Bookseller News

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History was founded in 1994 by Richard Gilder and Lewis E. Lehrman, lifelong supporters of American history education, with a goal of becoming the leading American nonprofit organization dedicated to K–12 history education. The Institute's mission is nothing less than to promote the knowledge and understanding of American history through educational programs and resources, which it does through creating curriculums for schools to use when teaching different periods of American history. At the Institute's core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives of American history. Drawing on the 65,000+ documents in the Gilder Lehrman Collection and an extensive network of eminent historians, the Institute provides teachers, students, and the general public with direct access to unique primary source materials. Over the last two years, the institute has gained some fame for its partnership with the musical Hamilton, creating the Hamilton Education Program (“EduHam”) with support from the Rockefeller Foundation to bring economically disadvantaged students to see the musical and integrate the lyrics and performances into a study guide exploring the Revolutionary War and Founding Fathers. The program has been extended to Chicago, where Hamilton is also playing, and is being extended to other cities as the traveling Hamilton show moves around the country. The core of the Foundation is the 65,000+ items in the Gilder Lehrman C... [more]

This morning, the ABAA leadership learned that Greg Priore, former Carnegie Library Archivist, and former ABAA member John Schulman of Caliban Books, have been charged with theft from the library. This is a truly regrettable situation for the larger book community, and one in which the Association shares the public's dismay that such a theft took place. At this point in time, to comment further would be premature, as we support the legal process currently being pursued and will await its outcome. During this period we will continue to closely monitor the developments concerning this serious matter. Sincerely, Vic Zoschak President, ABAA [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]

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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]