Book Fairs

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2018 RBMS Conference

By John Schulman

The Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS) is a division of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), which itself is part of the American Library Association (ALA). As the RBMS website states, “RBMS strives to represent and promote the interests of librarians who work with rare books, manuscripts, and other types of special collections.” Each year, the RBMS holds a conference in a different city: dinners are organized; there are plenary sessions on topics of interest to special collections librarians, and there is also a “showcase” in which ABAA members who sign up can exhibit some of their items. This represents a rare opportunity for ABAA members to connect with special collections librarians, have conversations, gain some understanding of how librarians think, operate, make decisions, acquire items, etc. It also affords librarians the chance to get to know some dealers that they may only know of through their catalogs or on-line listings. For both dealers and librarians, this conference can be a valuable few days: sales are made, connections forged, friendships can flourish, and the human dimension becomes for many the most enriching part of such a conference. This year, the conference is in New Orleans, June 19-22. One of the items F. A. Bernett Books will be displaying at the RBMS showcase: Grosz, George. Interregnum. Black Sun Press, 1936. 19 pp. introductory essay by John Dos Passos, followed by a suite of 64 black and white hand-struck lith... [more]

On March 11th, the ABAA Women's Initiative hosted a panel discussion on Collecting and Women during the New York Antiquarian Book Fair at the Park Avenue Armory. Elizabeth Denlinger, Sarah Gordon, and Molly Schwartzburg discussed topics relating to representations of women in collections, women as collectors, and women-focused institutions as Nina Musinsky moderated. More than 100 men and women booksellers, librarians, and enthusiasts attended. If you missed it, we have a recording below. Since 2016, we have held networking receptions for women in conjunction with book fairs, and honored Carol Sandberg — a longtime bookseller who has championed women in the trade. This panel is our first foray into programming and we are thrilled to have so many of you here. Please do leave your business cards or add your name to our mailing list so we can keep you informed about events and ideas. We would like to thank and acknowledge the people who have worked on this project: Claudia Strauss-Schulson — the Initiative's chairwoman — Heather O'Donnell, Rebecca Romney, Kim Schwenk, Kait Manning, Cokie Anderson, Susan Hirsch, Laurelle Swan, Joyce Kosofsky, and Mary Gilliam. We would also like to thank Jennifer Johnson and Sunday Steinkirchener for their help in organizing events. We also want to recognize the many people who have shared their stories, put forth ideas, and voiced support publically and privately for this important work. Subscribe below to receive alerts and information ab... [more]

ABAA members provide a few pointers for beginning collectors who might be considering attending an antiquarian book fair for the first time. Members Lorne Bair, Michael Hackenberg, John Schulman, and John Windle provide some advice gleaned from decades of book fair attendance. Ask Questions/Develop Relationships with the Dealers Veteran bookseller John Windle notes that "a good, close, trusting connection to a dealer will yield the best possible results," so book fairs present a valuable opportunity to get to know many dealers, and let them get to know you and your interests as a collector. Lorne Bair agrees, adding that his "number one piece of advice to beginning collectors attending their first book fair is to ask questions! Antiquarian booksellers as a rule get very few opportunities to talk about their books with people who are genuinely interested. Book fairs are the one environment where they can open up, share their experience and expertise, and communicate with members of the public who share an enthusiasm for what they do." John Schulman of Caliban Book Shop notes that "many exhibitors will bring along stacks of fair lists and their latest catalogs. Even if they don't buy anything, visitors should take copies of these and not be afraid to do so. They make great reading and even other dealers can learn a lot from their colleagues." However, don't mistake the museum-quality artefacts with a museum's explicit invitation to stand around and admire all day. The object of... [more]

Pardon the pun, but the 51st California International Antiquarian Book Fair is going to be a monster event! Not only are about 200 rare book dealers from around the world bringing the cream of their respective crops to Pasadena, but it's also the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and there's going to be a huge exhibit to celebrate the classic book. From the organizers: From February 9-11, 2018, Southern California hosts the nation's largest rare book exhibition as thousands of book lovers, booksellers, and scholars converge at the 51st California International Antiquarian Book Fair. The 2018 Book Fair also celebrates the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus with a special exhibit spotlighting holdings from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, Occidental College Library's Ned Guymon Mystery and Detective Fiction Collection, University of California Riverside Library's Eaton Collection of Science Fiction & Fantasy, and Sara Karloff, the daughter of Boris Karloff. Recognized as one of the world's pre-eminent exhibitions of antiquarian books, this eagerly anticipated bi-annual fair gives visitors the opportunity to see, learn about and purchase the finest in rare books, manuscripts, autographs, graphics, photographs and more. Featuring over 200 booksellers from the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA) and International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB), ... [more]

A special exhibit celebrating the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is among the many highlights of the 51st California International Antiquarian Book Fair. The display will include cornerstone works of Gothic literature, including the scarce 1818 first edition of Frankenstein, as well illustrated editions, graphic novels, and film stills from The Bride of Frankenstein and other cinematic interpretations. It will also include a selection of albums with music inspired in whole or in part by Frankenstein's monster. Frankenstein was first set to music in Presumption; or the Fate of Frankenstein (1823), a three-act play by Richard Brinsley Peake (Mary Shelley attended the play in London during its original run). This was followed many years later by Frankenstein, or The Vampire's Victim (1887), a musical burlesque composed by Meyer Lutz and written by Richard Henry. Another 50 years would pass before this classic tale was reanimated with musical accompaniment, first in the creepy title sequence of James Whale's iconic 1931 film adaptation and then in Franz Waxman's lush score for The Bride of Frankenstein (1935). A generation later, Universal Studios released their catalog of classic horror films to television, sparking a monster boom among children coming of age during the late 1950s and early '60s. Several novelty records were targeted at these “Monster Kids,” some of whom would go on to compose Frankenstein songs of their own. Many of underlying themes in Sh... [more]

We asked ABAA members to let us know which items they were particulaly excited about bringing to the upcoming Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair and they responded with a breath-taking selection of truly spectacular association copies, signed books, art, and idiosyncratic ephemera from all corners of the globe. You'll find the items below in the booths of Boston's Hynes Convention Center begining November 10. Leaves From a Mislaid Album Signed, limited edition of Edward Gorey's Leaves From a Mislaid Album, published by Gotham Book Mart in 1972. The publication is a portfolio of prints with no set order in which they should be viewed; images printed for Leaves consist of macabre character portraits which invite the viewer to invent stories based on the attitude and body language of the subject. Offered by Brattle Book Shop. Booth #215 Edgar Allan Poe's Tales of Mystery and Imagination. Illustrated by Arthur Rackham. Edition de luxe, limited to 460 copies, signed by Rackham, printed in London in 1935. Surely the best illustrated edition of Poe's masterpiece ever published. Unusually dark subject matter for Rackham, he confessed to his model Marita Ross “that his pictures were now so horrible that he was beginning to frighten himself!” Offered by John Windle, Bookseller. Booth #413 TWENTY-SIX POEMS, ONE OF TEN COPIES PRINTED ON JAPAN VELLUM, WITH ORIGINAL PEN-AND-INK DRAWINGS BY DYLAN AND CAITLIN THOMAS THOMAS, Dylan. Twenty-Six Poems. 4to, original quarter vellum & ... [more]

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41st Boston Book Fair

By Rich Rennicks

The Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair returns to the Hynes Convention Center for its 41st year, November 10-12, 2017. One of the largest rare book fairs in the country, the 2017 Boston Book Fair will host more than 120 dealers from Argentina, Australia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, and Russia, as well as from all over the United States, including many ABAA members! Special events at this year's Fair include a bookbinding demonstration by British book artist Mark Cockram; Ricky Jay, the world's greatest sleight-of-hand artist discussing Magic, Cheaters & Remarkable Characters; the largest exhibition on American icon Henry David Thoreau ever mounted will be the subject of two talks by curators Christine Nelson (The Morgan Library & Museum) and David Wood (The Concord Museum) — the exhibition, "This Ever New Self," is currently on view at the Concord Museum in Concord MA (through January 21) and was on view at the Morgan this past summer; as well as the 16th annual Ticknor Society Roundtable discussion. Where: Hynes Convention Center 900 Boylston Street Boston, MA When: Friday, November 10 5:00-9:00pm Opening Night Tickets: $20.00 Saturday, November 11 12:00-7:00pm Free Admission Sunday, November 12 12:00-5:00pm Free Admission Highlights! Among the highlighted items for sale at this year's fair will be the David Powers Collection of John F. Kennedy speeches and manuscripts, spanning the statesman's political career from his first race in 1946... [more]

ABAA members will be exhibiting at the upcoming Brooklyn Book Fair in Greenpoint, September 8-10, 2017. Although not sponsored by the ABAA, this is a fast-growing book fair which attracts an eclectic range of active collectors. This year, ABAA associate member Rebecca Romney (you might know her from the History Channel's “Pawn Stars”) will give a talk on “The ABC's of Starting a Rare Book Collection," and will sign copies of her newly published book, Printer's Error: Irreverent Stories from Book History. Some of the highlights ABAA members are bringing** to the fair include: One of the Largest Private Collections of Vintage Luggage Labels Sheryl Jaeger (Eclectibles) will be showcasing labels from the private collection of Jane Goodrich, world traveler and co-founder of Spectrum Publishing. This collection of 3,550 labels, dating from the 1920s to World War II, includes colorful labels from such wonderful old hotels as the Luna House in Venice, the Grand Continental Hotel in Cairo, the Mayfair Hotel in London, and many, many more. “The Black Album” — Powerful and evocative postcard images of Nazi war crimes “The Black Album” is a very rare booklet, published in Tel Aviv by the Anti-Nazi League of Palestine in April, 1940, six months after the Nazi invasion of Poland. Its goal was to make public the already great extent of Nazi crimes in Europe -- particularly in Poland, only a few months after the country's brutal and total conquest. Taken by anonymous individu... [more]

The ABAA co-sponsors the three largest annual antiquarian book fairs in North America, the Boston, California, and New York Antiquarian Book Fairs. Antiquarian book fairs are the high points of the book collector's year, representing an unmissable chance to connect with other collectors and rare book experts from top libraries, universities, and other institutions, expand your knowledge of both your chosen areas of interest and rare books in general, as well as an opportunity to get to know the booksellers personally, and insure they know your interests and what items are top of your wish list! Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair November 10-12, 2017 Boston, MA In November, the first fair of the season takes place in Boston, MA. Dealers from all over the world will rendezvous at the Hynes Convention Center for three days to display the best the rare book market has to offer. From early manuscripts and rare print ephemera to association copies inscribed by famous modern authors, the Boston exhibitors will have something for every taste and pocket book. More details about exhibits, lectures, and discovery day will be announced closer to the date. Bookmark http://bostonbookfair.com/ for future reference. California International Antiquarian Book Fair February 9-11, 2018 Pasadena, CA Recognized as one of the world's largest and most prestigious exhibitions of antiquarian books, the California International Antiquarian Book Fair is co-sponsored by the ABAA and the Internati... [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 Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. Booth C22 Part I: 54 Items on Display at the 2017 New York Antiquarian Book Fair Part II: 54 Items on Display at the 2017 New YorkAntiquarian Book Fair Part III: Pamphlets and Ephemera on Display at the 2017 New York Antiquarian Book Fair, 50 Items Liber Antiquus Booth A10 Lux Mentis Booksellers Booth E5 Jeffrey D. Mancevice Booth C12 Bruce McKittrick Rare Books Booth A20 Musinsky Rare Books Booth D4 B&L Rootenberg Rare Books & Manuscripts Booth B19 Sanctuary Books Booth B3 Abby Schoolman Books Booth A36 Triolet Rare Books Booth D30 For more details about the 2017 New York Antiquarian Bok Fair visit www.nyantiquarianbookf... [more]