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Blog posts by Rich Rennicks

Content creator and publicist for the ABAA. 


Happy 20th anniversary of Harry Potter! It's hard to believe it has only been twenty years as the characters have become such a large part of popular culture, but the first Harry Potter book was published twenty years ago, today! A lot of people now collect J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books. In fact, the major book collectors of tomorrow will likely bond over their memories of midnight-release parties and argue the merits of Mary GrandPré versus Thomas Taylor's cover illustrations. My own book shelves host two complete sets, one American (hardcover) and one British (paperback), and one set-in-progress (the illustrated editions). My children are lobbying for the addition of a set of the new American paperbacks, illustrated by Kazu Kibuishi, because the spines of each form an image of Hogwarts Castle when displayed in sequence (known as a ... [more]

Explore the most-recent catalogs of rare books and print ephemera from the members of the ABAA. 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. CHARLES AGVENT Winter Miscellany ANDERSON BUTLER RARE BOOKS Short E-List #7 Short E-List #6 NICK ARETAKIS May 2017 New Acquisitions April 2017 New Acquisitions ARTISAN BOOKS & BINDERY New Acquisitions: May 2017 Holiday Catalog 2016 ATHENA RARE BOOKS LIST 21: MODERN PSYCHOLOGY (1870-1944) New York Antiquarian Book Fair BACK OF BEYOND BOOKS Catalog 18 -- The American West Recent Acquisitions -- list only available to mailing list subscribers. S... [more]

ABAA-member Books of Wonder, which specializes in new, classic and collectible children's books, have announced they plan to open a second storefront later this summer in the Upper West Side. Owner Peter Glassman, told the New York Times that he'd been searching for a suitable space for years, but economic conditions had not been optimal for the project. "Now that the city is thriving again the time seemed right to finally expand to the Upper West Side.” The new store will be located on West 84th Street. Books of Wonder owner Peter Glassman at a recent event in the store. Books of Wonder first opened its doors in 1980. It has since outgrown the original "tiny, hole-in-the-wall" storefront in Greenwich Village -- through several bigger and better spaces -- to its current location on 18 West 18th Street. Longtime customer Nora Ephron used... [more]

The ABAA Benevolent Fund recently received the largest contribution in the fund's history from the estate of Gyngr Schon, who owned Old London Books in Bellingham Washington with her husband Michael Schon. Gyngr Schon became an ABAA member in 2008, after her husband's death, though the Old London Bookshop had been an ABAA member firm since 1994. She had worked as a secretary in her twenties and befriended a rare book librarian at The Huntington, later entering the antiquarian book business with her husband. In 1988, like many other antiquarian booksellers, the Schons began operating their business out of their home — a large, 17-room Victorian in Bellingham. After her husband's death, Schon established a presence on the internet, and through what her colleague Ed Smith describes as “hard work and a positive attitude” kept the busine... [more]

Pioneering screenwriter Anita Loos was born on April 26, 1889. After learning her trade acting and writing one-act plays for her father's somewhat-disreputable theater troupe, Loos began submitting unsolicited scripts to film companies. D.W. Griffith directed The New York Hat, a film based on her screenplay, starring Mary Pickford and Lionel Barrymore in 1912. In 1915 Loos became the first “staff writer” for a film production company, when she signed on with Griffith's studio. She wrote hundreds of scripts during the silent era of cinema, most of which went unproduced, but the films that were made were noted for their wit and humor — all the more remarkable for being silent! Her collaboration with director (and future husband John Emerson) began by working on several romantic comedies which made Douglas Fairbanks a star. In later ye... [more]


Editing Shakespeare

By Rich Rennicks

A look at some of the items currently offered by ABAA members can present a partial, but nonetheless illuminating, history of various editors' attempts to complete, "improve," or make Shakespeare more accessible over the centuries. For a guy who's been dead for 400 years, Shakespeare gets more press than many movie stars. Every week there's another theory about what he looked like or whether he was high while writing his plays. This week, the headlines are driven by British designer Jamie Rector, who created a series of new conceptual covers for several plays by Shakespeare, attempting to summarize the plays in a series of emojis. Although this was a concept design, the images caught the eye of Creative Review magazine, who are now using them for a series of posters aimed at attracting new design talent -- evidence that Shakespeare's work... [more]


Rare Book News

By Rich Rennicks

While the week after the New York Antiquarian Book Fair is generally a week of rest and recuperation for booksellers and collectors alike, there was still plenty of news happening in the rare book world last week. Bright Young Booksellers: Alexander Akin ABAA-member Alexander Akin of Bolerium Books was interviewed as part of Fine Books & Manuscripts ongoing "Bright Young Booksellers" series. Read more... Lou Reed Archive Goes to the New York Public Library at Lincoln Center Rock and roll legend Lou Reed left a personal archive of unsurpassed detail that will give researchers great insight into both the mundane details of life as a touring musician and Reed's development as an artist. Comprising over 300 linear feet of correspondence and documents as well as over 600 hours of recordings, many unreleased, the archive will be a place of pilg... [more]

ABAA members have issued the following catalogs of the material they will be exhibiting at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair this weekend (March 9-12, 2017) at the Park Avenue Armory. Note: This list is being constantly updated. Check back frequently in the days before the fair for the latest catalog additions! Athena Rare Books Booth E24 Lorne Bair Rare Books Booth E18 F.A. Bernett Booth B18 -- direct download .pdf David Brass Rare Books Booth C10 Buddenbrooks Booth C23 Andrew Cahan Bookseller Booth D19 James Cummins Bookseller Booth A1 L.W. Currey, Inc. and John W. Knott Jr., Bookseller offer David H. Rajchel Arkham House Archive Booth A5 Donald A. Heald Rare Books Booth C1 Jonathan A. Hill, Bookseller Booth B15 Jeff Hirsch Books Booth B23 Kaaterskill Books Booth B11 Eric Chaim Kline Booth A14 Michael Laird Rare Books Booth A33a The La... [more]

I've been reading a fascinating book about how humans have exchanged news and views through the centuries, and the changes printing made possible. In Writing on the Wall: Social Media The First 2,000 Years, Tom Standage, the digital editor of The Economist, traces the history of social media through the last 2000 years, highlighting how the last 150 years of broadcast media are in fact an anomaly in human communication. Yes, social media has been around for 2000 years, not a little over a decade as I thought. Far from being the brave new world that Facebook et al. like to claim, online “social media” is, in Standage's view, simply a return to an older style of communication, a style for which humans may be hardwired. Serious book collectors and students of printed history may be the only ones not surprised by this claim, as Standage d... [more]

Autograph expert and ABAA-member Gary Combs died last month. A celebration of his life will be held in New York City on March 7, as many of his former colleagues will be in the city for the New York Antiquarian Book Fair. ABAA-member James Camner paid tribute to his late friend and colleague: It is with deep sadness that I am reporting the death of my dear friend and colleague Gary Combs who died just after his 70th Birthday on February 10. Gary will be known to many in the ABAA as a premier level autograph dealer in New York City. He was a top private dealer, a “dealer's dealer” for many years, but his start in the business was as a salesman in the Book Department of B. Altman's Department store, where I met him back in 1976. At the time, he was the assistant to another dear old departed friend of the trade, Bob Tollett. Upon Bob's r... [more]