Sunday, August 17, 2014

Links & Reviews

- Ten years after fire destroyed the Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar, Germany, the library's copy of Copernicus' De revolutionibus, thought destroyed, has been found amongst the many books still being restored, a process which is expected to continue for another 15 years.

- The Smithsonian Institution has launched a crowdsourced transcription interface, to allow volunteers to help transcribe Civil War diaries, field notebooks, and more. There's a short report in the NYTimes.

- The Folger Library has announced that all images in its Digital Image Collection (currently nearly 80,000 items) are now eligible for use under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Fantastic news!

- Martin Kemp writes on the threats facing the Warburg Institute Library in the Royal Academy Magazine. More coverage on this front from The Guardian.

- UVA Special Collections has acquired a copy of the rare Tolkien publication Songs for the Philologists.

- Many maps stolen by Peter Bellwood from the National Library of Wales remain missing, Wales Online reports.

- On the Provenance Online Project blog, a look at inscriptions partially trimmed off during rebinding.

- It's all pigeons this week over at Confessions of a Bookplate Junkie.

- New (to me, anyway): the Centre for the Study of the Book at Oxford is now posting podcasts of its discussion series.

- Ravi Somaiya profiles Harper's Magazine publisher John R. MacArthur.

- Emory University has launched Readux, a collection of digitized books from their libraries.

- Joshua Holm reviews and recommends Meredith McGill's article "Copyright and Intellectual Property: The State of the Discipline" in Book History 15.

- Michael Blanding talked to David Holahan from the Hartford Courant about his book The Map Thief.

- Anna Da Silva writes about a spat between Anthony Panizzi and the Royal Society for the Society's Repository blog.

- Maurice Sedgwick writes in The Guardian about "What makes Gormenghast a masterpiece?"

- A book cull at the Boston Public Library has hit the news with a report in the Boston Globe. Administrators are, reportedly, "disposing" of 180,000 "little-used volumes" based on circulation statistics.

- Nalo Hopkinson, a professor of Creative Writing at UC Riverside, has posted about concerns over the future of the university's famed science fiction collection.


- Adrian Goldsworthy's Augustus; review by Nicholas Shakespeare in The Telegraph.

- Hampton Sides' In the Kingdom of Ice; review by Robert R. Harris in the NYTimes.

- Peter Snow's When Britain Burned the White House; review by Jonathan Yardley in the WaPo.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Links & Reviews

- ILAB has issued an official letter of protest to the Italian Ministries of Culture and Justice over their investigations into de Caro's thefts from the Girolamini and other libraries. This follows the arrest of Danish bookseller Christian Westergaard over books matching titles stolen from the libraries (but all recovered and in German police custody since 2012) and the cancellation of a Bloomsbury/Philobiblon auction in Rome on suspicion that books scheduled to be sold there might have been stolen (none proved to have been removed from libraries). The full letter is very much worth a read.

- Over at The Collation, Goran Proot explores the use of "vv" for "w" in 17th-century title pages.

- Lisa Fagin Davis reports on manuscripts in Alabama and Georgia, and comments on the recent discovery that the now-broken Beauvais Missal was once in the possession of William Randolph Hearst.

- Another bookstore I've always wanted to visit is closing, I'm very sorry to say: Seattle's Wessel & Lieberman is shutting its doors soon.

- A library card signed by Elvis Presley when he was in seventh grade is going up for auction later this month at Graceland.

- Judge Richard Posner, ordering the Conan Doyle estate to pay Leslie Klinger's legal fees, slammed as extortion the practice of certain literary estates charging license fees.

- British Airways is planning to add audio versions of eleven Shakespeare plays to its inflight entertainment options.

- The Brontë parsonage at Haworth has purchased a script from the first film adaptation of Wuthering Heights, made in the 1920s and shot in the Haworth area. No copy of the film itself is known to exist.

- As part of their second sale from the library of Franklin Brooke-Hitching on 30 September, Sotheby's will sell a number of books and other artifacts from the 1914 Shackleton expedition.

- Over at The Junto, a list of forthcoming books on early American topics.

- The diploma of the first African-American student to attend Harvard, Richard Greener (also the father of Belle da Costa Greene) sold for $12,500 this week at a Chicago auction.

- Bookbinding scholar Anthony Hobson died in early July; read an obituary by Nicolas Barker in The Independent.

- Daryl Green of the University of St. Andrews is featured in the FB&C "Bright Young Librarians" interview series.

- Historians have authenticated an inscription in an 1854 book on race as being written by Abraham Lincoln.

- The State Library of Massachusetts has digitized the manuscript of William Bradford's autograph manuscript for Of Plimouth Plantation, now available here. The interface leaves rather a great deal to be desired, I must say, but I suppose better something than nothing.

- Donald Kerr posted on ExLibris-L about a new census he's compiling, of the 1913 work La prose du Transsibérien et de la Petite Jehanne de France by Paul Cendrars with artwork by Sonia Delaunay-Terk. Contact him if you have any information about copies of this work.


- Edward Dolnick's The Rush; review by Walter Borneman in the NYTimes.

- Michael Schmidt's The Novel: A Biography; review by John Sutherland in the NYTimes.

- Lev Grossman's The Magician's Land; reviews by Sarah Lyall in the NYTimes and Gwenda Bond in the LATimes.

- Helen Rappaport's Four Sisters; review by Natasha Randall in the TLS.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Links & Reviews

Another Rare Book School season has come to a close, so here's a catchup post of links and reviews I missed over the last couple weeks:

- Many congratulations to the American Antiquarian Society, which was honored with a National Humanities Medal this week for "safeguarding the American story."

- The Provenance Online Project blog has launched, with some excellent first posts.

- David Whitesell writes on the Notes from Under Grounds blog about UVA Special Collections' acquisition this spring of 19th-century American and English books in original dust jackets. The 700 titles in 829 volumes are, David writes, "the largest such holding ever documented."

- From Sarah Werner at The Collation, 10mo!

- The Boston Athenaeum has announced that Elizabeth E. Barker will be the next Stanford Calderwood Director.

- HiLobrow has begun a series on contributors' favorite typefaces, including, so far, Matthew Battles on Aldine Italic and Sherri Wasserman on Toronto Subway.

- A two-parter at medievalfragments: Portable Medieval Manuscripts and Giant Medieval Manuscripts.

- Speaking of RBS, Rick Ring blogged about his experiences this week in "Teaching the History of the Book" over at The Bibliophile's Lair.

- Michael Paulson writes in the NYTimes on efforts by historian James Fenimore Cooper, Jr. and Congregational Library executive director Margaret Bendroth to preserve New England church records.

- The Folger Shakespeare Library launched Folgerpedia this week, a wiki designed to be an "infinitely updateable, constantly growing encyclopedia of all thing Folger and of interest to the Folger community."

- During renovations of UVA's Rotunda, masons discovered pieces of the original dome, destroyed in the 1895 fire.

- In Intelligent Life, Charles McCann writes about Roald Dahl in the "Notes on a Voice" column.

- Mike Widener notes a new installment in Mark Weiner's series of short videos about rare law books. Weiner writes that in "Water, Paper, Law," "an eighteenth-century Italian legal treatise about water inspires some thoughts about law, rare books, and the passage of time."

- There's an interview with John Ferling about the American Revolution on the OUP Blog.

- The Scholars' Lab crew launched Neatline 2.3 this week.

- Lenny Bruce's papers have been acquired by Brandeis University.

- Will Noel talked to FB&C's Nate Pedersen for the "Bright Young Librarians" series.

- Houghton Library reference assistant Leah Lefkowitz posted about an Elizabeth I letter in the library's collections.

- Andrew Jackson O'Shaughnessy talked to Tom Cutterham for The Junto about his book The Men Who Lost America.


- Lev Grossman's The Magician's Land; review by Edan Lepucki in the NYTimes.

- Robert J. Mayhew's Malthus; review by Justin Fox in the NYTimes.

- Danielle Allen's Our Declaration; review by Gordon S. Wood in the NYRB.

- Paul Sorrentino's Stephen Crane: A Life of Fire; review by Jayne Anne Phillips in the NYTimes.

- Elizabeth Drew's Washington Journal; review by Maura Casey in the WaPo.

- Rick Perlstein's The Invisible Bridge; review by David Ulin in the LATimes.

- John Dean's The Nixon Defense; review by Carolyn Kellogg in the LATimes.

- Michael Blanding's The Map Thief; reviews by John H. Kennedy in the Vineyard Gazette and Nick Romeo in The Daily Beast.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Links & Reviews

- A copy of Lefevre's Recuyell of the Histories of Troye, the first book printed in English, sold for £1,082,000 at Sotheby's this week. The CSM reported on the sale.

- From Sarah Werner at The Collation, an exploration of symbols used as signature marks.

- Rebecca Romney writes on "Sterne's Tristram Shandy and Materials as Meaning."

- More on the Archaeology of Reading in Early Modern Europe project from the CSM and The Guardian.

- In Prospect, Sarah Dry offers an excerpt of her new book The Newton Papers.

- Cambridge University has launched a new online exhibition celebrating the 500th anniversary of Vesalius' birth.

- At Yale Books, an interview with David Knight, author of Voyaging in Strange Seas.

- One of this summer's "catalog campers" at AAS, Samantha Cook, reports on her experiences working with the tremendously important Printers' File.

- The Supreme Court has refused to hear an "emergency petition" from Conan Doyle's literary heirs over a planned book by Leslie Klinger.

- Over at Confessions of a Bookplate Junkie, Lew interviews bookplate artist Daniel Mitsui.

- At Notabilia, Stephen Ferguson highlights a copy of Anti-Machiavel containing extensive manuscript annotations from other versions of the text.


- Andrew Pettegree's The Invention of News; review by Julianne Werlin in the LA Review of Books.

- Deborah Harkness' The Book of Life; review by Paula L. Woods in the LATimes.

- Lawrence Buell's The Dream of the Great American Novel; review by Sarah Graham in the TLS.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Links & Reviews

- Newly available as free PDFs, DCRM(Books) and DCRM(Serials). DCRM(Graphics) is also available in the same format.

- On the Houghton Library blog, John Overholt writes about the re-acquisition of a set of Addison's works that were acquired by Harvard in the aftermath of the 1764 fire, but later removed as duplicates.

- Patrons have emptied the shelves of a small Devon village library after planned funding cuts threatened to close the library.

- The WaPo reports on the Folger Library's ambitious plan to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death in 2016 by exhibiting a First Folio in every U.S. state, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

- New from USGS, Historical Topographic Map Explorer, which I'm looking forward to playing with. Read about it here.

- Rick Gekoski writes for The Guardian on "How to get ahead - or at least stay afloat - in the rare book trade."

- Elizabeth Yale writes at The Atlantic on "The Mortality of Paper."

- From Midwest Arcadia, Susan Donahue Karetsky writes on "Lairesse Meets Bidloo, or, the Case of the Absent Anatomist."

- Jennifer Schuessler reports on several efforts to document early marginalia, including the newly-Mellon-funded project Exploring the Archaeology of Reading. More from JHU here.

- Sarah Werner works on identifying a distinctive leather bookplate at The Collation.

- Over at Notabila, an incunable containing an early leather bookmark with rotating column indicator.


- Fred Kaplan's John Quincy Adams; review by Alec Rogers in the Washington Times.

- Ben Shephard's Headhunters; review by Adam Kuper in the TLS.

- John Paul Steven's Six Amendments; review by Steven Calabresi in the WSJ.

- Michael Blanding's The Map Thief; review by Maxwell Carter in the WSJ.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Links & Reviews

I've updated the blog list at right, removing now-dead links, indicating those that haven't been updated within the last year, and adding a few. As always, if there are blogs, &c. you think I ought to be linking to there, let me know!

- The Telegraph reports today on the 16 July sale at Christie's of a fascinating library collected by multiple generations of English bibliophiles, containing quite a few bibliographic treasures.

- A new Neatline/Omeka presentation of the Declaration of Independence by David McClure launched this week, and it's very much worth a look.

- David Rubenstein has funded a new facsimile of the 1823 Stone facsimile of the Declaration of Independence, to allow one framed copy of be displayed in each U.S. embassy. Seth Kaller, Inc. produced a 24-page booklet to accompany the facsimiles.

- The NYPL displayed a copy of the Declaration in Jefferson's hand this week, drawing more than 10,000 visitors.

- Jennifer Howard reported for the Chronicle this week on the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's preparations for a new strategic plan, to be released this summer.

- The NYTimes reported on a punctuation question that has arisen around the text of the Declaration of Independence as presented by NARA. Danielle Allen's full paper on which the article is based is here, and Joe Adelman weighed in.

- Simon Beattie reminds us other things happened during 1776, highlighting a new collection of material printed at Stargard Szczeciński (Poland) to document the celebrations held to welcome Catherine the Great's son, Paul, who visited the town enroute to Berlin where he was to meet a new wife.

- Michael Beschloss wrote about the 1952 transfer of the major American founding documents from the Library of Congress to the new National Archives building.

- Amazon's Jeff Grandinetti spoke to the WSJ about the company's ongoing feud with Hachette; Melville House's Alex Shephard responds.

- The Yale Digital Edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson are currently available in beta form.


- Richard W. Oram and Joseph Nicholson's Collecting, Curating, and Researching Writers' Libraries: A Handbook; review by Peter Steinberg at Sylvia Plath Info.

- Fred Kaplan's John Quincy Adams; review by Edward Cuddihy in the Buffalo News.

- Diana Scarisbrick & Benjamin Zucker's Elihu Yale; review by Martin Rubin in the Washington Times.

- Alex Beam's American Crucifixion; review by Benjamin Moser in the NYTimes.

- Michael Blanding's The Map Thief; review by Pradeep Sebastian in The Hindu.

- Danielle Allen's Our Declaration; review by Steven B. Smith in the NYTimes.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Links & Reviews

Back from an excellent RBMS preconference in the very strange city of Las Vegas. It was a pleasure to see so many old friends and meet so many new ones, and to have a chance to hear from so many about the good work they're doing in their libraries and institutions.

- The Irish Times reports that the oldest known surviving Irish manuscript, known as the First Book of Ussher, will be displayed publicly by Trinity College Dublin for the first time in 2016.

- Mitch Fraas, who I had the great pleasure of meeting in person this week at RBMS, has posted some fascinating findings based on the Americana Exchange lists of top 2013 book and manuscript auction sales, including breakdowns by auction house, century, estimate overperformance, and more.

- From the Harvard Gazette, a story on the conservation of the miniature books created by the Brontë children.

- Over at the Melville House blog, Alex Shephard has an in-depth look at the ongoing Amazon/Hachette feud, and what it means for the publishing industry.

- Continuing the very strange stories coming out of Dublin, All Hallows College is planning to sell art and rare books next month at Sheppard's in Durrow.

- Following the recent confirmation from Houghton Library that a book in its collections was bound in human skin, Paul Needham has written a short essay calling for the binding to be removed and buried.

- Over at The Little Professor, thoughts on deaccessioning from one's personal library.

- SAA president Danna Bell has posted on the SAA blog about "The De-Evolution of the Archives and Archivists List."

- A working manuscript draft of Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" sold for $2 million at Sotheby's this week.

- Jennifer Howard reports from the Association of American University Presses' annual meeting for the Chronicle of Higher Education.

- Retiring UVA historian Sandy Gilliam talked to the Roanoke Times about his long career at UVA.


- Horst Bredekamp, Paul Needham et al.'s A Galileo Forgery; review by Massimo Mazzotti in the LA Review of Books. More than a review, though, this is an excellent background piece on the forgeries as well.

- Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling's The Silkworm; review by Harlan Coben in the NYTimes.

- Michael Korda's Clouds of Glory; review by Fergus M. Bordewich in the NYTimes.

- Elizabeth Mitchell's Liberty's Torch; review by Janet Napolitano in the LATimes.

- Kevin Birmingham's The Most Dangerous Book; review by Dwight Garner in the NYTimes.

- Nicola Barker's In the Approaches; review by Ruth Scurr in the TLS.

- Alex Wright's Cataloging the World; review by Maria Popova at Brain Pickings.

- Michael Blanding's The Map Thief; review by Chuck Haga in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

- Lauren Owen's The Quick; review by Joy Tipping in the Dallas Morning News.