Sunday, November 15, 2009

Boston Book Fair Recap

Back from the big Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair, after a very nice few days over at the Hynes. I went by Friday night for the first browse, was there Saturday to work at the RBMS and Ticknor Society tables, and made another quick visit today to buy the item that caught my eye.

I thought it was a good fair; the usual suspect dealers were there, although there were a few conspicuous absences (including Oak Knoll, which rather surprised me). It was a real delight to be able to talk bindings with Ian Kahn and Sid Berger, recruit a new bunch of Ticknorites, browse the aisles, catch up with old friends (dealers, plus folks from the AAS, Athenaeum and other places) and make new ones. While the crowd on Friday night seemed slightly thinner than usual, and Saturday's deluge probably kept a few people away, there appeared to be a fairly steady stream of folks moving through.

The book bound in human skin (offered by James Cummins and sold before the fair even opened) was probably the top draw (it stayed on display for a while). It was a fantastic binding, and the endpapers (also human skin) showed the pores quite clearly. Kinda creepy, but very interesting.

I ended up with a surprising little find: from Savoy Books (Lanesboro, MA), a broadside relating to the hanging-in-effigy of the editor of the College Spectator, a student publication at my alma mater which preceded Concordiensis (the current student paper, which I edited while at Union). The Spectator was published between April 1872 and December 1875, and during the middle of its final year the freshmen and sophomores had a squabble (which led to the editor's suspension from the dome).

Can't beat a good hanging (in effigy), right?