Sunday, February 28, 2016

Links & Reviews

- President Obama announced this week that he will nominate Carla Hayden as the next Librarian of Congress, to near-universal acclaim. Hayden must now be confirmed by the Senate.

- A new exhibition, "Shakespeare by the Book: Four Centuries of Printing, Editing, and Publishing" is now open at the Albert & Shirley Small Special Collections Library at UVA. I went to the opening on Friday night, and do encourage anyone in the area to come by and give the exhibit a look.

- Legal disputes over a cache of documents created by the Korean National Association in the early 20th century have ended in a settlement: USC will conserve and digitize the material, with the originals going to Korea until a proper facility can be constructed for their long-term storage.

- A great post by Susan Martin at The Beehive about the sleuthing it took to identify the author of a manuscript diary recently acquired by MHS. Well done!

- The Huntington Library has acquired by gift the Lawrence D. and Betty Jeanne Longo Collection on Reproductive Biology, a large collection of books, manuscripts, pamphlets, &c. related to the history of human reproduction.

- Eric Kwakkel's new post, "Dirty Old Books," surveys what signs of use on medieval manuscripts tell us about how these documents were used.

- Heather Wolfe explores the knotty question of textual variants in William Henry Ireland's forged Shakespeare documents.

- Keith Houston's forthcoming The Book: A Cover to Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time (W.W. Norton) is now available for pre-order.

- The Library of Congress has digitized the Rosa Parks papers currently on loan to LC from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.

- Voting is now open for "Oddest Book Title of the Year 2015" contest.

- At Atlas Obscura, Natalie Zarrelli takes a look at lighthouse libraries.

- Christopher Minty talked to Ted O'Reilly of the N-YHS about the work done to process the N-YHS' institutional archives.

- Budget cuts are expected to hit the National Library of Australia extremely hard, according to a report in the Canberra Times.

- Historian Elizabeth Eisenstein died on 31 January: this week obituaries appeared in both the New York Times and the Washington Post.

- Don't miss Rebecca Romney's excellent post memorializing Umberto Eco.


- Manisha Sinha's The Slave's Cause; review by Ira Berlin in the NYTimes.

- Alison Weir's The Lost Tudor Princess; review by Philippa Gregory in the WaPo.

- Claire Harman's Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart; reviews by Laurie Stone in the WaPo and Julia M. Klein in the LATimes.

- A whole slew of recent Tolkien-related books; review by Roz Kaveney in the TLS.

- William Egginton's The Man Who Invented Fiction; review by David Wootton in the WSJ.

- Eric Burns' The Golden Lad; review by Roger Lowenstein in the WSJ.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Links & Reviews

- A bookseller's van containing 400 rare books worth some $350,000 was stolen from Oakland, CA following last weekend's California Book Fair. Alerts went out very quickly via the ABAA and other groups, and one man was quickly arrested after trying to sell several of the books at Moe's Books of Berkeley, CA. There's a lengthy report in Berkeleyside about the case. The van (2008 silver Ford Econoline with Illinois license plate E-914968) and most of the books are still missing, as is another man who got away from Moe's. The Oakland Tribune also has a report. Here's hoping the rest of the books can be recovered safely and soon.

- A large collection of material culled from John Updike's trash was up for sale at Boston's RR Auctions, but it appears not to have sold (see this Atlantic piece from August 2014 for more on the collection). At the same sale, a Mario Puzo archive fetched $625,000.

- The Scottish National Library has purchased a 14th-century breviary traced to Sweetheart Abbey (in Dumfriesshire). The manuscript's location had been unknown since it appeared in the 1715 catalog of Ralph Thoresby; it was sold at auction last year in Vienna to an American dealer, but subsequently offered to the National Library, which managed to raise £70,000 to make the acquisition.

- The Redwood Library and Athenaeum has acquired a collection of British architecture books and building manuals from antiquarian bookseller Charles Wood.

- There's a new group blog about humanities research, written by Ph.D. students at the University of Edinburgh: Inciting Sparks. Adding this to my reading list.

- Some books from the collection of Deborah Mitford, Duchess of Devonshire, will be sold at Sotheby's London on 2 March.

- A large contingent of scholars have signed a letter to the NYRB protesting the decision of Boston University to admit no new doctoral students to BU's Editorial Institute.

- Abby Smith Rumsey talked to Arielle Pardes for Vice about her new book When We Are No More: How Digital Memory is Shaping our Future.

- The Bolton Library, a collection of some 12,000 early printed books, manuscripts, maps, and prints, will be transferred to the University of Limerick, where the material can be properly conserved, stored, and researched.

- Registration is now open for a conference this June at King's College, Cambridge: "Mania and Imagination: Perils and pleasures of the private collector, present and future." Looks like a great lineup of speakers!

- Whitney Trettien has announced the creation of a new hybrid print/digital zine, Pounce, as well as a collaborative digital journal, thresholds.

- Via John Overholt on Twitter: the Joel Barlow papers at Houghton Library have now been digitized.

- A paperback copy of William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience donated to Oxfam by Radiohead's Thom Yorke (and found to contain Yorke's handwritten lyrics for the song "Airbag") will be sold at auction, with proceeds going to the Syrian relief effort.

- Quite a lot of coverage this week of the "discovery" of two J.R.R. Tolkien poems in a 1936 school annual. See the NYTimes and the Guardian.

- Umberto Eco died on Friday at the age of 84. See the NYTimes obituary.


- The Essential Goethe, edited by Matthew Bell; review by Steve Donoghue in the CSM.

- Jack Lynch's You Could Look It Up; review by Michael Dirda in the WaPo.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Links & Reviews

- It's not often that vellum makes headlines anymore, but it has recently done so: after an announcement last week that the British government had determined that the practice of printing laws on vellum would be ended in April (which got coverage in the NYTimes) word today that the decision may be reversed, with the Cabinet Office offering to pick up the £80,000 annual tab.

- DCRM(C)—that is, Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Cartographic)—for all your map-cataloging needs, is now available as a free PDF.

- Over at The Culture-ist, Ryan Bradley goes on a bookstore tour of Boston.

- From Cabinet, Geoff Manaugh writes on the 2003 case of a book thief who snuck into the locked library of a monastery using a long-forgotten secret passage he found on a floor plan. More from Atlas Obscura.

- Audio recordings of Anthony Grafton's Sandars Lectures, delivered in January, are now available.

- Alison Flood reports for the Guardian about a recent translation of early textbooks used to teach Latin to Greek speakers.

- At the Chapel Hill Rare Book Blog, Liz Ott with the first in a series on their current Wordsworth exhibition (which sounds like it must be fantastic, given the great new collection!).

- At JHIBlog, Brooke Palmieri writes on John Dee's library and the current exhibition on same at the Royal College of Physicians.

- Alison Booth has been appointed academic director of the Scholars' Lab at UVA.

- Hampshire College has received a $1.2 million Mellon grant to "reinvent" the college's library.

- Laura Massey at Alembic Rare Books has posted a primer on "How to start collecting rare books."


- "The Private Jefferson" exhibition at the Massachusetts Historical Society; review by Mark Feeney in the Boston Globe.

- Brian Copenhaver's The Book of Magic; review by Diane Purkiss in the TLS.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Links & Reviews

- Andrew Shannon, 51, has gone on trial for the unlawful possession of books stolen from Carton House in County Kildare, Ireland. The books were found to be missing after being put in storage during renovations on the house. Shannon, who maintained that he had purchased the books, was found guilty on Tuesday and will be sentenced in April. Shannon was already in jail, serving time for vandalizing a valuable Monet painting in 2012; in 2011 he was convicted of handling stolen property involving a number of stolen maps.

- The Independent reports that a French court is struggling to find a single buyer for the massive collection of books and manuscripts owned by the Aristophil Group. See the call for buyers.

- Carolyn Kellogg covers the Huntington Library's acquisition of Paul Theroux's papers for the LATimes.

- Writing for Slate, Lydia Pyne has a very interesting piece on the Snead & Company bookshelves that populated many an American library for much of the twentieth century.

- The J. Paul Getty Museum has acquired the Livre des fais de Jacques de Lalaing, a 16th-century secular illuminated manuscript.

- The records of the Bibliographical Society of America have been processed and are now available for research at the Grolier Club.

- Newly-launched, French Renaissance Paleography, featuring more than 100 manuscripts along with transcription tools, &c.

- Lots of coverage this week in the British media about Lady Isabella Hertford's use of birds clipped from Audubon's Birds of America to augment her drawing room wallpaper (note: this happened soon after the book was published, not recently).

- The University of Toronto Scarborough has purchased a collection of more than 10,000 Chinese restaurant menus.

- A 19th-century library record has been returned to Scotland's Innerpeffray Library after being found tucked into a secondhand book.

- The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a woman filing for bankruptcy can keep her first edition Book of Mormon and will not be required to sell it to pay creditors. Anna Robinson says she found the book while cleaning a library storage area in 2003, and that the director told her she could keep whatever books she found. [Shakes head incredulously].

- February's Rare Book Monthly is out, including a report on the lawsuit over books stolen from NYPL, a recap of the Pirie sale, and more.

- From Daniel Grant in the Observer, "The Rarefied World of Book Collecting Is Not a Dying Art."

- Reading Sheffield launched recently: it's a collection of interviews with readers born between 1919 and 1942, with much background and context. I encourage a look-round.

- J.L. Bell covers the lawsuit over the Franklin & Hall manuscript over at Boston 1775.

- Sarah Lyall profiles London bookshop Heywood Hill for the NYTimes' T Magazine.

- At Echoes from the Vault, Carina Müller writes about cataloging the John Sturgeon Mackay's collection of mathematical books.


- "Blooks: The Art of Books That Aren't" (Grolier Club exhibition); reviews by Jennifer Schuessler in the NYTimes and Rebecca Rego Barry in the Guardian.

- Iain Pears' Arcadia; review by Steve Donoghue in the WaPo.

- Rebecca Rego Barry's Rare Books Uncovered; review by Bill Ruehlmann in the Virginian-Pilot.