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Rare Book News

By Rich Rennicks

A quick roundup of the news about rare books and collectors from around the world. (Regularly updated, with the latest news items added at the top.) Minnesota Collectors Scour for Rare Books Minneapolis' StarTribune recently interviewed local book dealers and collectors about the rare-book world, including ABAA-member Rob Rulon-Miller: "Rob Rulon-Miller is a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America and sells books out of his home in St. Paul. Here, almost every wall has disappeared behind shelves filled with books available for sale." (Read more...) A Glimpse Into the Irish Rare-Book World Will de Burca of De Burca Rare Books (Blackrock, Ireland) recent gave the Irish Times a glimpse into the Irish rare-book world, collecting James Joyce, and the impact of social media for the rare-book trade. (Read on...) Featured item: Dubliners by James Joyce New York: B. W. Huebsch, 1916. First Edition. Very Good. First American edition, first printing, utilizing English sheets. Publisher's blue-green cloth stamped in green; one of 504 sets of sheets, which were imported by Huebsch from the British publisher Grant Richards. Title page is a cancel printed on laid paper with "Utopian" watermark. Very Good. Cloth faded at spine, darkened at gutters, lightly bruised at spine ends. Previous owner bookplate to front paste down. Pages toned; prelims and terminals lightly foxed. Lacking the scarce dust jacket. Offered by Burnside Rare Books. Rare Book and Manuscript Library e... [more]

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Books of the Week

By Rich Rennicks

Our members list new acquisitions and recently catalogued items almost every day of the year. Below, you'll find a few highlights from these recent additions... The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring; The Two Towers; The Return of the King (3 Volumes) by J.R.R. Tolkien London: George Allen & Unwin. First Edition, Later Printings. Near Fine/Near Fine. 1965, 1965, 1963. Three Volumes. First Edition; 14th, 11th and 10th printings. Near Fine in Near Fine dust jackets, un-clipped and with corresponding statements of impression; maps at rear intact. Two tape ghosts and light offsetting at each endsheet. Dust jacket with light shelf wear and faint sunning to spines. Books and jackets are surprisingly fresh and well preserved. A very striking and early set of Tolkien's classic saga, rarely seen in such nice condition. Offered by Burnside Rare Books. Mapping the Transmississippi West, 1540-1861 Mapping the Transmississippi West, 1540-1861: An Index to the Cartobibliography by WHEAT, CARL I.; SEAVEY, CHARLES A. (INDEX) San Francisco: The Institute of Historical Cartography , 1963. Limited Edition. Hardcover. Fine/near fine. One of 1000 copies, five volumes in six (complete), with original dust jackets, folio size, 1938 total pp., plus separate Index volume, with announcement/prospectus to Volume One and prospectus to Volume Two. Carl Irving Wheat (1892-1966), in addition to authoring an important bibliography on the works of the California Gold Rush as well as several other ... [more]

Browse the latest catalogs, newsletters, and e-lists of rare books, fine bindings, incunabula, print ephemera, and much more from the members of the ABAA below. (Also includes podcasts, blogs posts, and other digital formats.) *New* indicates any catalogs added this week. AARDVARK BOOKS/EZRA THE BOOKFINDER Recent Acquisitions CHARLES AGVENT Walt Whitman Spring Miscellany -- Early Baseball, Travel, Botany, Signed Books, Hand-colored Plates, etc. ANDERSON BUTLER RARE BOOKS E-list #13: Miscellany E-list #12: Publishers' Prospectuses, Ephemera, More... ANTIPODEAN BOOKS, MAPS, PRINTS Cook's Last Voyage ~ the Artistic Vision in John Webber's Prints Australia in Maps: 1540-1898 NICK ARETAKIS Reference Books from the Collection of Ian Jackson (Part 2) October New Acquisitions ARTISAN BOOKS & BINDERY New Acquisitions: May 2017 Holiday Catalog 2016 ATHENA RARE BOOKS New York Book Fair 2019: The History of Ideas California Antiquarian Book Fair 2019 AUGER DOWN BOOKS Catalog 1: Graphic, Archival, and Printed Americana BACK OF BEYOND BOOKS Recent Acquisitions *New* Western Americana Acquisitions LORNE BAIR RARE BOOKS Catalog 31 *New* E-list #34: New Arrivals Featured item: Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God: A Novel. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1937. First Edition. First Printing. Octavo (21cm); orange cloth, with titling and decorative elements stamped in black on spine and front cover; black topstain; dustjacket; ,9-286,pp. Faint spotting to topstain, base of sp... [more]

One phrase you might hear at a rare-book fair is mapbacks. No, that's not some sort of tattoo favored by rare map dealers; a "mapback" is the informal name for a series of pulp paperback books published by Dell between 1943 and 1950. Initially, the back cover of these books featured bland art, but starting with the fifth book in the series, Four Frightened Women by George Harmon Coxe, Dell added an illustration showing the locale where the book's events took place. (Note: the previous book in the series, The American Gun Mystery by Ellery Queen, was later reprinted with a map on the back cover, but it was the fifth book in the series that was the first to feature a map.) The “maps” were not all conventional maps by any means, with cut-away illustrations of buildings being a frequent option the various artists used when the action was largely confined to one house or building. Dell paperbacks were distinguished airbrushed art and a distinctive Keyhole collophon with an eye peering through, a nod to the lurid mysteries they mainly published in the paperback line — although they soon began to add thrillers, romance, western titles, even historical novels and nonfiction as the series grew in popularity. The keyhole logo soon accreted a number of variations to denote genre, and (according to Piet Schreuders in The Book of Paperbacks) in 1949 it ceased to be used on the rear of mapbacks). Curtains for the Copper by Thomas Polsky New York: Dell Publishing Company. First editio... [more]

ABAA-member Claudia Strauss-Schulson, her son Todd and daughter Caren, have written a book -- Scrawl: An A to Z of Famous Doodles -- based on the extensive collection of illustrated letters and sketches built by the late David Schulson, founder of David Schulson Autographs, Ltd. (now Schulson Autographs). We asked the three Strauss-Schulsons to tell us about the book and the collection on which it draws. ABAA: How did this collection come about? Claudia Strauss-Schulson: The collection began with the intent to combine art with history. The collection built out from illustrated letters to include drawings of all sorts from the full range of human endeavor. The criteria for selecting a letter or drawing for the collection had to do with adding diversity and curiosity as the collection grew. ABAA: How large is it? Claudia: Larger than the number of pieces in Scrawl. ABAA: You must come across doodles and marginalia all the time in your area of specialty. What gave you the idea to turn the collection into a book? Todd Strauss-Schulson: In the months after Dad died, Caren and I had the idea of turning the private collection into an art book. Dad loved this material, and we grew up with it. The exciting part was not to do another historical book of letters, not academic or stuffy. We wanted to do an art book that contextualized this material as art objects, as we had learned from him. Caren Strauss-Schulson: Our dad was the perfect balance of serious and playful, and Rizzoli comple... [more]

A copy of The Maltese Falcon was reported stolen from Rhode Island. We were provided with the following details on this particular copy: Inscribed on the upper right-hand corner of the first page was "R Stackpole” and written just below was "to Carol” The book had no stains, no rips, no other writing, no fringe tears, and was wrapped in white tissue paper. Regarding the wrapping: #1) the colorful book-cover lightly enclosed in airy white tissue paper in its own box-the lid was exteriorly taped shut on all for corners and # 2) the book itself was loosely wrapped in white tissue paper and placed in its own airy lidded box; which was taped the same way. Both containers had written on the exterior tops, "VERY VALUABLE BOOK DO NOT OPEN" and underlined. If you have any information on this item, please contact Carol Cummings at (401) 846-2126 or her attorney Gordon Cleary at (401) 523-7726. [more]

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Horatio Alger, Jr.

By Rich Rennicks

In his day, Horatio Alger, Jr. (1832-1899) was one of the most-famous authors in America. While his books have largely fallen out of print today, everyone is familiar with his main idea, because Horatio Alger, Jr. popularized the “pulling oneself up by the bootstraps” ideal that permeates so much of American life. It's not too much of a stretch to say that Alger gave America its great national myth, that hard work (and clean living) can allow anyone to achieve success — although people often seem to overlook the amount of sheer luck that comes into play in his fiction. A more-jaundiced reading of Alger's oeuvre would assert that success for Alger was usually defined as social advancement or preferment, and it was usually achieved by finding a wealthy patron through performing a selfless deed or some service (returning a lost wallet or proving ones virtue in some way). Of course, the only individuals who could achieve this social advancement were white males, and the agent of this change was invariably an older white male. Nevertheless, his books were popular after the Civil War, and achieved a huge surge in readership in the early decades of the Twentieth Century. It wasn't an easy road to success for Alger, the son of a Unitarian Minister and descendant of Puritan ancestors. After attending Harvard -- where Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was part of the faculty -- he published fitfully, and none of his varied early books really found an audience. After a brief attempt to w... [more]

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New Members

By Rich Rennicks

Meet the latest members of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America. New Members Lillian Fraker, Savoy Books (Lanesboro, MA) Lillian Fraker was born in New York, grew up in Westchester County and met her husband-to-be, Robert Fraker in college. In 1971 they settled in a rural town in Massachusetts' Berkshires where they started Savoy Books, later moving home and business to Lanesboro, Mass. They kept a general stock of pre-1900 books and paper, specializing in antiquarian horticulture/agriculture, and 19th-century American popular music, and putting together various quirky subject collections -- history of Shorthand, American education, etc. Savoy Books joined the ABAA under Robert Fraker's name in 1974, exhibiting in every Boston ABAA book fair since then, and in the 1970s and '80s participating in a few New York and California fairs. When Robert died in 2017, Lillian Fraker applied for ABAA membership under her own name. She still has a medium-sized stock of antiquarian books, pamphlets, broadsides, graphics and other ephemera for sale and is happy to be able to continue her 45-year connection with the ABAA community. Elena Gallego, Elena Gallego Rare Books (San Antonio, TX) Elena Gallego Rare Books LLC operates from its offices in Madrid and Texas and aims to get professionals, collectors, and lovers of unique artworks closer to the exciting world of the rare books and manuscripts. They specialise in Spanish books, Central and Latin America, and México. Their d... [more]

UPDATE: This item has been located! 5/31/2019. Becker, George F. Atlas to Accompany the Monograph on the Geology of the Comstock Lode and the Washoe District. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1882. First edition. 21 sheets. Elephant Folio Very good. Small paper label on backstrip and front board. Contents clean and complete. This is the atlas to accompany the third monograph from the USGS. If offered, please contact: Ken Sanders Rare Books, ABAA at (801) 521-3819 or www.kensandersbooks.com. [more]

On 29 March 2019, a box with 26 Japanese books went missing in Salt Lake City, UT. The books had been exhibited at the ARLIS/NA conference and were packed and sealed in a brown cardboard box, heavily taped and labeled, that was to be shipped by UPS Freight to Boston, MA. The box was issued a UPS Freight tracking number that was never activated. A list of the missing material is below. Please contact Boston Book Company if you have any information about the package or its contents: 617-522-2100 or office@rarebook.com 1. MORIGUCHI Tari, editor. HYÔGENSHUGI KENCHIKU ZUSHÛ. Tôkyô: Kyôyôsha, Taisho 12 25.4 x 18.8 cm. A portfolio, tied, of some 60 plates, on the topic of "EXPRESSIONIST ARCHITECTURE". Wonderful modernist designs, real and proposed, from the cutting edge of the architectural design of the period. The covers are a bit worn. The overall condition is good or better. A very unusual larger portfolio from the Kyôyôsha, the most central architectural publishing house of the day in Japan. (Inventory #90 2. ITAGAKI Takao, et al. SHINKÔ GEIJUTSU Tôkyô, Geibun-shoin. A complete six-issue set of the periodical 'Shinko Geijutsu', in 5 volumes (issues five and six were published together in one volume). 'Shinko Geijustu', translated as 'the new arts', or 'the avant-garde arts', was a magazine created by Itagaki Takaho (1894-1966), a Japanese art critic who pioneered Japanese cinema and photography study and influenced trends in modernism in the Showa period. The magazin... [more]