Bookseller News

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Rare Book News

By Rich Rennicks

The 2018 New York International Antiquarian Book Fair is behind us, and the reviews have been very positive. Several magazines ran previews focusing on dealer's highlights in the weeks before the fair, and many carried enthusiastic reports after the fact. Here are a few highlights of the media coverage for the fair: The Paris Review focused on some "unexpected highlights" from the fair... (But, if they didn't expect to find rare books at the fair, just what were they expecting?) ABAA-member Jonathan A. Hill was interviewed by Bloomberg (audio)... Barron's (naturally) focused on the most-expensive item exhibited at the fair: "Rare Book By Astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus Being Sold for $2M" Atlas Obscura covered the other end of the spectrum, interviewing ABAA-member Sunday Steinkirchner (B&B Rare Books) about appraising books during "Discovery Day": "How a Rare Book Appraiser Passes Judgment in 30 Seconds or Less" Hyperallergic: Culinary Delights and Other Fine Finds at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair New York was not the only place that rare books were in the news, on the West Coast, the recent California International Antiquarian Book Fair and the ILAB Congress have also been making headlines. "Looking back at the 43rd ILAB Congress" Fine Books & Collections: "Frankstein Fanfare at the CA Antiquarian Book Fair" Video: Antiquariat Botanicum at the California International Antiquarian Book Fair Not all the recent news of rare books was good, however, with news brea... [more]

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Meet the Class of 2017

By Rich Rennicks

Meet the newest members and associate members of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America. These booksellers have proven that they are well-established, knowledgeable, and of excellent reputation within the trade, have been sponsored by current members, and have undergone a rigorous screening process. Full Members William B. Allison, William Allison Books (Houston, TX) Books have been one of Bill Allison's primary avocations since the mid-1980s, when he started collecting the Texas author J. Frank Dobie. But like the rancher who was only interested in his land and the land that touched his land, books on ranching, the West & related topics soon followed. Five years ago, he made the transition from book collector to book dealer, specializing in Texas and the West. He exhibits at a number of shows in Texas and occasionally issues catalogs or lists. William spends much of the summer we are on Cape Cod where his wife's family has lived since the 1940s. His background includes degrees from Rice University and the University of Texas. Before books, he worked as an environmental lawyer. Bill and his wife have three daughters and live with two highly opinionated cats in Houston, TX. Timothy Boyle, Vintage Books and Fine Art (Easton, MD) Tim Boyle is the proprietor of Vintage Books and Fine Art in Easton, Md., a small, open shop which specializes in books, maps, historic newspapers, and other ephemera of a scholarly or historic nature. A journalism graduate of Towson Univer... [more]

Longtime ABAA-member William Dailey died suddenly last month. His former wife and business partner Victoria Dailey has written an obituary, and his friends and colleagues John Windle and Stephen Gertz supplied touching memorials for him online, which we reprint with premission below: Obituary: I first met Bill in 1972 when he manned the front desk at Zetilin & Ver Brugge. I was early for an appointment nearby, and stepped into Jake's “Red Barn” for a quick browse. I never got around to browsing. Instead, Bill and I struck up a conversation and discovered we shared many interests, so I wasn't surprised when a few days later he called and asked me out. (He had asked me to leave my name and number for the “mailing list.”) We started dating, and when the position of gallery assistant at Jake's became open, I applied and got the job. When Bill left Jake's employ a few years later, Jake inscribed a book, a parting gift to Bill, thus: “Smooth sailing on the high seas of books.” Unknown to Jake, the metaphor was apt: Bill had spent many youthful summers sailing with his parents and sister up and down the eastern seaboard—he was an experienced windjammer, more than ready to tackle the oceans of books he would encounter. Bill and I decided that not only did we want to buy, sell and collect books, we also wanted to print them, and so we began the Press of the Pegacycle Lady in 1972, ultimately publishing twenty-five titles. We married at the end of 1973, began dealing priv... [more]

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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]

Inaugural Kenneth Karmiole Endowed Lecture on the History of the Book Trade in California and the West Anton Roman: San Francisco's Pioneering Bookseller & Publisher by John Crichton, proprietor of the Brick Row Book Shop in San Francisco and twice past president of the Book Club of California. Monday, October 30, 2017, 6pm Please RSVP to The Kenneth Karmiole Endowed Lecture on the History of the Book Trade in California and the West was created in 2016 to focus on the book trade — printing, publishing, and bookselling — over the past two centuries. 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.” For more information please see the Book Club of California. [more]

We mourn the passing of Ed Glaser, who died on July 31, 2017 at 88 years old. He was universally cherished for his humor, wisdom, ethics and generosity, and he was part of the book trade and its culture until his dying days. Ed started out in business in the mid 1960s, quoting books found in thrift shops to want lists in AB-Bookman's Weekly. By 1969 he had quit his full time job and opened up a large used bookstore in New Rochelle, NY. In 1970 he joined the ABAA. After some time as a shop owner — as he relates in his video interview with Mike Ginsberg — he got bored with that aspect of the business, and fortuitously, a world class collection of science, medicine and psychiatry was offered to him. After buying the collection and spending some time researching it, he realized he had a "bonanza," and set about issuing a catalog, which was "well received because of the quality of the material." He closed his shop and began to specialize in the history of science and medicine. In 1979, with changing circumstances in his personal life, he moved to Sausalito, CA, and was immediately accepted with warm graciousness and friendship into the community of west coast antiquarians. He continued to live in Northern California the rest of his life, eventually moving to Napa. He was one of the founders of the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar, the first such annual seminar devoted to arranging colloquia, seminars, classes, lectures, etc., that enabled booksellers and librarians to learn f... [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 Books of Wonder as the inspiration for Meg Ryan's bookstore in the film You've Got Mail -- even to the point of having set designers measure the real store's fixtures and fittings to ensure accurate recreation on set. Unlike Meg Ryan's fictional store, Books of Wonder weathered the superstore explosion and arrival of the internet, and this year celebrates 37 years in business! Designer's mock-up of the new Books of Wonder storefront on West 84th Street. [more]