Bookseller News

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Walker Evans Collection

By Rich Rennicks

Members De Wolfe and Wood and Michael Brown Rare Books were featured in the NYT Lens Blog today for their collection of 46 Walker Evans photographs taken in 1933 Havana and safeguarded for years by Ernest Hemingway. The circumstances of Evans' trip and the prints' survival is quite a story, and the pictures are excellent examples of Evans' work. View the catalog... Read the NYT Lens Blog... Girl at Havana Window, 1933 [more]

Members Nick Aretakis and Ben Kinmont have announced a limited edition book on the late Bernard M. Rosenthal, former-President of the ABAA and one of the most-esteemed scholar-booksellers of the twentieth century. From Ben Kinmont: Bernard M. Rosenthal by Ian Jackson Berkeley: The Wednesday Table, 2017 17.75 inches x 11.5 inches. Photographic reproduction frontispiece, title page printed in red and black ink. 2 p.l., 11, pp. Hand-stitched in printed dark-grey wrappers. $60. We are pleased to announce the publication of Bernard M. Rosenthal, a memorial to one of the most esteemed scholar-booksellers of the twentieth century and essential reading for anyone interested in the history of antiquarian books and manuscripts. Bernard Rosenthal (1920–2017) is best known for having been one of the world's leading specialists in medieval manuscripts and incunabula — and as the bookseller who made annotated books interesting and significant. His unpublished Catalogue 34 became Yale's catalogue of The Rosenthal Collection of Printed Books with Manuscript Annotations (1997). As a work of scholarship, it led the way towards a fresh evaluation of the role of the reader in the afterlife of a book. It was also a testimony to Barney's sheer brilliance as a book dealer, and his triumph over adversity in a costly field, for his pockets were never deep. The Berkeley bookseller Ian Jackson was a close friend of Barney's and wrote his obituary for The San Francisco Chronicle. At the request of T... [more]

The controversial “California Autograph Law” has been amended by an ABAA-sponsored bill, AB 228, which was signed into law by the Governor of California last week and is now in effect. Many ABAA members were involved in the effort to pass a bill to address the unforeseen consequences of the previous law, among them Brad and Jen Johnson, Marc Kuritz, Laurelle Swan, and Vic Zoschak. It is the tireless efforts of these booksellers and constituents in the state of California, the ABAA staff, a coalition of sister organizations and other supporters (including The Independent Online Booksellers Association (IOBA), The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Barnes & Noble, The Manuscript Society, The Ephemera Society, The Grolier Club, ILAB, The Professional Autograph Dealers Association, Horror Writers Association, Biblio, and The Easton Press), and the ABAA legal and lobbying team, that persuaded legislators of the need to pass AB 228. The ABAA especially wants to thank California Assembly Member Todd Gloria for his work in carrying AB 228. The main affects of this new law are: 1. All books, manuscripts, and correspondence, as well as any ephemera not related to sports or entertainment media, are now categorically excluded from the regulation of “Autographed collectibles” under California's autograph law. 2. Antiquarian booksellers who deal in the kind of autographed collectibles in the state of California that still fall under the law may now provide an “Express Warranty” gua... [more]

“Grab Every Book That Grabs Back”: Notes from the 2017 Honey & Wax Book Collecting Prize This summer at Honey & Wax, we asked young women across the United States to tell us what books they were collecting. Their answers kept us talking well into September. We were so impressed with the submissions to our first book collecting prize that we granted awards to six women collectors under the age of thirty this fall: one $1000 prize winner and five honorable mentions of $200, all recently profiled in The Paris Review. When we announced our inaugural contest, we fielded questions from two groups: women older than thirty and men, both wondering why they were not eligible. While we wholeheartedly encourage collecting by everyone, all the time, we targeted this particular contest with intention. These were our thoughts. We capped the age of contestants at thirty because our goal was to encourage young collectors. No young collector, no matter how creative and motivated, is likely to assemble a collection that compares to one built over three or four decades. We could guess the age of our contestants with considerable accuracy from their essays alone: not from the quality of the writing, but from the depth and focus of the collections, which invariably improve over time. Even five years is a great advantage. It came as no surprise that five of our final six contestants were 27 or older, at the high end of the range. We limited the prize to women because we've observed that the wom... [more]

You've no doubt heard the great news that Assembly Bill 228 has been introduced by California State Assembly Members Gloria and Chiu. If passed, this bill will provide significant relief from the most troubling and onerous provisions of AB 1570, California's new autograph law. The ABAA, IOBA, PBA Galleries, and The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, The Manuscript Society, The Ephemera Society, The Professional Autograph Dealers Association, Horror Writers Association, The Grolier Club, Biblio and The Easton Press have formally expressed support for this pending legislation in the linked letters. The legislative process is long and complicated. Bills pass through policy committees in each house of the legislature and the process takes many months. What this bill needs to help ensure that it becomes law is your support. We encourage members and interested parties to write a letter of support for AB 228 addressed to the bill's primary author: Assemblymember Todd Gloria P.O. Box 942849 Sacramento, CA 94249-0078 You can also add your name and comments to the change.org petition. We'll keep you updated on progress here. [more]

Bernard M. Rosenthal was born in 1920 in Munich. Most of his immediate family left Munich for Florence in 1933, left Italy for France in 1938, and arrived in the US in 1939, each move in response to the problem of being Jewish. Both sides of his family, the Rosenthals and on his mother's side, the Olschkis of Italy, were heavily involved in the book trade going back generations as antiquarians, printers, publishers and authors. An extensive interview with Rosenthal was conducted by Dan Slive (head of Special Collections of the Bridwell Library at SMU) and appeared in the RBM Journal in 2003; in it, Rosenthal gives a fulsome account of his early days in the trade, starting in 1949 as an apprentice bookseller in Zurich under a bibliographical “tyrant,” Herr Frauendorfer, then later under the tutelage of Arthur Swann at Parke-Bernet, and finally starting off on his own in 1953, at 71st and Madison in Manhattan as a seller of scholarly and bibliographical works. In 1970 he moved his firm to San Francisco and remained in Northern California the rest of his life. His specialties included early printed and manuscript books, the history of scholarship and bibliography, and paleography. He joined the ABAA in 1955, served as its president from 1968-70, and was a generous guide, resource and mentor to many of the ABAA's current members. One of Rosenthal's greatest contributions was his catalogue of a collection of early printed books bearing extensive contemporary manuscript annotat... [more]

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New Members: Fall 2016

By Rich Rennicks

The ABAA has recently approved several new members, all of whom have successfully proven themselves to be, in the words of the ABAA Guarantee, "established, knowledgeable, and of excellent reputation." These new members were sponsored by existing members, and have undergone a rigorous screening process. We welcome the newest members of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America. Full Members: Kim Herrick, The Book Lair Kim Herrick got her start in the book trade by buying a large collection from an estate sale and then going to the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar to figure out what to do with it. Luckily, this turned into a passion for a new career and Kim went on to attend the Rare Book School several times and many trade shows with her new business, The Book Lair. A graduate of UC Berkeley, Kim has kept her roots in the Bay Area by joining the Book Club of California and regularly attending events there. One of her specialties is miniature books and she is a member of the Miniature Book Society. Andrew Langer, Andrew Langer Bookseller Andrew Langer came to bookselling in a roundabout way, in large part as a consequence of moving into a nearly 100-year-old house in 1996. Efforts at restoration led to an increased interest in the old ways and to a need for parts sourced from the local community. Books and ephemera came home with the fixtures, and the infant online auction market demonstrated an audience for the uncommon. A decade later, Mr. Langer began to sell eph... [more]

Denver has its very own "Booksellers' Row" after the relocation of two ABAA members, Anderson Butler Rare Books and Gallagher Books. Anderson Butler Rare Books has opened and Gallagher Books has re-opened after moving seven doors South of their previous location. Anderson Butler Rare Books relocated to Denver from Seattle a year ago and have just rented the storefront at 1460 South Broadway. Mark Anderson has been in the antiquarian book business since 2001. Mark's wife, Nora Butler Anderson, joined him in the business in 2008. The original store opened on the second-floor of a Seattle building in 2010. Now in its new street-level incarnation on Antique Row, Anderson Butler Rare Books specializes in antiquarian, collectible and eclectic books, manuscripts, art and ephemera across many fields including Americana, Literature, Travel and Philosophy. They are especially interested in books relating to the Culture of Time: Almanacs and Calendars, Astrology and Divination, and Horology. Anderson Butler Rare Books, 1460 South Broadway, Denver. Inside Anderson Butler Rare Books. Gallagher Books was started by Don and Sue Gallagher in 1994 in the Antique Guild that used to be at the corner of Louisiana and Broadway. After 12 years in that location, the Guild was redeveloped and Gallaghers moved to the 1400 block of the row where they had a shop for 10 years. Now they are in the new location just two doors from Anderson Butler. Don died in the spring of 2015 and Sue has continued the b... [more]

ABAA member Kenneth Karmiole has donated $100,000 to the Book Club of California to endow an annual lecture series entitled “The Kenneth Karmiole Endowed Lecture on the History of the Book Trade in California and the West.” The lecture series will focus on the book trade — printing, publishing, and bookselling — over the past two centuries. Planning for the inaugural lecture (tentatively planned for the final quarter of 2017) is under way, and details will be announced next year. Kenneth Karmiole is a philantrophist and antiquaraian bookseller. He has been a member of the Book Club of California since 1976 and is currently serving on its board of directors. The Book Club of California said, “Mr. Karmiole's leadership and vision are inspiring. His initiative, and in particular his generous endowment — the first of its kind for this institution — will significantly bolster the Book Club of California's ongoing efforts to engage high-profile speakers and scholars whose research and writing enlarge our understanding of the history of the book and book culture in the West.” --- Kenneth Karmiole talked with the ABAA about his bookselling career in 2014: Image of Kenneth Karmiole credit: Joanie Harmon - UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies [more]

Former president of the ABAA Robert D. Fleck died yesterday. Fleck founded Oak Knoll Books in 1976, and Oak Knoll Press two years later. The publishing operation was intended to fill a need he saw for books about book collecting, design, and bibliography. Fleck was extremely well-known and respected throughout the international antiquarian community, serving as president of both the ABAA and the ILAB during his long career. Just last year, he was awarded the ILAB Medal “in recognition of services rendered to the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers.” His son, Rob Fleck, posted this announcement on the Oak Knoll Books website: It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of my father, Robert D. Fleck, Jr., proprietor of Oak Knoll Books & Press. He was our helmsman – our captain – our leader in this world of books-about-books. Having founded Oak Knoll Books in 1976, Dad's legacy is anything but short, and heavily decorated with awards, honors, and leadership positions. His love for his family & friends, local history, and (of course) books was unsurpassed. His determination and poise under pressure, no matter how severe, was something that we should all aspire to. He was an important man in the field of bookselling, but I'll always know him as the loving father that he always was. Books were his life, and his life was books. He will be greatly missed. Love you Dad, Rob Fleck Memorial Service A memorial service will be held Tuesday, September 27, 2016... [more]