Sunday, May 29, 2016

Links & Reviews

- Emily Wells writes for Past Is Present about the continuing work on transforming the AAS Printers' File into a linked open data resource.

- Over at The Collation, Meaghan Brown posts about assigning genres to early modern plays for the Folger's Digital Anthology of Early Modern English Drama.

- Barbara Basbanes Richter reports for the Fine Books Blog on the Met's recent symposium on American publishers' bookbindings.

- The Bodleian Library announced their purchases from last December's Pirie sale.

- Denis Joachim's major collection of rare books, art, and photographs will be sold over three days in Melbourne (19–21 June).

- A single buyer purchased all four Shakespeare folios (not, as the Press Association piece says, Shakespeare's "first four books") on the block at Christie's this week, for just under £2.5 million.

- Scott Reyburn reports for the NYTimes on another Christie's sale from this week: that of some thirty medieval manuscripts from the collection of Maurice Burrus.

- In the Dublin Inquirer, Louisa McGrath highlights the manuscript diary of the first Keeper of Marsh's Library.

- A new twist to the adult coloring book trend: Alison Flood writes for the Guardian about the coming republication of a series of 17th-century maps originally issued to accompany Michael Drayton's Poly-Obion.

- T.S. Eliot's rejection letter for Animal Farm has been making the rounds this week: it was among the items selected for the British Library's Discovering Literature: 20th Century online collection.


- Denis Boyle's Everything Explained That Is Explainable; review by Michael Dirda in the WaPo.

- Jill Lepore's Joe Gould's Teeth; review by Karen Long in the LATimes.

- Jack Lynch's You Could Look it Up; review by Peter Thoneman in the TLS.

- Julie Fenster's Jefferson's America; review by Karin Altenberg in the WSJ.

- Matt Kirschenbaum's Track Changes; review by John Gilbey in the THE.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Links & Reviews

Lots of catching up to do: since my last I had the great pleasure and honoring of addressing the annual meeting of the Ticknor Society in Boston on the friendship between Thomas Jefferson and George Ticknor. The annual meeting was held at the Massachusetts Historical Society, where Ticknorites had the opportunity to view the excellent current exhibition, "The Private Jefferson" (which I commend to anyone who can get there to view it before it closes on 26 May). While in Boston I also got to make my semi-annual visits to the Brattle Book Shop and Commonwealth Books, and was able to work in a little research time at MHS (more about that latter soon; I located something I'm quite excited to share). All that plus a laptop meltdown! If I missed anything vital in this catch-up post, please don't hesitate to send it along.

- A copy of the "Plannck II" Columbus Letter donated to the Library of Congress in 2004 was repatriated to Italy this week; it had been stolen from the Riccardiana Library in Florence and replaced with a photographic facsimile. The letter was subsequently sold at Christie's in 1992 (lot description). See: Department of Justice press release; seizure warrant (this makes for fascinating reading - boy would I like to see what's underneath those redaction lines!); Elisabetta Povoledo's NYTimes article. For more: La Repubblica (in Italian); Italian Cultural Ministry statement (in Italian); LATimes. (Thanks to Nick Wilding and others for posting on ExLibris about this story). Volker Schroder also linked to a bookseller's description of the letter from before the 1992 Christie's sale.

- Jill Bourne, city librarian at the San Jose Public Library, will be the new president of the Boston Public Library.

- RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage, is now officially fully open-access.

- Erin Blake has a great two-part series at The Collation this week: "Physical description in book cataloging," and "Signature statements in book cataloging."

- Christie's will sell a copy of the true first edition of Carroll's Alice in Wonderland on 16 June. More from the Fine Books Blog. Coming up on the same day, also at Christie's, Neal Cassady's famed letter to Jack Kerouac (more on this from Jennifer Schuessler in the NYTimes).

- Lara Putnam's American Historical Review article "The Transnational and the Text-Searchable: Digitized Sources and the Shadows They Cast" is currently available via the AHR.

- A 15-year-old's collection of more than 200 Apple computers may become the cornerstone of a planned Maine Technology Museum.

- Jerome McGann's ADE keynote, "Exceptional Measures: The Human Sciences in STEM Worlds," is now available online.

- An 11th-century letter known as the last surviving work of Chinese scholar Zeng Gong has set a new record price for an example of Chinese calligraphy, the BBC reports, selling for $32 million at a Beijing auction. The buyer was film mogul Wang Zhongjun.

- Last month the Princeton History Department hosted what looks like a great two-day conference in honor of Sidney Lapidus: "Fighting Words: Polemical Literature in the Age of Democratic Revolutions."

- Skinner is holding an online auction of fine books and manuscripts, which runs through 26 May.

- Matt Kirschenbaum has a short piece for the Paris Review: "Picturing the literary history of word processing."

- A manuscript Dutch East India Company map of the Java Sea from 1743 is coming up for auction at Swann Galleries.

- Tim Parks' T Magazine piece on the Corsini family archive is very much worth a read.

- In "A Melville Marginalia Mystery," NYPL's Thomas Lannon interviews Dawn Coleman about some erased Melville marginal notations she's been working on sussing out.

- At Smithsonian, Marissa Fessenden offers a brief history of traveling with books.

- Report is a little spotty, but "Ukraine Today" reports that a 1574 volume printed by Ivan Fedorov was stolen from Ukraine's Vernadsay National Library.

- NPR's "Parallels" reports on the ongoing work on the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae.

- Mitch Fraas has a post up at Unique at Penn about a volume of government documents possibly once owned by Alexander Hamilton.

- Eric White writes for Princeton's Notabilia blog about the recent discovery that one of Princeton's copies of the 1545 Greek Bible bears the annotations of Martin Chemnitz.

- Digitized copies of the Boston Athenaeum's exhibitions catalogues from 1950 through the present are now available via the Athenaeum's website.

- From Atlas Obscura, Cara Giaimo profiles archaeological linguist Nora White and her work on Ireland's "Ogham" alphabet.

- New to me (and thanks to Tess Goodman for sending it along): a 1969 Paris Review interview with E. B. White.

- Friday, 20 May marked the premiere of a new opera, "The Book Collector." Ernest Hilbert of Bauman Rare Books wrote the libretto.


- Bronwen Riley's The Edge of Empire; review by Jan Morris in the NYTimes.

- Nathaniel Philbrick's Valiant Ambition; reviews by David Waldstreicher in the NYTimes and Carol Berkin in the WaPo.

- Mark Kurlansky's Paper; review by Anthony Grafton in the NYTimes.

- Norma Clarke's Brothers of the Quill; review by Michael Dirda in the WaPo.

- Carla Mulford's Benjamin Franklin and the Ends of Empire and George Goodwin's Benjamin Franklin in London; review by T. H. Breen in the TLS.

- Michael Canfield's Theodore Roosevelt in the Field; review by Peter Coates in the TLS.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Links & Reviews

- The Bodleian Library has acquired the Tolkien-annotated map of Middle Earth found last year.

- An Isaac Newton manuscript on Christianity and faith will be sold at PBA Galleries on 2 June.

- Matthew Kirschenbaum talked to Craig Fehrman of the Boston Globe about his new book Track Changes: A Literary History of Word Processing.

- John Jay's manuscript copy of "Federalist No. 2" has been identified at the Brooklyn Historical Society (where the staff didn't know this particular manuscript had been considered missing by editors).

- At The Collation, Paul Dingman takes a look at early modern account books.

- Launched this week, Women in Book History, an online bibliography that "lists secondary sources on women's writing and participation in the book trades."

- From Zoe Abrams Rare Books, "Lesson No. 1: Trust Your Instincts."

- Carl Montford writes for the APHA blog about printing from some original Bewick wood engraving blocks.

- A Napoleonic War manuscript diary was discovered amongst a storage cabinet full of unsorted books in a Hobart, Tasmania bookshop.

- Scholars argue about Shakespeare play.

- Via Dave Gary, Forbes is experimenting with putting video ad-players in their print magazine.

- New writings by Walt Whitman, a series of men's health columns, were identified by a University of Houston grad student. More from the NYTimes.

- Ted Underwood's "Versions of disciplinary history" is a good overview of the recent and ongoing arguments about "digital humanities." As he writes, "The good thing about DH is, it creates a lively community that crosses disciplinary lines to exchange ideas. The bad thing is, it also creates a community that crosses disciplinary lines to fight pointlessly over the meaning of 'digital humanities'."

- Alison Flood has more the Audubon hoax I mentioned recently, in a Guardian report.


- Matthew Kirschenbaum's Track Changes: A Literary History of Word Processing; review by Josephine Livingstone in TNR.

- J. Gerald Kennedy's Strange Nation; review by Michael Livingston in the WaPo.

- Letters of a Dead Man, edited by Linda B. Parshall; review by Michael Dirda in the WaPo.

- Martin Seay's The Mirror Thief; review by Michael Magras at BookPage.

- Robert Michael Morrissey's Empire by Collaboration; review by Robert Englebert at Early Canadian History.

- Michael Patrick Lynch's The Internet of Us; review essay by David Weinberger in the LARB.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Links & Reviews

The 4th Annual Virginia Antiquarian Book Fair was held this Friday and Saturday at the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond. If you have a chance to get to this one next year, give it a try: the venue is quite nice, admission is free, and there were some really interesting books and ephemera to be had.

- Rick Ring has edited a selection of Lawrence C. Wroth's "Notes for Bibliophiles" column and the volume is now available from Scott Vile's Ascensius Press.

- Over at medievalbooks, a look at the evolution of several forms of medieval scripts, including an image of a ~1450 advertising sheet for different types of script.

- Folger conservator Austin Planncurley writes for The Collation about creating a replica of John Wilkes Booth's diary for the current Folger exhibit, America's Shakespeare.

- The May Rare Book Monthly is out, with Bruce McKinney's report on the New York Book Fair and an open letter from McKinney to the president/executive producer of the Armory, a piece by Michael Stillman on the ongoing dispute over Maurice Sendak's estate, and a report on a comics book heist in Macon, Georgia.

- The Kislak Center at Penn has issued a call for papers for a March 2017 interdisciplinary conference, "To the Ends of the Earth."

- Jonathan Kearns has posted his look back at the New York shadow shows.

- The Shakespeare's Beehive authors were interviewed for "CBS Sunday Morning" last weekend. The interview also includes comments from Heather Wolfe and Michael Witmore of the Folger, and the news that Koppelman and Wechsler have loaned the volume to the Folger for study.

- Manuscript Road Trip heads to Newfoundland this week to survey the manuscripts at Memorial University in St. John's.

- Liam Moloney writes for the WSJ on the recent renovations to the Vatican's Gallery of Maps.

- The New York Library for the Performing Arts has digitized its collection of Shakespeare prompt-books.

- A new electronic catalog of 15th-century printed books is now available.

- Harvard's Weissman Preservation Center is highlighted in the Harvard Gazette.

- Peter Harrington is exhibiting (and selling) a remarkable collection of Alice in Wonderland-related rare books. Boudicca Fox-Leonard reports for the Telegraph.

- Library of Congress catalogers write about 18th-century medley prints for the Picture This blog.

- British Library conservator Flavio Marzo reports on some 2005 work he did on the 1603 Montaigne volume which is thought to contain a Shakespeare signature.

- Erik Ofgang writes about the Voynich Manuscript for Connecticut magazine, featuring lots of comments from Beinecke curator Ray Clemens.

- From the BBC magazine, Sarah Dunant on the "lost art of reading other people's handwriting."

- A new animated Watership Down adaptation is coming next year from Netflix and the BBC.

- Maybe not bookish, but still terribly cool: workers digging for water lines near Seville found 1,300 pounds of uncirculated Roman coins.

- Bibliophile Paul Ruxin died in mid-April following a tragic accident. See the Chicago Tribune obituary or Jerry Morris' reflections for the Florida Bibliophile Society. I had the great pleasure to hear a talk by Mr. Ruxin at the Boston Public Library in 2007, and enjoyed the experience tremendously. My condolences to his family and to those who knew him.


- The exhibition on John Dee's library at the Royal College of Physicians; review by Sara Charles for Reviews in History.

- Joshua Hammer's The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu; review by Ben Macintyre in the NYTimes.

- Peter Onuf and Annette Gordon Reed's Most Blessed of the Patriarchs; review by David O. Stewart in the WaPo.

- Nicholas Guyatt's Bind Us Apart; reviews by Eric Foner in the NYTimes and Mark G. Spencer in the WSJ.

- Jack Lynch's You Could Look It Up; review by Micah Mattix in The New Criterion.