Sunday, May 22, 2016

Links & Reviews

Lots of catching up to do: since my last I had the great pleasure and honoring of addressing the annual meeting of the Ticknor Society in Boston on the friendship between Thomas Jefferson and George Ticknor. The annual meeting was held at the Massachusetts Historical Society, where Ticknorites had the opportunity to view the excellent current exhibition, "The Private Jefferson" (which I commend to anyone who can get there to view it before it closes on 26 May). While in Boston I also got to make my semi-annual visits to the Brattle Book Shop and Commonwealth Books, and was able to work in a little research time at MHS (more about that latter soon; I located something I'm quite excited to share). All that plus a laptop meltdown! If I missed anything vital in this catch-up post, please don't hesitate to send it along.

- A copy of the "Plannck II" Columbus Letter donated to the Library of Congress in 2004 was repatriated to Italy this week; it had been stolen from the Riccardiana Library in Florence and replaced with a photographic facsimile. The letter was subsequently sold at Christie's in 1992 (lot description). See: Department of Justice press release; seizure warrant (this makes for fascinating reading - boy would I like to see what's underneath those redaction lines!); Elisabetta Povoledo's NYTimes article. For more: La Repubblica (in Italian); Italian Cultural Ministry statement (in Italian); LATimes. (Thanks to Nick Wilding and others for posting on ExLibris about this story). Volker Schroder also linked to a bookseller's description of the letter from before the 1992 Christie's sale.

- Jill Bourne, city librarian at the San Jose Public Library, will be the new president of the Boston Public Library.

- RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage, is now officially fully open-access.

- Erin Blake has a great two-part series at The Collation this week: "Physical description in book cataloging," and "Signature statements in book cataloging."

- Christie's will sell a copy of the true first edition of Carroll's Alice in Wonderland on 16 June. More from the Fine Books Blog. Coming up on the same day, also at Christie's, Neal Cassady's famed letter to Jack Kerouac (more on this from Jennifer Schuessler in the NYTimes).

- Lara Putnam's American Historical Review article "The Transnational and the Text-Searchable: Digitized Sources and the Shadows They Cast" is currently available via the AHR.

- A 15-year-old's collection of more than 200 Apple computers may become the cornerstone of a planned Maine Technology Museum.

- Jerome McGann's ADE keynote, "Exceptional Measures: The Human Sciences in STEM Worlds," is now available online.

- An 11th-century letter known as the last surviving work of Chinese scholar Zeng Gong has set a new record price for an example of Chinese calligraphy, the BBC reports, selling for $32 million at a Beijing auction. The buyer was film mogul Wang Zhongjun.

- Last month the Princeton History Department hosted what looks like a great two-day conference in honor of Sidney Lapidus: "Fighting Words: Polemical Literature in the Age of Democratic Revolutions."

- Skinner is holding an online auction of fine books and manuscripts, which runs through 26 May.

- Matt Kirschenbaum has a short piece for the Paris Review: "Picturing the literary history of word processing."

- A manuscript Dutch East India Company map of the Java Sea from 1743 is coming up for auction at Swann Galleries.

- Tim Parks' T Magazine piece on the Corsini family archive is very much worth a read.

- In "A Melville Marginalia Mystery," NYPL's Thomas Lannon interviews Dawn Coleman about some erased Melville marginal notations she's been working on sussing out.

- At Smithsonian, Marissa Fessenden offers a brief history of traveling with books.

- Report is a little spotty, but "Ukraine Today" reports that a 1574 volume printed by Ivan Fedorov was stolen from Ukraine's Vernadsay National Library.

- NPR's "Parallels" reports on the ongoing work on the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae.

- Mitch Fraas has a post up at Unique at Penn about a volume of government documents possibly once owned by Alexander Hamilton.

- Eric White writes for Princeton's Notabilia blog about the recent discovery that one of Princeton's copies of the 1545 Greek Bible bears the annotations of Martin Chemnitz.

- Digitized copies of the Boston Athenaeum's exhibitions catalogues from 1950 through the present are now available via the Athenaeum's website.

- From Atlas Obscura, Cara Giaimo profiles archaeological linguist Nora White and her work on Ireland's "Ogham" alphabet.

- New to me (and thanks to Tess Goodman for sending it along): a 1969 Paris Review interview with E. B. White.

- Friday, 20 May marked the premiere of a new opera, "The Book Collector." Ernest Hilbert of Bauman Rare Books wrote the libretto.


- Bronwen Riley's The Edge of Empire; review by Jan Morris in the NYTimes.

- Nathaniel Philbrick's Valiant Ambition; reviews by David Waldstreicher in the NYTimes and Carol Berkin in the WaPo.

- Mark Kurlansky's Paper; review by Anthony Grafton in the NYTimes.

- Norma Clarke's Brothers of the Quill; review by Michael Dirda in the WaPo.

- Carla Mulford's Benjamin Franklin and the Ends of Empire and George Goodwin's Benjamin Franklin in London; review by T. H. Breen in the TLS.

- Michael Canfield's Theodore Roosevelt in the Field; review by Peter Coates in the TLS.

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