An alluring treasure trove awaits seasoned collectors as well as new visitors at the 44th annual Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair, which will be held virtually November 12-14, 2020. The event will showcase the finest in rare and valuable books, illuminated manuscripts, autographs, ephemera, political and historic documents, maps, atlases, photographs, fine and decorative prints, and much more.
Shop the virtual booths of hundreds of international sellers and discover their latest acquisitions and rare finds from November 12-14, 2020 at http://www.abaa.org/vbf
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, libraries across the country have closed their doors to the public—but what has that meant for the cats who call America’s libraries home?
Libraries have long been home to feline residents who keep patrons company, promote activities and programs, and assist with pest control. We checked in on four library cats (and their humans) to see how their lifestyles have changed during the pandemic
Browser from Texas’s White Settlement Public Library may be one of the nation’s most famous library cats. In a viral story from 2016, a city council member tried to oust Browser from his position at the library; after a public outcry, Browser was reinstated for life while his political opponent lost his reelection campaign.
Browser has stuck around the library during the pandemic closure but seems to be missing the crowds.
“He is generally quite independent, but since the closure he always wants to be near people. We can usually find him in the lap of a staff member, or lying helpfully on their keyboard,” library staffer Kathryn King told I Love Libraries. “Now that we are offering curbside service, he posts himself at the window during curbside hours to watch the patrons come and go.”
“We’re fine,” I say on the landline. (I’m keeping it real.) Of course things are not fine. They are far from fine. At least we have enough books. Here’s a great review about a novel about a bookstore …
Precious maps, books and artworks vanished from the Pittsburgh archive over the course of 25 years By Travis McDade | Smithsonian Magazine
Far from a crime just against the library, the theft was a crime against the world’s cultural heritage. Everywhere they looked, the auditors found a staggering degree of destruction and looting.
A copy of Ptolemy’s groundbreaking La Geographia, printed in 1548, had survived intact for over 400 years, but now all of its maps were missing. Of an 18-volume set of Giovanni Piranesi’s extremely rare etchings, printed between 1748 and 1807, the assessors noted dryly, “The only part of this asset located during on-site inspection was its bindings. The contents have evidently been removed from the bindings and the appraiser is taking the extraordinary assumption that they have been removed from the premises.” The replacement value for the Piranesis alone was $600,000.
The thief lived close to the Caliban Book Shop in Pittsburgh, where he established a friendly business selling books to the owner, who marked the books “Withdrawn from Library.” The ethics code of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America states that members “shall make all reasonable efforts to ascertain that materials offered to him or her are the property of the seller,” and members “shall make every effort to prevent the theft or distribution of stolen antiquarian books and related materials.” Schulman was not only a member of the ABAA. He had served on its ethics and standards committee.
The Gutenberg Printing Press truly revolutionized western society with its introduction of mass produced printed materials for a relatively cheap price, which helped encourage literacy among the lower classes. However, the practice of printing books had actually been occurring long before 1450 in the Far East. A rare book collector on Twitter recently debuted a Sino-Tibetan “concertina-folded book” that is estimated to have been printed in Beijing around 1410. This beautifully preserved book of Buddhist recitations was created about 40 years before the Gutenberg Bible entered circulation.
Twitter user Incunabula explains that the book contains “Sanskrit dhāranīs and illustrations of protective mantra-diagrams and deities” and its inner pages of bright red ink are protected by black outer coverings which feature 20 icons of gold painted Tathāgatas—a Sanskrit name for Buddha. The text was designed for both European and Asian readers in mind. According to Incunabula: “The book may be read in the Indo-Tibetan manner by turning the pages from right to left or in Chinese style by turning from left to right.”
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A rare book the size of a matchbox written by the teenage Charlotte Brontë will go on public display for the first time after a museum paid €600,000 (£505,000) to bring it back to Britain.
Curators said they wept when they finally received the book, which arrived from an auction house in Paris. It was penned by the oldest of the Brontë sisters at the family’s home in Haworth, West Yorkshire, 200 years ago.
Handwritten by Brontë at the age of 14, the book has just 20 pages and contains three entire short stories.
It is one of six surviving “little books” penned by the author of Jane Eyre and had been in a private collection since her death in 1855.
In November last year, the Brontë Society was able to bring the “hugely important” academic work back to Britain when it went up for auction.
The Brontë Parsonage Museum, at the home of the sisters, launched a fundraising appeal after being outbid at a previous auction. Donations of £85,000 from more than 1,000 supporters added to money from trusts and public funding bodies.
The historic piece of literature was eventually bought for €600,000 and will go on display for the first time on Saturday.
Ann Dinsdale, the principal curator at the museum, said she had been there for 30 years and had never seen such a display of emotion.
“We had a welcome committee of staff who’d made a point of being in the museum to see it arrive. It was like a historic occasion,” she said. “Some of us felt a little tearful. So much effort and passion had gone into bringing it to Haworth and we’d worked so long and so hard to make it happen.
“It seemed extraordinary that there had been this huge interest in such a tiny item.”
The manuscript, called The Young Men’s Magazine, contains more than 4,000 handwritten words in a meticulously folded and stitched magazine.
It is made up of three stories: A letter From Lord Charles Wellesley, The Midnight Song and Journal of a Frenchman.
Part of it describes a murderer driven to madness after being haunted by his victims, and how “an immense fire” burning in his head causes his bed curtains to set alight.
Experts at the museum say this section of the story is a clear precursor of a famous scene between Bertha and Edward Rochester in Jane Eyre, which Charlotte would publish 17 years later.Another is a fantasy about fine dining and aristocratic living, which Dinsdale says reads as “almost an antidote to domestic life at Haworth”.
“It’s hugely important in academic terms because it adds so much to our knowledge of Charlotte’s development as a writer,” Dinsdale said. She added: “The three pieces of prose make it absolutely clear that she had an incredible imagination.”
The booklet was one of a series of six, of which five are known to survive. The other four are already owned by the Brontë Parsonage Museum.
Kitty Wright, the executive director of the Brontë Society, said: “We have been truly overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from people from all over the world backing our campaign.”
Antiquarian booksellers are part scholar, part detective and part businessperson, and their personalities and knowledge are as broad as the material they handle. They also play an underappreciated yet essential role in preserving history.
THE BOOKSELLERS takes viewers inside their small but fascinating world, populated by an assortment of obsessives, intellects, eccentrics and dreamers.
SANTORINI, Greece — On a wall above rare first editions, old maps of this volcanic island and a stained linen lampshade, a painted timeline traces the evolution of Atlantis Books from a wine-drenched notion in 2002 into one of Europe’s most enchanting bookstores.
A terrace overlooks the Aegean Sea. Bookshelves swing back to reveal hidden, lofted beds where the shop’s workers can sleep. Somewhere along the way, word spread that visiting writers too could spend summer nights scribbling and snoozing there, and the owner began receiving emails requesting a bunk at earth’s most stunning writer’s colony, on an island Plato believed was the lost Atlantis.