Sunday, December 04, 2016

Links & Reviews

Somehow it's December already.

- The Library of Congress has signed on as a "content hub partner" with the DPLA.

- The Bute Hours will be offered on Tuesday at Sotheby's London.

- Josephine Livingstone writes on "The Unsolvable Mysteries of the Voynich Manuscript" for the New Yorker Page-Turner blog.

- The Internet Archive is working on building a complete copy of its holdings in Canada.

- Simon Beattie's turned up a fascinating book: an 1858 selection of music for a Merseyside church. An inserted printed slip from the compiler faults the printers for their "slovenly work and bad printing."

- Nate Pedersen checks back in with Zoe Abrams for the "Bright Young Booksellers" series.

- December's Rare Book Monthly articles include a piece by Eric Caren on what's next for him, Michael Stillman on the unconventional sale of books from Newcastle Central Library, and another nice find by Bruce McKinney.

- Stephen Greenberg writes for the NLM blog about a new book in sheets acquisition.

- Caleb Kiffer writes for the Swann blog about a previously unknown first state of de Wit's map of the Netherlands; the map will be on the block at their 8 December sale.

- Egyptian media report that 43 boxes of books and manuscripts were seized at Cairo airport; some appeared to have been stolen from the Al-Azhar University library.

- Over at The New Antiquarian, John Schulman muses about bookseller retirements.

- Lauren Young covers bibliomania for Atlas Obscura, and the Princeton Graphic Arts blog takes a look at an early response to Dibdin, Beresford's Bibliosophia.

- Mark Peters writes about the new online version of Green's Dictionary of Slang for the Boston Globe.

- A poem copied out by Anne Frank shortly before her family went into hiding from the Nazis sold at auction last week for €140,000, while the gun used by Paul Verlaine to wound Arthur Rimbaud fetched €434,000.

- Also from the Princeton Graphic Arts blog, a look at a newly-acquired collection of twenty printed and manuscript dinner bills from ~1780–1830.

- The Telegraph ran an obituary of book scout Martin Stone.

- Sid Berger talked to Rebecca Rego Barry about his Dictionary of the Book (Rowman and Littlefield) for the Fine Books Blog.

- A Beethoven manuscript which came in for a bit of pre-sale dispute failed to sell at Sotheby's London on 29 November; at the same sale, the manuscript of Mahler's second symphony set a new record for a music manuscript, selling for £5.4 million.

- Letters documenting the end of author Robert Louis Stevenson's life have been secured for the National Library of Scotland.

- "A Curious Cutting" at Medieval Manuscript Questions.

- From the Michigan State University Libraries conservation lab blog, a look at a neat technique for keeping pamphlets together.

- The ABAA recently approved seven new members: congratulations to all!


- Yale's new edition of the Voynich Manuscript; review by Scott McLemee at Inside Higher Ed.

- Sarah Gristwood's Game of Queens; review by Sarah Dunant in the NYTimes.

- David Welky's A Wretched and Precarious Situation; review by Sara Wheeler in the NYTimes.

- Laura Miller's Literary Wonderlands; review by Andrew Sean Greer in the NYTimes.

- Graeme McCrae Burnet's His Bloody Project; review by Steph Cha in the LATimes.

Upcoming Auctions of Note

- Livres rares et manuscrits du XVe au XXe siècle at Christie's Paris, 5 December

- The Bible Collection of Dr. Charles Caldwell Ryrie at Sotheby's New York, 5 December

- Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts at Sotheby's London, 6 December

- Fine Books & Manuscripts including Americana at Sotheby's New York, 6 December

- Western and Oriental Manuscripts and Miniatures at Bloomsbury London, 7 December

- Livres anciens et modernes précieux et curieux, 1490–1837 at Binoche et Giquello Paris, 7 December

- History of Science and Technology at Bonhams New York, 7 December

- Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books at Swann Galleries, 8 December

- The Library of the late David Harrison: 17th-19th Century Literature and the Arts at Forum Auctions London, 8 December

- Miniature Books: Rico Onuma Memorial Auction from Lilliput Oval Saloon, Owned by Kazushige Onuma, Tokyo. Part II at PBA Galleries, 8 December

- American Revolution Documents, Arms and Relics at Alexander Historical Auctions, 10 December

- Books, Art and Ephemera at National Book Auctions, 10 December

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Links & Reviews

- Daniel J. Leab, publisher of American Book Prices Current, editor, professor, and historian, died this week at the age of 80. As John Overholt wrote on the RBMS list, "The Leabs’ vision and commitment in establishing the Katharine Kyes Leab and Daniel J. Leab American Book Prices Current Exhibitions Awards has enriched the professional lives of the RBMS community in wide-ranging and innumerable ways since its inception. He will be deeply missed." My sincere condolences to his family.

- Now on display at the Folger Shakespeare Library, all eighteen copies (plus understudy) of the First Folio that have been traveling around the country this year. This is the largest-ever public display of First Folios at a single venue. The show will be up until 22 January.

- Original electrotype blocks used for the illustrations in Alice and Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass will be sold at Christie's on 1 December.

- ILAB has posted an interview with new ILAB president Gonzalo Pontes.

- The oldest-known version of the Ten Commandments on a stone tablet (dated to 300–500 CE), previously in the collections of the Living Torah Museum, sold at auction this week for $850,000 at Heritage Auctions; the sale came with a provision that the tablet must be put on public display.

- Arthur Fournier gets the "Bright Young Booksellers" treatment at FB&C.

- Matt Gallatin writes for the Michigan Daily about Motte & Bailey Booksellers of Ann Arbor.

- Sammy Hudes reports for the Star on the Leonard Cohen archives, housed at the University of Toronto's Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library.


- James Stourton's Kenneth Clark; review by Michael Dirda in the WaPo.

- Ruth Scurr's John Aubrey, My Own Life; review by Jeffrey Collins in the WSJ.

Upcoming Auctions

- Rare Books at Ketterer Kunst, 21–22 November

- The Chicago World's Fair, Columbian Exposition 1893 at Gray's, 21 November

- Rare Books, Autographs, Maps & Photographs (including books from the Library of the Explorers Club) at Doyle New York, 22 November

- Music and Continental Books & Manuscripts at Sotheby's London, 29 November

- The Giancarlo Beltrame Collection of Scientific Books, Part II at Christie's London, 30 November

- Fine Books and Manuscripts at Chiswick Auctions, 30 November

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Links & Reviews

- From Jason Rhody, "How to Fight for Federal Support of Cultural Research and Why It Matters."

- Another round of sales from Pierre Bergé's library was held in Paris on 8–9 November, resulting in total sales of €4.8 million. A Flaubert travel diary attracted much pre-sale attention, including coverage in the Guardian (it sold for nearly €540,000).

- November's Rare Book Monthly articles include a profile of map dealer Barry Ruderman, a tribute to Bob Fleck, and a report on the guilty verdict in Michael Danaher's trial for the murder of bookseller Adrian Greenwood. More on the latter from the BBC.

- Wayne Wiegand writes for Inside Higher Ed about how contemporary LIS "research" has shortchanged libraries.

- Some important job searches: AAS is hiring an Associate Librarian, UVA seeks an Associate University Librarian for Special Collections & Archives, and the BPL is looking for a Rare Books and Manuscripts Librarian.

- Newly launched, EMoBookTrade, which looks quite interesting indeed.

- A task force at MIT has issued a preliminary "Future of Libraries" report, which "contains general recommendations intended to develop 'a global library for a global university,' while strengthening the library system’s relationship with the local academic community and public sphere."

- Vic Zoschak looks back at this year's Boston Book Fair.

- The ABAA's Women in Bookselling Initiative launched in Boston during the fair.

- Rick Russack offers a review of the events around the book fair for Antiques and the Arts Weekly.

- The University of Chicago has digitized 68 Biblical manuscripts from the Edgar J. Goodspeed Manuscript Collection.

- Several major US and UK institutions have agreed to cooperate in the digitization of the papers of George III.

- Watch a talk by Tom Mole, "Scott in Stone: The Scott Monument in the Victorian Pantheon," delivered to the Edinburgh Sir Walter Scott Club.

- A first edition of the first Harry Potter book sold for £35,000 this week.

- Based on some fairly tangled legal reasoning, a Connecticut judge ordered that 252 disputed books from Maurice Sendak's estate will go to the author's estate, with another 88 going to the Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia. Both sides may appeal. More coverage from Smithsonian and the NYTimes.

- Author Philip Roth is donating his 4,000-volume library to the Newark Public Library.

- Damage to a nearby building from a massive earthquake has closed the National Library of New Zealand for the time being.

- Tom Brokaw's papers and archive will go to the University of Iowa.

- At The Taper, Brandon Butler posts about the recent goings-on at the Copyright Office.

- The Portland Press Herald interviews Don Lindgren of Rabelais.

- One of 145 manuscripts stolen in 1985 from the Biblioteca Passerini-Landi in Piacenza was recovered after being spotted for sale online. More than half of the other manuscripts have also been recovered over the years. More from the BBC.

- Book scout Martin Stone has died. More from Bookride.

- Chicago's Lutheran School of Theology has returned a 9th-century New Testament to the Greek Orthodox Church.

- From Stephanie Kingsley in Perspectives, a "quick study" on book history.

- Rob Koehler writes for the JHIBlog on novel-reading in the early republic.

- Watch a time-lapse video of 52,000 books being reshelved in the NYPL's Rose Main Reading Room.

- Seven volumes missing from the London Library since the 1950s were recently returned after being found during an estate appraisal.

- The Watkinson Library has acquired an 1839 Audubon letter to Robert Havell.

- Stephanie Jamieson writes for the NLS blog about identifying platinotype photographs.

- Bookseller Ken Karmiole has given $100,000 to the Book Club of California to endow a lecture series in the history of the book trade in California and the West.

- Éditions des Saints Pères is publishing a limited facsimile edition of the manuscript of Jane Eyre, with illustrations by Edmund Garrett.

- Gregory Schneider reports for the WaPo about the State Library of Virginia's efforts to collect and scan Civil War documents from family collections across the commonwealth. Wonderful story.

- The director of Moscow's Library of Ukrainian Literature has been put on trial for "inciting ethnic hatred against Russians" (i.e. "disseminating banned literature classed as extremist"). Natalia Sharina is also charged with embezzling library funds; she maintains that all charges are politically motivated.

- The OUP blog features an essay by New Oxford Shakespeare editor Gary Taylor on Shakespeare's collaborators.

- National Geographic reports on Robert Berlo's important collection of more than 12,000 road maps.

- The second part of Gordon Hollis' "Book Collecting in the United States" series is up on the ABAA blog. Part One.

- Joel Fry, curator at Bartram's Garden, is seeking information on copies of the first edition of John Bartram's Travels (Philadelphia, 1791) for an ongoing census.

- The DPLA's Archival Description Working Group has released a new whitepaper on aggregating and representing archival collections.

- One of the most amusing library blog posts in a long time: "A Raven Named Sir Nevermore?"


- The Morgan Library's Charlotte Brontë exhibition; review by Francine Prose in the NYRB.

- Anne Trubek's The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting; review by Lucy Ferriss at Lingua Franca.

- Frances Wilson's Guilty Thing; review by John Sutherland in the NYTimes.

- David Skal's Something in the Blood; review by Jason Zinoman in the NYTimes.

- John Crowley's new edition of The Chemical Wedding by Christian Rosencreutz: A Romance in Eight Days by Johann Valentin Andreae; review by Peter Bebergal for the New Yorker's Page-Turner blog.

- John Simpson's The Word Detective and John McWhorter's Words on the Move; review by Lynne Truss in the NYTimes.

- Colin Dickey's Ghostland; review by Rachel Monroe in the LARB.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Links & Reviews

- The American Antiquarian Society has unveiled plans for a three-story, 7,000-square foot addition to Antiquarian Hall. See the September Almanac for details.

- Over on the OUP blog, Cóilín Parsons writes on "Big data in the nineteenth century."

- At The New Antiquarian, an "In Memoriam" post for bookseller David Holmes, and Rich Rennicks offers up "Ten Reasons to Attend the Boston Book Fair."

- From Mark Oppenheimer on the New Yorker's Page Turner blog, "The Lost Virtue of Cursive."

- Rare Books Digest offers an analysis of the second- and third-quarter book auctions.

- Alison Flood reports for the Guardian about a House of Lords debate this week in which numerous peers criticized the Government for cuts to libraries over the last several years.

- It's that time again: Megan Rosenbloom writes about anthropodermic bindings for Lapham's Quarterly.

- Hay-on-Wye, perhaps the most famous "book town" in the world, could lose its public library, the BBC reports.

- Florence Fearrington has given $5 million to the Wilson Special Collections Library at UNC Chapel Hill.

- Phoenix Alexander writes for the Beinecke's blog about an apparently unrecorded pamphlet found during cataloging of a large collection of slavery tracts.

- I'm not at all just how newsy this is, but the Washington Post reported this week on analyses of the manuscript copy of the Declaration of Independence which suggest that twentieth-century conservation efforts may have caused damage to the manuscript.

- The Museum of London has acquired a manuscript account of a January 1667 report to the House of Commons by Sir Robert Brooks, chairman of the committee charged with investigating the origins of the Great Fire of London.

- Book collector Howard Knohl, a selection from whose collection will be sold at Sotheby's this week, is profiled in the Orange County Times.


- Richard Holmes' This Long Pursuit; review by Daisy Hay in the Guardian.

- Ronald C. White's American Ulysses; review by T.J. Stiles in the NYTimes.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Links & Reviews

- Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending my first Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair (and given the weather reports, it sounds like they picked the right weekend for it!). Kate Mitas has a writeup for the Tavistock Books blog. Good venue, decent crowds, and as always a real delight to be among friends from around the biblio-community.

- As Boston approaches, Rich Rennicks has a posted on the ABAA blog offering advice on attending your first book fair.

- Speaking of Boston, the ABAA-RBS seminar series on Thursday, 27 October (right before the fair) still has some spaces available. If you'll be in the area and are interested in a concentrated day of bookish seminars, please join us!

- I missed this announcement in early August: the Berger-Cloonan collection of decorated papers has been acquired by Texas A&M.

- Gavriel Hundiashvili has been charged with the theft of two rare books from the PRPH Books in Manhattan, and has reportedly confessed both to the theft and to mailing the books to the police in September.

- See also, from the NYTimes, Sarah Maslin Nir's piece on rare book theft and booksellers' efforts to combat it.

- The BL and BNF are working on a joint project to digitized some 800 manuscripts from before 1200 CE. Please see Dot Porter's response to this announcement.

- Conservators Frank Mowery and Sonja Jordan-Mowery are profiled in the Lakeland Ledger.

- New letters by Sir Peyton Skipwith at William & Mary's Swem Library include one in which Skipwith mentions his wife Jean's "small, but well-chosen library." (See the library here).

- Matthew Carter will deliver APHA's Lieberman Lecture on 3 December at the Museum of Printing in Haverhill, MA.

- Items from the collection of the Great Evanion (Harry Evans) will go on display at the British Library this week.

- PBA Galleries will sell an extensive archive of Civil War letters this week.

- The NYPL is digitizing its collection of New York city directories from 1786 through 1922/3. Good background and context on the project in the linked post.

- Arizona State University has acquired the Robert A. Lawler collection of sixteenth-century English literature.

- New from Cambridge: Fleuron: A Database of Eighteenth-Century Printers' Ornaments.

- There's a new exhibition on rare book provenance at the University of Adelaide.

- Michael Danaher is currently on trial in Oxford Crown Court for the April murder of rare book dealer Adrian Greenwood. Prosecutors claim the murder was "part of an attempt" to steal a first edition of The Wind in the Willows. The book was found in Danaher's house, along with lists of "people of means" the defendant allegedly planned to kidnap or rob.

- Jonathon Green's Dictionary of Slang is now available online.

- Over at The Collation, Abbie Weinberg and Elizabeth DeBold take a look at the "other" First Folio (Jonson's Workes), published four hundred years ago.

- Ben Cort writes for the Harvard Crimson about a project to digitize Native American petitions in the collections of the Massachusetts State Archives.

- Atlas Obscura visits the hidden apartments inside the NYPL's branch libraries.

- The National Library of Israel has acquired a collection of manuscripts related to the Silk Road.

- From Bookhunter on Safari, a profile of Clara Millard, "the most successful book-huntress in the world."

- More Rare Books of Instagram on the Fine Books Blog.

- Google and Monotype have launched Noto, an open-source typeface family designed to be used for any language.

- Sotheby's will sell the Bible collection of Charles Ryrie in December.

- John Pipkin writes for Lithub about bookseller James Lackington and his Temple of the Muses bookshop.


- Zara Anishanslin's Portrait of a Woman in Silk; review by Alyssa Zuercher Reichardt at The Junto.

- Shakespeare & Company, Paris (edited by Krista Halverson); review by Frances Spalding in the Guardian.

- Corey Mead's Angelic Music; review by Eugenia Zukerman in the WaPo.

- Alan Taylor's American Revolutions; review by Louisa Thomas in the WaPo.

- Colin Dickey's Ghostland; review by Tom Zoellner in the LATimes.

- The current Grolier Club exhibition, "The Centaur Turns One Hundred"; review by Allison Meier at Hyperallergic.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Links & Reviews

A warning: timing on these posts may be wonky for the next month or so, as I've got a heavy travel schedule; I'll try to keep up with things and will post when I can.

- Oak Knoll Fest XIX this past weekend seemed a grand success: excellent panel discussions and lectures, a very well-attended fine press showcase, and some unbeatable sales at Oak Knoll Books. I know I'm not alone in looking forward to the next one!

- The Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair is coming up this weekend, and the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair will be held from 28 to 30 October.

- The ABAA reports the theft of "a number of maps and prints focused on Arctic Exploration, Ethnography, and Circumpolar Navigation" from Juneau, Alaska.

- Christopher de Hamel's Guardian piece about the potential identification of a psalter as once belonging to St. Thomas Becket is a must-read.

- From Eureka Books, a good rundown of the consequences of a new California law governing the sale of autographed books and artwork.

- Jay Moschella writes for the BPL's Collections of Distinction blog about a forged Shakespeare signature. Also see his previous post on the 1598 Richard II quarto.

- From Don Skemer at Princeton, an overview of the library's holdings of William Henry Ireland's Shakespeare forgeries.

- John Lancaster posted on ExLibris on behalf of Elly Cockx-Indestege, who is looking for books from the collection of the 8th Duke of Arenberg. See the post for images of the relevant provenance marks.

- There's a survey (open until 1 November) asking "What I Did Not Learn in Library School" - if it applies, you might consider helping out the researchers. See this post for more details.

- A new exhibition at Trinity College's Watkinson Library celebrates the library's 150th anniversary.

- The catalog of Yale Law Library's current exhibition, "Representing the Law in the Most Serene Republic: Images of Authority from Renaissance Venice" is now available as a PDF, and a selection of photos from the show are up on Flickr.

- Sotheby's posts about a Lewis Carroll manuscript coming up for sale later this month which includes a list of friends the author intended to receive copies of his 1890 work The Nursery of Alice.

- October's Rare Books Monthly articles are up: they include a profile of bookseller Kurt Sanftleben.

- Lew Jaffe has posted a number of interesting bookplates he's willing to exchange for others not currently represented in his collection.

- has introduced a new "Collections" section, themed lists curated by member booksellers.

- See a video about the University of Iowa Center for the Book's attempt to make 2,000 sheets of chancery paper in a single day

- Rich Rennicks posts for The New Antiquarian about the "wordless novels" of Lynd Ward.

- Over at The Junto, Joe Adelman proposes a massive but very useful resource on how the Bible was used and interpreted in early America.

- A major Poe exhibition opens this week at John Hopkins' Peabody Library.

- Sarah Werner posts on "researching while unaffiliated."

- Heywood Hill is running a Library Lifetime Prize Draw: tell them the book that has meant the most to you, and you could win a book a month, for life!

- Christie's profiles Glenn Horowitz.

- Christopher Minty talks to Carolle Morini of the Boston Athenaeum at The Junto.

- For their "Mystery Monday" post, the folks at the Provenance Online Project have a monogram bookplate for us to puzzle out.

- Lisa Fagin Davis posts on Manuscript Road Trip about the ongoing Beyond Words exhibition in Boston. More on this on the Fine Books Blog.

- There's a Vandercook SP-20 that could be yours ... and Josef Beery has developed a new tabletop letterpress, the Book Beetle (see the video).

- A new exhibition at the V&A explores David Garrick as a book collector.


- Krista Halverson's Shakespeare and Company, Paris; review in The Economist.

- Elizabeth Yale's Sociable Knowledge; review by Katherine Walker for the British Society for Literature and Science.

- Ruth Franklin's Shirley Jackson; reviews by Elaine Showalter in the WaPo and Scott Bradfield in the LATimes.

- Mark Kurlansky's Paper and Keith Houston's The Book; review by Dennis Duncan in the TLS.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Links & Reviews

The world lost a true bookman of the highest order on Thursday. Through his bookselling and publishing firms Oak Knoll Books & Press, Bob Fleck labored tirelessly over the last forty years to make important works of bibliographical and book-historical scholarship available to readers, scholars, and collectors. I always enjoyed talking to Bob at book fairs and other places where our paths crossed; he usually had an interesting book or two to show me, and was unfailingly encouraging to me as a young collector of the sorts of books he liked and published. I send my heartfelt condolences to his family and his colleagues. He will be much missed.

- Tributes to Bob Fleck from Jim Hinck at vialibri, Nevine Marchiset at ILAB (with additional submissions from booksellers around the world), and Rich Rennicks on the ABAA blog. John Schulman of ABAA announced on Friday that "All are invited to send memorials, testimonials, anecdotes, etc., about Bob Fleck, to the editor of the ABAA website, Rich Rennicks. His email is We hope to compile these and publish them on the website."

- See also: Jane Rodgers Siegel's remarks at the awarding of the 2008 APHA Institutional Award for Distinguished Achievement in Printing History to Oak Knoll Press and Nevine Marchiset's post about his receipt of the ILAB Medal last fall.

- The online catalog for Boston's Beyond Words exhibition is now available. I'm very much looking forward to seeing at least portions of the show when I'm up there in October.

- Daryl Green has a farewell post at Echoes from the Vault; in October he takes up the reins as College Librarian at Magdalen College, Oxford.

- Scientists have "virtually unwrapped" the charred En-Gedi scroll, known as "the oldest Pentateuchal scroll in Hebrew outside of the Dead Sea Scrolls."

- Isaac Newton's library is under consideration this week at the Provenance Online Project blog.

- Gordon Rugg has published a new paper offering more evidence that the Voynich Manuscript's text may be an elaborate hoax. See Science Alert, New Scientist.

- Jerry Morris writes at My Sentimental Library about his (very collaborative) work reconstructing Boswell's library on LibraryThing.

- From the Getty's Iris blog, "A Day in the Life of a Digitization Expert."

- Staff at the University of Glasgow Archives and Special Collections have identified a Bible once belonging to theologian John Knox.

- Nate Pedersen has begun a new series on the Fine Books Blog, Rare Books on Instagram.

- Now on display at The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia, "The Art of Ownership: Bookplates and Book Collectors from 1480 to the Present."

- From Sarah's Books, "a reasonable number of books," about the process of book-sorting.

- Scotland's Iona Cathedral Trust has received a £100,000 grant to support conservation and cataloging for the library at Iona Abbey.

- Three short stories by Georgette Heyer will be republished next month.

- The Medieval Manuscripts Provenance blog has been posting images of several manuscript leaves and cuttings stolen from a private collection in London.

- Christoph Irmscher posts about a somewhat mysterious page in an Audubon ledger now at the Lilly Library.

- Princeton's Graphic Arts collection announced the recent acquisition of a tiny 1636 Protestant psalter printed at Sedan.

- From the "This is New York" blog, see a video of the NYPL's new "book train" system in action.

- The librarian known as the "world's oldest" has reopened in Fez after a lengthy renovation process.


- Christopher de Hamel's Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts; review in The Economist.

- Robert Gottlieb's Avid Reader; reviews by Alexandra Alter in the NYTimes, Michael Dirda in the WaPo, and Thomas Mallon in the NYTimes.

- Emma Donoghue's The Wonder; review by Maureen Corrigan in the WaPo.