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.

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.