Sunday, April 26, 2015

Links & Reviews

- Going to have to dig into this one and try to find some more information: there are reports in the New York Daily News and the Wall Street Journal that federal authorities are looking into the theft of seven rare books and a Benjamin Franklin manuscript from the New York Public Library. According to the report, Margaret Tanchuk took the books to Doyle auction house for appraisal last May and Doyle contacted the library after noting library markings; she maintains that she is the legal owner after finding the materials when cleaning out her late father's jewelry store. The Franklin manuscript, known as "Work Book No. 2" and containing the accounts of the Franklin & Hall partnership from 1759 through 1766, is believed to have been stolen sometime between 1988 and 1991. According to a newspaper clipping [found via Google Books] the manuscript turned up in 1924 in an attic in Mount Holly, N.J. There is a photocopy [noted as "from the original at the New York Public Library"] in the David Hall Papers at the American Philosophical Society. [Update: adding a link to this article from 7 April, which comes at this case from the opposite side.]

- Duke University has acquired the truly amazing collection of books and other materials related to women's history (broadly defined) assembled by Lisa Unger Baskin over more than four decades.

- Erik Kwakkel has a fascinating post up about rare medieval name tags, kept in the archives of a Leiden orphanage.

- A collection of Herman Hesse manuscripts will be sold at auction in May by Ketterer Kunst Hamburg.

- Laura Aydelotte writes about a William Henry Ireland "Shakespeare" signature in a quarto Hamlet.

- Nora Krug reports on the ongoing publishing juggernaut that the annotated autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder has become.

- A book stolen from a private library in Rome last year has been located at a Buenos Aires bookstore after it was listed for sale online, according to Italian media reports. The reports do not indicate whether other books from the same theft were also found.

- Indiana may build a $25 million state archives building in downtown Indianapolis.

- The NYTimes covers a recent report by public library officials in New York City warning of a "staggering infrastructure crisis" in the branch library facilities.

- The ABAA blog reports that three items were discovered missing after the New York Antiquarian Book Fair. If you have any information, please contact ABAA Security Chair Garrett Scott.

- The Harvard Gazette reports on several events leading up to the centennial of Harvard's Widener Library, coming up this June.

- The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum has acquired a large collection of the papers of Arthur C. Clarke.

- Missed this last week: the NYTimes obituary of T. H. Tsien, who died on 9 April at the age of 105, is very much worth a read.

- In TNR, William Giraldi writes on "Why we need physical books."


- Bruce Holsinger's The Invention of Fire; review by Rebecca Rego Barry at the Fine Books Blog.

- Michael Pye's The Edge of the World; review by Michael Dirda in the Washington Post.

- Charlotte Gordon's Romantic Outlaws; review by Anna Russell in the WSJ (there's also a Q&A with the author).

- Alberto Manguel's Curiosity; review by Iain Reid in the Globe and Mail.

- John Palfrey's Biblio Tech; review by Carlos Lozada in the Washington Post.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Links & Reviews

Apologies for not getting a post up last week; as usual the New York Book Fair weekend proved too busy to get much written. It was lovely to see many friends at the book fair(s), and if you have a chance to get to the Grolier Club for the absolutely excellent Aldus show before it comes down on 25 April, do go and see it.

- Rebecca Rego Barry has a rundown of the book fairs at the Fine Books Blog, while Greg Gibson at Bookman's Log writes about the "dueling" shadow shows (I went to both, and must say the venue for the Getman show was a real winner; it made browsing the booths much more pleasant).

- At The Collation, Sarah Werner takes a look at the use of printed cancel slips as a method of correcting printing mistakes.

- Entrepreneur John Rogers, who bought up the photo archives of several major American, Australian, and New Zealand newspapers (in exchange for money and digital copies of the photos) reportedly faces up to a dozen lawsuits and his business has been raided by the FBI, Brian Lamber reports for MinnPost.

- More on that unpublished Jupiter Hammon poem from the N-YHS blog.

- An exhibition at the Library of Congress on early American printing opens on 4 June and will run until 2 January 2016. The show features two copies of the 1640 Bay Psalm Book, among other treasures.

- There's an update from the CBC about the aftermath of the disastrous fire at Moscow's INION in January. Library staff and volunteers are still packing and removing damaged books from the site.

- Jennifer Schuessler reports for the NYTimes on the possible shutdown of the Dictionary of American Regional English due to funding shortfalls. More from the Boston Globe.

- Work by UVA profs Chad Wellmon and Brad Pasanek to create a "digital network of print materials created during the Enlightenment" is highlighted in UVA Today.

- The Royal Archives is digitizing some 350,000 pages from the private papers of George III.

- Also from Jennifer Schuessler, a report on Terry Alford's new biography of John Wilkes Booth, Fortune's Fool (OUP), and Alford's work with amateur Booth researchers.

- The manuscript of Don McLean's "American Pie" sold for $1.2 million at Christie's on 7 April.

- Erik Kwakkel has a new piece on how people sent short messages to each other in earlier centuries: "Texting in Medieval Times."

- The Outer Banks Sentinel reports on some new research which suggests that the Roanoke colonists may well have relocated to Hatteras Island (as has been long thought).

- Some 450 artifacts made by Japanese-Americans in WWII internment camps (and later given to a historian writing about the art created in the camps) were withdrawn from a New Jersey auction this week following online protests and threats of legal action.

- Ralph Blumenthal reports on the Stanford Literary Lab's Mapping Emotions in Victorian London project.

- Book collector and Melbourne barrister John Emmerson has bequeathed his library to the State Library of Victoria. The collection, numbering more than 5,000 volumes, includes a number of important English imprints from the Civil War period, books from Charles I's personal library, &c. The bequest also funds fellowships for visiting scholars to work with the collection. [h/t Anthony Tedeschi]

- Literary Hub has launched.

- In the THE, Christopher Bigsby writes on the changing nature(s) of libraries.

- From the WSJ, a report by Steven Rosenbush, "In This Digital Age, Book Collecting is Still Going Strong."

- At Inside Adams, Julie Miller writes on Jefferson's manuscript chart on the appearances of fruits and vegetables in the markets of Washington, D.C. (compiled while Jefferson was president).

- On the JHI blog, Maryan Patton writes on "The Early History of Arabic Printing in Europe."

- A key Alan Turing notebook was sold at Bonhams New York on 13 April for $1,025,000.

- The current Houghton Library exhibition, Starry Messengers: Signs and Science from the Skies, closes on 2 May. As a sneek peek, they've posted a short video conversation between curator John Overholt, Sara Schechner (Curator of Harvard's Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments) and Owen Gingerich.

- There's an excerpt from Alex Johnson's new book Improbable Libraries online at the Guardian.

- Johnson's Dictionary is highlighted on the John J. Burns Library's Blog.

- More than a hundred professors at the University of Oregon have called on the university administration to reinstate archivist James Fox, who was placed on administrative leave following the release of confidential university data to a professor.

- Abbie Weinberg writes at The Collation about the sorts of bibliographical thread-pulling expeditions that provide hours of entertainment for those of us who enjoy such things (and utter, hair-pulling-worthy frustration for others, I'm sure!).

- Over at The New Antiquarian, John Waite profiles a rare edition of The New England Primer, one printed during the 1780s which contains a portrait of Washington possibly engraved by Paul Revere.

- Sarah Henary profiles the legacy of Anthony Trollope at The Millions.

- Writing for the Guardian, Calum Marsh asks "Can you really make a living by selling used books on Amazon for a penny?"


- Mary Pilon's The Monopolists; review by Sarah Wise in the Telegraph.

- Deborah Cadbury's Princes at War; review by Philip Ziegler in the Telegraph.

- Jon Ronson's So You've Been Publicly Shamed; review by Choire Sicha in the NYTimes.

- Cassandra Good's Founding Friendships; review by Tom Cutterham at The Junto.

- Robert Bevan reviews the new Weston Library in Architects Journal.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Links & Reviews

- Italian authorities said this week that some books seized from the library of former Italian senator Marcello Dell'Utri (now in prison for ties to organized crime) had been "removed from" from public and ecclesiastical libraries across Italy. The NYTimes piece on this is currently headlined "Politician's Books Came from Libraries Across Italy, Police Say." (Presumably some of the books might have been legitimately deaccessioned). Appended at the bottom is the following correction:

- The GAO has issued a 130-page report on the Library of Congress' IT strategies, and the title itself is pretty telling: "Strong Leadership Needed to Address Serious Information Technology Management Weaknesses." The Washington Post ran a long piece on the report by Peggy McGlone, in which top management at the library comes in for very strong criticism. An NYTimes editorial yesterday concludes that "Congress ... has been far too lax over the years in reviewing [Librarian of Congress James] Billington's leadership because of his status as a capital fixture. Lawmakers must hold him to his latest promises and much more if the institution is not to slip further behind in a world where smartly managed information should be the basic stuff of a library."

- Princeton has acquired the personal library of philosopher Jacques Derrida; many of the 13,800 volumes reportedly contain significant marginalia and insertions.

- Anthony Grafton's March talk at the New York Society Library, "Books & Barrels: Readers and Reading in Colonial America," is now available on YouTube.

- Yale's Beinecke Library has purchased the Meserve-Kunhardt Collection of Lincoln material, including thousands of photographs, some 600 volumes from Lincoln's Springfield library, and much more.

- The Maine Antique Digest posted an editorial this week on the (currently-postponed) planned sale of highlights from the Edward Payson Vining collection by Gordon College. The college has reportedly requested an opinion from the state attorney general's office on the legality of any sale.

- A collection of manuscripts from the Syriac Orthodox Mar Matti Monastery in northern Iraq was saved from ISIS militants and is currently being housed in an apartment in Dohuk, according to an AP report.

- The NYPL broke ground this week on the expansion of underground storage space beneath Bryant Park.

- More than 15,000 new maps have been added to the David Rumsey Map Collection, bringing the total number of digitized maps on the site to 58,078.

- The ABAA blog reports that a cache of documents and other items relating to work on the Statue of Liberty were in Baltimore in late December. See their post for full information on the stolen materials.

- The Library of Congress has acquired some 540 Civil War stereographs from the Robert G. Stanford Collection.

- J.L. Bell notes the important discovery of a new poem by enslaved poet Jupiter Hammon. I agree with him that the full text will be very important in determining how the poem is read.

- Scholars working with the Black Book of Carmarthen have identified via ultraviolet light two erased portrait sketches, marginalia, and a "hitherto unknown Welsh poem."

- An odd volume of a 1543 Cicero set, with the badge of Elizabeth I on the boards, will be sold at Swann this week, estimated at $8,000-12,000.

- There's a Q&A with Hilary Mantel in the WaPo about upcoming stage and screen adaptations of Wolf Hall (the Masterpiece series begins airing tonight on PBS).

- Over at Manutius in Manchester, an account of a short-term fellowship at Harvard to examine books printed on parchment.

- Two archivists at the University of Oregon have been removed from their positions after turning over confidential university records to a professor.

- There's a piece in the Dallas Morning News about the construction of a 77-car underground garage at the estate of Harlan Crow, near Dallas. Crow told the paper that the garage will accommodate visitors to his library who would otherwise need to park on the street.

- Collector Reid Moon's exhibition of rare Bibles is now open in Provo, Utah.


- Jon Ronson's So You've Been Publicly Shamed; reviews by Janet Maslin in the NYTimes and Astra Taylor in the LATimes.

- Matthew Denison's Behind the Mask and Robert Sackville-West's The Disinherited; review by Amber K. Regis in the TLS.

- Massimo Bucciantini's Galileo's Telescope; review by Mark Archer in the WSJ.

- Abigail Swingen's Competing Visions of Empire; review by Donald MacRaild in the THE.