Sunday, May 19, 2013

Links & Reviews

- From Small Notes, the blog of UVA's special collections library, David Whitesell reports a reunion between long-separated fragments of a Jefferson manuscript (a ~1769 draft of rules changes for the House of Burgesses).

- The AAS has acquired an unrecorded 1812 New York edition of Aristotle's Masterpiece.

- From Heather Wolfe at The Collation, a fascinating look at handwriting instruction during the early modern period.

- Over at the Ticknor Society's blog, an overview of the books George Ticknor was borrowing from the Boston Athenaeum.

- From the BBC, a look inside the UK's last remaining carbon paper factory. [via Brycchan Carey]

- An important collection of Philip Mazzei manuscripts has been given to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation.

- Quite a good exploration of early Bible leaves used as paper wrappers on the Cambridge Incunabula Project blog.

- The OED appeal I mentioned last week still stands, and got some attention this week from Rachel Maddow, among others.

- A 1939 journal by W.H. Auden, thought lost, has been found and will be sold at Christie's in June.

- From Medieval Fragments, a tour of one of the last intact chained libraries, at the Church of St. Walburga in Zutphen.

- At Salon, Andrew Leonard reports on a dark side of Wikipedia (its potential to draw vindictive sock-puppetry, &c.).

- Gordon Rugg on why the Voynich Manuscript matters.

- At Notabilia, a look at the distinctive shelf-mark of Charles Spencer, 3rd Earl of Sunderland.

- Sarah Faragher posted this week about a fantastic find at an antique shop: a copy of the 1773 edition of Johnson's Dictionary at what sounds like an extremely good price indeed.

-  Always interesting: a step-by-step look at conservation on a 17th-century book from the Senate House collections. [via @john_overholt]

- In the TLS, Mark Davies explores a possible real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll's Mad Hatter.


- John Taliaferro's All the Great Prizes; review by Thomas Mallon in the NYTimes.

- Dan Brown's Inferno; review by Jake Kerridge in the Telegraph.

- Marcia Coyle's The Roberts Court; review by Jeffrey Rosen in the WaPo.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Links & Reviews

- NPR reported this week on the Field Museum's ongoing financial difficulties, which may result in further deaccessioning of rare books and museum collections.

- Officials at the Vatican report that a 2006 restoration of a Pinturicchio fresco in the Room of the Mysteries revealed what they believe could well be the first European images of American Indians. The fresco was originally painted between 1492 and 1494, and the pope at the time (Alexander VI, Rodrigo Borgia) was quite interested in Columbus' findings.

- At the Eton College Library blog, a post on some M.R. James artifacts in the Eton collections. And speaking of James, BBC4 is currently streaming some of his stories adapted for radio (just a few days left to listen).

- New on the scene: Just Teach One, an effort to make available some "neglected or forgotten texts" for scholars of early American studies to use in the classroom (hosted by AAS and Common-place). Joe Adelman offers some thoughts from a historical and book-historical perspective over at The Junto.

- At the Incunabula Project blog, two participants in David Pearson's recent Masterclass at Cambridge on "Discovering Provenance in Book History" share their experiences.

- The Smithsonian's Design Decoded blog explores the phonetic alphabet of Benjamin Franklin. [h/t @john_overholt]

- The joys (and amusements) of pen facsimiles at The Collation.

- New: DPLA StackLife, a way to visualize DPLA collections (useful as an example of a new "front end" for the DPLA collections and how they can be "mashed up" with other resources).


- Rick Gekoski's Lost, Stolen or Shredded; review by Pradeep Sebastian in The Hindu.

- Edward Rutherfurd's Paris; review by Rodney Welch in the WaPo.

- Nathaniel Philbrick's Bunker Hill; review by Scott Martelle in the LATimes.

- Jill Lepore's The Story of America; review by Amanda Foreman in the TLS.

- Two recent volumes on Samuel Johnson; review by Kate Chisholm in the TLS.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Auction Report: April & May

Recent and upcoming auction doings:

- 10 April was a pretty amazing day for Christie's New York. The sale of the first part of the Collection of Arthur & Charlotte Vershbow on 10 April can only be described as spectacular. The sale realized a grand total of $15,842,145, with Goya's Tauromaquia leading the way at $1,915,750. Another Goya lot, Los Caprichos, sold for $843,750. And in their single-item sale on the same day, Christie's sold Dr. Francis Crick's "secret of life" letter to his son for an eye-popping $6,059,750.

- Bloomsbury sold Books on Horology, Science, and Medicine on 11 April; results here.

- At Swann on 11 April, Fine Books Including Incunabula and Writing Manuals, in 148 lots. The Noble Fragment Gutenberg leaf sold for $55,200, and the first edition of Audubon's Quadrupeds made $288,000. The (only?) presentation copy of Goldsmith's The Vicar of Wakefield fetched $16,800, and early printing did especially well.

- Swann sold Printed & Manuscript Americana on 16 April. A collection of Civil War diaries and letters by two friends in a California regiment sold for $31,200, while an archive of material by natural historian William Cooper and his son James Graham Cooper made $40,800 (over estimates of just $1,500-2,500). An extreme Theodore Roosevelt rarity, a memorial volume to his wife and mother, sold for $38,400.

- Bloomsbury held a Bibliophile Sale on 18 April, in 655 lots. Results here.

- Christie's London sold Travel, Science, and Natural History items on 24 London, realizing £1,658,075. The manuscript speech by Wilbur Wright sold for £61,875, while the egg of an extinct elephant bird fetched £66,675.

- PBA Galleries sold Travel & Exploration, Cartography & Americana from the Library of Glen McLaughlin (with additions) on 25 April. Their website was having issues when I wrote this, so I don't have results information at present.

- Christie's Paris' sale of Importants Lives Anciens, Livres d'artistes et Manuscrits on 29 April brought in 2,407,762 Euros, with Hugo, Balzac and Proust manuscript lots taking top honors.

- At Sotheby's Paris on 29-30 April, the first part of the Bibliothèque des ducs de Luynes, Château de Dampierre was sold, for a total of 2,354,715 Euros. The grand folio volume with Blondel watercolors produced to mark the wedding of the dauphin in 1745 sold for 301,500 Euros, but it was a manuscript map noting action involving Lafayette during the American Revolution which took the top price, fetching 373,500 Euros (over estimates of just 60,000-80,000 Euros).

- Bloomsbury sold The Library of a Continental Gentleman: Natural History Books on 9 May, in 288 lots. Results here. A copy of Ventenat's Description des Plantes Nouvelles et peu Connues (1800-1802) sold for £13,000.

- Swann sold Art, Press & Illustrated Books, including inventory from the stock of Irving Oaklander on 9 May. See the summer Fine Books & Collection for an overview of this sale.

- Sotheby's London sells Travel, Atlases, Maps & Natural History on 14 May, in 219 lots. An early 18th-century illustrated manuscript of Piri Reis' Kitab-i Bahriye once in the Phillipps collection could fetch £100,000-150,000.

- At Bloomsbury on 16 May, a Bibliophile Sale, in 406 lots.

- Sotheby's London holds a sale of First Editions, Second Thoughts on 21 May. This sale includes 50 contemporary first editions, annotated by their authors, to benefit the charity English PEN. Browse the available lots here.

- On 29 May at Sotheby's Paris, Livres et Manuscrits, in 149 lots. An archive of Rousseau letters is estimated at 250,000-350,000 Euros.

- PBA Galleries sells South Sea: The Library of Richard Topel, Part II on 30 May, in 349 lots.

- Also on 30 May, Bloomsbury holds a 30th Anniversary Sale of Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper, in 424 lots.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Links & Reviews

- Your must-read piece this week is John Overholt's "Five Theses on the Future of Special Collections," which will appear in a forthcoming issue of RBM but is available now via Harvard's OA DASH repository. It is an excellent, timely, and provocative essay which I hope will receive the large audience it very much deserves.

- The editors of the OED have issued a public appeal for help in identifying a book cited in the dictionary but which doesn't seem to be held in any libraries and is only found mentioned in a few places (so far). Quite a fun rabbit-hole to lose yourself down, as I've discovered. Let's help them find this book!

- At The Collation, Erin Blake explores "Two disciplines separated by a common language" - that is, "print culture" as either pertaining to printed pictures or printed words.

- Jennifer Howard profiles Bethany Nowviskie of UVA's Scholars Lab for The Chronicle.

- The Bodleian Library has acquired a manuscript of Gerard Manley Hopkins' poem "Binsey Poplars" for £50,000.

- In today's New York Times, a look at how the sequester budget cuts are affecting the Library of Congress.

- The National Library of Wales announced this week that they will no longer be claiming copyright over digitized copies of items from its collections.

- From the medievalfragments blog, a summary of a recent (and very awesome) find: 132 medieval notes and fragments found in the binding of a 1577 book.

- Sarah Werner expands on her recent Collation post on digitized copies of the First Folio at Wynken de Worde, asking just what it is that we should want as users of such digital surrogates (and not just of the First Folio, but of such things generally).

- New from the Massachusetts Historical Society, a digital presentation of the wonderfully interesting Harbottle Dorr annotated newspapers. See the blog post announcing the launch.

- David Rubenstein has lent a copy of the Stone Declaration of Independence to the State Department and will fund reproductions of the broadside to be displayed in every U.S. embassy.

- Over at EMOB, Anna Battigelli summarizes a recent Beinecke Library conference on digital archiving, Beyond the Text: Library Archives in the 21st Century.

- From Cultural Compass, the blog of the Harry Ransom Center, a post about the process used to create a digital version of the Center's Blaeu "great wall map."

- At Boston 1775 this week, J.L. Bell talked to Nat Philbrick about Philbrick's new book on the Battle of Bunker Hill: Part I, Part II.

- The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists announced the launch of their new journal this week: J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists.

- Over at Brown's curio blog, a look at a first edition Great Gatsby inscribed to T.S. Eliot by Fitzgerald (who spelled Eliot's name wrong) with Eliot's pencilled marginal notes throughout.

- I'm not sure if this is new or not, but it's new to me so I wanted to mention it: The Morgan Library & Museum has posted a piece on the provenance of their copy of the Gutenberg Bible.


- Randall Woods' Shadow Warrior; review by Evan Thomas in the NYTimes.

- Steve Vogel's Through the Perilous Fight; review by Joyce Appleby in the WaPo.