Sunday, October 11, 2015

Links & Reviews

- By unanimous consent this week the Senate passed the "Librarian of Congress Succession Modernization Act of 2015," which provides for a ten-year (renewable) term for the next Librarian of Congress. The bill has now been referred to the Committee on House Administration in the House of Representatives. Coverage from Roll Call (prior to the bill's passage in the Senate).

- What is believed to be the most substantial Gutenberg Bible fragment currently in private hands (13 leaves comprising the book of Joshua and the beginning of Judges) will be available for sale this week at London's Frieze Masters art fair, with an asking price of €2 million.

- Meredith Farkas writes for TNR on priorities for the next Librarian of Congress.

- ILAB has posted a report by Umberto Pregliasco about recent changes to Italian law on exporting books: at the moment, it appears that exporting pre-1965 books from Italy may now be impossible, and Pregliasco adds that as things stand, even tourists visiting Italy may be barred from purchasing antiquarian books.

- A first edition of Darwin's Origin of Species, stolen from Mount Saint Vincent University by John Mark Tillman, was returned to Canada this week; Tillman sold the book to a collector who in turn sold it at Sotheby's in 2012.

- The British Library has acquired the manuscript of the earliest known translation (1523) of a work by Desiderius Erasmus into English. The manuscript was sold to an overseas buyer last summer, but was placed under an export ban to allow the BL to raise funds for its purchase.

- The Library of Congress announced this week that Chronicling America now includes more than 10 million pages of newspaper images.

- The Harvard Gazette highlights the HarvardX course series "The Book."

- NARA has announced the results of public requests for digitization priorities and the establishment of an agency-wide priority list.

- The Historical Medical Library of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia has started a new blog, Fugitive Leaves. The first post focuses on the anthropodermic bindings in the HML's collections: recent tests have confirmed that they have five human-skin bindings.

- A 1611 King James Bible was found in a Wrexham parish church cupboard.

- From Paul Collins in the New Yorker, "An Unintentional Scottish Masterpiece," on a fascinating 1819 guidebook to Scotland.

- The Clements Library has acquired a copy of Diego de Valadés' Rhetorica christiana (1579), described as "almost certainly the first book written by a native of Mexico to be printed in Europe."

- Stratford Hall is working on adding material to the Lee Family Digital Archive, designed eventually to be "a comprehensive annotated edition of all the known papers of the immigrant founder Richard Lee (c.1602–1663/4) and his lines of offspring (7–8 generations)."

- New from the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library, vHMML, a suite of digital tools for the study of (mostly Latin) manuscripts.

- David Skinner writes for the Guardian about a songbook which is believed to have belonged to Anne Bolyen, now in the collections of the Royal College of Music.

- The Texas Center for the Book will relocate to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission in Austin.

- Adam Matthew will digitize the Stationers' Company archive; this will reportedly be available (to subscribers) in 2018.

- Not unrelatedly, Sarah Werner posted a great list of questions you should ask when you see announcements of new digitization projects.

- Houghton Library has acquired the archive of French writer Maurice Blanchot.

- Andy Stauffer talked to "With Good Reason" about the Book Traces project.

- The good folks at FB&C have launched a Rare Book Week Boston site, aggregating all the various bookish events happening around the book fair this year.

- The DPLA has received $250,000 from an anonymous donor to "strengthen DPLA's technical capabilities."

- Emory University has acquired a collection of Jack Kerouac material from Kerouac's brother-in-law and literary executor John Sampas. See the Emory press release for more.

- UVA will host a public forum next fall (14–17 September 2016) to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the NEH.

- A collection of early maps of Chicago was found at an estate sale last winter, and are currently being offered for sale through Harlan J. Berk.

- Yale's Beinecke Library has acquired the papers of playwright Donald Margulies.

- Over at Echoes from the Vault, a look at "Buried Treasure Amongst the Stacks," or, when the binding waste is more interesting than the book itself ...

- In the October Rare Book Monthly, Bruce McKinney offers an unconventional but rather intriguing plan to "clear the backlog" of lower-priced collectible stock.

- Erin Schreiner posts for the NYSL blog about recent grants that will allow the Society to describe and arrange their institutional archives.

- The AAS has received a $4 million gift from the Myles and Jean C. McDonough Foundation.

- D.J. Butterfield's Standpoint piece "Bibliophiles Beware: Online Prices Are a Lottery" prompted much discussion.

- Among the new MacArthur Fellows is Marina Rustow, who's been doing excellent work with the Cairo Geniza texts.

- Over at Unique at Penn, Mitch Fraas explores "What's missing in magazines" - that is, what's missing from digitized copies of 19th-century magazines.

- The second issue of furnace, a postgraduate journal from the Ironbridge Institute for Cultural Heritage at the University of Birmingham, is now available. The theme is "Cultural Heritage in a Digital Age."

- The Woodrow Wilson papers will be made available digitally through the UVA Press Rotunda American History online collection. More from UVA Today.

- A second edition of Shakespeare's Beehive is now available.

- Fairly simplistic, but OUP has posted an infographic on "Who was on Shakespeare's bookshelf?"

Reviews

- Arthur Freeman's Bibliotheca Fictiva; review by H.R. Woudhuysen in the TLS.

- Sven Birkerts' Changing the Subject; review by Tim Parks in the NYTimes.

- Geraldine Brooks' The Secret Chord; review by Helen W. Mallon in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

- Sasha Abramsky's The House of Twenty Thousand Books; reviews by Rebecca Rego Barry at Fine Books Blog, Michael Dirda in the WaPo, and Tara Helfman in the Washington Free Beacon.

- Zachary Thomas Dodson's Bats of the Republic; review by Keith Donohue in the WaPo.

- Markman Ellis, Richard Coulton and Matthew Mauger's Empire of Tea; review by Sarah Besky in the TLS.

- James Shapiro's 1606: William Shakespeare and the year of 'Lear'; review by John Kerrigan in the TLS.

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