Bookseller Interviews

 A few years ago, Michael Ginsberg embarked upon an archival journey for the ABAA. Recognizing the absence of member histories in the ABAA annals, Michael began conducting video interviews of members at our three annual fairs. The interviews cover members' personal histories as well as their involvement in the rare book trade. The ABAA extends many thanks to Michael, as well as Taylor Bowie, who has also conducted a number of interviews.
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Dennis Melhouse has a rich educational history that led him to the trade. Dennis earned a degree in Music Education from the University of Illinois before receiving a fellowship to play with the Wichita Symphony. During his fellowship, Dennis attended Wichita State and earned a Master's Degree in Music History. He returned to the Chicago area and spent time at the University of Chicago enrolled in a Masters program for Library Science before he transferred to Loyola and earned a degree in Industrial Relations. He went on to work as a personnel director for major corporations and it was during this time that he began collecting rare books. It was this passion that led him to bookselling– it was a way he could fund his collecting habit. First Folio was founded in 1984 and Dennis devoted himself to bookselling full-time within a few years. He became a member of the ABAA in 1990. First Folio is located in Paris, TN and specializes in Illustrated Books, Books about Books, Fine Bindings, Rare Books, and General Antiquarian Books.


After graduating with a dual degree in Philosophy and History, Kevin Brown dove headfirst into the entrepreneurial field, starting a few small businesses before landing in the rare book trade via the world of art and antiques. Kevin became a member of the ABAA in 2010. Geographicus Rare Antique Maps is located in Brooklyn, NY and specializes in Maps, Atlases, and Geography.


Ken Mallory got his start in the book trade in the early 1990s working in an Atlanta bookstore that he had frequented since he was a teenager. After learning the ins and outs of running a book business, Ken decided to go out on his own. He became a member of the ABAA in 2009. Ken serves on the Board of Governors and is the Chair of the Internet Committee. Kenneth Mallory operates out of Decatur, GA and specializes in General Antiquarian material with an emphasis on Art, Architecture, and Photography.


John Crichton developed a curiosity for books at a young age. It was an interest that went beyond the stories and information contained within the books; John became intrigued with the book as an object, which led him to local bookstores. John graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in journalism and moved to San Francisco, where he worked in the field for several years. It was during this time that John became familiar with the local book shops and their proprietors and, before long, he was working for Peter Howard at Serendipity Books. After working for Peter for a few years, John was offered the opportunity to purchase the Brick Row Book Shop from Franklin Gilliam. He did and later became a member of the ABAA in 1984. John served on the Board of Governors and was President of the Association from 2004-2006. Brick Row Book Shop is located in San Francisco, CA and specializes in English & American Literature, Americana, First Editions, and Bibliography.


A native of Columbus, OH, Ed Hoffman studied English Education at Ohio State University. After completing his degree Ed returned to his high school alma mater to teach for seven years before deciding to return to pursue a doctorate degree. It was during this time as a student that Ed began selling books as a way to fund his expenses. In 1982, he entered the trade with full gusto and opened a shop that remained in the same location for 25 years. Ed became a member of the ABAA in 1990. Since that time, he has served as an officer of the Midwest Chapter and is currently serving on the Board of Governors and chairs the By-Laws Committee. Hoffman Books is located in Columbus, OH and specializes in Photography, Ohiana, Thurber, Travel, Geology, and Americana.


David Hamilton grew up in the midwest and had an interest in history from an early age. After graduating from Indiana University with a degree in Public Health, David moved to Georgia and worked for the state for thirty years. During this time, he began his foray into the book world and began a side-business as a bookseller. The side business quickly became a full-time venture, and David became a member of the ABAA in 2012. David A. Hamilton Americana Books is located in Stone Mountain, GA and specializes in History, Travel & Exploration, General Stock, and Ephemera.


Abby Schoolman is a native New Yorker whose love for culture, the arts, and books was instilled at an early age. As an undergraduate, she attended Wellesley College where she majored in Medeival and Renaissance Studies, and Abby later attended Simmons College to study rare books and archives management. Abby worked in special collections before starting her own business as a bookseller. She became a member of the ABAA in 2017. Abby Schoolman Books is located in New York, NY and specializes in Contemporary Art Bookbinding, Artists' Books, Book Arts, Fine & Private Press Books, Limited Editions, and Original Art.


Forrest Proper started an art and antique business at a young age but quickly fell into the book business. Forrest has been a member of the ABAA since 1995. Joslin Hall Rare Books is located in Northampton, MA and specializes in Antique Reference, Antiques & Collecting, Architecture, American Art, Applied & Decorative Art, Forgery, and Technology.


John Reznikoff grew up in Connecticut as the son of two accomplished academics. At the age of 18, John decided that he wanted to leave university so that he could start his own book business. With that, he began a lifelong education in the world of rare books. John became a member of the ABAA in 1993. University Archives is located in Westport, CT and specializes in History, Presidential material, the Civil War, and the Revolutionary War.


Peter Bernett's parents founded F.A. Bernett Books over seventy years ago when they arrived in New York from Berlin. The Bernetts were art historians, which became the foundation of their book business. Peter entered the trade and the family business over forty years ago and became a member of the ABAA in 1994. F.A. Bernett Books is located in Boston, MA and specializes in Art, Architecture, Archeology, Design, Social History and Visual Culture from antiquity to the present.


Joyce Kosofsky grew up in a small oceanside town on the outskirts of Boston and attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she studied journalism and mass media. After working for local news outlets for a few years, Joyce entered the trade in the late 1970s, when she began working at the Brattle Book Shop with Ken Gloss, her future husband and business partner. The rest, as they say, is history. Joyce has been a member of the ABAA since 1984. She serves on the Board of Governors and is the current Chair of the Ethics Committee. The celebrated Brattle Book Shop is located in Boston, MA and has over 150,000 books on all subjects. They specialize in not specializing.


Phil Salmon began his bookselling career in 1994, the consequence of a collecting interest in the poet Robert Frost. He spent several years working as a freelance cataloger, book scout, and he operated his own internet bookselling firm before moving to Portugal in 1998. He joined Bromer Booksellers in 2000, and has since become an integral part of the firm, exhibiting at bookfairs and showcases around the country, attending auctions, and managing the day-to-day buying and selling that is part and parcel of a rare book operation. Phil became an associate member of the ABAA in 2004, and considers it "an honor and a privilege" to do what he loves for a living.


Nicholas Potter has been the owner of Nicholas Potter Books in New Mexico for over forty years. His shop maintains an inventory of distinctive books in many fields, with an emphasis on literature, art, bindings, photography, southwest Americana, history, and children's and illustrated books. Nicholas joined the ABAA in 1979.


Larisa Cassell was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1952. Along with her husband and partner, Chris, Larisa is the owner of Green Gate Farm Antiquarian Books in Richmond, Missouri. During her recent tenure as President of the Missouri Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Library of Congress, Larisa was the leading force behind the establishment of a literary prize in the name of her friend and mentor in the antiquarian book trade, ABAA emeritus member, Ardis L. Glenn.


Jeremy Norman is the owner of the sites HistoryofScience.com, HistoryofMedicine.com, and HistoryofInformation.com. For more than forty years, he has helped to develop superb private libraries and major institutional holdings of rare books and manuscripts on the history of science, medicine, and technology. Jeremy has been a member of the ABAA since 1974.
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