On Collecting Books



Carnegie Library Theft

By Susan Benne

In an effort to assist in the recovery of materials missing as a result of the Carnegie Library theft, the ABAA would like to bring to the public's attention the list of items believed stolen. Click this link to view the list. Should any member of the public identify having purchased or otherwise having knowledge of the disposition or current location of any items from the Carnegie Library—whether on this list or not—please contact one of the following detectives from Allegheny County District Attorney's Office: · Det. Fran Laquatra (412) 388-5305 flaquatra@alleghenycountyda.us · Det. Perann Tansmore (412) 388-5307 ptansmore@alleghenycountyda.us ` · Det. Lyle Graber (412) 388-5316 lgraber@alleghenycountyda.us Please note, the detectives do not have reason to believe that anyone who may have purchased any of these items was necessarily aware that the material had been reported stolen. The ABAA appreciates your attention and assistance with respect to this grave matter. Please check our post from March for further details, including additional information on collection markings. Sincerely, Vic Zoschak President, ABAA Brad Johnson Chair, ABAA Security Committee Susan Benne Executive Director, ABAA [more]

The World's Most Beloved (and Criticized) Family of Bears! If you are a '90s child like myself (or a '70s child, or an '80s child, or a 2000s child… or even a 2010s child), I can guarantee that you know a family of bears… that live in (pretty much) the coolest treehouse ever… and whose sister and brother magically (almost) always get along. I grew up envying this small family and their adventures in pumpkin patches and at school. (So get to the point, you say?) Well today we thought we'd do a short feature on our favorite (fictional) family of bears… the Berenstain Bears. The Berenstain Bear family and franchise was created by Janice and Stanley Berenstain in 1962, and has since become a series of over 300 titles. Since his mother's death in 2012 (Stan Berenstain died in 2005), the couple's youngest son, Mike Berenstain, has continued the family tradition by authoring the titles. A full family project, in a sense! Let's see how it all came about… In 1941, Janice Grant and Stanley Berenstain met on their first day at the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art and became close very quickly. At the onset of World War II, they took up different war effort posts (as a medical illustrator and riveter), but were eventually reunited and married in 1946. They found work as art teachers, then eventually became co-illustrators, publishing works like the Berenstain's Baby Book in 1951 followed by many more (including, but not limited to Marital Blitz, How To Teach Your Ch... [more]

Every week, ABAA members issue new catalogs of rare books and ephemera. Most of the items featured therein are not-yet listed on abaa.org (but there are exceptions, as you'll see below). We scoured the most-recent batch of catalog to bring you a few highlights from within their pages... A HANDSOMELY ILLUSTRATED REAL GRIMOIRE FOR FANS OF HARRY POTTER FAUST, Johann; SCHEIBLE, Johann. Doktor Johannes Faust's Magia naturalis et innaturalis, oder, driefacher Höllenzwang, letztes Testament und Siegelkunst. Nach einer kostbar ausgestatteten Handschrift in der Herzogl. Bibliothek zu Koburg vollständig und wortgetreu; herausgegeben in fünf Abtheilungen, mit einter Menge illuminirter Abbildungen auf 146 Tafeln. Stuttgart: Verlag von J. Scheible (Druck von Fr. Henne), 1849. 8vo, 5 parts in 1 volume. 263, , pp. (last 7 pages bookseller's ads). With 146 numbered plates (with illustration no. 19 appearing later in volume on same plate as illustration no. 71) also with plates numbered 109 I, & 109 II (so the total does come to 146 as noted in title) lithograph plates (9 folding, 145 in 2 or more colors). Few minor marginal smudges at beginning of volume and some faint foxing. Very nice copy. Original cloth. FIRST EDITION of this rare and beautifully illustrated grimoire or Faustbook titled: "Dr. Johannes Faust's Magia naturalis et innaturalis or the Threefold Coercion of Hell, his last testament and the art of the occult sigil (symbol)" which the publisher states was copied from a manusc... [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]

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Books of the Week

By Rich Rennicks

What new additions to the abaa.org website caught the eye this week? An interesting endorsed letter to President Andrew Jackson, a very early collection of medical recipes, and first editions of books from Virginia Woolf and Richard Fariña, among other items... The Waves (First Edition) by Virginia Woolf New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, .. Octavo, original blue cloth, spine panel stamped in gold, top edge stained brown. First U.S. edition, first printing with "first edition" on copyright page. Connolly 70. Kirkpatrick A16b. A fine copy in decorated dust jacket (designed by Vanessa Bell) priced $2.50 on front flap with light tanning to spine panel, a couple of mild fox marks, and some general dust soiling. Actually, a pretty decent copy overall. (Offered by L.W. Currey) Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me (First Edition) by Richard Fariña New York: Random House, 1966. First Edition. Hardcover. Very Good. First edition. xii, 329, (1, note about author) pp. Fine in Very Good with small tear in top of front panel, light wear and rubbing, slightly sunned spine. The folksinger's only novel, published not long before his death. (Offered by Burnside Rare Books) The Old Woman Who Lost Her Dumpling; Japanese Fairy Tale Series No. 24 (First Edition) by Lafcadio Hearn Tokyo: T. Hasegawa, 1902. First Edition. Self wrappers. Very good. Duodecimo size, pp. Printing B (for identification only, no sequence is suggested) of those noted in BAL 7937, with the colophon at the foot of... [more]

Every famous poet and writer started small, usually with cautious publishers who printed small batches of the first edition of their early books. For most, the cautious print runs continues, even after winning awards, because poetry has ever been an relatively low-volume business, even for the big names. When they later became reknowned, even famous, at home and abroad, these relatively scarce first editions became highly prized by their fans and collectors. Here are a dozen first editions from poets who became big names in their time, drawn from the current inventory of ABAA members. The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot New York: Boni & Liveright, 1922. Near Fine/Near Fine. First edition. Publisher's flexible cloth, the stamped number (198) 5mm in height, and the "a" in "mountain" on page 41 (a possible state in the first printing); one of the first 500 copies. Very nearly fine with a bookplates in a dustwrapper with some tiny chips and internal tissue strengthening at the folds; in a custom clamshell box. (Offered by Between the Covers Rare Books) POEMS: NORTH & SOUTH - A COLD SPRING by Elizabeth Bishop Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1955. 1st edition, full blue cloth, with dust jacket. The author's second volume of poetry, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1956. There were only 2000 copies published in the first printing (MacMahon A2). Printed by The Riverside Press in Cambridge, the present copy has The Grolier Book Shop, Cambridge, label on the bottom FEP. Only gentle shelf rubs to the... [more]

Great Catalogues by Master Booksellers: A Selection of American and English Booksellers' Catalogues, 19th-21st Century. By John R. Payne. Introduction by Kurt Zimmerman. Austin , Roger Beacham, Publisher, . One could be forgiven for thinking it odd that something as ephemeral as the bookseller's catalogue should be treated to such a sumptuous production as John Payne's Great Catalogues by Master Booksellers (GCMB). But, as the author reminds us, “Bookshops open and close. Booksellers retire, change professions, and pass on. What remains, other than memories and reputations, are their catalogues, the lasting tangible record of a bookseller's creativity and expertise – a remembrance, a talisman.” (Preface, page xi). The author has selected one hundred forty catalogues from amongst tens of thousands viewed during his time at the Lilly Library at Indiana University, The Harry Ransom Center at University of Texas at Austin, New York's Grolier Club, and the Huntington Library in San Marino. The individuals and firms represented include the giants of the last one hundred fifty years of bookselling, names such as Breslauer, Eberstadt, ExLibris, Les Enluminures, Fleming, Goldschmidt, Goodspeed, Kraus, Maggs, Quaritch, Reese, Rosenbach, and Rostenberg & Stern, as well as more contemporary booksellers who will be seen in retrospect, if they are not already, as giants themselves. An introduction by Kurt Zimmerman briefly outlines the impact booksellers' catalogues has had on the fo... [more]

Robert Jordan was the best-selling author of The Wheel of Time fantasy series, and (because I need to get my utter impartiality out of the way at the start) one of my favorite authors. I've collected his books for the past 25 years. If you're unfamiliar with The Wheel of Time, think of it as a 14-volume The Lord of the Rings set at a future point in Earth's history when society has regressed technologically and forgotten most of our history -- but discovered magic, naturally! Total sales for the series are estimated to be in excess of 80 million copies, although those figures are several years old and at least one of his publishers has suggested the estimate is on the low side. With a total readership of that magnitude, it seems likely there are many people collecting Jordan's books and related items, so we have assembled this guide to the major works and significant associated items. Jordan's real name was James Oliver Rigney, Jr., a Vietnam veteran who later worked for the US Navy as a nuclear physicist. Rigney began writing for his own amusement in 1977, and published under several pseudonyms in the 1980s. The first book of The Wheel of Time (WoT) series, The Eye of the World, was published in 1990, and sold well. By 1993, when the fifth installment, The Fires of Heaven came out, WoT books were huge bestsellers. Rigney was diagnosed with amyloidosis in 2006, and died in September 2007 after undergoing extensive medical treatment at the Mayo Clinic. After his death, one of ... [more]

The Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America is pleased to announce the 2018 National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest! Established in 2005 by Fine Books & Collections Magazine to recognize outstanding book collecting efforts by college and university students, the contest aims to encourage young collectors to become accomplished bibliophiles. The magazine conducted the annual competition program for three years before turning over leadership to a collaboration of institutional partners (The Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA), the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies (FABS), and the Center for the Book and the Rare Books and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress, with major support from the Jay I. Kislak Foundation. Competitions are held at more than three dozen colleges and universities across the United States. Some contests have been conducted for 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 also may enter. All entries for the 2018 competition must be submitted by June 15, 2018. Full rules and details can be found at https://www.abaa.org/ncbcc/the-national-collegiate-book-collecting-contest... Meet the 2017 NCBCC Winners! Enter the 2018 Competition.... [more]

On October 4th, 1862, a children's literature tycoon was born. With his humble beginnings, of course, no one ever would have suspected that a talented writer and publisher was in their midst. Edward L. Stratemeyer was born the youngest of six children in Elizabeth, New Jersey to a young tobacconist and his wife. Both of Edward's parents had immigrated from Hanover, Germany in 1837, and yet Stratemeyer's main language was English growing up. As a child, Stratemeyer read Horatio Alger often, enjoying his rags-to-riches tales immensely. He later was said to have remarked on how much Alger's stories influenced him as a young man, and gave him some of the confidence he later used to begin his career. It looks as though even as a teenager Stratemeyer had some idea of what he wanted to do as an adult, as he opened his own amateur printing press in the basement of his father's tobacco store. He printed local & homemade flyers and pamphlets, and a few short stories such as The Newsboy's Adventure and The Tale of a Lumberman. After graduating high school, Stratemeyer worked daily in his father's shop, and kept up printing a few items here and there. It wasn't until he turned 26 that he sold his first story to popular children's periodical Golden Days, and received $76 for his contribution (a fact that the helpful internet informs us was over six times the average weekly paycheck for the average U.S. citizen at the time). After experiencing this hint of fame and riches, the young writer... [more]