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.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Links & Reviews

- From the new issue of Common-place, a great piece by Endrina Tay on the sale of Jefferson's library to Congress in 1815.

- New York City police have released photos of a suspect in the theft of two books from PRPH Books back in April.

- Daniel Akst reports for the WSJ about an MIT/Georgia Tech research effort to use electromagnetic waves (terahertz radiation) to "read" stacked pages: the technique could potentially have uses in analyzing ancient manuscripts, &c.

- Leah Grandy writes for Borealia about the increasing need for training in basic cursive paleography.

- NYPL's Rose Main Reading Room will reopen on 5 October after being closed for more than two years for repairs and restoration.

- Carla Hayden was sworn in this week as Librarian of Congress. You can watch the ceremony here via C-SPAN. Nicholas Fandos reported for the NYTimes on Hayden's remarks at the event, and read an interview Hayden gave to USA Today.


- John Dickerson's Whistlestop; review by Molly Ball in the NYTimes. The podcast is excellent, and I'm looking forward to reading the book.

- Richard Kluger's Indelible Ink; review by Bill Keller in the NYTimes.

- Keith Houston's The Book; review by Clea Simon in the Boston Globe.

- Robert Gottlieb's Avid Reader; review by Michael Dirda in the WaPo.

- Mary Sarah Bilder's Madison's Hand; review by Stuart Leibiger in Common-place.

- Boston's joint "Beyond Words" exhibition of illuminated manuscripts; review by Barrymore Laurence Scherer in the WSJ.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Links & Reviews

- Tests have reportedly authenticated the Grolier Codex as a genuine 13th-century Maya codex.

- The NEDCC has posted about its work on the preparations for the upcoming cross-institutional exhibition of illuminated manuscripts in Boston.

- Over at Past is Present, a new list of recent articles and books by members of the AAS community.

- And via the ABAA, a roundup of recent bookseller catalogs.

- Thirty-five porters and three auctioneers employed by French auction house Hotel Drouot have been sentenced for the theft of numerous artifacts over several years.

- A four-page portion of the manuscript of Napoleon's "novella" will be sold at Bonhams New York on 21 September.

- From the First Impressions blog, some interesting finds in the Exeter Book revealed by multi-spectral imaging.

- Adam Hooks and Dan De Simone talk about the First Folio's rise to the status of cultural icon in a Folger "Shakespeare Unlimited" podcast.

- UVA Today profiles John Unsworth, new university librarian and dean of libraries.

- Alexandra Kiely has a short piece on the Fortsas hoax for the blog.

- The winners of the 2016 National Collegiate Book Collecting awards have been announced.

- reports on Forum Auctions' "new type of finance deal to help a collector acquire an £850,000 Shakespeare First Folio."

- Sarah Larimer reports for the Washington Post on UNH library cataloger Robert Morin, who left an estate of $4 million to the university.

- The 2017 Boston Book Fair will be held on 10–12 November.


- "Charlotte Brontë: An Independent Will," at the Morgan Library; review by William Grimes in the NYTimes.

- Ruth Scurr's John Aubrey: My Own Life; review by Dwight Garner in the NYTimes.

- Anthony Gottlieb's The Dream of Enlightenment; review by Michael Wood in the NYTimes.

- James Gleick's Time Travel; review by Rosalind Williams in the WaPo.

- Alan Taylor's American Revolutions; reviews by Gordon S. Wood in the NYTimes and Eric Herschthal in Slate.

- Brian Vickers' The One King Lear; review by Holger S. Syme in the LARB. Wow.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Links & Reviews

- In the Yale Alumni Magazine, Judith Schiff has a short piece on Yale's early years and the "battle of the books" between Saybrook and New Haven when the college decided to relocate.

- Carla Hayden will be sworn in as Librarian of Congress on 14 September.

- The September Rare Book Monthly is up: features include a Bruce McKinney interview with Tom Lecky, now of Riverrun Books; Susan Halas talked to Ken Lopez and asked him to update his 1999 analysis of book collecting and the book trade; and (most interestingly!) Bruce McKinney's account of a recent personal acquisition of a 160-page manuscript volume containing records of an Ulster County, New York membership library from 1810 to 1823.

- The Library of Congress has added some 15,000 pages of scanned newspapers from New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC during the early national period.

- Pew released a new report on "book reading."

- The AAS fall public programs schedule is out: great lineup!

- At the Royal Society's Repository blog, Joanna Corden writes about how the Great Fire of London (350 years ago last week) affected the Society.

- David Mason has more in the Guardian about a 1993 theft from his shop in which a small archive of letters relating to an Ernest Hemingway boxing match was stolen.

- Karen Langley highlights the rare book collections of the State Library of Pennsylvania for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


- Matthew Kirschenbaum's Track Changes; review by Ben Allen at Public Books.

- Ross King's Mad Enchantment; review by Philip Kennicott in the WaPo.

- Nisi Shawl's Everfair; review by Elizabeth Hand in the WaPo.

- Sean Wilentz's The Politicians and the Egalitarians; review by Mickey Edwards in the LATimes.

- Keith Houston's The Book; review by Henry Hitchings in the WSJ.

- Anne Trubek's The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting; review by Scott McLemee in Inside Higher Ed.