Sunday, March 09, 2014

Links & Reviews

- Another week, another absolutely astounding book theft story. A report by Kim Ring in the Worcester Telegram highlights the wet noodle of a sentence handed down to Joseph G. Heath of Leicester, MA, who pleaded to "sufficient facts for a guilty finding" in relation to the theft of more than 100 rare books from Becker College's Samuel May, Jr. collection (see this ABAA security blog post for more on the missing items). Heath, a janitor at the college with access to the library, had sold several of the stolen books to a Worcester bookstore, which in turn had tried to sell them to the Leicester Historical Society (this led to the original alert that the books may have been stolen from Becker). Heath also sold 24 books to a Boston bookshop $850, which have since been recovered, and attempted to sell others via Craigslist. Heath was arrested and charged in November 2012. Approximately fifty of the stolen books, worth around $15,000, plus one inscribed to (not by, as indicated in the article) Abraham Lincoln, have not yet been recovered.

Prosecutors had requested that Heath be ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution, but last week a judge ordered Heath to pay a measly $3,000 and sentenced him to three years' probation, which term could be reduced to one year if the restitution is paid. Utterly ridiculous.

- From The Collation, Erin Blake on a 17th-century print that's been pricked for transfer.

- Coming up in early April (unfortunately during the New York Book Fair) at UCLA: "Futures of Book History," which looks like it's going to be a fantastic conference!

- Over at Manuscript Road Trip, Lisa Fagin Davis on "digital fragmentology" and its uses in recreating some of the manuscripts dismembered by Otto Ege in the 1940s.

- There's a Travel Channel clip about the Ireland Shakespeare forgeries, featuring Folger Library curator Heather Wolfe.

- A 15th-century Torah volume will be sold at Christie's Paris on 30 April, and is estimated at 1-1.5 million Euros.

- The University of Rochester has received a $360,000 grant to digitize portions of the Seward Family Archive (a collection near and dear to my heart, so I'm particularly delighted to see this).

- What is considered the world's largest privately-held Holocaust archive, containing more than 20,000 books and some 500,000 documents, has been acquired by the University of Colorado Boulder.

- In Fine Books & Collections, Joel Silver writes on "Collector and Bookseller: A Vanishing Relationship?"

- Over at Harper's, historian Mary Niall Mitchell writes on a particularly amazing copy of Solomon Northrup's Twelve Years a Slave.

- Eric Caren is planning to sell his collection of some 200,000 items en bloc in a private treaty sale.

- The British Library has acquired Philip the Good's manuscript of the Mystère de la Vengeance, one of the finest illuminated manuscripts of any medieval theatrical text. The manuscript was acquired by the British government in lieu of inheritance tax.


- Marwa Elshakry's Reading Darwin in Arabic; review by Robert Irwin in the TLS.

- Jessie Childs' God's Traitors; review by Virginia Roundling in the Telegraph.

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