Sunday, June 26, 2016

Links & Reviews

It was a busy conference week for many, between RBMS (see #rbms16), ALA Annual (see #alaac16) and the Omohundro Institute conference (see #oieahc16). Looks like lots of good content at each!

- Casey Cep highlights Thomas McDade's bibliography The Annals of Murder for the New Yorker Page-Turner blog.

- New from the Huntington Library and partners, "Decoding the Civil War," a crowdsourced project to transcribe and decipher some 16,000 Civil War telegrams. See the Huntington announcement.

- The Lilly Library is the subject of a Smithsonian writeup.

- Over on the NYPL blog, Charles Cuykendall Carter talks to CUNY professor Simon Reader about teaching with a recently-digitized copy of Middlemarch in parts (from the Pforzheimer Collection).

- Bookseller and collector Philip R. Bishop of Mosher Books has launched a new website, The Mosher Press, on the life and works of Thomas Bird Mosher.

- will make some digitized genealogical works available via the DPLA interface.

- Ann Patty reports for the WSJ about Latin-language immersion programs.

- Skip Hollandsworth profiles Larry McMurtry for Texas Monthly.

- Elizabeth Yale writes for Aeon about British antiquarianism in "The nature of Britain."

- Alexander Street Press has been acquired by ProQuest.

- Three new incoming university librarians (Valerie Hotchkiss at Vanderbilt, Anne Jarvis at Princeton, and John Unsworth at UVA) are profiled in the Chronicle.

- In the New York Times Magazine, Jenna Wortham explores "How an Archive of the Internet Could Change History."

- In the spring issue of Humanities, the Osher Map Library at the University of Southern Maine gets a feature by Edgar Allen Beem.

- Alex Shephard writes for the New Republic about what happens to the book ecosystem if we lose Barnes & Noble.


- Adrian Tinniswood's The Long Weekend; review by Sandra McElwaine in the Washington Times.

- Michael Shelden's Melville in Love; review by Sam Coale in the Providence Journal.

- Naomi Novik's League of Dragons; review by Jason Heller for NPR.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Links & Reviews

I realized this week (in the midst of an excellent but all-consuming Rare Book School session) that I made my first post on this blog ten years ago Friday. Hard to believe it's been that long – thank you for reading!

- An 1835 prayerbook owned by William Wordsworth has been stolen from a display case in a Cumbrian church. If anyone has additional identifying details about the volume that would help in securing its return, please let me know.

- Gordon College has abandoned plans to sell off books from the Edward Payson Vining collection.

- Ariel Sabar's Atlantic piece on the "Jesus' Wife" papyrus is a spectacular read.

- The 16 June Books & Manuscripts sale at Christie's realized nearly $2.5 million, but two of the expected high-sellers didn't meet their reserve (the first edition of Alice in Wonderland and the Neal Cassady letter to Kerouac). The top lot proved to be Constitutional Convention delegate James McHenry's manuscript notes from the 30 and 31 May 1787 sessions of the convention ($389,000).

- Author Dan Brown has donated €300,000 to Amsterdam's Ritman Library to help fund the digitization of the library's collections.

- A second selection of books from the library of Pierre BergĂ© will be sold on 8–9 November at Sotheby's Paris.

- Culture24 highlights ten of the new Roman writing tablets recently discovered in London.

- There's a new beta version of the Universal Short-Title Catalogue (USTC).

- A first edition presentation copy of Das Kapital sold for £218,500 this week.

- Convicted book thief Andrew Shannon received a one-year prison sentence for the theft of 57 rare books from Carton House; he was already serving time for other crimes.

- Not to be missed: "Assertive Cataloguing" at The Bookhunter on Safari.

- From Publisher's Weekly, "As E-book Sales Decline, Digital Fatigue Grows."

- David Leonard has accepted the BPL presidency; may he meet with every success.

- John V. Fleming's "Finding a Good Book" is a useful reminder that there are a whole lot more books out there than those on the current bestseller lists.

- The American Textile History Museum in Lowell, MA has permanently closed; its collections, including a large library, will reportedly be transferred to other institutions.

- Caroline Duroselle-Melish posts at The Collation on "Investigating a Bull's Head Watermark."

- An archive of William Steig illustrations sold for $187,500 at Sotheby's this week.


- Neil Hayward's Lost Among the Birds; review by Peter Lewis in the CSM.

- Denis Boyles' Everything Explained that is Explainable; review by Joseph Epstein in the WSJ.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Links & Reviews

- David W. Dunlap reports for the NYTimes on the five-decade Times career of Rudolph Stocker, described as "the last printer at The Times working under a guaranteed lifetime contract; the last Times employee who knew how to operate a Linotype casting machine; the last journeyman of the old International Typographical Union and its New York local, No. 6."

- Adam Gopnik writes in the New Yorker about the reading habits of Hamilton and Burr, using the New York Society Library's great City Readers project.

- Smithsonian reports that scientists have deciphered more symbols on the Antikythera Mechanism. The new findings led credence to the theory that the device was used for astrological purposes, and that it made have originated near the island of Rhodes. Results have been published in a special issue of Almagest.

- Rebecca Romney has joined the bookselling firm Honey & Wax.

- David Maclay posts at the National Library of Scotland blog about their current exhibition "Monster Making in the Summer of 2016" (drawing on the John Murray archive).

- Jill Bourne has declined the offer to become president of the Boston Public Library, citing personal reasons. The Boston Globe has a report. The BPL's board will meet Tuesday morning to move forward.

- Quartz highlights a century-old stationery store in Japan where you can customize the perfect notebook.

- The Washington Post surveys cruise ship libraries.

- Folget Curatorial Assistant Elizabeth DeBold is profiled in the "Bright Young Librarians" series.


- John Guy's Elizabeth: The Forgotten Years; review by Stacey Schiff in the NYTimes.

- Mike Ashley's Adventures in the Strand; review by Michael Dirda in the WaPo.

- Richard Zacks' Chasing the Last Laugh; review by Debra Bruno in the WaPo.

- A trio of new books on Byron; review by Corin Throsby in the TLS.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Links & Reviews

- Some downright incredible archeological finds in London recently, including what is believed to be the earliest reference to the name "London." The cache of 400 wooden writing tablets, some dating back to around 50 CE, were found during construction-related excavations for the new Bloomberg European headquarters building. The wax originally on the tablets is long gone, but researchers have managed to read the "faint scratches" left behind.

- A Darwin letter, stolen twice from the Smithsonian Institution, has been returned. No charges have been filed, as the statute of limitations has expired.

- Dalya Alberge reports for the Guardian on some recent work using x-rays to "read" medieval manuscripts hidden within bindings."Experiments have found a fragment from a 12th-century manuscript that includes excerpts from the work of Bede, the 8th-century monk and scholar. The researchers were even able to disassemble multiple pages that had been pasted on to one another, making the text legible. In one case, they could read each of three medieval pages that had been glued together. Elsewhere, they found two fragments stuck together underneath the cover of a 16th-century binding." Erik Kwakkel posted about this project back in December.

- The June Rare Book Monthly articles are out, including a report by Michael Stillman on the Columbus Letter recently returned to Italy.

- At Manuscript Road Trip, Lisa Fagin Davis explores some manuscript leaves found in Maine, which she describes as an "Otto Ege treasure trove" (and which, happily, have been acquired by Colby College).

- At Past is Present, a quarterly look at books and articles recently published by members of the AAS community.

- Mark Wolverton writes for Nature on digital forensics and BitCurator.

- David Mitchell has joined Margaret Atwood in submitting a manuscript for the wonderful (and tantalizing!) "Future Library" project.

- Kayleigh Betterton reports on the London International Antiquarian Book Fair for The Bookhunter on Safari.

- Princeton has acquired a copy of the second edition of Bodoni's Manual tipografico, called "the specimen book to end all specimen books."

- Michael Rosenwald notices for the Washington Post a number of recent books on paper.


- A whole shelf full of recent Shakespeare-related books, including Adam Hooks' Selling Shakespeare; review by James Ryerson in the NYTimes.

- Matthew Kirschenbaum's Track Changes; review by Lucy Ferriss in the Chronicle.

- Ricky Jay's Matthias Buchinger; review by Teller in the NYTimes.

- Jill Lepore's Joe Gould's Teeth; reviews by Scott W. Berg in the WaPo and Karen Long in the LATimes.