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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.


The American Antiquarian Society was recently awarded the National Humanities Medal. We caught up with the Society's director, Ellen S. Dunlap, to hear all about it. Founded in 1812, the Society houses American books, broadsides, newspapers, graphics, and ephemera from first contact through 1876, and more selectively in manuscript collections. The award was given “for safeguarding the American story. Through more than two centuries, the Society has amassed an unparalleled collection of historic American documents, served as a research center to scholars and students alike, and connected generations of Americans to their cultural heritage.” Ellen and her colleague Matthew Shakespeare were returning from a business trip when she received a call from the NEH's acting director offering the award. The nomination process is somewhat secret,... [more American Antiquarian Society Receives National Humanities Medal]

I'm from Maryland and John Waters is my favorite famous hometown boy. (I'm reading his new hitchhiking memoir Carsick now.) I serendipitously met him once at a gallery in P-town and he was just as engaging one-on-one as he is in this video—a recent interview from the LIVE from the NYPL series. Unsurprisingly, Waters is a great story-teller and in it, he talks about his book collection (think counter-culture and LGBT literature with punny titles) and name-checks our friends at Bolerium Books. He also discusses the problems institutions face when collecting material that is no longer "PC" or otherwise considered distasteful. -Susan Benne [more John Waters, Charm City Book Collector]