Bookselling

On February 8th, at the Book Fair Exhibitor Reception in Pasadena, the ABAA Women's Initiative sponsored the first in a series of tributes to women booksellers who have left a lasting impression on the American trade. Our first honoree was Carol Sandberg, an accomplished career bookseller whose contributions extend beyond the great businesses she helped to build. Carol started bookselling in 1974, when Ken Karmiole hired her fresh out of UCLA library school to join Ben and Lou Weinstein at Heritage Book Shop. In 1985, Carol went into partnership with Michael and Kathleen Thompson at Michael R. Thompson Rare Books, working for more than three decades to make that firm a mainstay of the trade in Los Angeles. At the Pasadena event, Carol's longtime friend and colleague John Windle toasted her as “one of the finest individuals our trade has ever employed,” and shared Chris Loker's tribute to Carol as “a quiet powerhouse in our trade, and a jewel in our crown . . . with the warmest heart and kindest way I know.” Carol's long-standing commitment to California Rare Book School and the Southern California Chapter, organizing events from small seminars to international book fairs, helped create a vibrant community of booksellers and collectors on the West Coast. To her junior colleagues, she has been a generous and inspiring role model. One of those booksellers, Chris Lowenstein, contributed the following memory, read at the reception by ABAA Executive Director Susan Benne: ... [more]

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Books of the Week

By Rich Rennicks

What caught the eye while exploring the website and perusing new catalogs this week? Why these colorful items... Group of 19th Century Cuban Cigarette Labels This set of slightly risqué 19th-century cigarette cards from Cuba caught the eye. What a perfect gift for the collector of print ephemera or advertising gimmicks! From the description: Description: “Complete series of twelve chromolithograph "Marquillas de Tabaco" labels from the Para Usted Gran Manufactura de Cigarros de Eduardo Guillo, each showing a "mentira de hermosura", or a trick of beauty women use to disguise their age or less attractive feature, with a surprised man viewing each deception through a spyglass.… Each label approx. 10.5 by 14 cm. Loose as issued, housed in photograph album pages. Havana (Eduardo Guillo) n.d. (circa 1865). It was in the early 1860s that tobacco factories in Havana began to package cigarettes with illustrated labels called "marquillas de tabaco" or "marquillas cigarreras". For the tobacco companies, the newly-available chromolithography techniques provided an attractive and cost-effective way to package and advertise their products in an increasingly competitive market. Approximately 20 to 25 cigarettes were packaged together in rolls, each wrapped in one of these labels. The labels were often eye-catching combinations of text and bright colors, many incorporating humor and whimsy.” Offered by F.A. Bernett Books. The Souls of Black Folk: Essays and Sketches Du Bois, W.E. Burg... [more]

We first learned that Jack Hanrahan died from his friends Rusty and Veta Mott, who wrote to us, "It is with sadness that we yet again pass along the news of the death of a wonderful friend and colleague. Jack Hanrahan, of Wells, Maine, died at 7:30 last night, age 85. Jack, a long time member of ABAA, was a man who contributed to the world not only as an antiquarian bookseller, but as a Milton scholar, a professor at the University of New Hampshire, and as restaurateur in Brussels and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He was a scholar, a bon vivant, and a delightful companion. Our sympathies and best wishes go out to Joyce, his wife and friend." The entire ABAA echoes the words of the Motts. Jack was a very New-England bookseller, slightly crusty but full of humor and a genuine raconteur. He started selling books soon after getting out of the Navy in 1954, and had a shop in Portsmouth, NH and also a by-appointment business in Short Hills, NJ (at one point, he and Joyce attempted to open a "fancy restaurant" in Portsmouth, but this was not successful). The two of them moved around quite a bit, spending a number of years in Brussels, Belgium, Pittsburgh, and finally back to the North East. In Brussels, Jack would buy bindings for $2, send them back to the States for $1 postage, and sell them for $6. In time, he began to specialize in early American imprints. In the old days, he says in his interview with Mike Ginsberg, people didn't pay much attention to that kind of material. He reme... [more]

Belle da Costa Greene Scholarship With the goal of actively working to achieve a more diverse and inclusive community of booksellers and librarians, thanks to the generosity of Lisa Unger Baskin, The Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminars (CABS) is pleased to offer a 2017 scholarship for $2,000 to cover the cost of tuition, room and board ($1,646) with the additional $354 intended for travel or incidental expenses. The scholarship is intended for a bookseller or a librarian from an historically underrepresented community. We encourage applications from booksellers and librarians from the African American, Latino/a/x, Asian American/Pacific Islander, LGBTQ+, working class, persons with disabilities, or other self-identified communities of booksellers or librarians who might benefit from this scholarship. Applicants should submit a short 1- or 2-page essay on why they want to attend CABS. They should include in the statement a brief personal and professional history, and something about their relationship to books and the book trade. We also ask for a CV and one letter of support from a member of the book trade, a professional librarian, or another member of the antiquarian book world. This scholarship is named for Belle da Costa Greene, the African-American librarian, bibliographer, and director of the Morgan Library. The deadline to submit your application is May 1, 2017. We will notify the winner by or before May 15, 2017. Submit your application by mail or by email to Garrett S... [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]

Bookseller Ed Smith (Ed Smith Books) interviewed Kurt Brokaw, a professor and film critic, who likes to moonlight as a rare bookseller (specializing in noir paperback originals) on the streets of Manhattan. I got to know Kurt Brokaw through a mutual friend. When I was in Manhattan for a movie memorabilia auction at Bonham's that I'd partly consigned, I stopped at his weekend table of 1940s paperbacks and earlier pulp magazines. He often sets up outside Zabars at 80th & Broadway, or further down Broadway in Lincoln Center. He's the only bookman doing high end vintage paper on the street that I've ever met, and he explains an actual New York City book law from the 1890s that gives him the legal right to vend written matter on NYC sidewalks without a license. This 6-minute spontaneous and unrehearsed interview should be of interest to collectors. (Photo by Lynda Bullock/Flickr via cc license) [more]

The fourth installment of Kaitlin Manning's series on taking better pictures of rare books and ephemera. No matter what kind of camera you use, there are a few basic practices you can apply before you start shooting to improve the look and quality of your images (and to avoid fixing time consuming mistakes later on). While it is true that editing programs like Lightroom, Photoshop, and Gimp can work wonders and correct a myriad of errors, you will want to spend as little time as possible in these programs, especially if you are dealing with hundreds of photos at a time. Starting with good quality images from the beginning will eliminate the need for major edits -- and this begins before you even click the shutter. Make sure you have enough light. I've covered the basics of putting together a home studio in a previous post, but let me reiterate the need for good, diffuse light now. If your photos continuously look dull or underexposed, consider adding more light to the scene, but always make sure that it is properly diffused (i.e. there needs to be something translucent between the light and the object). Bare bulbs look harsh, create shadows, increase glare, and can either wash out or obscure details. Invest in a tripod. This was also mentioned briefly in a previous post, but let me elaborate a bit here: if you don't have the steadiest of hands and/or you routinely shoot manually in low speeds (generally less than 1/60 of a second) a tripod is a must. Camera shake can make you... [more]

Private company in Westport, Connecticut seeks a researcher with exceptional organizational skills for small, friendly, fast-paced office that specializes in historical documents, books, and artifacts. Auction expertise a plus. Must be able to work quickly and accurately in cooperation with other staff members in a variety of roles. Excellent written and verbal communication skills a must. Responsibilities include research of new acquisitions for database and website, coordination of in-house auctions, representation at prestigious shows and exhibitions. Proficiency in computer databases, internet, and social media skills are necessary. Bachelor's degree plus three years' experience. Salary range: $40,000-$60,000 yearly. Please send resume to: Loraine@universityarchives.com. [more]

Bolerium Books look at Cuba, in Revolution & in Exile... Bromer Booksellers publish Catalog 144. James Cummins Booksellers unveil their latest acquisitions in Catalogue 131... Honey & Wax Booksellers present their first Micro Catalog: Illustrated Classics... From Joseph J. Felcone, Inc., a short list of Americana before 1861: 133 books and pamphlets, and a few manuscripts and graphics, 1695-1860. Fashion is the focus of the new catalog from Joslin Hall Rare Books. New catalogs from The Lawbook Exchange include: New Acquisitions, Week of April 12, 2016 Little Sages Books present their latest micro-cat, New York, Etcetera... The latest elist from Ken Lopez Books can be found here... J. & J. Lubrano Music Antiquarians present Catalogue 77: CHAMBER MUSIC Part II: H-P... The Philadelphia Rare Books & Manuscripts Co. unleash a broadside of new catalogs: Humor India Newest Arrivals, Part 1... Newest Arrivals, Part 2... Philosophy Theater/Theatre Quill & Brush launch a Short E-List of New Arrivals... Richard C. Ramer, Old & Rare Books presents Special List 232... Special List 234: Medicine, Part 1... Rulon-Miller Books announce a Short List of Recent Acquisitions... Schulson Autographs list Catalog 170. Tavistock Books is pleased to announce its first fully illustrated catalogue of 2016, March Miscellany... John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller reveals the first in a new series of short lists... Yesterday's Muse offers April 2016 Monthly Miscellany -- includes: a review of the first fre... [more]

The third installment of Kaitlin Manning's series on taking better pictures of rare books and ephemera. After buying a camera, learning how to use it, and setting up your home studio, the natural next step is to actually start taking photos, right? Ah, would that it were! One very important and often overlooked step for those new to digital photography is to consider how you will process and store your images, otherwise known as creating a “workflow.” This is a crucial step. Your workflow will encompass the entire lifecycle of your images, from calibrating your camera to archiving your files, and therefore must be considered carefully. You will want to commit your workflow to paper, listing out each step of your process so that you can refer back to it, maintain consistency, and ensure fast and easy image retrieval later on. Ideally, you would carefully plan out your workflow before you even take your first image; in reality, you probably already have a bunch of images on your computer organized in a (more or less) logical way, but which probably do not follow a rigid set of rules. For the moment, don't worry about the images that you already have – focus on a fresh start. Later on, once you have a solid system in place and as time allows, you may want to consider updating your old files to match your new, gloriously organized ones. Below is a very brief overview of the basic questions you must consider for a robust and efficient workflow. This is by no means an exhaust... [more]