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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Tom grew up in the New York City region, and after getting a degree in English, moved around the country from New Mexico, to Florida, to Massachusetts. Having always been familiar and friendly with computers, the Internet Bubble treated him well, allowing him to open up a used bookshop with his brother in Roslindale, MA, in 2003 where he learned the book trade through classic hands-on experience. In 2014 Tom closed his shop to pursue his antiquarian interests in early printed books and culinary material. He also joined the ABAA that year. Pazzo Books operates out of Roslindale, MA and specializes in Fine, Rare, and Out-of-Print Books with an emphasis on Literature, Cookery, Early Printed Books, and the unusual.

Sunday and Josh came to New York after school to pursue careers. The chance purchase of a book on the street for one dollar started them down the path to antiquarian bookdealers. They began selling on eBay as simply a side hustle, but as their passion grew for the material and the subject matter they left their other careers behind and in 2008 went full time. Sunday represents the new generation of Antiquarian bookseller young and excited by the antiquarian world, fully social media and internet capable and enthusiastic about the ABAA and what it provides to the community. Sunday joined the ABAA in 2009. B & B Rare Books Rare Books operates out of an open shop in New York City and specializes in 19th & 20th Century American and English Literature, Modern First Editions, and Signed and Presentation Copies.

Lizzy worked as a pastry chef and food editor for Gourmet Magazine for many years before taking time to raise her daughters. A chance conversation with her bookseller father Roy led her to join him to learn the trade. Working with her father at the ABAA fairs exposed her to the vast type of material ABAA members specialized in, which presented her with the perfect way to wed her professional experience and her love of food with the bookselling business by specializing in culinary related material. She opened a shop in Brooklyn in 2019.

James grew up in a house full of books. As a child he turned his closet into a little library, reading whatever he could get his hands on, no matter the reading level. After studying anthropology he found work as an archeologist unsatisfying. While he was searching for a career path he could enjoy, he happened to purchase a lexicon which started him down the road of collecting. Quickly gathering more books than he wanted, he turned to selling. In 1991, he became a full time antiquarian bookseller. James Gray joined the ABAA in 2015. James Gray Bookseller operates out of Princeton, MA and specializes in Early Printed Books and Manuscripts, Incunabula, and Books of Hours

Henry grew up outside of Philadelphia before moving with his family as a teenager to France. He learned French and German, and then in school specialized in Arabic. After spending a year in Cairo he returned to the US to continue his education and work as an editor of a reference publisher. For a brief time he worked as an editorial writer for the Antiquarian Bookman attending many book fairs as well as CABS. When the AB folded he was forced to find a new employer and James Cummins Bookseller was happy to oblige. Henry joined the ABAA as an Associate for James Cummins Bookseller in 2013 and operates out of New York City specializing in Bibles, Sporting, Color-Plate Books, Private Press, First Editions, Fine Bindings, Sets, English & American Literature, Illustration Art, Autographs & Manuscripts.

David grew up in a career military household and frequently moved. He was fascinated with the history of each new location. Rather than have a lot of books in the home, his family made use of the libraries at hand, a habit he took with him throughout his school years. For a time he managed the Book Guild of Portsmouth in Maine. Later after the advent of the internet changed the market, he struck out on his own. He travels extensively seeking out new material with special interest in those areas where cultures intersect. David joined the ABAA in 2018. Archway Books operates out of Dover, NH and specializes in Asia, Eastern Europe, Religion, Travel, Military, and Photography.

After graduating from college, Chuck took a summer job in a bookstore in Maryland before heading to graduate school in the fall. He never made it to grad school. He grew up loving books, seeking them out wherever he could, pestering his siblings for rides to the local used bookshops and raiding his brothers’ rooms. Quickly adapting to the internet, he now has over 2.5 million items for sale online, from antiquarian material to records, movies, software and games. He does still enjoys those quiet moments when he can sit down with a stack of books and work with them himself. Chuck joined the ABAA in 2003. Wonder Book operates out of Frederick, MD and specializes in general antiquarian material.

Despite successfully pursuing other careers like engineering and finance, Adam continually found himself gravitating back to books. It was no wonder since he grew up in a house full of books and his father would from time to time come across an interesting antiquarian find. Adam wrote his first quote for his father when he was eleven. While he considers himself a generalist, his passion grew out of early printing and manuscripts and his enthusiasm is fueled by finding fresh material and the stories it can elucidate. Adam joined the ABAA in 2017 and operates out of New York City. He specializes in fine, interesting, and important individual rare books and manuscripts in all fields, but particularly in books before 1800, incunabula, early Bibles (pre-1800), manuscripts (pre-1900) and books on travel and exploration.

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.
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