Blog posts by Rich Rennicks

Content creator and publicist for the ABAA. 

Browse the latest catalogs, newsletters, and e-lists of rare books, fine bindings, incunabula, print ephemera, much more from the members of the ABAA. Image above: plate detail from Esquemeling, Alexander: BUCANIERS OF AMERICA: OR, A TRUE ACCOUNT OF THE MOST REMARKABLE ASSAULTS COMMITTED OF LATE YEARS UPON THE COASTS OF THE WEST-INDIES, BY THE BUCANIERS OF JAMAICA AND TORTUGA, BOTH ENGLISH AND FRENCH. London: William Crooke, 1684, found in William Reese Company's new e-list "Pirates & Privateers." Please note, this list is updated weekly, usually on Wednesdays. *New* indicates any catalogs added this week. We aim to include the most-recent catalog (or catalogs if appropriate) from members, because not every member issues new catalogs every week -- and not every collector can browse this list weekly. AARDVARK BOOKS/EZRA THE BOOKFINDER Rece... [more]

The National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest is sponsored by the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA), the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies (FABS), the Grolier Club, and the Center for the Book and the Rare Books and Special Collections Division (the Library of Congress), with major support from the Jay I. Kislak Foundation. The 2018 winners are: First Prize: Samuel Vincent Lemley, University of Virginia: Biblioteca Genealogica: Sicilian Printing, 1704-1893 Second Prize: Paul T. Schwennesen, University of Kansas: Borderlands: A Manifesto on Overlap Third Prize: Hanaa J. Masalmeh, Harvard University: Far From the Eyes, Far From the Heart: My Life as a Syrian-American Muslim Essay. Ena Selimovic, Washington University in St. Louis: Ja, Ben, I, Je: A Book Collection in Translation We asked each some question... [more]

Books of the Week

By Rich Rennicks

Books "catch the eye" for many reasons: a colorful cover, a pithy title, or that rare moment of synchronicity that seems to conjure the perfect book at the perfect time. This week, a 1926 biography of Walt Whitman caught our eye for its magnificent title and a rare cut-out book celebrating Walt Disney's Snow White invoked childhood very strongly. Browse these and other items that leaped off the virtual shelves at us below... The Magnificent Idler: The Story of Walt Whitman by Cameron Rogers; illustrated by Edward A. Wilson Garden City: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1926. First edition of this earnestly humanizing popular biography of Walt Whitman, which "seeks neither to whitewash its subject nor exhume old scandals." The double-page landscapes by illustrator Edward Wilson, which depict Whitman communing with nature throughout his life, matc... [more]

Modern First Editions

By Rich Rennicks

The ABAA Glossary of Book Terms defines a first editon, in part, as "all of the copies printed from the first setting of type," which can "include multiple printings if all are from the same setting of type." So, the term is rooted in the physical act of printing the pages of a book. But, the term also has a second meaning, specifically the first form given to a book, i.e. before any later changes (which could include corrections, additional copy, introductions, etc.) These changes, if minor, are referred to as the second (or later) "state" of the book, if major, they constitute new editions of the book. The phrase "modern" is more difficult to define, as it has been often used as a synonym for "contemporary," thus what was considered a modern first editon in the 1940s might not be regarded in the same way in the second decade of the 21st... [more]

Books of the Week

By Rich Rennicks

Among the eye-catching items newly listed on abaa.org or featured in members' catalogs this week are some signed first editions, an inscribed photo of everyone's favorite princess from a galaxy far, far away, and a clever artist's book that captures the Beaufort Scale memorably. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Scale] by Stephanie Wolff & Sir Francis Beaufort Norwich, VT, 2015. Artist's book, one of 13 copies, all on Somerset Velvet Radiant White paper, each copy hand-numbered and signed by the artist on the colophon. Page size: 5 x 9-3/4 inches; 26pp; + colophon. Bound by the artist: compound structure, primarily non-adhesive, tabbed single pages sewn onto a concertina of French paper and then inserted into strip of Tyvek folded into Hedi Kyle's crown binding structure, reinforced covers of white Somerset paper sewn onto the concertina and s... [more]

Longtime ABAA member Kenneth Karmiole continues to support research in the history of the book through a new endowed fellowship at the University of California Los Angeles' Center for 17th- & 18th-Century Studies & William Andrews Clark Memorial Library. Karmiole is a graduate of UCLA, and has supported the university with several contributions over the years. From The UCLA Center for 17th- & 18th-Century Studies & William Andrews Clark Memorial Library: Recently, UCLA's Center for 17th-&18th-Century Studies and William Andrews Clark Memorial Library received support for an endowed fellowship from antiquarian bookseller, philanthropist, and long time supporter, Kenneth Karmiole. The gift of $100,000 will establish the Kenneth Karmiole Endowed Research Fellowship, supporting an annual graduate fellowship at UCLA's William Andrews Clark Mem... [more]

Owen Kubik, a long-time ABAA member from Dayton Ohio, knew it was too good to be true when he discovered a cache of 16th- and 17th-century books in a bulk shipment of used books. Kubik regularly buys large lots of old books from thrift store recyclers. The books are gathered from thrift stores across the country — which either don't want to handle used books in their stores or have too many — and then sold wholesale by the truck-load to book stores and paper recycling operations. Going through such large shipments can be time-consuming, but Kubik finds that this "is a good source for a large volume of general stock for my open shop. There is almost never anything rare or collectible, just good, decent everyday books." A lot sourced from the East Coast in March 2018 proved to be a little different, however. “Here I am, going through ... [more]

ABAA members list new items on abaa.org almost every day, and publish catalogs and E-lists of new acquisitions almost weekly. Among the items that caught the eye this week, are first editions of Armistead Maupin's classic Tales of the City, A.A. Milne's Now We are Six, and Yoko Ono's Grapefruit, along with anti-fascist paper art, Nikola Tesla's John Hancock, and a first edition of John Gould's multi-volume magnum opus The Birds of Europe. Tales of the City First Edition Paperback by Armistead Maupin (Cover map by Phil Frank) New York: Harper Colophon Books, 1978. Paperback. 240p., 7.5x9.25 inches, lightly-worn first edition stated, number line ends in "1" trade paperback original in pictorial map covers with a key to locations of the story. Originally published serially by the San Francisco Chronicle. Made into a TV miniseries and being r... [more]

With the 50th anniversary of Desert Solitaire upon us, Back of Beyond Books has launched a unique publishing program to both honor the importance of Edward Abbey's book and continue the discussion surrounding Desert Solitaire. This November, Back of Beyond in partnership with Torrey House Press will publish Desert Cabal: a New Season in the Wilderness by Amy Irvin In Desert Cabal, Amy Irvine admires the man who influenced her life and work while also examining "the inspiration of Desert Solitaire through the lens of 50 years of desert love and a contemporary, feminist vision." Back of Beyond will also publish a facsimile of the first draft of Desert Solitaire, with hundreds of handwritten manuscript changes by Abbey. This document has never been published before and only fifty sets of the facsimile will be made available. In addition, Ken... [more]

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History was founded in 1994 by Richard Gilder and Lewis E. Lehrman, lifelong supporters of American history education, with a goal of becoming the leading American nonprofit organization dedicated to K–12 history education. The Institute's mission is nothing less than to promote the knowledge and understanding of American history through educational programs and resources, which it does through creating curriculums for schools to use when teaching different periods of American history. At the Institute's core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives of American history. Drawing on the 65,000+ documents in the Gilder Lehrman Collection and an extensive network of eminent historians, the Institute provides teachers, students, and the general public with direct access to unique pr... [more]