Sunday, November 14, 2010

Boston Book Fair: Reports from the Floor (Fri-Sat)

Here's a quick update on the first two days of this year's Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair (also see my notes on Thursday night's pre-fair events). Friday night was the preview night, and when we got to Hynes just before the doors opened there was a healthy line of eager bibliophiles (I'd say at least a couple hundred) chomping at the bit to begin their browsing. After a very long, very busy day at work I wasn't in top form for book-shopping, so decided to make a shorter go of it than I usually do, just surfing the booths briefly and chatting with dealers and some of the other biblio-folk in the crowd. Everyone seemed pleased with the turnout, and were optimistic about the weekend.

Yesterday morning, Saturday, after a very restful sleep, I was ready to go again, and headed over to be there for the opening bell. I had two hours then to really browse the shelves and did so - saw some excellent things as always (including a Frederick Douglass memoir inscribed by one of his traveling companions, some very cool 17th-century charts attempting a classification system for the entire world, &c. &c.). I stopped at Bill Reese's booth to thank him in person for his support of fellowships at various research institutions (one of which funded my time at Rare Book School this summer), and made sure to touch base with the several dealers from whom I've bought things at this fair before.

At 2 it was on to the Ticknor Society table for my two-hour shift there, which is always great fun; we signed up some new members, chatted with current Ticknorites, and passed out quite a bit of candy. Then I hopped down two tables to the RBMS booth, which as usual had a selection of literature for a whole range of worthy groups - RBMS itself, plus APHA, SHARP, the Ephemera Society, BSA, RBS, &c. Much more good chatting with passersby there until 7, when the fair finished up for the day. That table was very nicely situated across from the very spacious booth shared by Lux Mentis, Kelmscott Bookshop, and Brian Cassidy (Ian's posted pictures and video).

We walked over to the Ticknor Society - Grolier Club joint reception with Ian (after a minor geographical miscue in which we ended up in the wrong hotel), and mingled there for a while. It was a good event, and a nice chance for the groups to meet and discuss shared interests and enthusiasms. Chris Morgan, Ticknor's president, spoke later at the Grolier Club dinner, and I'll have a link to his talk shortly (he'll be posting it on the Ticknor site). That made a very nice cap to the book fair evening!

I'll be back at the Fair today, for Michael Suarez's talk and then my shift at the MHS table (I'm trying to set a record for the number of Cultural Row booths worked) to close out another good fair. I was very pleased with the number of attendees yesterday, and many dealers seemed quite happy with how people were buying this year. I'm sure the weather helped, it's been quite a lovely weekend for a book fair!

Another update tonight or tomorrow, on Michael's talk, &c.