Sunday, July 29, 2012

Links & Reviews

- Accompanying the full profile of Rare Book School in the NYT this week, Jennifer Schuessler also posted "The Rare Book Scholar's Secret Weapon," a look at the Hinman Collator.

- Jennifer Howard posted an initial installment about her Rare Book School visit this summer (when I was very pleased to have the chance to meet her in real life, instead of just on Twitter), "But Is It a Book?" This one focuses on a conversation Howard had with Michael Suarez about the nature of the book and where eBooks fit. It's a great post, and I look forward to the rest of the series.

- The Lilly Library has unveiled a large digital collection, The War of 1812 in the Collections of the Lilly Library. See also the press release.

- Something to add to your reading list: Ted Scheinman's essay at The Millions, "Tristram Shandy, Dilettante: Laurence Sterne and the Pleasures of Attention-Deficit Literature".

- Over at Booktryst this week, a series of posts highlighting rare book trade ads from 1902. They start here.

- Esther Yi has an post about the Digital Public Library of America, which this week received a $1 million grant from the NEH.

- At The Collation, Erin Blake documents "How (not) to mend a tear."

- HRC archivist Micah Erwin writes about his attempt to use crowd-sourced knowledge to identify manuscript scraps used as binder's waste. Also see the Flickr page where the scraps are being posted for discussion.

- Anthony Tedeschi profiles some of the first books printed in Maori at Antipodean Footnotes. He also documents how early printers of Maori texts set up their typecases.

- In the NYT Magazine this week, Ronen Bergman's "A High Holy Whodunit" covers the mysterious history of the Aleppo Codex, and profiles some of those still working to find the missing section of the text.

- The "You've Got Mail" series on the Houghton Library blog goes all the way back to Hellenistic Egypt this week, with a 2nd-century letter on papyrus.

- An archivist at the Watt Library in Greenock, Scotland found a cache of old book stashed in a cupboard behind a file cabinet.

- From Biblioguerilla, a 1556 copy of a Spanish translation of Erasmus in sheets.

- The NYT's Campaign Stops blog has added a "Historically Corrected" category, a project of the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College.

- A.J. Jacobs admits he has a blurbing problem, and Colson Whitehead shares his rules on "How to Write."

- A first English edition of Machiavelli's The Prince failed to meet expectations at an Aylsham auction this week; bidding only reached £15,000, under the £25,000-30,000 estimate.

- Over on the Ticknor Society blog, a look at The Cost Books of Ticknor and Fields and their Predecessors, 1832-1858, including a dissection of one of the entries in the book.

- From the Exeter Working Papers in Book History series, Ian Maxted and Ron Impey examine two early printed books in the Exeter collections in which the printer "seizes the opportunity to answer or forestall criticsm."


- David Rees' How to Sharpen Pencils; review by Bruce McCall in the NYTimes.

- Russell Potter's Pyg; review by Frances Stead Sellers in the WaPo.

- Paul Thomas Murphy's Shooting Victoria; review by John Sutherland in the NYTimes.

- Deborah Harkness' Shadow of Night; review by Paula Woods in the LATimes.

- Jacques Bonnet's Phantoms on the Bookshelves; review by Michael Dirda in the WaPo.

This Week's Acquisitions

Last week while I was in Boston I got to visit my old bookstore-stomping grounds (Brattle, Commonwealth, Raven) and picked up lots of goodies. Most will be listed next week once they've arrived, but the Brattle bunch are here. They included a couple titles from the reference library of James S. Copley, which I was delighted to find.

From Brattle:

- The English Monster; or, the Melancholy Transactions of William Ablass by Lloyd Shepherd (Washington Square Press, 2012).

- Two copies of Tristram Shandy: one a 1926 Brentano's edition illustrated (and signed) by Rowland Wheelwright, the other a 1950s Modern Library edition.

- James Claypoole's Letter Books, London and Philadelphia, 1681-1684; edited by Marian Balderston (Huntington Library, 1967). Bookplate of James Strohn Copley. 

- Printing in the Americas by John Clyde Oswald (Hacker Art Books, 1968). Bookplate of James Strohn Copley.

- Guide to the Study of United States Imprints by G. Thomas Tanselle (Harvard University Press, 1971).

- History of the New York Society Library by Austin Baxter Keep (Gregg Press, 1972). 

- At Home with Books by Estelle Ellis, Caroline Seebohm, and Simon Sykes Carol Southern Books, 1995).

- The Journal of Madam Knight by Sarah Kemble Knight (David R. Godine, 1972). Inscribed by the editor, Malcolm Freiberg.

- The Acadian Diaspora: An Eighteenth-Century History by Christopher Hodson (OUP, 2012).

- The Memory of All Ancient Customs: Native American Diplomacy in the Colonial Hudson Valley by Tom Arne Midtrød (Cornell University Press, 2012).

- The Life of the Book by Hellmut Lehmann-Haupt (Greenwood Press, 1975).

- Supplement to Max Farrand's 'The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787; edited by James H. Hutson (Yale University Press, 1987).

- The Craft of Printing and the Publication of Shakespeare's Works by George Walton Williams (Folger Books, 1985).

- Books on the Move: Tracking Copies Through Collections and the Book Trade; edited by Robin Myers, Michael Harris, and Giles Mandelbrote (Oak Knoll, 2007).

- A Merciless Place: The Fate of Britain's Convicts after the American Revolution by Emma Christopher (OUP, 2011).

- The Perils of Peace: America's Struggle for Survival after Yorktown by Thomas Fleming (Smithsonian, 2007).

- Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace: The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady by Kate Summerscale (Bloomsbury, 2012).

From Publishers:

- How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain by Leah Price (Princeton University Press, 2012).

- God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution by Thomas S. Kidd (Basic Books, 2012).

- The Woman Who Died a Lot by Jasper Fforde (Viking, 2012).

From Amazon (.com and .it):

- Galileo's O; edited by Horst Bredekamp et al. (Akademie Verlag, 2011).

- The Domino Men by Jonathan Barnes (William Morrow, 2009).

- Biophilia by E.O. Wilson (Harvard University Press, 1984).

- Finding Order in Nature: The Naturalist Tradition from Linnaeus to E.O. Wilson by Paul Lawrence Farber (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000).

Friday, July 27, 2012

Book Review: "The English Monster"

For about the first fifty pages of so of Lloyd Shepherd's The English Monster; or, The Melancholy Transactions of William Ablass (Washington Square Press, 2012), I wasn't at all sure the novel was going to work. Chapters alternate between 1811 London at the time of the Ratcliffe Highway murders and the 1560s high seas as a young man accompanies John Hawkins on a slaving voyage; just whether/how the two were going to converge was entirely unclear, and confusing. But things gradually became clear, in a way that I can't explain without giving away the game, so you'll have to go read the book yourself. Suffice it to say, I'm very glad I kept reading.

While the shifting perspectives in the book remained a bit disconcerting throughout, and there were some rough patches that might have benefited from a bit more of an edit, overall the book proved a good read.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

RBS in the NYT!

Jennifer Schuessler, a reporter for the New York Times, spent some time at Rare Book School earlier this month, and the result is "Peering Into the Exquisite Life of Rare Books." The piece manages to capture the RBS experience well: Schuessler describes an "atmosphere that combines the intensity of the seminar room, the nerdiness of a 'Star Trek' convention and the camaraderie of a summer camp where people come back year after year." She's careful to note that RBS "fills an important intellectual niche, teaching skills and knowledge that have been orphaned by increasingly technology-minded library schools and theory-oriented literature departments."

I don't want to excerpt the article to pieces, so just go read the whole thing. And then, as they say, "share widely."

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Links & Reviews

Another busy week in store: I'm off to Boston tomorrow for a presentation on Tuesday morning at the American Association of Law Librarians annual meeting. With Mike Widener and Karen Beck I'll be discussing "Early Law Libraries as Historical Documents: Recording the Bookshelves of Long-Ago Lawyers." If you'll be in town for the meeting, do stop by! I'm looking forward to visiting the Boston bookshops and getting in a few hours of research at MHS and NEHGS as well, time permitting.

- Your must-read series of the week comes courtesy of Adam G. Hooks at Anchora. The posts are: Breaking Jonson apart, "a collection of plays, published separately", Laudian Ghost, in quarto, Red Velvet, and "Miscellaneous collection of sermons". Read 'em all!

- Via The Bunburyist: Public Domain Review features a 1927 Fox newsreel interview with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

- New Skinner, Inc. Director of Fine Books & Manuscripts Devon Gray posted a useful introduction to determining the worth of a book collection.

- From the wonderful More Intelligent Life blog, "Old Polymaths Never Die," about the posthumously-prolific Isaiah Berlin and Hugh Trevor-Roper.

- The NYTimes notes that an effort by Dawn Powell biographer Tim Page to sell her diaries online seems to have failed when no potential purchaser would pony up the $500,000 asking price.

- Scholar Chet Van Duzer has posted a short paper on the details of the discovery of the previously-unknown set of Waldseemuller globe gores at LMU in Munich. Some really good specific information here on the differences between the new set and those previously documented.

- Fine Books Blog highlights the marbled papers of Jemma Lewis of Wiltshire, England.

- In The New Republic, David A. Bell's "The Bookless Library" poses the big question: "What role will libraries have when patrons no longer need to go to them to consult or to borrow books?" He discusses the NYPL renovation plans (make sure to read the comments), grants the importance of physical books (though I strenuously disagree that researching involving the physical artifact "mostly takes place in a handful of leading research libraries, and ... involves a small number of readers"), and pooh-poohs concerns about digital fragility. He does make valid points about e-books and libraries, and his comments on the wide-ranging functions of libraries and librarians are welcome. He's absolutely right that libraries need to take the bull by the horns and work diligently to find a new path forward in a rapidly-changing environment, but I know I join many others in understanding that this does not have to mean what he seems to think it means.

- Over at the Book Bench, James Salter's "The Paradise of the Library" includes this wonderful line: "The love of books, the possession of them, can be thought of as an extension of one’s self or being, not separate from a love of life but rather as an extra dimension of it, and even of what comes after."

- Lorne Blair's "FYI: I Am Not A Goddamned Curator" is also well worth a read this week.

- Jennifer Howard's "The 'Life is Beautiful' Problem" rang true for me, as I suspect it will with many others.

- The Guardian reports that the Qatari government is providing £8.7 million for the digitization of India Office records relating to "British activities in the Gulf" as well as 25,000 pages of medieval Arabic manuscripts.

- Ken Gloss of the Brattle Bookshop writes in the Somerville News about some of the reasons people might, in fact, judge books by their covers.

- Former art forger Ken Perenyi is profiled in the NYTimes. Perenyi's confessional memoir will be released soon by Pegasus Books.

- Also from Public Domain Review, an 1848 monograph on the dodo.

- There's a new issue out of Studies in Book Culture, centered around the history of reading.

- The Little Professor reports "Exciting things discovered while working on footnotes."


- James Mann's The Obamians; review by Leslie H. Gelb in the NYTimes.

- Michael Lind's Land of Promise; review by Jack Rakove in TNR.

- Richard Zacks' Island of Vice; review by Joseph Berger in the NYTimes.

- George Boudreau's Independence: A Guide to Historic Philadelphia; review by Frank Wilson in the Inquirer.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

This Week's Acquisitions


- All Men Are Liars by Alberto Manguel (Riverhead Trade, 2012). Amazon.

- The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln by Stephen L. Carter (Knopf, 2012). Amazon.

- The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Harper, 2012). Amazon.

- The Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death by Jill Lepore (Knopf, 2012). Amazon.

- The Dragons of the Storm by George Robert Minkoff (McPherson, 2007). Publisher.

- The Leaves of Fate by George Robert Minkoff (McPherson, 2011). Publisher.

- The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns by Sasha Issenberg (Crown, 2012). Publisher.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Book Review: "Darwin's Ghosts"

Rebecca Stott's Darwin's Ghosts (Spiegel & Grau, 2012) is a collection of capsule biographies of Darwin's "predecessors," by which Stott means a series of men who wrote about natural history and evolutionary processes before the publication of Darwin's Origin. She takes as her inspiration for this the "Historical Sketch" Darwin added to the third and fourth editions of Origin, in which he discusses these historical forebears. That said, it's worth noting that not all those in Darwin's sketch are covered here, while Stott adds a few names of her own to the list.

I could quibble about why one writer was included at the expense of another (after twenty very interesting pages on Aristotle we learn that he was only included in Darwin's list through an error, and that Empedocles probably would have been the better choice). In several chapters I wished for less biography and more treatment of the person's actual proto-evolutionist writings. But overall, I really enjoyed the book. The chapters fit together seamlessly, Stott's research was clearly extensive and she writes with both precision and passion. I found myself repeatedly glancing at the notes and jotting down titles to look up and add to my reading list (always a good sign).

Stott's short biographical chapters are chock full of fascinating details, from Erasmus Darwin's spelunking trek to Diderot's tactics for avoiding prosecution to an account of Abraham Trembley's experiments with polyps (what we know today as hydra). She does well to make connections between the various writers and between them and Darwin, and her notes and bibliography are thorough and useful (though I will repeat my perennial gripe that notes ought to be indicated in the text).

A fine piece of writing on a thoroughly intriguing subject.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Links & Reviews

Sorry for the delay this week. Here's some of what's been going on:

- In case you missed it in my auction post, Jane Austen's turquoise/gold ring sold for £152,450 at auction last week.

- Heather Wolfe has a Collation post on cadel initials (with some great images).

- At Bookplate Junkie, Lew Jaffe examines an early American bookplate in his collection, that of Georgia doctor Alexander Fothringham.

- Newly available, "The Poetry of the Gentleman's Magazine, 1731-1800." Includes searchable databases of titles, authors, and first lines.

- From Booktryst, a great provincial booksellers' advertisement from 1770, and a look at a forged Poe signature.

- Glenn Fleishman writes for the Economist about those faux deckle edges publishers sometimes include on modern hardcover books.

- Michael Witmore and Robin Valenza's "What Do People Read During a Revolution?" sparked interesting responses from Joe Adelman (here) and Ben Schmidt (here and here).

- At the JCB books blog, an update on the effort to decipher Rogers Williams' shorthand.

- Recent theft reports via the ABAA security blog: two large books have gone missing from the offices of the Edinburgh World Heritage Trust Library, and two manuscripts and an early printed book have been reported stolen from St. John's University.

- Several key decisions on copyright were handed down last week by the Supreme Court of Canada. Good rundown here.

- A 1714 version of Vivaldi's "Orlando Furioso" has been located among Vivaldi's papers in the Biblioteca Nazionale in Turin; it had previously been incorrectly cataloged as a later revision of the opera (which was originally published and performed in 1727).

- Michael Dirda writes in The American Scholar about one of his favorite places to browse for books.

- The upcoming "Last Book Sale" at Larry McMurtry's Booked Up, rated an overview article in the WSJ.

- A new (to me) useful database resource: British Armorial Bindings. Via The Collation.

- Over at Fonts in Use, a look at the Dunlap broadside printing of the Declaration of Independence.

- A small collection of Eliot Ness memorabilia will be sold at auction in September.

- Dave Eggers is featured in the NYTimes "By the Book" feature this week.

- From Eliga Gould in Foreign Policy, "How Did the British Press Cover the American Revolution?"

- Pamela Samuelson's "Reforming Copyright is Possible" is well worth a read.

- A large Gandhi archive was pulled from a Sotheby's auction last week after being sold directly to the Indian government for $1.1 million.

- A new short film introduces "Epilogue," a forthcoming documentary on the future of print culture.

- Rory Litwin at Library Juice posts an email sent to current MLIS students at St. Catherine's University  (St. Paul, MN), announcing that after an academic reorganization the LIS program will be part of the business school.

- Over at Anchora, Adam G. Hooks deconstructs Ben Jonson's Workes.


- Rebecca Stott's Darwin's Ghosts; review by Hugh Raffles in the NYTimes.

- Jefferson Morley's Snow-Storm in August; review by Fergus Bordewich in the WSJ.

- A.N. Wilson's The Elizabethans; review by James Shapiro in the NYTimes.

- Stephen Prothero's The American Bible; review by Stephen L. Carter in the WaPo.

- Philip McFarland's Mark Twain and the Colonel; review by Richard Zacks in the WSJ.

- Robert Bucholz and Joseph P. Ward's London: A Social and Cultural History, 1550-1750; review by Jonathan Yardley in the WaPo.

- Stephen Carter's The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln; review by Jonathan Shapiro in the LATimes.

- Steve Kemper's A Labyrinth of Kingdoms; review by Tim Jeal in the WSJ.

Recent Acquisitions

This is pretty much all the books from the last two months (mostly from early June when I was in Charlottesville, plus various others from here and there):

From Daedalus Bookshop:

- The Life and Work of Fredson Bowers by G. Thomas Tanselle (Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia, 1993).

- I, Roger Williams: A Fragment of Autobiography by Mary Lee Settle (W.W. Norton, 2001).

- The Harper Establishment; Or, How the Story Books are Made by Jacob Abbott (Shoe String Press, 1956).

- A Sentimental Journey | The Journal to Eliza by Laurence Sterne (Everyman's Library, 1969).

- A Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland, & Ireland and of English Books Printed Abroad, 1475-1640 by Alfred W. Pollard and G. R. Redgrave (The Bibliographical Society, 1963).

- Early American Children's Books by A. S. W. Rosenbach (Kraus Reprint Corp., 1966).

- The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling by Henry Fielding (Modern Library, 1943).

- A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy by Laurence Sterne (Oxford University Press, 1942).

- Tristram Shandy and A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy by Laurence Sterne (Modern Library, 1941).

From Heartwood Books:

- The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne (J.M. Dent (Everyman), 2000).

- A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy by Laurence Sterne (Dodd, Mead, 1900).

- A Sentimental Journey by Laurence Sterne (Scholartis Press, 1929).

- St. Leon by William Godwin (Oxford University Press, 1994).

- The Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia: The First Fifty Years; edited by David L. Vander Meulen (Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia, 1998).

- Tocqueville on America after 1840: Letters and Other Writings; edited and translated by Aurelian Craiutu and Jeremy Jennings (Cambridge University Press, 2009).

- Correspondence of William Nelson as Acting Governor of Virginia, 1770-71; edited by John C. Van Horne (University of Virginia Press, 1988).

- Studies in Bibliography, Volumes 45, 46, 47, 50, 52.

From Colophon Book Shop:

- Catalogue of the Celebrated Collection of Wiseiana formed by Sir Maurice Pariser: Together with Properties of John Carter, Graham Pollard, and Mrs. R. W. Chapman (Sotheby's, 1967).

- Catalogue of the Private Library of the late John Wingate Thornton, including Many important Mather and Cotton Publications; A large number of valuable early New England Works and others important for the Study of the First Establishment of the Colonies; Genealogies, Local Histories and Biographies; Works illustrating English History as bearing on American Colonization; Early Boston Newspapers; Revolutionary Documents, Etc., Etc., besides a Large number of Valuable Miscellaneous Books, to be sold at Auction Tuesday and Wednesday, October 8th & 9th, 1878, in the Library Salesroom, 13 Beacon St. Sale to Commence at 10 and 2 o'clock, each day. Charles F. Libbie, ... Auctioneer (Charles F. Libbie, 1878).

- The Rare Book Collections at Yale, 1942-1987. A Lecture Delivered by Marjorie G. Wynne, 14 December 1987, the third Sol. M. Malkin Lectureship in Bibliography at the Columbia University School of Library Service (Book Arts Press, 1987).

From Longfellow Books:

- Death at the Priory: Sex, Love, and Murder in Victorian England by James Ruddock (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2002).

- Doctor Copernicus by John Banville (David R Godine, 1984).

From Green Hand Bookshop:

- The Uprising of a Great People. The United States in 1861. To which is added A Word of Peace on the Difference between England and the United States by Agénor Étienne, comte de Gasparin (New York: Charles Scribner, 1862). Bought because of some fantastic marginalia.

From Publishers:

- Cervantes Street by Jaime Manrique (Akashic Books, 2012).

- The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro (Algonquin Books, 2012).

- The Weight of Smoke by George Robert Minkoff (McPherson, 2006).

- Life Everlasting: The Animal Way of Death by Bernd Heinrich (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012).

- Prairie Fever: British Aristocrats in the American West 1830-1890 by Peter Pagnamenta (W.W. Norton & Co., 2012).

- Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (Random House, 2012).

- The Lincoln Conspiracy by Timothy L. O'Brien (Ballantine Books, 2012).

- The Excellencie of a Free State: Or, The Right Constitution of a Commonwealth by Marchamont Nedham (Liberty Fund, 2012).

- Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power Jon Meacham (Random House, 2012).

- On Temporal and Spiritual Authority by Robert Bellarmine (Liberty Fund, 2012).

- Darwin's Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution by Rebecca Stott (Spiegel & Grau, 2012).

From ABE and Amazon (used):

- The Dunciad Variorum, with the Prolegomena of Scriblerus by Alexander Pope (Princeton University Press, 1929).

- Mass Communications in the Caribbean by John A. Lent (Iowa State University Press, 1990).

- Books in America's Past: Essays Honoring Rudolph H. Gjelsness; edited by David Kaser (Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia, 1966).

From Georgetown (ME) Library Book Sale:

- Johnny One-Eye: A Tale of the American Revolution by Jerome Charyn (W.W. Norton & Co., 2009).

From Maine Historical Society Shop:

Maine: The Wilder Half of New England by William David Barry (Tilbury House, 2012).


- How to Sharpen Pencils: A practical and theoretical treatise on the artisanal craft of pencil sharpening for writers, artists, contractors, flange turners, anglesmiths, & civil servants, with illustrations showing current practice by David Rees (Melville House, 2012).

- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (Broadway, 2011).

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Auction Report: July Sales & Preview

Let me begin by noting that I'm very pleased by the new version of the Sotheby's website. Much smoother. July's a fairly quiet month (in fact yesterday was the key auction day), but here's what's up.

- Sotheby's Paris sold Comics on 4 July; the sale brought in a total of 645,224 EUR. The top lot was a Tintin strip, which fetched 234,740 EUR.

- Bloomsbury held a Bibliophile Sale on 4-5 July: results are here.

- PBA Galleries sold Fine Literature with Books in All Fields on 5 July; the top lot was an original Elizabeth Barrett Browning manuscript sonnet, which sold for $9,600.

- Sotheby's London had quite a day on 10 July, with three separate sales. The first was "The History of Script: Sixty Important Manuscript Leaves from the Schøyen Collection," which brought £2,590,200. Most lots did quite well, with the top price going to the Adler Papyri (£457,250).

At the Western Manuscripts & Miniatures sale, the total was £1,262,725. The top lot was the Welsh medieval manuscript "The Laws of Hywel Dda," sold by the Massachusetts Historical Society. It fetched £541,250 and was purchased by the National Library of Wales (which end result, at least, makes me very happy). I had not seen the catalog text for this, but am surprised that the provenance note does not make clear that this was at MHS at least before 1830, when it is referred to in the Proceedings.

And the third Sotheby's sale, English Literature, History, Children's Books and Illustrations, brought in £1,595,175. The highest price went to a turquoise and gold ring which once belonged to Jane Austen: it sold for £152,450 (well above the £20,000-30,000 estimate). A copy of Shakespeare's Fourth Folio fetched £127,250, and a Kelmscott Chaucer sold for £73,250. A first edition of Jane Eyre went for £67,250.

- At Bloomsbury on 19 July, Printed Books including Modern First Editions, in 579 lots.

- Also on 19 June, PBA Galleries sells Fine Americana, Travel & Exploration, with Ephemera & Manuscript Material, in 411 lots. A matched set of Audubon's Birds and Quadrupeds in octavo rates the top estimate, at $60,000-90,000.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Auction Report: June Wrapup

For other June sales, see this post. July coming soon; my apologies for the delay!

- Bonhams New York sold Fine Books and Manuscripts including Russian Literature on 19 June, in 450 lots. The of Lincoln's amnesty policy was the top lot, selling for $218,000. A first octavo edition of Audubon's Birds made $45,000. The first de Bry edition in German of Le Moyne's Florida fetched $31,250. The Revolutionary War diary of Timothy Newell did not sell.

- Christie's London's Fine Books and Manuscripts sale totaled £763,750. The top lot was a collection of autographed celebrity postcards, which sold for £27,500.

- Bonhams New York sale of The Gentleman's Library on 20 June saw a copy of the Johnson Reprint facsimile edition of Audubon's Birds fetch $23,750.

- PBA Galleries sold Rare Books & Manuscripts, Fine Press and Illustrated Books on 21 June. As expected, the 15th-century manuscript of Fasciculus temporum (the only known manuscript of this work in private hands) was the highest seller, at $102,000. The next-highest lot was a first edition of Make Way for Ducklings, which made $9,600.

- Swann Galleries sold 19th & 20th Century Literature on 21 June. The top lot was a copy of Ulysses, which made $15,600 (link currently not working).

- The 22 June Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts sale at Christie's New York realized a total of $2,015,718, even though a couple of the expected top lots (a Nuremberg Chronicle and an archive of Jefferson letters) failed to sell. The top lot proved to be Hans Christian Andersen's copy of Pickwick Papers, which fetched $122,500. An Elbridge Gerry manuscript from the Constitutional Convention sold for $68,500.

For info on the 22 June, sale of George Washington's copy of the first collection of the Acts of Congress, see this post.

- On 26 June, Bonhams Oxford sold Books, Maps, Manuscripts and Historical Photographs. The top lot was a copy of Samuel Beckett's Murphy, which sold for £15,000.

- The Bonhams Serendipity Shelf Sale on 26 June was something of a disappointment, the top lot going for just $400 (and the vast majority selling for less than $100).

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Links & Reviews

Headed back to Portland today after just over a month at Rare Book School: this last week I had the great privilege of helping out with Matt Kirschenbaum and Naomi Nelson's Born-Digital Materials: Theory & Practice class, and as always when I leave RBS I am humbled and so thrilled to have been able to play a small part in the school's mission.

- The Codex Calixtinus, stolen from the library of the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela in July 2011, has been recovered. Four people have been arrested in connection with the theft: an electrician who formerly had worked at the cathedral, his wife, his son, and the son's girlfriend (the latter two have already been released). Other books from the cathedral and a silver tray were also recovered, police said. Some pictures of the garage where the codex was found are here, and Susan Boynton writes on the OUP blog about the relevance of the Codex Calixtinus, then and now.

- A ring which once belonged to Jane Austen will be sold at Sotheby's this week; it's estimated at £20,000-30,000.

- Writing at Publick Occurrences, Joseph Adelman examines the Library of Congress' "Books That Shaped America" through an early Americanist lens.

- Over at The Collation, the July "what manner o' thing?" post is up, featuring a good opportunity to test out your provenance research skills! Also from The Collation, some hints on using the Folger's new database of binding images.

- Both the Authors Guild and HathiTrust have filed motions for summary judgment in their lawsuit, "with the Authors Guild asserting that it should win because the library defendants have no viable defense for their mass-digitization program, while the HathiTrust argues that it should win because its program clearly falls under fair use."

- Ted Underwood's Tumblr Sphinx is well worth a read.

- New from the UVa Scholars' Lab, Neatline. More coverage.

- Also new, at least to me: Papiers de l'abbé Guillaume Thomas Raynal.

- A previously unknown version of the Waldsemueller map (the first to show the American continent) was found at Munich's Ludwig Maxmilian University recently. See the press release. Download a large image file of the map here.

- Eleanor Shevlin reports on the recent launch of the British Newspaper Archive, noting some of the key benefits and potential pitfalls.

- Vanity Fair editor Bruce Handy has an essay in the NYTimes this week about his collection of "boring books".


- Mark Kurlansky's Birdseye; review by Abigail Meisel in the NYTimes.

- Leonard Pitt Freeman's Freeman; review by Howard Frank Mosher in the WaPo.

- Marilynne Robinson's When I Was a Child, I Read Books; review by August Brown in the LATimes.

- Keith Lowe's Savage Continent; review by Jonathan Yardley in the WaPo.

- Bernd Heinrich's Life Everlasting; review by Jennie Erin Smith in the WSJ.

- Andro Linklater's Why Spencer Perceval Had to Die; review by Dennis Drabelle in the WaPo.

- Kurt Andersen's True Believers; review by Carolyn Kellogg in the LATimes.

- Stephen Carter's The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln; review by Ron Charles in the WaPo.

This Week's Acquisition

Another quick trip to Heartwood Books during this week's Bookseller night resulted in the final find of my Charlottesville visit:

- Anecdotes, Observations and Characters of Books and Men: Collected from the Conversation of Mr. Pope and other Eminent Persons of his Time by Joseph Spence (Southern Illinois University Press, 1964). Heartwood Books.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Links & Reviews

- As we prepare for another Rare Book School week (thankfully with restored electricity!), a look back at the last session: Erin Blake, who took John Bidwell and Tim Barrett's History of European and American Papermaking class, reflects on her experiences in a post for The Collation.

- Document thief Barry Landau was sentenced to seven years in federal prison and was ordered to pay more than $46,000 in restitution. The judge also ordered Landau to keep out of "all archives and libraries" when he's released. No sentencing date has been set for Jason Savedoff, Landau's accomplice, who has also entered a guilty plea in relation to the thefts. New evidence has emerged recently of additional Landau thefts, including from the home of former Bill Clinton secretary Betty Currie. Kudos to the Baltimore Sun for their very good reporting throughout this case. More coverage here.

- Travis McDade weighed in on the Landau sentence in an OUP blog post, noting the details of Landau's sentence and the charges he'd faced, and reflecting on a full decade of archives thefts.

- Jerry Morris offers us a virtual tour of his collection of Mary Hyde-related material.

- From Julian Barnes, "My Life as a Bibliophile."

- A large collection of Robert Louis Stevenson material has been donated to the National Library of Scotland and Napier University in Edinburgh.

- An atlas stolen from the Swedish Royal Library has been recovered in New York, having been purchased by Graham Arader from Sotheby's in 2003.

- The second issue of the Journal of Digital Humanities is up!

- Two books from George III's library have been reported missing from the British Library.

- The July AE Monthly is out, and includes some must-read pieces, including Susan Halas on another round of library deaccessioning and Bruce McKinney on the George Washington book sold at auction recently.

- From J.L. Bell at Boston1775, "Buying George Washington's Books."

- The French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe database is now live. More here.

- Another don't-miss post this week is Brooke Palmieri's 8vo post "An Introduction to Paper Computers."


- Callum Roberts' The Ocean of Life; review by Mark Kurlansky in the Washington Post.

This Week's Acquisitions

Believe it or not, nothing new this week!