Saturday, April 24, 2021

Links & Auctions

- Reminder that the Western States Book & Paper Fair is coming up 29 April–1 May.

- Entries for the 2021 National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest are now being accepted, and entries for the 2021 Honey & Wax Prize are due on 1 June.

- The BBC reports on new research which attempts to identify scribal hands in the Great Isaiah Scroll. See also the original paper in PLoS ONE.

- There was terrible news from Cape Town this week, where a wildfire destroyed the University of Cape Town's Jagger Reading Room. The full extent of the damage to collections is not yet confirmed, but some rare and unique materials are known to have been lost. 

- An excerpt from Ross King's The Bookseller of Florence was in LitHub this week.

- Now online at Lost Manuscripts, Neil Ker's catalogue of pastedowns found in Oxford bindings (PoxBo).

- From Roger Wieck on the Morgan blog, "Master of Catherine of Cleves: Acquisition of a Previously Unknown Illumination."

- APHA has launched a YouTube channel.

- Rebecca Rego Barry notes a copy of Wharton's Ethan Frome inscribed by the author to her butler, Alfred White, currently offered for sale by Carpe Librum. The description reports that no other signed copies of this book are known.

- Lauren Hewes reports a very neat AAS acquisition: an 1858 set of foldable brass bookmarks!

- Swann Galleries will offer a selection of deaccessioned duplicates from the Letterform Archive on 12 May.

- Doyle has some books from William Safire's library in several of their upcoming sales. Rebecca Rego Barry notes some highlights.

- From Giuseppe Bruno-Chomin for the JHIBlog, "Italian 'Secrets,' Forgery(?), and a Pearly Obsession."

- A copy of Eikon Basilike is in the Early Modern Female Book Ownership spotlight this week.

Upcoming Auctions

- Collection of a Connoisseur: History in Manuscript, Part 2 at Sotheby's London ends on 27 April.

- Books, Manuscripts, Photographs: From the Middle Ages to the Moon at Christie's London ends on 28 April.

- Two Autograph Collections at Lion Heart Autographs on 28 April. 

- Atlas, Cartes & Livres de Voyage at ALDE on 29 April.

- Antiquarian and Modern Literature and Illustrated Books at Forum Auctions on 29 April.

- Rare Books, Autographs & Maps at Doyle on 29 April.

- California and the West. With Americana – Travel – Maps at PBA Galleries on 29 April.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Links & Auctions

- Coming up 29 April–1 May, the Western States Book & Paper Fair.

- The Columbus Dispatch is looking for a new home for a 1920 Linotype machine. Can you help?

- New exhibition from the Cambridge University Library: Ghost Words: Reading the Past, about palimpsests.

- Over at Early Modern Female Book Ownership, a copy of the 1615 Faerie Queene.

- Lisa Fagin Davis has an excellent Twitter thread on "So you think you've solved the Voynich manuscript. What next?"

- From the University of St Andrews special collections blog, a two-part "Anatomy of an Enquiry" series on answering remote reference questions: Unlocking Answers in the Archive and Historical Firsts.

- Over on the BL's Medieval Manuscripts blog, "A newly discovered manuscript from Byland Abbey."

- From Kurt Zimmerman at American Book Collecting, "McMurtry, Pass By."

- On the Princeton Graphic Arts Collection blog, "Anatomy for Painters."

- Vartan Gregorian died this week at the age of 87. See his NYTimes obituary.

- I was also terribly saddened to hear of the death of Cornell librarian Lance Heidig, whose obituary is in the Morning Times. Lance's infectious enthusiasm and bright smile will be much missed.


- Pip Williams' Dictionary of Lost Words; review by Helen Sullivan in the Guardian.

Upcoming Auctions

- Fine Printed and Manuscript Americana at Christie's ends on 22 April.

- Comic Books at PBA Galleries on 22 April.

- Illuminated Manuscripts and Early Printed Books from the Collection of Elaine and Alexandre Rosenberg at Christie's on 23 April.

Shelf Sale of Books including Several Lots from Madeleine L'Engle's Library at New England Book Auctions ends on 24 April.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Links & Auctions

- The Spring Break for Booklovers virtual fair continues through 12 April over on Getman's Virtual.

- Many congratulations to Julie Nelson Davis, a 2021 Guggenheim Fellow!

- From Erin Blake at The Collation, "Documenting mistakes in our documentation."

- The Grolier Club is the lucky recipient of Kenneth W. Rendell and Shirley McNerney's Collection on the Detection of Forged Handwriting.

- Peter Kidd continues his series on the dispersal of the Rodolphe Kann collection with posts on the illuminated leaves and cuttings, and an illustrated list of same.

- The Connecticut State Library has added some new digitized newspapers to Chronicling America.

- From Swann Galleries, "Lies in Publishing: Collecting False Imprints."

- Over on the AAS blog, "Continuing the Conversation: Jessica Pressman Answers Your Questions on Bookishness."

- The Middle Temple Library has a new provenance mystery for us this month.

- From the University of St Andrews blog, "Benjamin Franklin as Printer."

- Over on the Getty blog, "Female Expression in a 15th-Century Manuscript."

- David Keys writes for the Independent about recent research into the written Aztec language by Gordon Whittaker, whose book Deciphering Aztec Hieroglyphs is just out from the University of California Press.

Upcoming Auctions

- The Passion of American Collectors: Property of Barbara and Ira Lipman | Highly Important Printed and Manuscript Americana at Sotheby's New York on 13 April.

- Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books at University Archives on 14 April.

- Books and Works on Paper at Forum Auctions on 15 April.

- Printed & Manuscript Americana at Swann Galleries on 15 April.

- Fine Press – Fine Bindings – Fine Books at PBA Galleries on 15 April.

Sunday, April 04, 2021

Links, Reviews & Auctions

- Starting on Friday, 9 April, Spring Break for Booklovers, on Getman's Virtual.

- Amanda Bartlett writes for SFGATE on Brian Cassidy's recent identification of a previously unknown early typed draft of Allen Ginsberg's "Howl." See also Alison Flood's piece in the Guardian.

- From the BL's Medieval Manuscripts blog, "Easter Sunday in the Sherborne Missal" and "Alas, poor Hamlet."

- A conversation between Jason Dean and Nick Wilding about the Linda Hall Library's copy of Sidereus Nuncius is now available on Vimeo.

- Over on the Rylands Blog, "Photographing the Simon Papers," walking through the process of digitizing a collection of complex bound volumes and "A Passover Haggadah Painted by an Englishman?"

- More from Jennifer Schuessler on the recent questions about the Deuteronomy fragments in "A Biblical Mystery and a Reporting Odyssey."

- Also from the Rylands orbit, Kirat Sagoo looks back at the Guardian's San Serriffe prank.

- From the Getty, Julie Jaskol and antiquities curator Kenneth Lapatin talk through the process of confirming a forged gemstone.

- The Princeton Graphic Arts Collection blog highlights a binding by Parisian binder Madeleine Gras.

- From the OUP blog, "New discoveries about John Shakespeare."

- The Grolier Club has been given a book from FDR's library.

- Over at American Book Collecting, "Nettie Lee Benson on the Development of Special Collections."

- At Books and Borrowing, "A Painted Library Parthenon for the Athens of the North."


- Megan Rosenbloom's Dark Archives; review by Christine Jacobsen in the LARB.

- Michael Blanding's North by Shakespeare; review by Stephen Donoghue in the CSM.

I finally had a chance to sit down this weekend with Kurt Zimmerman's new collection of biblio-essays, Rare Book Hunting, and enjoyed it immensely. It is a delightful account of Kurt's adventures with books, from his time in the auction business to his visits with booksellers and of course some excellent stories about great biblio-finds. Some of his bibliographical association copies are the stuff that makes anyone who enjoys such things simultaneously so happy they exist and also so jealous that somebody else got to them first! 

Particularly valuable is Kurt's "Auction House Adventures," his memoir of working at San Francisco auction house (then) Butterfield & Butterfield. As he notes in the short introductory note, accounts about life in the book auction world are far rarer than they should be, so having his story between two covers is a very important addition to the genre. 

Kurt's tales all make clear the most important part of book collecting: the people, past and present. His "A Book I Shouldn't Have Had Yet" (another version of which is on his blog) is profoundly moving, and his stories of Texas bookselling greats Dorothy Sloan and Larry McMurtry, both of whom died in March, are timely indeed. I cannot wait to return to a time when we are able to have a great crowd of biblio-humans in a big room again: if nothing else, we need the opportunity for Kurt to find more great books and tell more great stories!

Upcoming Auctions

- Livres Anciens du XVIe au XIXe Si├Ęcle at ALDE on 7 April.

- Printed Books & Manuscripts, Autographs & Documents, Maps & Prints, The Bookbindery of Faith Shannon at Dominic Winter Auctioneers on 7–8 April.

- Early Printed Books at Swann Galleries on 8 April.