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Blog posts by Lorne W. Bair

Lorne Bair is a bookseller in Winchester, Virginia specializing in the literature, art, and history of American social movements. He is on the faculty of the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar and a member of the Board of Governors of the ABAA. He also blogs on various topics at his own site, Minivan of the Revolution.

Selections from Member's stock

The designer Chip Kidd has produced some of the most iconic book and dust jacket designs of the past thirty years. Even if you don't know Kidd's name, you've seen his work, on books as varied as Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park and Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Kidd has been called “the closest thing to a rock star” among graphic designers (USA Today) and “the world's greatest book jacket designer” (by author James Ellroy, many of whose books Kidd has designed). Kidd's archive — more than 250 linear feet of material, including sketchbooks, juvenilia, correspondence, and thousands of pieces of original artwork — was recently acquired by Penn State, his alma mater. Among that vast assemblage of materials was a sampling of Chip Kidd's other great passion — Batman collectibles, of which he has assembled what is g... [more]

The ABAA's ever-steady Benevolent Committee, under the auspices of yours truly, will be roaming the aisles at the Oakland Book Fair this coming February 6th-8th, encouraging all to reach deep and channel their inner Carnegies (Andrew, not Dale). As there have been a few last-minute changes, I wanted to take this opportunity to update our readers on the opportunities we'll be providing to contribute to the Benevolent and Woodburn Funds throughout the weekend. First of all, I'll note with sadness that our annual Benefit Poker Tournament, which was a huge success in 2014 and which had been scheduled to take place Thursday night following the Exhibitors' Reception, has been cancelled. It was red tape, not a lack of enthusiasm, that doomed the tournament for this year, and I can promise all you high-rollers that we'll be dealing cards again in... [more]

Recently Anne and David Bromer, proprietors of Bromer Booksellers in Boston, made a $10,000 stock gift to the Antiquarian Booksellers' Benevolent Fund. It hasn't been my practice to single out contributors to our charitable funds for public thanks — but this gift is important on several levels and should be recognized publicly. First of all, I should point out the extraordinary generosity of a donation this size. The Bromer's gift is among the largest single bequests ever made to the Fund, and it adds signicantly to its reserve. This is important: for much of the past decade, grants made from the ABBF slightly exceeded incoming donations. That trend has now begun to reverse, and with gifts such as this one we can now begin condently to speak of a long-term goal of building a self-sustaining Benevolent Trust that will function in perpe... [more]

In a few days I'll be heading out to Colorado Springs for my fifth tour of duty on the faculty of the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar. Hard as it is for me to believe that five years have passed since my first visit to CABS, as a guest lecturer in 2010, harder still must it be for those who were involved with it from the start — wonderful dealers like Ed Glaser and Mike Ginsberg — to realize that CABS has now been a continuously-running institution for almost forty years. In the interim enormous changes have taken place in the book trade, and some pretty big ones have taken place within the seminar, too. But one thing certainly hasn't changed, and that is the Seminar's central mission of providing booksellers, collectors, and librarians of all levels of experience with the most in-depth, intensive introduction to the antiquarian boo... [more]

The making of catalogs is on my mind tonight. I just put my own nineteenth catalog to bed — it left for the printer's an hour ago, a massive thing by my standards; over a hundred pages, just shy of two hundred-fifty items, all pictured. Research and cataloguing aside, lots of work goes into a catalog like that. The last two weeks at Lorne Bair Rare Books have been spent frantically photographing, photo-editing, laying-out, and proofreading. None of which I would describe as traditional “booksellerly” vocations — in fact, I'm not sure a single new book has gotten catalogued around here in the interval — but there we are. The New Antiquarian (if I may be so bold) finds himself going to great lengths these days to sell a book. Not that there's anything “new” about rare book catalogs! For a few hundred years they were the standa... [more]

This past April, the biggest news to hit the antiquarian book trade in roughly 400 years became public: my colleagues Dan Wechsler and George Koppelman, booksellers in New York City, unveiled a copy of a sixteenth century dictionary which could, quite plausibly, have once belonged to William Shakespeare — complete with annotations possibly in the bard's hand and many tantalizing, if ultimately circumstantial, linguistic and stylistic links to his plays. I'll leave it to better minds than mine to make a final determination regarding the dictionary's provenance. Wechsler and Koppelman have laid out an entire volume of compelling evidence in their just-published book, Shakespeare's Beehive (a copy of which I've just ordered); the Folger Shakespeare Library, the New Yorker, and numerous book bloggers have already begun weighing in, and I'm ... [more]

ABAA member Lorne Bair has just returned from the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar, where he is on faculty. He wrote a very enjoyable piece on his experience at this year's seminar on his blog, which you can read by clicking here. If you are unfamiliar with the program, it is, as Lorne writes, "a full week of 14-hour days devoted to absolutely nothing other than talk of books." If you are an antiquarian bookseller and unfamiliar with CABS, then you need to check it out! "A Game-Changing Education For Aspiring Booksellers" Lorne Bair [more]