Sunday, January 14, 2018

Links & Reviews

- From the "special place in hell" department: a 33-year-old researcher, Antonin DeHays, entered a guilty plea on Thursday to theft of government property, admitting that he stole at least 291 military dog tags and "at least 134 other records" (including "identification cards, personal letters, photographs, a bible, and pieces of downed U.S. aircraft") from the National Archives' public reading room in College Park, Maryland. The thefts occurred over five years, and DeHays sold some of the stolen material on eBay and elsewhere, while retaining some and reportedly giving some as gifts (or, in one instance, trading a Tuskegee Airman's dogtag to a museum for the opportunity to sit inside a Spitfire airplane). DeHays will be sentenced on 4 April; according to the DOJ press release, he faces up to ten years in prison. David Ferriero told the AP "While I am pleased that we are one step closer to justice in this case, I remain shocked and angered that a historian would show such disregard for records and artifacts. As a veteran, I am disgusted that anyone would steal records and artifacts documenting those captured or killed in the service of their nation." He said that reading room policies have been changed in the wake of these thefts.

- American Libraries has an update on some of the catastrophic damage sustained by Caribbean libraries during and in the aftermath of this year's hurricanes.

- The CERL Heritage of the Printed Book Database (HPB) is now freely available for use. See this page for background, technical notes, &c.

- Hyperspectral imaging at the Library of Congress has revealed fourteen lines from a 1780 Alexander Hamilton letter to Elizabeth Schuyler (written prior to their marriage) presumably censored by their son prior to the letter's original publication.

- Atlas Obscura features the tiny "book village" of Hobart, New York - I've got to get over there and visit one of these days!

- A public forum in Salem about the status of the Phillips Library collections got a little heated, as might have been expected. See reports from the Salem News and the Boston Globe.

- You know you want a deep dive into those Jedi texts from the new Star Wars movie [here be spoilers].

- While I very much doubt that the map is actually kept in a "shoe box," a new Minneapolis Star-Tribune piece about the Waldseemüller map auction mentioned last month is worth a read. [Update: John Overholt notes that the piece seems to be describing the library as a shoe box - fair enough!]

- From the Hartford Courant, "University of Texas Wins Tussle with Yale Over Arthur Miller's Papers." Jennifer Schuessler has more on this in the NYTimes.

- I have some questions about this one, but pass it along anyway: Smithsonian reports on some new techniques of "protein analysis" being used on old paper. See also the research paper on which this report is based.

- UVA undergraduate and graduate students are eligible for the BSUVA Book Collecting Contest - the deadline for submission is 12 February.

- The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has extended the $10 million reward for information leading to return of the stolen artwork indefinitely (it was due to expire at the end of 2017).

- Another nice provenance chase over at Medieval Manuscripts Provenance this week.

Reviews

- Edward Brooke-Hitchings' The Phantom Atlas; review by James Keller for the Sante Fe New Mexican.

- Edward Ayers' The Thin Light of Freedom; review by Ronald White in the NYTimes.

- Marion Rankine's Brolliology; review by Shahidha Bari in the TLS.

Upcoming Auctions

- Books, Maps & Manuscripts at Freeman's on 17 January.

- Of Royal and Noble Descent at Sotheby's London on 17 January.

- Fine Printed and Manuscript Americana, including Cartography at Sotheby's New York on 17 January.

- Important Americana at Sotheby's New York from 18–21 January.

- Books and Ephemera at National Book Auctions on 20 January.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Links & Reviews

- Paper fragments found inside a cannon recovered from the wreck of the Queen Anne's Revenge (Blackbeard's ship) have been identified as coming from a copy of Edward Cooke's Voyage to the South Sea (1712).

- Michael Winship's keynote from this fall's APHA conference, "Good, But Not So Fast or Cheap," is now available on the APHA blog.

- January Rare Book Monthly articles include Michael Stillman's overview of the top 500 auction prices for 2017, and Bruce McKinney on buying an obscure Munsell imprint.

- Registration for the Scientific Illustration Renaissance to the Digital Age Symposium on 15 March at the Library of Congress is now open. This looks like a great program.

- Rebecca Rego Barry notes at the Fine Books Blog the deaths of three booksellers this week: the Strand's Fred Bass, Charlie Cox, and Louis Collins. They will be much missed. More about Louis from the Seattle Review of Books; I had the great pleasure of meeting him at the Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair in 2016, and I'm very glad that I did.

- More on Fred Bass from Tom Vanderbilt on the NYRB blog and Tom Verlaine in the NYTimes.

- For the New Yorker, Paul Collins takes a look at a 1968 conference and associated book which looked ahead to 2018.

- Three major CLIR-Mellon Hidden Collection grants will allow the Penn Libraries to digitize Islamic manuscripts, the Marian Anderson archive, and records of early Philadelphia religious congregations.

- WBUR aired a remembrance of Harvard Law Library curator David Ferris this week.

- The University of British Columbia has acquired a copy (in fact, the only known copy) of the first edition of The Vancouver Weekly Herald and North Pacific News, believed to be the first item printed in the city of Vancouver.

- Urvashi Chakravarty surveys apprenticeship indentures at the Folger for The Collation.

- I missed this in December, but the BBC reports on recent work using digital tools to read Sonderkommando evidence buried at Auschwitz and discovered in the 1980s during excavations there.

- In the Harvard alumni magazine, a profile of Columba Stewart, executive director of the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library.

- Another one I missed in December (sorry!): Russell Maret on his weeks as the inaugural printer-in-residence at the Bodleian Libraries.

- The Association of European Printing Museums has launched a new map of printing museums, which looks to be quite handy. [via the Princeton Graphic Arts blog]

- Aaron Pratt writes for the HRC magazine about interactive designs (volvelles, &c.) in early printed books.

- Over at Making Manuscripts in the Medieval and Early Modern World, "Revealing the Secrets of an Early Coptic Manuscript." More on this project from Nicholas Wade in the NYTimes.

- Another good one in the Guardian books podcast: Stephen Fry on Saki's excellent "Sredni Vashtar."

Reviews

- Fiona Simpson's In Search of Mary Shelley; review by Rachel Cooke in the Guardian.

- Pradeep Sebastian's The Book Hunters of Katpadi; review by Rajdeep Bains in the Tribune. I'm looking forward to this one.

- Brenda Maddox's Reading the Rocks; review by Timothy R. Smith in the WaPo.

- Noah Feldman's The Three Lives of James Madison; review by Pamela Newkirk in the WaPo.

- Helen Smith's An Uncommon Reader; review by Michael Dirda in the WaPo.

Upcoming Auctions

- Fine Literature & Fine Books - Poetry from the Collection of Larry Rafferty - Miniature Books at PBA Galleries on 11 January.

- Rare, Out-of-Print and Used Books at the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society on 12 January.