Weekly Highlights

By Rich Rennicks

Our members list new acquisitions and recently cataloged items almost every day of the year. Below, you'll find a few highlights from these recent additions... Helvetica (Original poster for the 2007 documentary film) by HUSTWIT, GARY (DIRECTOR) Brooklyn: Plexifilm, 2007. Vintage poster for the 2007 documentary film. The first in filmmaker Gary Hustwit's "Design Trilogy," about typography and graphic design through the history of the eponymous font, followed by 2009's "Objectified," about industrial design, and 2011's "Urbanized," about architecture and urban design. 27 x 39 inches. Rolled. About Fine. Offered by Royal Books. The Unicorn Window by Lynette Muir London / NY:: Abelard-Schuman,. Very Good in Very Good dust jacket. 1961. Hardcover. B0000CL3CB . The author's first book. First edition. Very good in a very good (moderate edge wear and age toning) dust jacket.; 169 pages . Offered by Grendel Books. The Embrace, Giclee Print by Milton Glaser One of 200, unsigned. 22 x 17 inches. One of 200, unsigned. 22 x 17 inches. Offered by James Cummins Bookseller. Old Negatives: Four Verse Sequences by Alasdair Gray London: Jonathan Cape, 1989. First Edition. Limited Issue, one of 500 numbered copies specially bound and signed by the author, this being copy no.349. Octavo (23.5cm); black paper-covered boards, with titling and pictorial elements stamped in silver on spine and covers; dustjacket; ,13-67,pp; illus.; with elaborate errata slip folded and laid in. Fine in a very Near F... [more Weekly Highlights]

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, blog posts, and other digital formats.) *New* indicates any catalogs added in the last month. AARDVARK BOOKS/EZRA THE BOOKFINDER Recent Acquisitions ABACUS BOOKS Rubaiyat War, Peace, and Protest ABRAHAM LINCOLN BOOK SHOP Catalog 183: Holiday/Winter 2020 CHARLES AGVENT Archibald MacLeish Collection (New Arrivals) Spring Miscellany -- Signed Items, Rare Americana, Early Printed Books, and more... ANDERSON BUTLER RARE BOOKS E-List #23. Put N' Take: A Collection of Gambling Sheet Music Scores, 1889-1987 E-list #22: Konstantin Tsiolkovsky: Astronautics as Esoteric Utopian Philosophy Featured item: Put N' Take: A Collection of Gambling Sheet Music Scores, 1889-1987 This collection comprises 103 sheet music scores relating to gambling published from 1889 to 1987. The subjects covered represent some of the many ways gambling has affected human culture, society and history in the last 132 years. Among the themes are gambling as a metaphor for love and loss, gambling in the African-American and Asian-American communities, warnings about the perils of gambling, the fraternal nature of gaming, the gambler as either a hero or a cautionary tale, the occult and songs based around a variety of games. The majority of these scores were published in the USA, the outliers being 2 from Canada, 2 from Argentina and... [more Latest Catalogs of Rare Books]


New ABAA Members

By Rich Rennicks

Meet the latest antiquarian booksellers accepted as members of the ABAA. Full Members: Victoria Dailey, Dailey & Turner Rare Books & Ephemera, Los Angeles, CA Victoria Dailey has rejoined the ABAA as a full member after being an Emeritus Member for a short time. In other news, Victoria has recently been named the Deputy Editor of The Book Collector. Daniel Moyer, Daniel / Oliver Gallery, Brooklyn, NY Dan Moyer is one half of the Brooklyn based gallery Daniel / Oliver (along with co-owner Ollie Lott). Daniel / Oliver handles photographic material and other works on paper, primarily unique collections and comprehensive archives, which chronicle American stories. Dan Moyer is also a playwright and screenwriter. His play “Half Moon Bay” premiered at the Cherry Lane Theatre in NYC and he has written for the Facebook Watch show “Limetown.” Michael Pyron, Michael Pyron, Bookseller, Conshohocken, PA Michael Pyron has been a bookseller for 20 years and has been binding and repairing books for nearly as long. He has been a reader most of his life, but was introduced to the idea (and reality) of the “antiquarian book trade” at Black Swan Books where he worked for more than a decade from 2001-2012. It was also at Black Swan Books where he was introduced to conservation and bookbinding and was offered a steady supply of books that required attention and a boss who gave him plenty of latitude to learn by trial and error—a remarkable gift for someone learning a craft. In Novem... [more New ABAA Members]

The 2021 National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest is now accepting entries! Established in 2005 by Fine Books & Collections Magazine to recognize outstanding book collecting efforts by college and university students, the contest is now sponsored by The Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA), the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies (FABS), the Grolier Club, and the Center for the Book and the Rare Books and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress. The contest aims to encourage young collectors to become accomplished bibliophiles. Book-collecting competitions are held at more than three dozen colleges and universities across the United States, and some of these contests have been conducted for many decades, dating back to Swarthmore College's first competition in the 1920s. All college or university prizewinners are encouraged to enter. Student collectors whose institutions do not offer a book collecting contest may also enter. The contest rules can be viewed here... Applications may be submitted here, and all entries for the 2021 competition must be submitted by June 15, 2021. The Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America promotes ethical standards and professionalism in the antiquarian book trade, encourages the collecting and preservation of rare books, and supports education and research. The Fellowship of American Bibliographic Societies was formed in 1993 as a national organization of member book collecting groups. The C... [more National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest 2021]

This fascinating blog post about the history of vellum and parchment is written by Richard Norman, an experienced British bookbinder now living in France, where he runs Eden Wookshops with his wife and fellow bookbinder, Margaret, specializing in Family Bibles and liturgical books. The article originally appeared on, and is reprinted below with the author's permission. --Editor According to the Roman Varro and Pliny's Natural History, vellum and parchment were invented under the patronage of Eumenes of Pergamum, as a substitute for papyrus, which was temporarily not being exported from Alexandria, its only source. Herodotus mentions writing on skins as common in his time, the 5th century BC; and in his Histories (v.58) he states that the Ionians of Asia Minor had been accustomed to give the name of skins (diphtherai) to books; this word was adapted by Hellenized Jews to describe scrolls. Parchment (pergamenum in Latin), however, derives its name from Pergamon, the city where it was perfected (via the French parchemin). In the 2nd century B.C. a great library was set up in Pergamon that rivalled the famous Library of Alexandria. As prices rose for papyrus and the reed used for making it was over-harvested towards local extinction in the two nomes of the Nile delta that produced it, Pergamon adapted by increasing use of vellum and parchment. Writing on prepared animal skins had a long history, however. Some Egyptian Fourth Dynasty texts were written on vel... [more The History Of Vellum And Parchment]

One thing that distinguishes the book collector from the casual reader is a preference for owning first editions. What is a First Edition? A first edition is the format a book took when it was first made available for sale. The ABAA glossary of book terms states: First Edition: “All of the copies printed from the first setting of type; can include multiple printings if all are from the same setting of type.” Collectors distinguish between a first edition (the first printing of a book) and a modern first edition (which more-or-less applies to books printed from 1900 on -- although, the exact definition is open to debate between dealers). What is a First Printing? The first printing is the first batch of books printed from this first setting of type. For a small press, this might be the only printing a book gets, so all copies are first edition, first printings. (The ABAA glossary is a master of understatement when it says “Every printed book has a first edition, many never have later editions.” For others, there might be dozens of printings, especially if a book becomes wildly successful. (Witness the current trend to keep popular young-adult novels -- Veronica Roth's Allegiant and John Green's Turtles All the Way Down, for two recent examples -- in hardcover for years, rather than replace the hardcover with a paperback edition a year after first publication.) How Can You Tell if a Book is a First Edition? In general, books before 1900 did not indicate first or subsequ... [more Identifying First Editions]

The Kenneth W. Rendell Collection on the Detection of Forged Handwriting Donated to the Grolier Club. The Grolier Club Library is pleased to announce the receipt of a major gift, the Collection on the Detection of Forged Handwriting, which is the most important and comprehensive collection on the subject known to exist anywhere. The gift is from club members Kenneth W. Rendell and Shirley McNerney. Rendell, a leading dealer in historical letters and documents, has exposed numerous famous forgeries such as the Hitler Diaries fraud, Mussolini's diaries, the Mormon forgeries and murders, and Jack the Ripper's forged diary. This collection was formed over a 60-year period and consists of thousands of forgeries, facsimiles of handwriting, reference books, and archival files concerning major cases in which Rendell has been involved. The collection is wide-ranging, encompassing historical letters and manuscripts from the early 17th century to the modern day. Classic forgeries of Shakespeare, Robert Burns, Schiller, Washington, Lincoln, Franklin, Berlioz, Wagner, Poe and numerous others are included. Rendell made every effort over his long and distinguished career to acquire original examples of past forgers from many sources, including the files of dealers such as Charles Hamilton, Mary Benjamin and Goodspeeds. The gathering together of so many “original” forgeries – often destroyed and notoriously difficult to collect – alongside genuine examples of handwriting and a specia... [more Kenneth W. Rendell Collection on the Detection of Forged Handwriting]

It was February of 2013. I walked into the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, California, following the signs to the “Codex Book Fair and Symposium”… I had just handed in my resignation notice to my then-current employer, where I was selling software – and hating every moment of it. I had made the decision to make a career leap. A rather HUGE career leap – from selling software to being a bookseller. So I wanted to check out what this “Codex” thing was all about. The hall was a cacophony of sights and sounds: the glass wall with a view of the Harbour, soaring skyward, let in so much natural light it was like being outdoors on a warm spring day. Thousands of voices were talking, exclaiming, sharing, filled with delight and the joy of the discovery of the unexpected. As I walked down aisle after aisle of “artist books” I was overwhelmed with the beauty and imagination I saw before me, at every table. Books that were… well, more like art than books. But clearly books. And therefore something I could relate to, although the conceptions and materials and design were new and fresh and incredibly lovely. The Fragments of Parmenides OK, fast-forward a few years. I'm now happily cataloguing books, among them, some books from a Bay-Area printer, Peter Koch, of whom I had heard but had, as of then, not had the pleasure of meeting. As I examined his 2003 publication The Fragments of Parmenides I was struck again with the beauty of what I had before me: everything was shee... [more Discovering Artists’ Books]


The Ranger of Lost Art


When Doug Leen was a young park ranger working at Grand Teton National Park, he was cleaning up a barn when stumbled across a dusty old poster that caught his eye. It was a poster promoting the Park that—as he later learned—had been created in the 1930s as part of the Federal Art Project, a Works Progress Administration (WPA) program designed to provide work to artists in a time of economic hardship. As Leen will explain in his online talk during the ABAA's California Virtual Book Fair, that discovery launched him on a quest that continues today—to track down a copy of each of the fourteen National Park posters made during the thirties, and to create equally beautiful posters in the same style for the parks for which no poster was created in the WPA era. Although artists employed by the Federal Art Project produced more than 35,000 unique designs for posters promoting everything from theatrical performances to health and safety programs to travel destinations, only about 50 to 100 copies of each of the 14 National Park Posters were actually printed. As a result, they are quite rare and valuable. Leen discovered the Grand Teton poster in 1971. A 20-year effort led him to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, where 13 black-and-white negatives survived in the file drawers of the National Park Service archives. These negatives and the single poster, then the only one known to survive, were the templates used for an initial effort to reconstruct the original set. As republication p... [more The Ranger of Lost Art]

Bibliophiles everywhere are invited to join the hunt for rare books and all manner of fine works on paper March 4-6 during the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America's California Virtual Book Fair. Exhibitors from 14 countries will present a carefully curated collection of more than 4000 books, maps, manuscripts, photographs, and rare historical artifacts. “The ABAA's California International Antiquarian Book Fair has always been the most eclectic and inclusive, and we expect this virtual fair to be no different. More than 150 exhibitors from 14 nations will be offering a diverse array of rare books and fine works on paper. This one's not to be missed,” said Brad Johnson, ABAA President. Exhibitors will offer a rich selection of manuscripts, early American and European literature, modern first editions, children's books, maps and autographs, as well as antiquarian books on history, science, law, architecture, cooking, wine, and a wide range of other topics. Visitors will also be able to interact with book, map, autograph, and ephemera sellers in real time. “The virtual book fairs have been an important way for booksellers and collectors to stay connected during this past year of closures and canceled in-person events, and they have produced a number of unexpected benefits,” said Sheryl Jaeger, ABAA Vice President and Chair, Virtual Book Fair Committee. “The obvious—you don't have to leave home, fly, or pack your wares. The virtual fairs also allow those p... [more Visit the California Virtual Book Fair]