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.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Links & Reviews

- Jennifer Schuessler reports for the New York Times on some excellent new discoveries about Shakespeare and heraldry by Heather Wolfe, curator of manuscripts at the Folger Shakespeare Library. See the documents at Shakespeare Documented.

- On the NYPL blog, Mark Boonshoft highlights Mary Katherine Goddard's January 1777 printing of the Declaration of Independence.

- Video from the Grolier Club symposium "Blooks: The Art of Books That Aren't" is now available via Vimeo.

- There's a binding-related "Crocodile mystery" up at The Collation.

- Paul Heller writes for the Times Argus about the process of debunking the myth that the wooden hand-press at the Vermont Historical Society was the first press in Massachusetts.

- Kathy Major writes at Past is Present about finding a small but important collection of unpublished Richard Henry Lee letters at AAS.

- A first edition Principia will be sold at Christie's on 12 July as part of the excellent Giancarlo Beltrame Library of Scientific Books auction.

- Over at 6sqft, "Life Behind the Stacks: The Secret Apartments of New York Libraries." [Warning: I noticed a couple glaring errors in this piece, so take it with a generous helping of salt].

- Matt Kirschenbaum talked to Robinson Meyer about Track Changes for The Atlantic.

- HathiTrust and the National Federation for the Blind will collaborate to make some 14 million e-books available to blind and print-disabled users.

- Michael Danaher has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Oxford book dealer Adrian Greenwood.

- The 15CBOOKTRADE project has released a video introducing some of the various visualization tools available as 15cV, drawing on the MEI database ("Material Evidence in Incunabula").


- Matt Kirschenbaum's Track Changes; review by Brian Dillon in the Guardian.

- Wendy Warren's New England Bound; review by Christopher L. Brown in the NYTimes.

- Ben H. Winters' Underground Airlines; review by Jon Michaud in the WaPo.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Links & Reviews

It was a busy conference week for many, between RBMS (see #rbms16), ALA Annual (see #alaac16) and the Omohundro Institute conference (see #oieahc16). Looks like lots of good content at each!

- Casey Cep highlights Thomas McDade's bibliography The Annals of Murder for the New Yorker Page-Turner blog.

- New from the Huntington Library and partners, "Decoding the Civil War," a crowdsourced project to transcribe and decipher some 16,000 Civil War telegrams. See the Huntington announcement.

- The Lilly Library is the subject of a Smithsonian writeup.

- Over on the NYPL blog, Charles Cuykendall Carter talks to CUNY professor Simon Reader about teaching with a recently-digitized copy of Middlemarch in parts (from the Pforzheimer Collection).

- Bookseller and collector Philip R. Bishop of Mosher Books has launched a new website, The Mosher Press, on the life and works of Thomas Bird Mosher.

- will make some digitized genealogical works available via the DPLA interface.

- Ann Patty reports for the WSJ about Latin-language immersion programs.

- Skip Hollandsworth profiles Larry McMurtry for Texas Monthly.

- Elizabeth Yale writes for Aeon about British antiquarianism in "The nature of Britain."

- Alexander Street Press has been acquired by ProQuest.

- Three new incoming university librarians (Valerie Hotchkiss at Vanderbilt, Anne Jarvis at Princeton, and John Unsworth at UVA) are profiled in the Chronicle.

- In the New York Times Magazine, Jenna Wortham explores "How an Archive of the Internet Could Change History."

- In the spring issue of Humanities, the Osher Map Library at the University of Southern Maine gets a feature by Edgar Allen Beem.

- Alex Shephard writes for the New Republic about what happens to the book ecosystem if we lose Barnes & Noble.


- Adrian Tinniswood's The Long Weekend; review by Sandra McElwaine in the Washington Times.

- Michael Shelden's Melville in Love; review by Sam Coale in the Providence Journal.

- Naomi Novik's League of Dragons; review by Jason Heller for NPR.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Links & Reviews

I realized this week (in the midst of an excellent but all-consuming Rare Book School session) that I made my first post on this blog ten years ago Friday. Hard to believe it's been that long – thank you for reading!

- An 1835 prayerbook owned by William Wordsworth has been stolen from a display case in a Cumbrian church. If anyone has additional identifying details about the volume that would help in securing its return, please let me know.

- Gordon College has abandoned plans to sell off books from the Edward Payson Vining collection.

- Ariel Sabar's Atlantic piece on the "Jesus' Wife" papyrus is a spectacular read.

- The 16 June Books & Manuscripts sale at Christie's realized nearly $2.5 million, but two of the expected high-sellers didn't meet their reserve (the first edition of Alice in Wonderland and the Neal Cassady letter to Kerouac). The top lot proved to be Constitutional Convention delegate James McHenry's manuscript notes from the 30 and 31 May 1787 sessions of the convention ($389,000).

- Author Dan Brown has donated €300,000 to Amsterdam's Ritman Library to help fund the digitization of the library's collections.

- A second selection of books from the library of Pierre Bergé will be sold on 8–9 November at Sotheby's Paris.

- Culture24 highlights ten of the new Roman writing tablets recently discovered in London.

- There's a new beta version of the Universal Short-Title Catalogue (USTC).

- A first edition presentation copy of Das Kapital sold for £218,500 this week.

- Convicted book thief Andrew Shannon received a one-year prison sentence for the theft of 57 rare books from Carton House; he was already serving time for other crimes.

- Not to be missed: "Assertive Cataloguing" at The Bookhunter on Safari.

- From Publisher's Weekly, "As E-book Sales Decline, Digital Fatigue Grows."

- David Leonard has accepted the BPL presidency; may he meet with every success.

- John V. Fleming's "Finding a Good Book" is a useful reminder that there are a whole lot more books out there than those on the current bestseller lists.

- The American Textile History Museum in Lowell, MA has permanently closed; its collections, including a large library, will reportedly be transferred to other institutions.

- Caroline Duroselle-Melish posts at The Collation on "Investigating a Bull's Head Watermark."

- An archive of William Steig illustrations sold for $187,500 at Sotheby's this week.


- Neil Hayward's Lost Among the Birds; review by Peter Lewis in the CSM.

- Denis Boyles' Everything Explained that is Explainable; review by Joseph Epstein in the WSJ.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Links & Reviews

- David W. Dunlap reports for the NYTimes on the five-decade Times career of Rudolph Stocker, described as "the last printer at The Times working under a guaranteed lifetime contract; the last Times employee who knew how to operate a Linotype casting machine; the last journeyman of the old International Typographical Union and its New York local, No. 6."

- Adam Gopnik writes in the New Yorker about the reading habits of Hamilton and Burr, using the New York Society Library's great City Readers project.

- Smithsonian reports that scientists have deciphered more symbols on the Antikythera Mechanism. The new findings led credence to the theory that the device was used for astrological purposes, and that it made have originated near the island of Rhodes. Results have been published in a special issue of Almagest.

- Rebecca Romney has joined the bookselling firm Honey & Wax.

- David Maclay posts at the National Library of Scotland blog about their current exhibition "Monster Making in the Summer of 2016" (drawing on the John Murray archive).

- Jill Bourne has declined the offer to become president of the Boston Public Library, citing personal reasons. The Boston Globe has a report. The BPL's board will meet Tuesday morning to move forward.

- Quartz highlights a century-old stationery store in Japan where you can customize the perfect notebook.

- The Washington Post surveys cruise ship libraries.

- Folget Curatorial Assistant Elizabeth DeBold is profiled in the "Bright Young Librarians" series.


- John Guy's Elizabeth: The Forgotten Years; review by Stacey Schiff in the NYTimes.

- Mike Ashley's Adventures in the Strand; review by Michael Dirda in the WaPo.

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

- A trio of new books on Byron; review by Corin Throsby in the TLS.