Sunday, August 21, 2016

Links & Reviews

- George Eberhart writes for American Libraries about a panel at last week's IFLA congress on library theft and security.

- Brooke Palmieri has been appointed editor and Michael Russem designer of APHA's journal, Printing History. Look forward to seeing the fruits of their labors!

- A research team has confirmed that the Codex Selden, housed at the Bodleian Library, is a palimpsest, containing earlier characters beneath the 16th-century text. The before-and-after images here are pretty stunning. More.

- Wayne Wiegand has been named distinguished visiting scholar at the Library of Congress' John W. Kluge Center, to support his work on a book covering the history of American public school libraries.

- Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Manuscripts) is now available. Congratulations to all those involved!

- Fiona McDonald writes for the BBC about several long-hidden libraries.

- John Fea talks to Jonathan Yeager about Yeager's new book Jonathan Edwards and Transatlantic Print Culture.

- Forthcoming from the Book Club of California, The Noblest Roman: A History of the Centaur Types of Bruce Rogers.

- Jason Rovito has been appointed Director of Fine Books and Manuscripts at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.

- Hannah Stahl has the latest in a series of posts about imaginary creatures in maps for the Library of Congress' Worlds Revealed blog.

- Rutgers University has received an NEH grant to digitize some 100,000 pages of New Jersey newspapers published between 1836 and 1922 and not currently available in digital form.

- Barnes & Noble CEO Ronald Boire was sacked this week, after just a year on the job.

- Atlas Obscura highlights the NYPL's new storage facility beneath Bryant Park.

- John Lancaster posts for the Houghton Library blog about an important recent acquisition (a 1485 Aquinas) and his work to find the other volume from the set.

- In the LARB, Melissa Dinsman interviews Richard Grusin about digital humanities.

- Coming soon at Penn, an exhibition and publication, Reactions: Medieval/Modern, which "explores the many and varied ways that people have reacted to, and acted upon, manuscripts from the Middle Ages up to today."

- Emily Dourish gets the "Bright Young Librarians" treatment on the Fine Books blog.

- Richard Davies posts for the AbeBooks blog offering a cautionary tale about potentially valuable copies of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

- Virginia university librarians have sent a letter to the chair of the House Judiciary Committee urging caution about any potential changes to Sections 107 and 108 of the Copyright Act.

- Cameron Hunt McNabb writes for Slate on the origins of the ellipsis.

- Alexandra Walker posts for the Bodleian Library's blog about conservation work undertaken on a recent collection of Mabel Fitzgerald materials.

- Spanish facsimile publishing firm Siloe will produce 898 "exact replicas" of the Voynich manuscript, which will sell for more than £6,000 apiece. Note that Yale University Press will also be publishing a facsimile edition this year, accompanied by essays by Raymond Clemens and Deborah Harkness.


- John Fea's The Bible Cause; review by D.G. Hart in the WSJ.

- Irina Reyn's The Imperial Wife; review by Shannon Reed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Links & Reviews

- Rebecca Rego Barry writes for the Guardian about a bird book which once belonged to the "Birdman of Alcatraz" which will go on the auction block at Christie's in September (as part of their "Out of the Ordinary" sale, which always contains some fantastic things).

- María Palacio posts for the Jesuit Libraries Provenance Project about working with an 1836 manuscript library catalog of a Jesuit seminar in Missouri.

- A new report on digitizing orphan works is now available via Harvard's DASH portal.

- At, a history of intentionally blank pages, featuring Sarah Werner, Joe Howley, and others.

- The very long legal battle over Franz Kafka's manuscripts has ended, with Israel's supreme court ruling that Max Brod's heirs must turn over the manuscripts to the National Library of Israel.

- Last week I linked to a report that a box of rare comics had been stolen from the Tampa Bay Comic Con. The Tampa Bay Times updated this week that the dealer, Rick Whitelock, received a phone call on Monday from an anonymous man saying he had accidentally packed up the box with his materials from the show and would return them, but refusing to give his name or contact information. All's well that end's well, though: on Wednesday, the box arrived.

- Tom Kiser of Vivarium Books is profiled as part of the FB&C "Bright Young Booksellers" series.

- Peter Harrington staff have chosen their favorite items from the firm's Summer Catalogue.

- Paul Dingman posts at The Collation about how the transcriptions submitted as part of the Early Modern Manuscripts Online project will be aggregated and verified.

- The Harry Ransom Center is seeking a Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Curator of Early Printed Books and Manuscripts.

- Elaine Long posts on the Shakespeare's World blog about finding references to paper used in early modern cooking.

- Nearly 400 books donated to an English village after an American plane crashed there during WWII have been removed from the village library and destroyed.


- Carols M. N. Eire's Reformations; reviewed by Michael Massing in the NYTimes.

- Winifred Gallagher's How the Post Office Shaped America; review by Emily Cataneo in the CSM.

- Richard Zacks' Chasing the Last Laugh; review by Debra Bruno in the WaPo.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Links & Reviews

- The August Rare Book Monthly is up: it includes a piece by Bruce McKinney asking several booksellers to answer the question "Looking back five and ahead five years, where have you come from, where are you now, and where will you be?" Michael Stillman also writes up the theft of William Wordsworth's prayer book from a Grasmere church.

- Anthony Tedeschi posts about Melbourne Rare Book Week at the Fine Books Blog.

- For his "Booking It" series this week, Keith Houston makes a woodcut.

- Jane Eagan of the Oxford Conservation Consortium writes about a 17th-century ream wrapper used in a binding.

- A box of rare comics has been reported missing from Tampa Bay Comic Con.

- Pradeep Sebastian profiles Simran Thadani for The Hindu.

- Caroline Duroselle-Melish explores an eighteenth-century copybook with a Don Quixote engraving (printed on heavy stock) used as the cover.

- Kevin Young has been named Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

- Don Skemer surveys a few of the 200+ commonplace books in Princeton's collections.

- Andrew McGill reports on the state of the Library of Congress-Twitter archive.

- Ted Underwood asks how many texts one has to examine for it to be considered "distant reading."

- Roland Arkell reports for the Antiques Trade Gazette that some of the Aristophil books and manuscripts may soon be back on the market.

- At Techdirt, Mike Masnick reports that there seem to be moves afoot at the Copyright Office to make changes to Section 108 of the Copyright Act, which exempts libraries and archives from certain provisions.

- Michael Dirda picks eleven "hidden gem" books for the summer.


- John Strausbaugh's City of Sedition; review by Sam Roberts in the NYTimes.

- Claire Harman's Charlotte Brontë; review by Trev Broughton in the TLS.

- Jennifer Schuessler reviews the Folger's new exhibition, "Will and Jane," in the NYTimes.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Links & Reviews

- Rebecca Romney posts about her time at the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar (CABS) last week.

- John Nulty, formerly employed by the National Library of Ireland, received a suspended sentence for the theft of rare books worth nearly €200,000 over the course of nine years. Nulty entered a guilty plea on eight of 216 counts of theft. The judge granted the suspended sentence, he said, because nearly all of the books were recovered.

- Ellen Cloyed writes for An Acquired Taste (the blog of Swem Library's Special Collections) about a book inscribed to Horatia Nelson.

- The STCV (Short Title Catalogue Flanders) has released their cataloging manual.

- Joe Helm writes for the Washington Post about (maybe?) the beginnings of a cursive resurgence?

- Had this link saved to include here in May, but missed it at the time: Katrina Martin posts at The Devil's Tale about Duke's collection of early movable books, including some new acquisitions as part of the Lisa Unger Baskin collection.


- Anna Keay's The Last Royal Bastard; review by Jeffrey Collins in the WSJ.

- Peter Doran's Breaking Rockefeller; review by John R. Coyne, Jr. in the Washington Times.

- Lillian Sciberras' Shadows in Penumbra; review by Paul Xuereb in the Times of Malta.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Links & Reviews

- Brenda Cronin reports for the Wall Street Journal on the renovation of the Beinecke Library, which is set to reopen this fall.

- Allan Young and Patrick Scott are working on a census of Robert Burns' first book, Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect (1786), and they issued a public call for assistance on ExLibris this week. Please help if you can. Project background.

- The Osher Map Library's digitization of maps from its collections is highlighted in the "Future Tense" series at Slate. The piece gets at both the possibilities and shortcomings of digital presentation.

- Rebecca Romney posts about an 1872 self-promotional poster designed by Walt Whitman to drum up sales of his books.

- New to me: a YouTube video of Lisa Baskin talking about her collection, which is now at Duke.

- Heather Wolfe has a Collation post up about how another recent discovery seems to clarify some longstanding questions about several heraldic manuscripts featuring Shakespeare.

- Recent work has revealed a great deal about the provenance of a fragment of the 36-line Bible in the Scheide Library at Princeton.

- The SHARP book awards were announced this week in Paris. Congratulations to the winners!

- A call for individual paper proposals for the Society of Early Americanists' meeting next March in Tulsa is now live, and I do encourage anyone interested to submit. I've been to several of these meetings (though I missed the last one), and have enjoyed them immensely.

- Keith Houston's new book, The Book, comes out next month. On his blog, he recounts a visit to Edinburgh papermaker Chrissie Heughan.

- A Brontë family book containing an early manuscript poem by Charlotte has been purchased by the Brontë Society. More.

- The website for "Beyond Words," a cross-institutional exhibition of medieval manuscripts in Boston, is now live. Along with the exhibitions, there are an impressive number of events coming up this fall.

- There's a report in the Business Tribune that a proposed tax measure in Oregon could spell an end to the venerable Powell's Books.

- The Folger's Digital Anthology of Early Modern English Drama launched.

- A collection of more than 300 Dick Whittington-related items was bequeathed to London's Guildhall Library.

- Princeton has announced the books and manuscripts acquired at the Pirie sale in December.

- Rare Books Digest has an interview with Sandra Hindman of Les Enluminures.

- Sarah Werner went looking for open digital collections. Here's what she found.

- Jerry Morris has been working on the library of lexicographer Joseph E. Worcester.

- AAS intern Dylan McDonough writes about his work this summer on the AAS Printers' File.


- William Egginton's The Man Who Invented Fiction; review by Daniel Hahn in the Guardian.

- Lucy Sussex's Blockbuster; review by Michael Dirda in the WaPo.

- Geoffrey Cowan's Let the People Rule; review by Thomas Curwen in the LATimes.

- John Guy's Elizabeth; review by Anna Whitelock in the TLS.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Links & Reviews

- Georgianna Ziegler writes for The Collation about a recent Folger acquisition, a volume which contains what is for now the earliest known reference to a Shakespeare volume in America. I used the photo from the post to make a quick LibraryThing catalog of Edward Dale's books (there are a few still to be added once the book comes off display and we can get images of the titles written in the gutter).

- The UK government has placed a temporary export bar on a jewelled prayer-book once owned by François I of France; British institutions now have the opportunity to raise £8 million to match the price offered by an overseas buyer.

- SHARP's annual conference starts tomorrow in Paris - good luck to all the presenters, and I look forward to the tweets and recaps!

- Also coming up this week (starting tonight) is the annual Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar (CABS): Lisa Baskin will give the keynote address and Don Lindgren is this year's specialty dealer.

- Over American Book Collecting, Kurt Zimmerman listens to Bill Reese's recent Rare Book School lecture (available here, or search "Rare Book School" in your preferred podcast delivery system) and then finds a fascinating association copy on his bookshelves!

- Matthew Kirschenbaum talked to Manuel Portela about Track Changes.

- Dan Cohen has posted an updated take on why we're seeing a decline in e-book sales.


- Geoffrey Cowan's Let the People Rule; review by Thomas Curwen in the LATimes.

- Ritchie Robertson's Goethe and The Essential Goethe (ed. Matthew Bell); review by Osman Durrani in the TLS.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Links & Reviews

- Stephen Tabor writes for Verso, the Huntington's blog, about a tremendously interesting and exciting new acquisition.

- Rachel Beattie writes for the National Library of Scotland blog about sleuthing out correspondent names in the James Murray Archive.

- James Dawson covers "Mistaikes in Books" over at Rare Books Digest.

- Toronto bookseller David Mason is profiled in the Toronto Star, with a focus on his efforts (thus far unsuccessful) to solve a 1993 theft from his shop. Among the material stolen was a small archive relating to a 1929 boxing match between Ernest Hemingway and Morley Callaghan (for which F. Scott Fitzgerald acted as timekeeper).

- Steven Overly reports for the WaPo about the Vatican's digitization of one of the earliest manuscript versions of Virgil's Georgics and Aeneid, known as the "Virgilius Vaticanus."

- Keith Houston has posted a new miscellany of punctuation-related news at Shady Characters.

- The Boston Globe covered worries about the fate of Boston University's Editorial Institute this week.

- Over at Inciting Sparks, Tess Goodman has a new post, "Pics or It Didn't Happen: On the Objectivity of Photographs."

- Rabia Barkatulla writes for The Bookseller about the challenges inherent in digitizing Arabic books and manuscripts.

- A Thomas Jefferson letter discovered in a family's attic is being offered for $325,000 by the Raab Collection.

- Registration for this fall's APHA conference at the Huntington Library is now open. The theme is "The Black Art & Printers' Devils: The Magic, Mysticism, and Wonders of Printing History."

- More on Heather Wolfe's recent Shakespeare discoveries at Beyond Shakespeare.

- Melbourne's Rare Book Week is coming up from 14–24 July. Check out the full schedule - lots of great events going on!

- Nick Basbanes talked to novelist Matthew Pearl for Fine Books & Collections.

- London's Feminist Library faces eviction after a rent hike.

- Some excellent news from Portland, Maine, where a new independent bookshop will open in the fall.

- Excavation work for the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia has turned up a bunch of printing type.

- A Bible given by Charlotte Brontë to her friend Ellen Nussey will be sold at Sotheby's London this week.

- The London Library was profiled in Londonist.

- Tokyo's Jinbocho, which houses some 160 used and rare bookshops, sounds like a browser's dream!

- Several drawings by Beatrix Potter were found at Melford Hall in Suffolk during conservation works on books from the house library.


- Ben H. Winters' Underground Airlines; review by Jennifer Forbus in the CSM.

- Pamela Haag's The Gunning of America; review by Stephen Wertheim in the TLS.

- Stephen Orgel's The Reader in the Book; review by Dustin Illingworth in the LARB.