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Blog posts by Rich Rennicks

Content creator and publicist for the ABAA. 



Rare Book News

By Rich Rennicks

A quick roundup of the news about rare books and collectors from around the world. (Regularly updated, with the latest news items added at the top.) Is New York in Danger of Loving the Strand to Death? Britain's The Guardian (yes, that's how famous the Strand is, even British bibliophiles know all about it) reports that Strand owner Nancy Bass Wyden recently spoke against a plan to give the building official landmark status. The designation would add new layers of bureaucracy to company operations, Wyden told the commissions, adding that "unnecessary expenses and restrictions" would "slow us down just when we need to be our most impactive." A decision is expected in early 2019. The application date for the California Young Book-Collector's Prize has been extended to December 15! Are Book Playlists the "New Hotness?" It's always amusing wh... [more]

For decades, rare-book dealers have used printed catalogs to inform collectors of their available items. In the internet age, these print catalogs persist -- in fact, have often become things of beauty -- but can also take the form of electronic lists, .pdfs, Google docs, electronic magazines, email newsletters, videos, blog posts, even Instagram and Facebook posts! In order to keep up with the rapidly evolving trade, we try to include all such lists here, in whatever form our members choose to release them. Browse the latest catalogs, newsletters, e-lists, etc., of rare books, fine bindings, incunabula, print ephemera, and much more from the members of the ABAA below... Please note, this list is updated weekly, usually on Wednesdays. *New* indicates any catalogs added this week. AARDVARK BOOKS/EZRA THE BOOKFINDER Recent Acquisitions CHAR... [more]


Collecting Dalton Trumbo

By Rich Rennicks

Dalton Trumbo got his start in writing as a reporter in college, and subsequently contributed stories to the popular magazines of the early 1930s: McCall's, the Saturday Evening Post, etc. In 1935, he got a job at Warner Brothers studios, and began his career as a prolific screenwriter and occasional novelist. His first novel, Eclipse, drew heavily on his youth in Grand Junction, Colorado, and, like Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward, Angel a few years previously, caused a lot of consternation in his hometown. Trumbo quickly became an in-demand screenwriter, and was nominated for an Academy Award in 1940 for Kitty Foyle. Johnny Got His Gun His third novel, Johnny Got His Gun, was released in 1939, and struck a chord with its anti-war message, winning a National Book Award (then called the American Booksellers' Award). Johnny Got His Gun tells t... [more]


Books of the Week

By Rich Rennicks

Our members list new acquisitions and recently catalogued items almost every day of the year. Below, you'll find a few highlights from these recent additions... Le Livre d'Esther From the translation by Robert Schmidt. Illustrated by Arthur Szyk. Paris: L'Edition d'Art H. Piazza, 1925. First and Limited Edition. Hardcover. Near fine. First edition with Arthur Szyk illustrations, no. 260 of 775, octavo size, 1134 pp., in French and Hebrew. Polish-Jewish artist Arthur Szyk (1894-1951) was known for his book illustrations and political caricatures; he was incredibly outspoken on political issues, particularly against the Axis powers during World War II, and his art often projected his own social consciousness in a way that was and still is popular and accessible to a large audience. "Le Livre d'Esther" is his first major work of book illustr... [more]


What was a Green Book?

By Rich Rennicks

In the Jim Crow era, travel was fraught with difficulty for African Americans. The growing black middle class could afford to buy cars and travel for leisure, and throughout the South, the purchase of a car was an important goal for black families as it allowed them to avoid segregated public transport. However, traveling by car to new towns and cities, African Americans did not know which restaurants would serve them, which gas stations would fill up their car, and where it was safe to spend the night. Enter Victor H. Green, a mail carrier in Harlem, who had the idea for a guide book for African Americans to help them navigate the country without injury or harassment — based, in part, on similar guide books from Jewish publishers. The Negro Motorists Green Book (later renamed The Negro Travelers Green Book, but known colloquially as th... [more]


New Members

By Rich Rennicks

Welcome the latest full- and associate-members of the ABAA. Full Members David Meikle, Archway Books (Dover, NH) David Meikle bought his first “old books” at age eleven, paying a bargain price for three handsome 125-year-old books. Only when he got home did he realize most of the engravings were razored out and had probably been for sale individually in that very stall. Still, he was hooked on old books. Twenty-five years later, he jumped at a chance offer to manage a used bookstore in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and spent ten years there, eight as an owner. As his own antiquarian interests developed, he realized that running a general-interest used bookstore would not remain fulfilling for the rest of his working life. So, he sold his share and for nearly twenty years has sold primarily on the internet and at shows. While he character... [more]

Enjoy this selection of preview items that our members will be exhibiting at the upcoming 42nd annual Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair. We'll be adding items to this page all week, so check back daily for more extremely rare and beautirful items! Fantaisie-Fantasia-Fantasie-Fancy- Scenes for Ladies of Leisure to Construct c1840. A large folio with die-cut opening in cover to create a "picture frame". It includes 2 plates and an array of cutout hand finished engraved images of women, children and accessories. The two 12" x 9 ½” plates have numerous slits at the base Each of the images has a tab at the base. The individual women are placed in the incisions or slits creating elegant scenes from the serene to the severe. Includes two pattern sheets with eight (8) different scenes. Endless scenes can be created beyond the scenes s... [more]


ABAA Members Expanding

By Rich Rennicks

A number of ABAA members have either opened new stores or renovated their existing premises recently. This is significant because for years, antiquarian booksellers were either retiring or converting to “closed shops,” which only sell by appointment, on the internet, and/or at rare book fairs. It's an expensive undertaking to keep a shop open to the public with regular business hours, staff, utilities, etc., and many rare booksellers — like their trade bookselling counterparts — found it challenging to maintain an open shop. Unlike those in the new-book trade, antiquarian booksellers have the option of operating as a “closed shop,” and focusing on rare-book catalogs, rare book fairs, and selling to institutional collectors directly instead. Recently, a new trend has emerged, with the five ABAA members below opening new stores ... [more]


Boston Book Fair 2018

By Rich Rennicks

It's back! The Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair returns to the Hynes Convention Center in Boston's beautiful Back Bay for its 42nd year, November 16-18, 2018. Special events at this year's event include documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman on the making of Ex Libris: The New York Public Library; political guru Michael Goldman on 1968: The Year of the Century; Sumio Yamazaki from the Kyoto Book Artists Society in discussion with Charles Vilnis on Japanese art books; Editor Peter K. Steinberg on Sylvia Plath; and the 17th annual Ticknor Society Roundtable panel discussion on starting a collection. One of the oldest and most respected antiquarian book shows in the country, the Boston Book Fair offers a top selection of items available on the international literary market. Attendees have the unique chance to get a close look at r... [more]


Books of the Week

By Rich Rennicks

A couple of literary first editions caught to eye this week, along with an original WWII propaganda poster, and an entertaining and very honest description of a first edition Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. THE COLOSSUS AND OTHER POEMS by Sylvia Plath New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1962. First edition. Hardcover. Fine/Fine. 84 p. First American Edition. With this startling, exhilarating book of poems, Sylvia Plath (1932-63) burst into literature with spectacular force. In such classics as "The Beekeeper's Daughter," "The Disquieting Muses," "I Want, I Want," and "Full Fathom Five," she writes about sows and skeletons, fathers and suicides, about the noisy imperatives of life and the chilly hunger for death. This copy belonged to Anne Wilder, the confidant and lover of poet Anne Sexton, with Wilder's signature to the front f... [more]