Book Collecting in the United States: A 21st-Century View of Our Collectors, Our Research Libraries, and Our Booksellers While the antiquarian book community is very small worldwide, it has been in the United States, the tiniest of them all, until very recently. Among all the cultures around the world who have written and read manuscripts and printed books in their variety of forms, North American literacy and book production occurred centuries if not millennia after those of predecessors like the Chinese, Greek, Hebrew and Mesopotamian, Indian, Mexican and Central America peoples. 1 As our many settlers came to North America and found homes, books were often left behind, either in the “old country” or before an arduous journey across the land. A bible, sacred book, or a family memento might accompany the traveler, but not a heavy, cu... [more]
Blog posts by Gordon Hollis
Gordon Hollis has an A.M., University of Chicago; has been a member of the ABAA/ILAB (since 1984); member of Board of Governors, 1992–3; and President of the S.C. Chapter of the ABAA (2004–6). He is a member of the Grolier Club, Society of Dance History Scholars, American Society of Theatre Historians, and Bibliographical Society of America. Before becoming a bookseller (if he can remember the dim past), he taught English at Metropolitan State College in Denver (his alma mater for his AB) and at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
The Antiquarian and Rare Bookseller Today: The Decline of the On-the-street Bookshop and Its Consequence Overheard at a recent book fair, one bookseller to another: “Business used to be a lot more fun.” The role of the old, rare, and antiquarian bookseller has changed greatly in recent decades, from a rich brick and mortar presence in every major city of the U.S. to almost no physical bookshops on the street today. In the 1970s and '80s, there were important bookshops centrally located in every major city of the United States. Many of these shops gathered in “book rows.” In New York, for example, there were dozens of bookshops on 4th Avenue alone. Presently there are, according to the ABAA, two large full-service antiquarian books in New York City: Argosy and the Strand. Of the 39 New York City ABAA booksellers, 29 are open by app... [more]