ILAB Rare Booksellers on Video: Rusty Mott
"My father was one of the founders of the ABAA and knew almost everyone in the trade. I didn't care much about rare books as a kid, but I always liked booksellers. I remember selling my first book when I was five years old to Charlie O'Malley, an Irish American bookseller in New York. He used to buy quite regularly from me when I was a kid and always over-paid."
"I didn't really get into the business until 1970 after a rather chequered period. Although I started college in 1963, I graduated nine years later, having done a lot of things in between: I worked on an archaeological dig in Jordan, I spent three years in the United States Navy (partly in Vietnam), I crewed a charter boat in the Caribbean, worked as a plumber's apprentice, and manned a bar in the Virgin Islands. I've also made ice cream sundaes and been a short order cook. I think I could also have been a London taxi driver. Some good booksellers have been taxi drivers. Ole Dam drove a cab in London and Jim Cummins drove one in Boston."
Rusty Mott was born into a rare booksellers' family. The company Howard S. Mott Inc., established in New York City in 1936, is named after his father, who also was one of the founders of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA). Located in Sheffield, Massachusetts, in a large 18th century house, Rusty Mott deals with all kinds of rare and unusual books, first editions, Americana, literature, Caribbean (especially Lesser Antilles), autograph letters and manuscripts.
(The quotations are taken from Sheila Markham, A Book of Booksellers. Conversations with the Antiquarian Book Trade, pp. 133)
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