Sunday, May 31, 2015

Links & Reviews

- A 1634 Rembrandt etching and an Albrecht Dürer engraving ("Adam and Eve," from 1504) from the collections of the Boston Public Library were reported missing to police on 29 April after their absence was discovered earlier in the month, according to media reports on 19 May. The FBI was consulted, and Boston mayor Martin Walsh called for a full audit of the library's collections. On 21 May the Boston Globe ran a long piece by Malcolm Gay on the importances of balancing access and security to library collections, featuring comments by Travis McDade, and word broke that Susan L. Glover, Keeper of Special Collections at the BPL, was placed on paid administrative leave on 20 April, even before the thefts were reported to police. In an interview with the Boston Herald, former BPL print curator Sinclair Hitchings blasted the library's security policies, and the Boston Globe reported on 26 May that an city-commissioned audit revealed major problems with collections storage and security. And more shoes continue to drop: on 28 May the Herald reported that another former BPL employee emailed city officials and said that gold coins once placed in the original library cornerstone were missing from the library's collections (but to be fair, they have apparently been gone for decades) and that the library had accidentally deaccessioned a copy of an 1800 political pamphlet for a Friends group book sale. An emergency meeting of the Library's board of trustees to deal with the ongoing turmoil has been scheduled for 3 June.

- Beinecke Curator Raymond Clemens writes about the prayer book read and annotated by Thomas More during his imprisonment in the Tower of London (and now at the Beinecke).

- University of Michigan archivists have found fragments of an unpublished autobiography of Orson Welles amongst papers purchased recently from Welles' companion Oja Kodar.

- The AAS has launched a new online exhibition: Louis Prang and Chromolithography.

- English professor Joseph Bristow talked to UCLA Newsroom about his recent book Oscar Wilde's Chatterton.

- The results of the University of Buckingham's Drood Inquiry, which prompted 15,000 user submissions, have been revealed.

- You can now listen to Michael Suarez's 2015 Lyell Lectures as podcasts.

- Smithsonian reports on recent analysis of the 1491 Martellus map in the collections of Yale's Beinecke Library.

- Via Mitch Fraas: Penn has digitized Mathew Carey's diary for 1822–26.

- A proof copy of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar will be sold at Bonhams on 24 June.

- Google has unveiled a new font family for Google Play Books, which they're calling Literata.

- David McCullough is featured in the NYTimes "By the Book" column.

- At Collectors Weekly, Ben Marks reports on a good book sale find: an 1845 Philadelphia edition of the Pentateuch published by Isaac Lesser.

- Writing for the Telegraph, Hannah Furness covers a talk by British Library director Rory Keating about the future of libraries.

- Alice Schreyer joins the Newberry Library as the Roger and Julia Baskes Vice President for Collections and Library Services on 24 August.

- Over at Rare Books Digest, "Rare Book Market - An Anatomical Exercitation through the Generations."

- Because it made the rounds, I will briefly note the utterly ridiculous coverage of the supposed discovery of a portrait of Shakespeare on the title page of John Gerard's Herball. To quote Professor Michael Dobson from the Telegraph piece on this, however, "it's hallucination." John Overholt, in Medium, has written the only piece you need to read on this topic, frankly.


- Neal Stephenson's Seveneves; reviews by Scott F. Andrews in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Douglas Wolk in the LATimes, and Charles Yu in the NYTimes.

- Matthew Pearl's The Last Bookaneer; review by John Vernon in the NYTimes.

- Steven Inskeep's Jacksonland; review by David Treuer in the WaPo.

- Andrea Mays' The Millionaire and the Bard; review by Stephen Greenblatt in the NYTimes.

- Akhil Reid Amar's The Law of the Land; review by Stephen Wermiel in the WaPo.

- Thomas Kunkel's Man in Profile; review by Blake Bailey in the NYTimes.

- Philip and Carol Zaleskis' The Fellowship; reviews by Elizabeth Hand in the LATimes and Laura Miller in Salon.

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