Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Links & Reviews

Heading up to New York tomorrow for Bibliography Week events - I hope I'll see many of you there! Meanwhile, some links and reviews:

- From Paste magazine, John Ruch writes on "The Peculiar Underworld of Rare-Book Thieves." It notes that a book on the Smiley thefts by Michael Blanding will be published this year (The Map Thief, to be published by Gotham Books).

- The Wellcome Library has released 100,000 hi-res images from its collections.

- Excellent reporter Paul Grondahl has a report in the Times Union on the New York State Library's "tough calls" about culling materials from the collections. It makes for difficult reading.

- New OED chief editor Michael Proffitt talked to the New York Times this week about the future of the dictionary.

- A pair of scholars have announced what they see as a breakthrough in the Voynich Manuscript, concluding that many of the plants and animals portrayed there may be North American species.

- The Mellon Foundation has awarded a $3 million grant to fund a "Humanities Without Walls" consortium to "create new avenues for collaborative research, teaching, and the production of scholarship in the humanities, forging and sustaining areas of inquiry that cannot be created or maintained without cross-institutional cooperation."

- From the BBC: Albrecht Durer: Printing Press Native.

- A Sotheby's report published in Chinese has defended the authenticity of a calligraphy scroll sold for $8.2 million in September (mentioned here). Chinese scholars argue that the scroll was a 19th-century reproduction.

- New York's Rizzoli Bookstore will likely have to move; the building's owners are planning to demolish the site.

- New online, the Catalogue of English Manuscripts, 1450-1700, containing descriptions of more than 37,000 manuscript texts from 237 C16-17 authors.

- From the "Bright Young Librarians" series, Trinity College's Rick Ring is profiled.

- Unclaimed material stolen by Barry Landau and Jason Savedoff is being temporarily housed at the Maryland Historical Society, the Baltimore Sun reported, until it can be identified and returned to its rightful home(s).

- The British Library will close its Preservation Advisory Centre as of the end of March.

- Material from the family archive of William Penn will be up for sale at Bonham's London on 28 January.

- The daughter of Cold Comfort Farm author Stella Gibbons has found two finished-but-unpublished novels amongst her mother's possessions.

- Mitch Fraas notes a success story in identifying a smudgy provenance stamp - there's hope!

- The New York Times ran a report last week on Pinochet's library.

- Casey Cep has a piece at The New Yorker on "The Allure of the Map."

- I'm feeling a bit removed from the whole Common Core debate, but I found Alex Kalamaroff's essay at The Millions, "The Common Core Vs. Books: When Teachers are Unable to Foster a Love of Reading in Students" very much worthwhile.

- The Strand's rare book room was highlighted in the New York Daily News.

- Over at Manuscript Road Trip, our erstwhile guides explore the career and telltale signs of the Spanish Forger.

- The existence of a secret Foreign Office archive, containing some 1.2 million files going back to the 17th century, was revealed this week.

- Two digital collections of rare books at Princeton have been expanded: the Sid Lapidus collection on Liberty and the American Revolution, and the library's annotated books.

- The BL is crowdfunding the digitization of George III's personal collection of maps and views: they're looking for £100,000.

- From Antipodean Footnotes, highlights from the woodcuts in the early Italian and French editions of the Hypnerotomachia.

- In the LA Review of Books, Johanna Drucker writes on "Pixel Dust: Illusions of Innovation in Scholarly Publishing."

- Penn State has acquired the archive of book designer Chip Kidd, while Billy Collins' papers will go to the Harry Ransom Center.

Reviews

- The History of OUP, Volume III; review by Bernard Porter in The Guardian.

- Jed Buchwald and Mordechai Feingold's Newton and the Origin of Civilization; review by Scott Mandelbrote in the TLS.

- Bob Brier's Egyptomania; review (well, pan) by Michael Dirda in the WaPo.

- Alan Jacobs' The Book of Common Prayer; review by Willy Maley in the THE.

- Douglas Egerton's The Wars of Reconstruction; review by Fergus Bordewich in the WSJ.

- Greg Grandin's The Empire of Necessity; review by Scott Martelle in the LATimes.

- Timothy Brook's Mr. Selden's Map of China and Robert Batchelor's London: The Selden Map and the Making of a Global City, 1549-1689; review in The Economist.

- Jacqueline Jones' A Dreadful Deceit; review by Thomas Chatterton Williams in the WSJ.

- Colin Jerolmack's The Global Pigeon; review by Jennie Erin Smith in the TLS.

- Nick Basbanes' On Paper; review at BookBrowse.

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