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Blog posts by Susan Benne

Susan has served as Executive Director of the ABAA for 14 years. She collects material on vice and Brooklyn. Susan is focused on making the book trade diverse and equitable.


Book Fairs are back! After two years without an in-person fair, the ABAA has been able to safely hold two so far this year with Boston coming up this fall. California and New York by all accounts were a success for exhibitors and customers alike, with New York particularly robust for sales and visitors, and exuberant crowds and attendance at record levels. At the height of the pandemic, some feared that Virtual Book Fairs would overtake in-person fairs in popularity. VBF's have been complementary, especially for those sellers and customers who are unable to travel, but are not replacements for in-person fairs as is apparent in these photos from the two events. Profile photo: Sunday Steinkirchner at the New York Book Fair, photo by Meredith Nierman. NCC Book Fair Committee triumphantly opens the Oakland Book Fair! L to R: Alexander Akin, J... [more Notes from the Field: Book Fairs are Back]

Between 1995 and 2004, 62 older and very valuable books from the National Library of Sweden (KB) were stolen by the then head of the unit for manuscripts. Today ten of them are returned to KB, made possible by a generous donation. The returned items' lineage spans three centuries and have previously belonged to both royalty and great book collectors before being incorporated into the library's collections. The extensive thefts at KB are well known to many. Media interest has been considerable and the crimes have even been portrayed in documentaries and fiction. For the library, this event was a tragedy and the theft of the 62 books – the bearers of hundreds of years of history – a great loss for our common cultural heritage. After the thefts were discovered in 2004, the police conducted a preliminary investigation, but the case was dr... [more Ten Stolen Books Returned to the National Library of Sweden, More Still Missing]

We are pleased to announce that for the fourth year the Northern and Southern California chapters of the ABAA will be jointly awarding a prize for the best young book collectors in California. As with prior years, three prizes will be awarded, and the top collection will be exhibited at the upcoming 52nd California International Antiquarian Book Fair to be held in Oakland this coming February. Submissions are due December 1, 2021 and winners will be notified by December 20, 2021. Complete details are found here. [more Announcing The Fourth Annual California Young Book Collector’s Prize]

Missing in Transit to NYC: Dodgson, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, New York, Appleton, 1866, finely rebacked, boxed with: Dodgson, Through the Looking-Glass (ink presentation to Rose Franklin, Christmas, 1871) Emerson, Essays 1st & 2nd Series, 2 vols., Boston, 1841, 1844, Estelle Doheny copies, boxed Emerson, Nature, Boston, 1836, boxed Poe, Eureka, New York, 1848, cloth, spine ends repaired, boxed Wharton, Decoration of Houses, 1897, boxed Wharton, Italian Villas, 1904, boxed Wilde Reading Gaol, London, 1898, trade first, slipcase Wilde, Ravenna, Oxford, 1878, half morocco, wrappers bound in Wilde Poems, London, 1881, vellum Wilde Soul of Man, London, 1895, boxed Wilde, Salome, London, 1894 Harpo Marx bookplate Wilde, Children in Prison, London, 1898, boxed Wilde, De Profundis, London, 1905, cloth box If offered, please contact: Henry... [more Missing in Transit to NYC: Alice, Through the Looking-glass, plus Poe, Wharton and Wilde Titles]

UPDATE (Feb 9, 2022): An arrest has been made in connection with the theft of nearly 5,000 missing items from FSU Libraries' Robert M. Ervin Jr. Collection. The investigation remains open and ongoing, and FSU Libraries are still awaiting details on the items that have been recovered. As they learn more and gather information about what was recovered and what remains missing, they will continue to update the spreadsheet below. This spreadsheet and notice detail materials stolen from Florida State University. 4,996 items from the Robert M. Ervin Jr. Collection were stolen from FSU Special Collections & Archives between March 17th, 2020 and February 10th, 2021. The Robert M. Ervin Jr. Collection consists of comic books, serials, and containing and related to superheroes, science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Publications include those by Mar... [more UPDATE: Items Stolen from Florida State University’s Robert M. Ervin Jr. Collection]

12/14/20: Update, this parcel has been delivered and the items are no longer missing. *** A parcel containing the following items has gone missing from the porch of a customer in Kentfield, CA: 1. Bayard Taylor. Eldorado (1850). 2 volumes. First edition, slipcase 2. Alfred Robinson. Life in California (1846). First edition. 3. Zachary Taylor. California and New Mexico (1850). Ex-Newberry Lib. 4. Anthony Bledsoe. Indian Wars (1883). First edition. 5. Robert Louis Stevenson. Silverado Squatters (1883). First edition, slipcase. 6. Theodore Hittell. History of California (1885). 2 volumes. First edition. 7. Winfield Davis. History of the Political Conventions (1893). First edition. If offered, please contact Justin McShea of Star of the Sea Books: P.O. Box 1307 Hermosa Beach, CA 90254 www.staroftheseabooks.com justin@staroftheseabooks.com Tel... [more Update: Missing in Transit to Kentfield, CA]

Update: this item has been located and is no longer missing. The following book was apparently “delivered to” and “signed for” by Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Manuscripts, but the firm never received it. Please contact Jill Mann if you know the whereabouts of this item: Jill Mann, Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Manuscripts (503) 472-0476 or jill@pirages.com Lot #87 at the Christie's Paris sale on 5/27 REDOUTÉ, Pierre-Joseph (1759-1840). Les Roses peintes par P. J. Redouté… décrites par C. A. Thorry. Paris : C. L. F. Panckoucke, 1824 . Bel exemplaire en demi-maroquin rouge de l'époque, bien complet de toutes ses planches et des feuillets de texte. On a relié in fine les quatre pages de prospectus pour cette édition : « L'éclat, la vérité, l'élégance, le plus grand luxe typographique, ont procuré aux Roses de ... [more Located: REDOUTÉ, Pierre-Joseph (1759-1840). Les Roses peintes par P. J. Redouté… décrites par C. A.]

Here's the description of a book that was stolen from a local FedEx in NYC last week on or after 6/1/20. If anyone is offered the below, please contact Josh Mann of B&B at 646-652-6766. Hemingway, Ernest. Green Hills of Africa. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1935. Decorated by Edward Shenton. First edition, first printing. Publisher's green cloth, stamped to front board in gilt with author's facsimile signature, stamped in black and gilt to spine; in the original green, black, and white dust jacket with a photograph of the author to rear panel. A near fine copy with some fading to extremities, particularly the spine, toning to page edges, small bookseller's sticker to rear pastedown; in a very good dust jacket with toning to spine and wear to extremities, some shallow chipping to spine head, rubbing to folds, a few scattered scratches... [more Hemingway’s Green Hills of Africa]

ABAA Member Peter Kraus remembers bibliophile, collector, and seller Colin Franklin. I was lucky enough to have not one, but two, truly great booksellers as mentors. The first, and most important, was my cousin, Hans Kraus. From my mid teens on, he initiated me into the world of rare books, Teaching me how to use a bibliography and exposing me to everything from Egyptian Books of the Dead to a first edition of Ulysses. However, In 1967 I was lucky enough to meet Colin when he was still working at his family publishing house of Routledge and Kegan Paul, which had been the publisher of a book by my great grandfather, and I was working for the Kraus companies. We hit it off immediately, and he invited me to pay a visit to Culham, which was then his country house. There he proudly showed me his latest purchase, a complete set of Kelmscott Pre... [more Remembering Colin Franklin]

UPDATE: This item was recovered 5/18/20. The following item was reported missing and last seen at the ABAA Fair in Pasadena this past February: Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing: What It Is, and What It Is Not. London: Harrison, . First edition, early issue. 79pp. Octavo in flexible black textured cloth with gilt title on front wrap. Rebacked, with original wraps. Light wear to extremities; hinges reinforced, interior unmarked. With publisher's advertisements for the year 1860 on endpapers. With ads for Burke's Peerage and the Foreign Office List, both for 1860 (with the '8' in the Peerage ad's '1860' in slightly larger type); with 'The right of Translation is reserved' appearing in brackets at the foot of the title page; and with spelling errors uncorrected on pages 40 and 44. Identification number is 56736. If you have any informa... [more Missing: Early Issue of “Notes on Nursing” by Florence Nightingale]