Friday, October 23, 2015

Links & Reviews

- This month marks thirty years since Mark Hofmann's bombing spree led to the unraveling of his forgery scheme. The Deseret News reports on a panel discussion held at Provo's Writ & Vision about Hofmann's crimes, as did KUTV (with video). Salt Lake Tribune reporter Jennifer Napier-Pearce talked to Hofmann's ex-wife Dorie Olds, rare book dealer Curt Bench, and assistant LDS church historian Richard Turley in a half-hour video about the anniversary, which is well worth a watch. Dorie Olds is also the subject of a long profile by Peggy Fletcher Stack. Stack also wrote a piece on how the Hofmann forgeries led to a "revolution" in the way the LDS church managed its history.

- The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Google in the long-running Google Books case. Read the full decision. Also see the HathiTrust statement, or the full Infodocket roundup. The Authors Guild has indicated that they will appeal the case to the Supreme Court. In a must-read followup, Dan Cohen writes for the Atlantic "What the Google Books Victory Means for Readers."

- Max Lewontin writes for the CSM about the opportunities presented by the upcoming arrival of a new Librarian of Congress.

- A 9 October talk at Concordia University by Johanna Drucker, "Digital Humanities: From Speculative to Skeptical," is now available for our viewing pleasure.

- The Royal Institution is planning a seed-corn supper: they will sell ninety rare books from their collections at Christie's London on 1 December (sale info), hoping to raise £750,000 to fill a budget gap.

- Jeffrey Alan Miller, an Assistant Professor of English at Monclair State University, has identified a notebook in the archives at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, as what he's calling the "earliest draft" of portions of the King James Bible. Samuel Ward, the notebook's compiler, was one of those charged with creating the new translation, and these notes date from between 1604 and 1608. Miller makes his case in an article in the TLS, "Fruit of good labours," and Jennifer Schuessler followed up with a report in the NYTimes.

- Peter Verheyen has posted a thorough (and pretty fascinating) look at the demographic and usage data for the Book_Arts-L listserv over time.

- A planned exhibition of an early copy of Magna Carta was abruptly moved from Beijing's Renmin University to the British ambassador's residence.

- Much discussion over Megan Smith's post about "finding" the Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments (presumably meaning the manuscript); the best followup with real explanation comes from Ann D. Gordon, editor of the Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton papers.

- A Button Gwinnett signature was on the block this week at Mullock's auction house in Shropshire, but failed to sell; it had been estimated at £60,000–80,000.

- The earliest known abecedary has been identified: it was excavated more than twenty years ago near Luxor in Egypt, and dates from the fifteenth century BCE.

- The Gabriel García Márquez archive is now open for researchers at the Harry Ransom Center.

- Rebecca Rego Barry's Rare Books Uncovered will be published by Voyageur Press in November.

- Bonhams London will sell a copy of the "Wicked Bible" (1631) as Lot 5 of their 11 November sale.

- Now online, the Newton Project's updated digital version of John Harrison's The Library of Isaac Newton.

- Mills College administrators announced this week that their MFA in Book Art & Creative Writing program will close complete in less than a month, as a cost-saving measure. Professor Kathleen Walkup has posted a letter about the proposed closure, along with background on the program and its curriculum, and there is a petition (signed by more than 2,800 people so far) expressing strong disagreement with the program's elimination.

- The NYPL has an exhibit up now highlighting work by female printmakers; I had the chance to see the show this week, and it's quite good indeed.

- The first issue of DHCommons journal is now available.

- More than 460 items from the estate of Lord Richard Attenborough sold at Bonhams for a total of nearly £780,000. Additional portions of the late actor's archive went to the University of Sussex, where they are currently being processed.

- Over at Notes from Under Grounds, graduate curatorial assistant Kelly Fleming writes about searching through booksellers' records to determine who was buying Shakespeare in Virginia in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

- The Deseret News reports that a first edition copy of the Book of Mormon in the collections of the Adams National Historic Park in Quincy, MA was originally the personal copy of Emma Smith (her name is stamped on the spine), given to Charles Francis Adams in 1844 and signed by Joseph Smith.

- New from AAS, a screencast by Molly O'Hagan Hardy on how to convert MARC records to a spreadsheet file using MarcEdit.

- The Museum of the Aleutians, in Dutch Harbor, AK, is currently closed after several rare books were found in the director's house. The director, Zoya Johnson, has been placed on indefinite leave, saying she has no idea why the books were in her home: she reports that she must have taken them there several years ago in preparation to return them to the Russian Orthodox Museum in Anchorage (now closed), from which they had been on loan. Seems mostly like a mistake followed by misunderstandings, but it'll be interesting to see how it plays out.

- Travis McDade has a piece over at LitHub, "The Unseen Theft of America's Literary History," on the danger of document thefts from archives.

- A rare M4 Enigma machine sold at Bonhams New York for $365,000, a new record.

- A map of Middle Earth annotated by Tolkien was found in a copy of illustrator Pauline Baynes' copy of LOTR by staff at Blackwell's Rare Books. It's currently up for grabs with a price tag of £60,000.

- More on the upcoming exhibition on John Dee's library at the Royal College of Physicians from Culture24.

- The British Library has purchased an extensive Gilbert and Sullivan archive from the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company.

- AAS has mounted a new online exhibition, "James Fenimore Cooper: Shadow and Substance."

- Stacy Schiff gets the NYTimes "By the Book" treatment this week.

- At Hyperallergic, Allison Meier profiles an odd manuscript in the collections of McGill University: known as "The Feather Book," it was compiled in 1618 by Dionisio Minaggio, chief gardener in the state of Milan. See the full manuscript.

- IFLA's Rare Books and Special Collections section has launched a new blog, Rare & Special.

- For Cultural Compass, Gerald Cloud examines a printing error in the the HRC's copy of the Gutenberg Bible.

- The BL's Endangered Archives Programme has announced that more than five million images have now been uploaded through the program.

Reviews

- The second edition of Shakespeare's Beehive; review by Michael Dirda in the WaPo.

- David Mitchell's Slade House; reviews by Dwight Garner in the NYTimes and Ron Charles in the WaPo.

- Naomi J. Williams' Landfalls; review by Katherine A. Powers in the CSM.

- Geraldine Brooks' The Secret Chord; review by Alana Newhouse in the NYTimes.

- Stacy Schiff's The Witches and Alex Mar's Witches of America; review by Elizabeth Hand in the LATimes.

- James Shapiro's The Year of Lear; review by Michael Dirda in the WaPo.

- Richard H. Brown and Paul E. Cohen's Mapping the Revolution; review by Don Hagist at Journal of the American Revolution.

- Alberto Manguel's Curiosity; review by Robert Pogue Harrison in the NYRB.

- Bob Woodward's The Last of the President's Men; review by Michiko Kakutani in the NYTimes.

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