bound books and sets, manuscript Cuban slavery documents, and more. To inspect the illustrated catalogue and place bids, log in to  "Rare Books & Manuscripts"

On Thursday, August 22nd, PBA Galleries will offer an auction of Americana - Travel - Cartography -Mexican War (Sale No. 681) with material from the Warren Heckrotte Collection. PBA will be presenting over 500 lots ranging from a book signed by Apollo XI astronauts to color lithographs depicting the bloody battles of the Mexican-American War. Included are books, maps and atlases, manuscripts, photographs, prints, views, ephemera, and much more, with historic material on the African American experience, the California Gold Rush, travels throughout the globe, geological investigations, early Mexican manuscripts and documents, slavery in Cuba, and more.

The auction features significant lots documenting American exploration. In space, highlights include Michael Collins’ Liftoff, his account of the American space program, inscribed and signed by Neil Armstrong, and signed by Collins and Buzz Aldrin – the full crew of the Apollo XI mission, when men first …more

Results of Swann's Summer Poster Auction

Swann Galleries’ summer sale of Vintage Posters on Wednesday, August 7 was a lively event with active bidding across all platforms. “Many of the auction's niche collecting categories saw heated competition for trophy pieces, including sections on propaganda, sports and auto racing, as well as beach and summer resort posters,” noted Nicholas D. Lowry, Vintage Posters Director and house President. The sale saw six record prices and brought a number of posters to market for the first time.

The house’s most extensive selection of automobile posters to date saw competitive bidding from car aficionados. Highlights included a 1970 ad for Porsche prominently featuring actor Steve McQueen, which earned a record $7,000 over a high estimate of $1,200; and Ludwig Hohlwein’s 1914 Mercedes poster in German, which brought $10,000.

Sergio Trujillo Magnenat’s advertisements for the first Bolivarian Games in 1938 proved to be successful in his market debut, with all of the four works on offer finding buyers. His designs promoting track-and-field events—javelin, and discus—earned $4,160 apiece, while the designs for tennis and polo were won for $4,000 and $2,470, respectively.   

War and political propaganda included William Sanger’s 1936 campaign poster for Roosevelt and Lehman, a first at auction for the image and a record for the artist at $7,250.  James Montgomery Flagg was present with his iconic 1917 image featuring Uncle Sam, I Want You for U.S. Army, and his circa 1918 call to join the marines featuring a soldier riding a leopard ($4,940 and $5,500, respectively). Howard Chandler Christy’s Aviation / Fly with the U.S. Marines, 1920, rounded out the selection at $6,750.

The sale was led by Alphonse Mucha’s The Seasons, four decorative panels on silk, 1900, at $14,300. Also by Mucha was Lance Parfum Rodo, 1896, an early work by …more

Swann's Summer Shelf Sale

Swann Galleries' summer shelf sale will take place on August 22nd, with the shelf list itself available on-line on August 16th.  The  exhibitions hours are Monday, August 19th, from 10am to 6pm; Tuesday, August 20th, from 10am to 6pm; Wednesday, August 21, from 10am to 6pm; and Thursday, August 22nd, from 10am until the time of sale.

The subjects and genres included are 19th & 20th Century Literature, Americana, Early Printed Books, Medical & Scientific Books, Art & Illustrated Books, Theater & Dance, Prints & Drawings, Photobooks, Photographs, Autographs, Posters, and Maps.

Each year Swann groups together unsold lots from the previous year, often including passed over sleepers or bargains overlooked in the more publicized single-subject sales.  In the past this has been an opportunity for antiquarian booksellers to acquire good solid material for stock at relative bargain prices. For more information call (212) 254-4710 or e-mail shelf@swanngalleries.com. 

…more

by John Huckans
In Praise of Follies
(originally published in the Sept/Oct 2003 issue of Book Source Magazine)

The Victorian period, especially in England, was a hotbed for architectural follies. In an article on Victorian follies in the July 2003 issue of The Antiquer, Adele Kenny notes several definitions, including the Oxford English Dictionary’s kindly and understated — “a popular name for any costly structure considered to have shown folly in the builder.” Chambers goes a bit further with “a great useless structure, or one left unfinished, having begun without a reckoning of the cost” and the Oxford Companion to Gardens, in case we still don’t get it, says architectural follies are “characterized by a certain excess in terms of eccentricity, cost or conspicuous inutility.” I think the two words “conspicuous inutility” sum it up best, but say what you will a lot of us love them all the same.

Architectural follies began to appear in England during the 18th century but it wasn’t until the early industrial period of the 19th century that wealthy new owners of landed estates were able to indulge their fantasies on a grand scale. The construction of great stone towers of various shapes and sizes, faux Greek Parthenons, private churches or chapels, obelisks and other monuments to impracticality (often left unfinished so as to suggest ruins from a distant past) in many ways represented a subconscious rebellion against the utilitarianism of the factory age — and were often built by the industrialists themselves.

An inquiry at your …more

Swann Galleries to Offer Books from Melville’s Library

Swann Galleries is poised to offer a rare look at Herman Melville’s personal library in a timely sale announced on the eve of the author’s bicentennial (August 1st).  Two volumes of Greek & Roman classics owned—and heavily annotated—by Melville are set to come across the block in Fine Books & Manuscripts on October 10.

In March of 1849, a year prior to Moby Dick’s publication, Melville purchased a 37-volume set of classics from the publishing company Harper and Brothers. Here, making their market debut, are Euripides, Juvenal and Persius, in the only two known surviving volumes from the set once owned by the author. Melville’s autograph can be found in the volume containing Juvenal and Persius, and all are marked with numerous annotations illuminating which passages were of interest to the author. Also featured throughout are brief observations, most notably his annotation to Samuel Johnson’s The Vanity of Human Wishes, an imitation of the Tenth Satire in Juvenal, which reads: "Prose is uncertain, verse still more so. But the meaning here would seem to be—Virtue, tired with contempt, gives it up, and latches herself for self-support to Pride & Prudence; but fails here; i.e., perishes, probably, on the gallows—of slander, most likely."

Possibly the most interesting revelation from the volumes is that the author brought them shipboard on an 1860 New York to San Francisco trip aboard the Meteor. The names of places often appear in the books Melville traveled with. The present classics are annotated with the initials C.H and C. Horn., marking his time as he rounded Chile’s Cape Horn. From his letters we know that Melville occupied his time during the long trip with the study of poetry, the marginalia found within the volumes provides a more complete understanding of the author and the poetic literature that became the focus of his later works. Expected to bring $40,000 to $60,000, the discovery is the first works from Melville’s library to come to auction in more than a decade.

The full catalogue, which in addition to Autographs will feature 19th & 20th Century Literature and Art, Fine Press & Illustrated Books, will be available in …more

Summer Book Fairs and the Open Road

The summer book fairs are in full swing and unless my perception is skewed, it appears that more fairs have been scheduled for the current summer travel season than has been the case in recent years. The Rose City Book Fair (Portland, OR) took place in mid-June, but so far we've had no report on participation or attendance other than the event was a success.

The Cooperstown Antiquarian Book Fair on June 29th was the most well attended in years and there was a significant increase in the number of booksellers participating. Hotel accommodations in Cooperstown can be expensive at almost any time of the year, but in summer it is especially so. To alleviate this ongoing problem, book fair organizers Willis Monie and Mary Brodzinsky arranged with fellow members of the Cooperstown Foundation for Excellence in Education (CFEE) to host visiting booksellers in return for a tax deductible contribution to the foundation, whose purpose is to fund educational enrichment programs not ordinarily provided for by the school budget. The experiment, which turned out to be …more

New Offerings from the Lubranos

J & J Lubrano Music Antiquarians have just issued their “New Acquisitions July 2019” list. It contains 20 unique items dating from the 16th through 20th centuries, including a 17th century manuscript collection of sacred and secular music by 16th and 17th century composers for multiple voices, one of eight part books formerly in the important ducal collection of Georg Rudolf of Liegnitz in Silesia. Only three other books from the set are known to have survived following the dispersal of the collection during the Second World War, all in European institutional collections. Other items of interest include a fine engraved portrait of Beethoven considered to be one of the most authentic likenesses of the composer; a copy of a rare 1626 Spanish organ treatise by Correa De Arauxo, Libro de tientos, containing one of the most important collections of contemporary organ music printed in tablature; and an attractively-bound copy of …more

Lewis Evans Map Fetches $125,000 at Swann

“There was strong bidding across the board and it’s hard not to be pleased with the general outcome of the sale,” said Maps & Atlases Specialist, Caleb Kiffer of Swann Galleries June 6 sale of Maps & Atlases, Natural Science & Color Plate Books which saw an 84% sell-through rate. Highlights included rare cartographic publications by Lewis Evans and Petrus Plancius, as well as color plate books by John Fisk Allen and Willian Sharp.
    
The star of the auction was the May 2, 1755 draft of A General Map of the Middle British Colonies in America by Lewis Evans.  The early proof of the historic map that which documented the Colonies into Ohio for the first time sold for $125,000. “Having the opportunity to bring the Lewis Evans 1755 pre-production proof copy to auction has been a highlight of my many years in this business.  It jump-started my heart the moment the consignor presented it to me and continued beating at a fast pace up until the moment it hammered. I'm calling the map an artifact, which it truly is, and having it double the estimate demonstrates its historical significance. I'm very pleased with the outcome and honored to have brought it out into the public realm here at Swann Galleries,” Kiffer said of the offering.  
    
A 1792 Plan of the Town of Baltimore and its Environs by Antoinne Pierre Folie ($21,250) and John Montresor’s large 1775 map of the Hudson River Valley ($8,125) concluded a overall spectacular offering of American cartography.
      
Decorative cartography of note included Petrus Plancius’ 1592-94 map of Southern Africa, which featured fanciful beasts, sea monsters and a scene of giant lobsters devouring a ship ($87,500). Two works by Pieter Verbiest found success: a double-hemispheric world map from 1636 reached $25,000, as well as a 1639 representation of Spain and Portugal sold for $8,450.
    
John Fisk Allen and William Sharp’s Victoria Regia, 1854, which consisted of six chromolithographed plates of the life phases of the Great Water Lily of America, lead the selection of natural history and color plate books at …more

New World Auction Record for Philadelphia Artist Cecilia Beaux

On June 9, Freeman’s held its ever popular, semi-annual American Art & Pennsylvania Impressionists auction, a strong sale that boasted an impressive array of works by many well-known artists. The auction was well attended, with a full house (despite very tempting beach weather) and many national and international phone bidders, including prominent private collectors and several institutions. The sale totaled $2.47 million (BP inclusive) with 81% of the lots sold.

Most notably, a stunning, early portrait by artist Cecilia Beaux (1855-1942) depicting her life-long friend dressed as the mythological water nymph, Undine (Lot 19) soared above its initial estimate of $60,000-80,000, eventually selling to a New England institution for a record-breaking $454,000. After spirited bidding between numerous phone bidders, private collectors and institutions around the country, Ethel Page as Undine established a new world auction record for the artist. This impressive result reflects the current strong market interest in female artists, and for Beaux herself, who has been hitherto underappreciated. The successful sale of this portrait also reaffirms Freeman’s as the preeminent auction house for handling works made in Philadelphia.  The painting was originally executed on Chestnut Street in 1885, and it seems only natural that …more

New Antiquarian Music Catalogue Published

J & J Lubrano Music Antiquarians have just issued their “New Acquisitions” list. It contains an interesting and diverse assortment of 27 music- and dance-related items spanning the 16th through 20th centuries. Things that caught our attention include the first edition, first issue of Handel’s famous opera Il Radamisto published in London in 1720 and first produced at The Haymarket Theatre on April 27, 1720 with King George I and his entourage in attendance; La Tonotechnie ou l’Art de Noter les Cylindres by Marie Engramelle, published in Paris in 1775, a treatise discussing how to play the musical cylinders, a mechanical musical instrument for which both Mozart and Haydn had composed; an unusually early (1839) unpublished letter written by Richard Wagner to the conductor Heinrich Dorn, his successor at the State Theater in Riga, protesting the manner in which he had been usurped by …more

by John 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

Records Set in Recent Americana Sale

Swann Galleries’ Printed & Manuscript Americana sale on Thursday, April 16 was the house’s third straight sale in the category to finish over $1,000,000, achieving several significant records. Institutions made up the bulk of the buyers. Specialist Rick Stattler commented: “The market remains vigorous for scarce and important material, with five-figure highlights in all of our main subject areas: early American imprints, the American Revolution, Civil War, Mormons, the West, and Latin Americana.”

Mexican imprints proved to be popular with six earning top prices in the sale. Highlights included a first edition 1674 pamphlet by famed Mexican poetess Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, consisting of Christmas carols to be sung in honor of the thirteenth-century St. Pedro Nolasco. It set a record for the author at $45,000. Juan Navarro’s 1604 Liber in quo quatuor passions Christi Domini continentur, the first music by a New World composer printed in the Americas, earned $32,500, and a first edition of Alonso de Molina’s 1565 full-length confessional manual with instructions on the administration of the sacraments, written in Nahuatl and Spanish, brought $21,250. Mexican manuscripts featured an extensive illustrated file detailing a land dispute between a ranch owner and his Nahua neighbors, with 350 manuscript pages ($30,000).
 
“The successful sale of the Holzer Lincolniana collection last fall brought in a strong group of related material for this auction, including our top lot, a beautiful portrait of Lincoln by Matthew Henry Wilson,” said Stattler–the artist’s copy of the last portrait rendered from life set a record for Wilson at $55,000. Other Lincoln and Civil War material of note included a newspaper extra from Detroit announcing Lincoln’s assassination, which topped its high estimate at $15,000, a likely record for any newspaper with that news, and Benson Lossing’s Pictorial History of the Civil War of the United States of America, 1866-68, ($15,000).

Texas material was led by the manuscript diary of William Farrar Smith documenting the 1849 Whiting-Smith Expedition to form a trail from San Antonio to El Paso ($47,500) and a first edition of Batholomé Garcia’s Manual para Administrar los Santos Sacramentos, 1760, the only early work published in the Pakawan language at …more

by Karen Austin
Garry R. Austin

Garry R. Austin, 71 of Wilmington, VT died peacefully after a long battle with MDS and AML, at the Centers for Living and rehabilitation in Bennington, VT on April 14, 2019. He was the son of Arlene H. Austin of Syracuse, NY.  In 1982 he was married to the former Karen Flanders, also of Syracuse, on a lawn overlooking the ocean in Wells, ME.  Garry's early education was in the Catholic school system in Syracuse, NY. After sampling several colleges, he finished his Bachelor's at SUNY Oswego in 1975.

Garry's athletic ability in lacrosse led him to play in school and with the NALA. His interest in General Custer led him to the University of Montana to pursue graduate work in American History, but the urge to travel soon set in. After a number of jobs including a short professional Box Lacrosse career in Canada, Garry and Karen settled in Wells in 1980, and opened Snug Harbor Books, a used and rare bookshop. They went on to open a second shop, Austin's Antiquarian Books in 1985, in an 1840s house with an attached barn. By 1987, the couple was running three shops, the last being a seasonal store in York Beach.

They sold their business in Maine and went to Watertown, NY for two years to be closer to family, but soon decided the business required more traffic than the upstate New York town could provide. They returned to Maine until 1994 when they discovered the wonderful resort town of Wilmington, VT.  Austin's Antiquarian Books operated there until Garry's health began to fail in 2018. Garry held several offices in the Vermont Antiquarian Booksellers' Association, and was a member of the Planning Commission in Wilmington. Garry and Karen ran book fairs as well, including but not limited to, the Vermont Summer Fair for the VABA and the Albany Book and Paper Fair. He was also an avid fly fisherman and lover of the outdoors.

After meeting and becoming friends with Theodore Roosevelt expert Peter Scanlon, Garry fell in love with Roosevelt, and went on, after his specialist friend and mentor died, to take up the mantle of Theodore Roosevelt Specialist. He is a former member of the Theodore Roosevelt Association. The website TheodoreRooseveltBooks.com will continue to be run by Garry's wife Karen. So wonderful is the community of booksellers that …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 utopia 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

The Morgan Presents the Satirical Drawings of William Hogarth

The Morgan Library & Museum announces a new exhibition of satirical drawings and prints by renowned artist William Hogarth (1697–1764) which will run from May 24 to September 22, 2019. Best known for his humorous political commentary, Hogarth’s work engaged a broad audience and agitated for legislative and social change. His intricate drawings and richly anecdotal scenes depict the ills and injustices of eighteenth-century urban life, exploring the connections between violence, crime, alcohol abuse, and cruelty to animals. He hoped his graphic work would amuse, shock, and ultimately edify his audience.

Opening on May 24, Hogarth: Cruelty and Humor tells the story of Hogarth’s iconic images and the social realities of life in Georgian London that inspired him to advocate for reform through popular works of art. It is the first show at the Morgan devoted to this artist, whose style was so influential in British art that the word “Hogarthian” remains a recognizable way of describing works of satire.

Featuring over twenty works, the show investigates Hogarth’s creative process and examines his embrace of humor, highlighting the Morgan’s exceptional cache of preparatory drawings for his two most acclaimed print series from 1751: Beer Street and Gin Lane, and The Stages of Cruelty. Hogarth’s prints documenting the dangerous impact of the gin craze, Beer Street and Gin Lane, generated popular support for the 1751 Gin Act and other reform efforts, while the Stages of Cruelty reflects the growing anxiety about episodes of human brutality in London. Included in the show are the only other two known studies related to the Stages of Cruelty; these works reveal the complex generative process of the series. Also on view are drawings from The Royal Collection Trust that represent Hogarth’s first and last forays into satire.

Fiercely independent, Hogarth was driven to innovate in order to elevate the status of British art, creating new genres and modes of expression in his painting, printmaking, and drawing. His compositions are rich with narrative detail. It was his adoption of such “low” subjects, no less than his use of humor, that led him to struggle to be taken seriously throughout his career. “William Hogarth’s works should be enjoyed for their artistry, humor, and activism, and as such hold a special place in our drawings and prints collection,” said Colin B. Bailey, director of the museum. “The artist was a keen observer of his city, and his visual anecdotes were a brilliant means of communicating to a wider public.”

William Hogarth (1697–1764) achieved substantial artistic and commercial success in his lifetime, both as a printmaker and as a painter. Despite his enduring fame, Hogarth’s drawings are today little known and …more

Printed & Manuscript African Americana

Printed & Manuscript African Americana at Swann Galleries on Thursday, March 28 saw a sell-through rate of 90%, a record for the category. Enthusiastic bidding was seen across all sections of the sale, resulting in seven records, with significant interest from institutions.
    
A 1958 edition of The Negro Travelers’ Green Book by Victor H. Green broke a record for any edition of the publication at $27,500. The travel guide for African-American families was indispensable during a time when long-distance travel would be a cause for apprehension about finding lodging, gasoline, or even a restroom. Also of note was a rare survival of the Jim Crow era, a circa late 1950s letterpress sign by the Tennessee Public Service Commission proclaiming Notice: This Part of the Car for Colored People, which sold for $10,400, and a first edition of Martin Luther King’s Why We Can’t Wait, 1964, signed by the civil rights leader, which brought $8,750.
    
The sale was led by volume one, number one of The Mirror of Liberty, July 1838, the first black periodical published in the United States, edited by David Ruggles–one of New York’s leading abolitionists. The radical abolitionist publication fetched $37,500. Records were set for An Oration on the Abolition of the Slave Trade, Delivered in the African Church, 1808, by Peter Williams, at $15,000, and Life of Isaac Mason as a Slave, 1893, by Isaac Mason, at $1,500.

Additional material relating to slavery and abolition included a substantial archive of correspondence to John Augustine Washington III relating to Mount Vernon, other family estates, the heirs of America’s Founding Father, often discussing the enslaved people on whom their fortune was built. The archive brought $32,000. A signed document from Newport, R.I. recording the illegal act of an American captain agreeing to bring slaves from Africa to Havana in 1806, garnered $11,250; and a circa-1850 letterpress broadside proclaiming Union with Freemen–No Union with Slaveholders. Anti-Slavery Meetings!, issued by the Western Anti-Slavery Society, was won for …more

Auction Record for Mohawk Chief & Loyalist Joseph Brant

Autographs on March 21, 2019 at Swann Galleries saw significant interest in Americana, scientists and popular figures. Of the sale Marco Tomaschett, the house’s autographs Specialist, noted –  “Highest prices were mostly for historical autographs, demonstrating that the broad interest in history continues.”

A 1776 autograph letter signed by Joseph Brant, Thayeadanegea–the leader of the Mohawk people and military, and British Loyalist–writing with news after he had been in England meeting with King George III, recounting events related to the American rebels, brought $35,000, a record for a letter by Brant.

Founding Fathers were also popular, with a 1793 ALS by Alexander Hamilton, as Secretary of the Treasury, to the President and Directors of the Bank of the U.S. expressing that they will receive an appropriation for giving advances to the Mint ($12,500); George Washington’s signed ticket for the Mountain Road Lottery from 1768 fetched $8,450; two autograph documents signed from 1764 and 1765 concerning payment for services rendered in various lawsuits by John Adams brought $3,900; and a 1792 printed document signed by Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State, sold for $5,000.
 
An 1875 photograph signed and dated by Ulysses S. Grant led an assortment of signatures from U.S. Presidents, earning $10,000. A partly-printed document signed by Abraham Lincoln, appointing John T. Hogeboom as Appraiser of Merchandise in April of 1864, brought $5,500, and a group of five typed letters, signed by Theodore Roosevelt from 1902-05 to his sister Corrine Roosevelt Robinson, was won for $3,380.

Of British interest was a group of six ALS from 1989-92 by Diana, Princess of Wales, to her friend Elizabeth Tilberis, the editor of British Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, as well as an 1884 ALS by Queen Victoria to Alfred, Lord Tennyson, expressing her sorrows over the death of her son Leopold ($10,400 and $5,750, respectively).

Scientists and inventors were represented with a 1944 ink-and-wash portrait by Charlotte Berend-Corinth of Albert Einstein, signed by the physicist, at $9,100; two offprints signed by Linus Pauling, which featured his articles The Nature of the Chemical Bond, 1931, and Ascorbic Acid and Cancer, 1979, brought $4,500, and Nikola Tesla’s 1935 signed monogrammed correspondence card sold for …more

Walt Whitman Exhibit Opens at the Morgan on June 7

In celebration of the two hundredth anniversary of Walt Whitman’s birth, the Morgan Library & Museum exhibits the work of the beloved American poet. In a notebook in 1859, Whitman wrote, “Comrades! I am the bard of Democracy,” and over his 73 years (1819–1892) he made good on that claim. As he bore witness to the rise of New York City, the Civil War and other major transformations in American life, Whitman tried to reconcile the famous contradictions of this country through his inclusivity and his prolific body of work. The author of one of the most celebrated texts of American literature—Leaves of Grass (1855)—came from humble origins in Long Island and Brooklyn but eventually earned a global audience that has never stopped growing.

Walt Whitman: Bard of Democracy traces the development of his writing and influence, from his early days producing local journalism and sensational fiction to his later years writing the visionary poems that would revitalize American letters. Drawing on the Morgan’s own holdings as well as exceptional loans from the Library of Congress, the exhibition shows the landmarks of his literary career, including “O Captain! My Captain!” and the famous letter written to Whitman by Ralph Waldo Emerson commending Leaves of Grass.  A notebook containing Whitman’s early experiments with free verse and the origins of the seminal poem “Song of Myself” will be on display, as well as the copy of Leaves of Grass that Whitman presented to the artist who engraved his emblematic portrait in the first edition. Also on view are documents by famous writers influenced by Whitman, such as Oscar Wilde, Hart Crane, Federico García Lorca, Langston Hughes, and Allen Ginsberg.

Early in his writing career, Whitman wrote temperance novels and stories of walking around the city, exploring its nooks and crannies. The exhibition presents some of these fugitive publications from New York’s literary underground. Whitman saw himself foremost as a New Yorker: he claimed that many of his poems “arose out of my life in Brooklyn and New York from 1838 to 1853, absorbing a million people, for fifteen years, with an intimacy, an eagerness, and an abandon, probably never equaled.” In the early 1850s, Whitman began writing free verse poetry and self-published Leaves of Grass in 1855. The book celebrated the first person in a way that no poetry ever had before. A portion of the exhibition examines …more

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

Biblio Official Partner of ABA's Summer Rare Book Fair

Biblio (Asheville, NC) is the new official partner of the ABA's annual Rare Book Fair that takes place in early June of each year and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre is the 2019 Charity Partner.

Firsts London, the ABA’s annual flagship event and one of the most prestigious rare books fairs in the world, will open its doors to visitors from June 7-9 in Battersea Park.  More than 150 exhibitors from around the world (sole traders and larger companies) will exhibit rare, unique and unusual works for visitors with wide ranging cultural interests and a passion for the printed word, art, books maps and related ephemera, including everything from museum-quality medieval manuscripts to modern signed first editions.
 
“In the year which sees Shakespeare’s Globe celebrate the centenary of the birth of pioneering and acclaimed actor Sam Wanamaker whose passion led to the rebuilding of the iconic theatre and the 400th anniversary of the death of the famous Globe actor Richard Burbage, we are excited to be staging an exhibition at the Fair of highlights from the Globe Library including books from The John Wolfson Rare Book Collection,” said Pom Harrington, Chairman of Firsts London.  “The exhibition will offer visitors an unrivalled chance to see editions which are not normally on show.”

Combining a strong rapport with booksellers and a genuine enthusiasm for books and book collecting, North Carolina-based Biblio is the perfect fit for Firsts London.  It works with the finest booksellers in the world to cultivate a truly remarkable collection that strikes the perfect balance between quantity and quality of selection.  With British, Australian and New Zealand websites and over 5000 dealer members worldwide, the company is looking to expand into continental Europe, as well as the UK.
 
Brendan Sherar, Founder & CEO of Biblio: “We launched Biblio.co.uk almost ten years ago and we believe there’s an opportunity for significant growth in the UK.  We’re looking forward to strengthening our relationships with our existing British booksellers, meeting potential new clients and having an opportunity to listen and understand the unique challenges facing booksellers and book collectors here.”

The company has strong business ethics. In 2005 Biblio founded non-profit organization, BiblioWorks. Since then, they have used their profits to build twelve public libraries in rural villages of South America.  After the success of the first library project in Morado K'asa, Bolivia, BiblioWorks became a major contributor in the efforts to bring literacy and education to impoverished indigenous communities.

Firsts London at Battersea Evolution will be open from noon – 8pm on Friday, June 7th; 11am – 7pm on Saturday, June 8th; 11am – 5pm on Sunday June 9th and will also include live demonstrations, tours and talks.

The ABA was founded in 1906 and is the oldest organisation of its kind in the world. It is the senior trade body for dealers in antiquarian and rare books, manuscripts and allied materials in the British Isles and its membership also includes many leading booksellers from overseas.

Biblio is the world’s largest independent marketplace for used, rare, and out of print books. Established in 2003, Biblio has grown to become one of the largest global book marketplaces, with over 100 million books for sale from over 5,000 booksellers in 75 countries around the world. Biblio is wholly owned and operated by Biblio, Inc., a privately held company with a commitment to a triple bottom line, in part through its environmental programme, Ecosend, and its work building community libraries through Biblio Charitable Works, Inc.
 
About Shakespeare’s Globe

Performance and education take place throughout the year inspired and informed by the Globe Theatre and Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. A registered charity (No. 266916), the Shakespeare’s Globe Trust does not receive regular public subsidy.  Following an absence of 400 years, the present Globe Theatre stands a few hundred metres from the original site. The rebuilding of the iconic building was led by the pioneering actor and director Sam Wanamaker who spent 23 years fundraising, advancing research into the appearance of the original Globe and planning the reconstruction with architect Theo Crosby. Sam Wanamaker died in 1993, three and a half years before the theatre was completed. Performances, tours, and educational work take place all year with the theatre season running from April to October. The theatre is an important space for research led by in-house scholars, and is central to undergraduate and post-graduate programmes, as well as activities for school students of all ages.

 

…more

by John C. Huckans
Race to the Bottom (or plumbing the depths of unethical conduct)
(Review of "Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice")

According to the experience of most booksellers I know, Amazon and the internet have nearly trashed the antiquarian book trade – and in order to survive many independent booksellers have become data-entry catalogers for the online giants. I think it was at least twelve years ago when I first heard someone's opinion that antiquarian book-selling had become a rat race to the bottom.

And then there's the crazy pricing. Many of us have seen  identical copies of the same title offered on-line for anywhere from 99¢ to $100,000, so 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 Geoffrey Wawro's Quicksand: America's Pursuit of Power in the Middle East (New York, Penguin, 2010) on the internet (Biblio). Written by a professor of military history at the University of North Texas and published at $37.95, the three or four dollars a copy I paid was actually cheaper than the paperback version, and missionary-like I offered to sell them at cost to anyone interested in the the Middle East.  I had already read the book and naïvely thought others would jump at the chance – I thought wrong and except for the few copies I gave away, I still have most of the shipment.

In 2014 another controversial book was published that explored corruption and obstruction of justice within the Department of Justice. The title, appropriately enough, is Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice (Dallas, Brown Publishing Group, 2014), by Sidney Powell. According to her bio “Sidney Powell served in the Department of Justice for ten years” and for twenty years has been a federal appeals attorney. Also, “She was the youngest Assistant United States Attorney in the country and the youngest elected fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, for which she also served as President”.

Much of the book explores in excruciating detail the Federal prosecutions that grew out of the Enron collapse in the early years of the new century (and) the 2008 prosecution, conviction, and ultimate acquittal and exoneration of Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska. (The Stevens case came at a politically convenient time that changed the balance of power in the Senate). In all high profile prosecutions, the cost of providing an adequate defense places an immense economic burden on the accused, and in a Gogolesque scenario, when threatened with financial ruin many defendants have struck immunity deals and have become witnesses for the prosecution, telling the court what they've been instructed to say, even if they absolutely know it to be untrue or misleading.  …more

News & Notes

Ann Arbor Antiquarian Book Fair

The Ann Arbor Antiquarian Book Fair which began in 1976 and is one of if not the oldest book fair in the Midwest will be taking a year off in 2019. The Michigan Student Union which has been home to the fair for over 40 years is closed until the end of this year due to a major renovation project. While the character of the Union will hopefully be unchanged there were some much needed mechanical upgrades that will be addressed.

Since its inception the Ann Arbor Antiquarian Book Fair has attracted dealers from across the country and has drawn book collectors from throughout the Midwest. The first fair in 1976 had only twelve dealers but has now grown to nearly 40 dealers and has a waiting list.

The date for the revived Ann Arbor Antiquarian Book Fair is Sunday, May 17th, 2020. For further information contact Jay Platt at the West Side Book Shop 734-995-1891 or jplatt@provide.net.

Notes on House Museums  from Danna D'Esopo Jackson

House museums seem to be in retreat, as they are overtaken and absorbed into larger, glitzier operations.  A recent casualty of this trend is the Thornton W. Burgess Museum in Sandwich, Mass., which has been merged into a nature conservancy group and a fund-raising "jam kitchen".  Lost in these activities is Burgess's anthropomorphized animal stories that were anthologized and syndicated on "childrens pages", i.e., the comics pages, in newspapers.

Among the most successful childrens authors and illustrators is Tasha Tudor, who molded a public persona around the 19th century agrarian culture described in her books.  She adopted the life style she wrote about, wearing period clothes and doing farm chores, and her home, Corgi Cottage, in Marlboro, Vt. is a house museum, surrounded by her lush gardens.

On the upper end of the economic scale, is Edith Wharton's …more

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